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Results of the 2013 Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends

Hadyn Luke posted this on Friday 1st of February 2013 Hadyn Luke 01/02/2013

Tags: Industry news


This week our blog announces the findings of a global survey of trends in the health and fitness industry.

For the past seven years, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has released a Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends. Every year, the survey is read with great interest by health and fitness professionals, such as personal trainers and fitness instructors, and the 2013 survey will be no exception.

The survey distinguishes between a trend, which it lists as “a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving” (http://dictionary.cambridge.org), and a fad, which is describes as “a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period” (http://dictionary.reference.com).

Which areas of the health and fitness industry are covered

The comprehensive annual survey looks at trends in the following areas of the health and fitness industry:

  • Commercial
  • Clinical (including medical fitness)
  • Community (not for profit)
  • Corporate

Who took part in the survey?

The survey was sent electronically to a defined list of 29,630 health and fitness professionals. It was also posted on the ACSM Health & Fitness Journal website and on the social media sites Facebook and Twitter.

A total of 3,346 responses were received, a return rate of 11%, with representatives of almost every continent. The largest percentage of respondents (13.9%) worked either part time or full time as a personal trainer and almost half (48%) had more than 10 years’ experience in the industry.

Analysis of the Top 10 Fitness Trends

For the sixth year in a row, the number one spot was taken by Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals, illustrating the global importance of professional courses run by training providers such as CMS Fitness Courses.

Strength Training retained its number two spot and has performed well every year. Recognised as a popular activity in weight training gyms and for body builders, it is also one of the core fitness activities that a personal trainer will undertake with their clients as part of a comprehensive training routine.

Body Weight Training, at number three, made its first appearance in the top 20 (as did Outcome Measurements at number 17 and Circuit Training at number 18). Although people have been using their own body weight to train for centuries – requiring minimal equipment, it’s an inexpensive and easy form of training – it has only recently been packaged as an exercise programme by personal trainers.

With growing obesity continuing to be a major health issue in many countries, it’s perhaps no surprise to see Children and Obesity at number four and Exercise and Weight Loss at number five. The ageing population is also recognised with Fitness Programmes for Older Adults at number six.

Personal Training has kept its place in the top 10 of the survey since it began and it remains at number seven this year. Increased education and certification of personal trainers has allowed the general public more access to qualified instructors across all sectors of the health and fitness industry.

Many exercise programmes aimed at older age groups and clinical groups (for example those recovering from an accident or operation) focus on Functional Fitness (number eight). This consists of training that improves an individual’s ability to perform those activities we undertake in everyday life.

Many personal trainers will use Core Training (number nine) exercises with their clients, to help them develop strength in the stabilising muscles of the abdomen, thorax and back.

Finally, Group Personal Training at number 10 continues to be a popular option for clients who want to share the cost of receiving a personal, targeted exercise programme in small groups of perhaps two to four people, especially during the global recession.

Falling out of favour

Trends that have fallen out of the Top 20 include Spinning, Sport-specific Training and Physician Referrals. Zumba, which was in the top 10 in previous years, has fallen to number 12 and Pilates has failed to make a return to the Top 20.

CMS Fitness Courses

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