After over ten years of heading up the editorial team of Australia’s most read lifestyle and fitness magazine, Bruce Ritchie, the current editor-in-chief of Australian Men’s Health- (the magazine and website focused on improving fitness, losing weight, nutrition and even style and grooming advice) is someone who knows a thing or two about fitness trends. In an interview with Open Colleges, Ritchie shared his thoughts on the latest trends in fitness, events and nutrition.
When it comes to personal training programs and fitness training, it should be of no surprise that Ritchie claims functional fitness, which involves training the body to adapt to movements based on real world movement patterns, is the biggest trend surfacing for 2015. “Functional training… [is] really popular at the moment, [offering more than] than just pure gym work and cardio for health and appearance benefits”, Ritchie said.
Ritchie referred to the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) training and Crossfit as two examples of functional training outlets, which have grown in popularity over the years. Crossfit now boasts the largest following of any fitness movement and had over 1,500 gyms in 2009 and according to statistics exclusively released to OneFitStop by the UFC (the world’s most popular MMA body) MMA is gaining a large following, with previous fight views for just one of its athletes around 734,000 on the night.
Bruce suggested the benefit from MMA training and Crossfit came from their variation and real world usability: “MMA training is a mix of Brazilian jujitsu and other martial arts. It’s part-wrestling, part-conditioning, part-defence and part-offence. Crossfit, on the other-hand, prides itself on building strength and conditioning for real world movements, like lifting and carrying heavy weights”, he said. Following on Ritchie added that functional training programs such as Crossfit and MMA “…helps you develop a strong, healthy body that is also functionally fit, so you can lift heavy boxes or wield an axe with greater power. You could even drag yourself up a tree quicker to escape a marauding elephant (of limited use in Australia, admittedly)” he joked.
Ritchie added that fitness events such as adventure races, Tough Mudder and Men’s Health’s own “Urbanathlon” are expected to grow even further in popularity as they offer more than a typical workout; “The events put more hair on the chest than a fun run or ocean swim, for example. By entering teams and helping each other out, there’s an increased sense of camaraderie too. Plus, they’re dirty, sweaty and pseudo-dangerous, which definitely adds to the appeal”, Ritchie said.
As far as nutrition for male athletes, Ritchie didn’t expect too much a change in behavior: “I’m not sure men will readily adopt too many new diets, but certainly the Paleo diet has an appropriately male spin to it and focuses on removing carbohydrates from the equation, which can only be a good thing. I think if you can sell the benefits of some of the newer superfoods like chia, some men will give it a try. Juices, via the home or a juice bar, are also very much on the up and provide an easy way to get a lot of nutrients into your diet, fast” he shared.
Given the speed by which fitness trends are growing, Ritchie had some advice for personal trainers, fitness professionals and gym chains in Australia: “Like anything in the digital age, it’s about empowering the customer to the point that they decide when and what they want to do, rather than [empowering] the fitness establishment. Because of this, it’s likely we’ll see the continued growth of 24-hour, card-access gyms, which don’t lock you in for long contracts!” he offered.
In 2011, Ritchie took a jump away from Men’s Health and launched Pacific Magazine’s new road cycling magazine, Bike. Ritchie returned to the editor’s chair at Men’s Health in August 2014 as editor-in-chief, while recruiting for a new editor took place. Going forward, Ritchie will have responsibility for both titles.
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