Fitness Trends from CanFitPro Toronto

CanFitPro is one of my favourite weekends in Toronto. Thousands of fitness professionals from around North American invade the Metro Toronto Convention Centre sweating, and laughing, and having a fatiguing good time all in the name of healthy, active living. An epic star studded line up including Jillian Michaels, Tosca Reno, and Hayley Wickenheiser helped kick of the rad weekend and keep the energy high all conference long.

The convention centre was buzzing, and the trade show was hopping – or Zumbaing. Here are my top 5 trends from this years CanFitPro.

1. Dance Fitness: Barre was huge this year. I’ve blogged previously about Barre workouts and moves you can do in the comfort of your own home, now many new (and American) brands are sharing their version of barre and making it more mainstream. Want to try it at home? Check out my post with the leaders in Toronto Barre, Barreworks, here.

Zumba continues to hold a significant place in the professional learning at CanFitPro. This year they offered a certification courses on their Zumba Step (think 90s step aerobics with a Zumba flair) so I’m sure those classes will be shaking their way into a studio near you soon.

2. Technology: Metrics matter and most manufacturers of fitness equipment have figured that out. The hottest metric is the new Schwinn MPower Echelon Console which takes your traditional indoor cycling bike to the next level by allowing the users to monitor calories, distance, revolutions per minute, and watts. Watts is a significant metric as it allows the user to monitor their intensity through the technology by putting numbers to their perceived levels of exertion.

Apps also continue to be popular with many free apps becoming available through big name brands such as Nike, Strava, and Schwinn, as well as other independent apps including Tabata Timers which allow the user to complete intervals (see trend 5) in an easier way.

3. Bright Colours and Bold Patterns: Fashion is always a key part of the CanFitPro expo with many big brands showcasing their gear. This year a common theme between big athletic brands like New Balance, Asics, Sketchers, and Zumba, as well as many small independent retailers was neon brights and funky bold patterns. Pants, tanks, tees, and shoes of every colour of the rainbow were available – A trend I personally love and hope continues. What am I loving now? Check out these Oakley Printed Strength Tights, available online for $90.

tights24. Functional Fitness: Strength training that uses your own body weight continues to lead the strength and conditioning field. This is great news for people wanting to get fit from home (or in the park) without needing lots of equipment to do so. I believe much of this comes from the added interest of obstacle races. These mass fitness events are challenging the “average Joe” to get after it and they are doing so on their own, at home, and these functional moves are giving them the results they need to rock their race (and live a healthy lifestyle), without a significant financial investment. Looking for moves you can try at home? Check out my Fit From Home Tab for ideas to get you moving and building strength in the comfort of your own home.

5. Interval Training: Whether you’re out on a run, in the pool, on a bike, or integrating strength training, intervals (including Tabata timing) is hot! Two styles of intervals were all over the conference this year and those included the ever famous Tabata, and the Copenhagen.

  • Tabata includes :20 seconds of hard breathless effort, followed by :10 seconds of easy recovery. This is completed for 8 rounds which takes a total of 4 minutes. In it’s authentic form it is so challenging (hard & breathless will do that to you) that it should only be completed once, so can be book ended by a 15 minute warm up and 15 minute cool down to give you a solid 30 minute sweat session.
  • Copenhagen includes :10 seconds of hard breathless effort, :20 seconds of hard effort, and :30 seconds of moderate effort repeated 5 times for a total of 5 minutes. This interval is followed by a two minute recovery and then repeated in it’s entirety for another 5 minutes. Add a 10-15 minute warm up and cool down and you’re set!

As above, these intervals can consist of either a single exercise, such as a run, or bike, or can be alternated with various  activities including a Tabata of burpees and squats or a Copenhagen of burpees, jump squats, and regular squats.

Tune in to CHCH Morning Live Monday August 11th at 9:15 am to see the Copenhagen interval and hear me chat about my favourite fitness trends.

Have a funky interval set you love? Leave it in the comments!

Setting a Vision and Goals for 2013

2013 is almost here. So it’s time to start determining what it is you want out of this year and re-establishing the direction you want your life to go in. Whether you’re making resolutions, intentions, or goals, creating a vision for yourself prior to establishing any of these helps you to see and feel where you want your life to go. A vision helps you to provide focus and direction to your goals or intentions and helps you to discover your path. Here are a few tips for setting a vision and goals which to help you get the most out of 2013.

Setting A Vision

Close your eyes and visualize yourself in 5-10 years, what do you see, hear, and feel? Who are you with? Where are you? Then using a pen and paper, jot these ideas down using the present tense.

photo(6)If visualization isn’t something you’re into, consider creating a vision board to demonstrate the life you want to live. Cut photos and phrases from some of your favourite magazines and attach them to a canvas or insert them into a photo frame.

Still not jumping at the idea? Then how about going photodigital? Why not use a digital tool such as Pinterest to create a board of inspirational quotes and eye-catching photos. Pin to a board titled “Vision for my life in ten years” or “Vision for my health in 2013”. You can keep it private or share it with friends, and with the iPhone app can be pinning on the go!

photo(1)Another great iPhone app I love for dream creating, vision boarding, and goal setting is Getting Dreams Done. It’s simple to use, walks you through the steps required and won’t let you sneak ahead without doing the initial work. After creating your vision, you can set and track your goals and it has a calendar to hold you accountable to achieving them.

Setting Your Goals

Your vision for yourself is established, and hopefully through the process you started to notice some trends, so now it’s time to turn these visions into goals. Bring out that pen and paper, or open your app and start writing.

Step 1: Start your goal with “I”

Step 2: Follow up your “I” with a verb “I run” “I train” “I attend”

Step 3: Write your goal in the present tense – it’s happening now!

Step 4: State what you want and not what you don’t want – “I eat clean” vs. “I don’t eat junk foods”

Step 5: Give yourself a “by when” – what date will you complete this goal by?

My example: I qualify for the Boston Marathon by November 3rd, 2013.

 You’ve Written A Goal, Now What?

Create a system to get them done. Break down your goals into incremental steps and put those steps into your calendar or app. A step might be joining a fitness group or run club.

Tell someone about your goal! Find someone with a similar goal and share yours. This creates support for you along the process and holds you accountable.

My example: To reach my goal of qualifying for Boston, I’ve registered for a number of races already this season and I’ve challenged myself by adding another Marathon to my training schedule. I am currently investigating running groups in the area to join up with to help me increase my pace. I’m also investigating a variety of training plans which have been proven to support runners in making their goal times.

What’s one of your goals for 2013? Become accountable and share it in the comment section!