Back To The Future: what's next for fitness?

The anniversary of Michael J Fox's Back to the Future got me thinking - where will the fitness and health industry be in 10, 20, or 30 years?

I wonder if these predictions will come true.

Virtual exercise

Cycle studios already visually transport you to various streets around the globe. Things could become even more tangible if you're wearing reality glasses while being hit by noise and mist machines.

You'll virtually ride through charming Tour de France villages, hearing "Allez, Allez!!!" as you sprint into the lead. Or you could be rowing away from hungry crocs, running to escape Hollywood's next villain, or dancing Zumba with Enrique Iglesias.

In VR boxing sessions you might spar with Mike Tyson, hearing the MGM crowd cheering as each punch connects.

Pharmageddon upon us

A drug manufacturer will eventually invent a fat loss pill as effective as Viagra. The result? We'll worry more about outward appearance than inner health, so slender bodies will pack out fast food joints and overall health will take a downturn.

Drug companies will be able to double dip, as people pre-dine with a fat loss pill, then take heart/diabetes medication for dessert. Pharmageddon will be upon us.

Food transparency

Paleo will change, then vanish, and waves of celebrity-inspired dieting will come and go every two years because best-sellers bring big business.

People will demand 'food transparency' and want to know exactly what's in their processed food, where it was produced, and the process of farm-to-shelf.


Responsible eating is already hitting multinationals as companies like Monsanto are being banned from producing genetically modified crops by countries including Greece, Latvia, Germany and Scotland. 

Human growth hormones

After Sylvester Stallone was busted bringing almost 50 vials of human growth hormone into Australia in 2007, he said:

"Anyone who calls it [testosterone] a steroid is grossly misinformed. Testosterone to me is important for a sense of well-being when you get older. Everyone over 40 years old would be wise to investigate it, because it increases your quality of life. Mark my words, in 10 years it will be available over the counter."

Looks like he was wrong on the timing, but he might be proven right in another decade. With a rapidly ageing population, it's possible the elderly might gain improved quality of life by using steroids or human growth hormones. Is today's cookies 'n cream protein powder tomorrow's gateway drug?

Smart clothing

There are endless possibilities for linking your body with your smartphone, and smart clothing such as Lumo Body Tech shorts will provide even better links.

From cardio sessions to hypertrophy training, smart clothes will connect your body with statistics, providing a real-time, robotic coach. Even business shirts will have sensors reminding you to stand, stretch, breathe, take a stress break, or adjust poor posture while sitting at your desk.

Demise of the personal trainer

By 2016, global IP traffic will reach 110.3 exabytes per month – that's 110 billion gigabytes. Some years later this figure will be exponentially larger with more food, fitness, and dieting information than we'll know what to do with.

The consumer will be able to access so much health-related information, there will be less need for paid experts.

Supermarkets, smartphone apps, and smart fridges will steer healthy diets as corporations finally smarten up and realise healthy employees are more productive, and more profitable. Companies will institute health initiatives and demand results – be fit, or be fired.

Junk and laziness persist

We will be smarter than ever, yet obesity stats will continue to rise. Some will still choose the couch and Kardashians (they'll still be around – sorry) over a run in the sun. Fast food and fizzy drink companies will adapt their pitches and thrive.

Protein. Dreams of perfection. Get-fit-quick schemes. Sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees in 2015's fitness and health industry, but if you peel back the muscles, there's a heart that begs for a healthier you. It's up to you to find it.

Maybe we don't need future gadgets. Maybe we just need fewer fizzy drinks and more water fountains … fewer hoverboards and more fresh pairs of runners.

Can we just get Back to the Basics? In fitness and health, simple still works.

What are your predictions for the future of fitness? Let us know in the comment section. 

Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his 'Cut The BS' diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.

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