Fitness trend report: An insider’s take on the ECA Convention

A professional fitness-class scout tells us what trending workouts, hot instructors, and bad ideas she spied at the major fitness conference last week.
Kendra Kemerley
Kendra Kemerley’s K’Motion Concepts is one workout Cyrus is excited about.

This past weekend, fitness professionals in New York—and from across the country—got together at the ECA/OBOW Convention at the Marriot Marquis to showcase their workout, get inspiration, and scope out the competition.

Events ranged from a two-hour Secretariat-themed Spinning class with Josh Taylor to Erin Jacques’ SLT Yoga and Rock Your Teaser with Alycea Ungaro to TRX training for active seniors.

We checked in with the ultimate insider, Crunch’s senior VP of programming, Donna Cyrus, for what cool workouts and trends she spied this year. Cyrus is a bit of a fitness-class scout who’s been attending the convention for about 15 years, evaluating classes and methods in attempts to deliver to gym-goers exactly what they want. Here’s what caught her attention this year:

Now Trending
“Everyone is trying desperately to replicate the CrossFit experience,” Cyrus says. So hard-core boot camp style workouts that utilize heavy equipment abounded.

On the other end of the spectrum, dance has really taken off. “It’s the hunt for the next Zumba,” she says. “People are looking to re-create that whole brand.”

What’s Hot
Three specific workout methods really stood out to Cyrus this year. The first was K’Motion Dance, created by NYC-based dancer and trainer Kendra Kemerly. “She’s able to combine dance and step in a way that I thought was really interesting,” Cyrus says.

She was also impressed by mind-body fusion method bodyART, a European import that Crunch and The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers added to their schedules in 2011. “He [founder Robert Steinbacher] keeps adding to the program and it’s been getting better and better,” says Cyrus.

Finally, Cyrus was struck by Hip-Hop Swag, a dance workout created by Viet Dang, who’s choreographed for and danced with celebs like Rihanna and Christina Aguilera and is just now taking his method into the fitness world. “A lot of the movements are reflective of an Asian influence in hip-hop, and he has a great personal story that helps him connect with his audience,” she says.

What’s Not
Step is dying,” Cyrus says, “and people need to stop trying to find the next sexy-girl workout.” (Flirty Girl and Sexalicious Diva Groove were represented, among others.)

Cyrus also lamented the influence equipment manufacturers have come to have on the lineup (i.e. TRX). They pay for the space and then have instructors create classes that are meant to showcase the tool. “We turned into an industry of equipment vendors dictating the programming, and instructors who have something innovative aren’t able to get in front of people,” she says. “The creativity part of the industry needs to get back to the way it was before.” —Lisa Elaine Held

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