High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), functional fitness and older adult training programs are the leading fitness trends this year and have the greatest impact on the health, fitness and wellness of Canadians according to nearly 2,000 fitness professionals, who responded to the first national Canadian Fitness Professionals (canfitpro) fitness trends survey.

“High intensity interval training, which includes periods of intense exercise followed by durations of rest, was voted the number one most effective trend because this approach to training generates significant and noticeable results when it comes to heart health, reduced body fat and addressing the risk of many chronic diseases,” says Rod Macdonald, vice president of canfitpro.

“Functional fitness came in a close second because it links directly to our lifestyles as Canadians. It includes natural body movements like squats and deadlifts that help us prepare for the rigours of daily life — things like shoveling snow or carrying groceries. It’s no surprise that fitness for older adults came third. This area is increasingly popular because of the aging, but active Baby Boomers.”

Here is a rundown of the Top 10 Canadian Fitness Trends:

1. High-Intensity Interval Training

Characterized by intense periods of exercise, followed by rest, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) training has been gaining popularity for the significant benefits it generates in a shorter time than steady-state cardio.

2. Functional fitness

Functional fitness uses movements that prepare you for the activities of daily life, activating multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Balance-challenging movements make up a significant portion of a proper functional fitness regimen along with exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, rows, plank and push-ups.

3. Older adult training

According to Statistics Canada, citizens over the age of 65 will make up 25 per cent of Canada’s population by 2036. This is generating demand for programs to help older-adults maintain their quality of life. Fitness professionals are seeking education and training to enable them to deliver safe and effective programs for older adults.

4. Certified and experienced fitness professionals

Fitness professionals are continuously specializing and expanding the services and programs they provide, while consumers are also seeking experts who are certified and knowledgeable. The Canadian Register of Exercise and Fitness Professionals lists 20,700 members as an excellent tool to connect qualified fitness experts with fitness enthusiasts looking for guidance and support in their workouts.

5. Personal training

Working with a personal trainer is one of the most effective ways to achieve health and fitness goals. Trainers work with people at all fitness levels to create customized fitness plans and provide one-on-one motivational coaching.

6. Body weight training

Using the weight of your own body to create resistance builds strength, muscle and burns fat.

7. Express workouts

These workouts are perfect for those on the go. Participants do multiple exercises in a short time to generate maximum results. An express workout typically lasts 20 minutes or less.

8. Nutrition education

Nutrition is a key component in weight loss, muscle gain or the improvement of quality of life.

9. Bootcamps

Designed for all fitness levels, bootcamp classes increase cardio fitness, strength and agility while burning fat. Bootcamps take place in a group setting with a fun, challenging and motivating atmosphere.

10. Circuit training

Circuit training is body conditioning that uses resistance training at a high-intensity aerobic pace. It moves from one exercise to another with short rest intervals, building strength, endurance and muscle definition while improving cardiovascular fitness.