2015 Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends
For the ninth year running, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has released its report on the latest global trends in fitness, which we are analysing in this blog.
The top 20 trends will be of interest to personal trainers, fitness instructors, sports centre managers, those who deliver training to fitness professionals and anyone else working in the health and fitness industry.
You can also read our blogs on the Results of the 2013 Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends and the Results of the 2014 Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends.
The worldwide survey distinguishes between fitness fads, which are generally only in fashion for a short time, and fitness trends, which indicate changes in behaviour over a longer period of time.
The analysis is of the following areas of the health and fitness industry:
- Clinical (including medical fitness)
- Community (not for profit)
Whether you are a personal trainer working with individual clients or a fitness professional running a large organisation such as a sports centre, the findings of this report can help guide you when considering how to develop your business and provide services that your customers will respond to.
How the survey was created
There were 39 trends analysed for the 2015 report, including the top 25 trends from previous years, going back as far as 2007 when the survey first appeared. The remainder were potential new trends, which were suggested by the staff and editors of ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal.
The survey was then sent electronically to more than 28,000 health and fitness professionals, who were asked to score the 39 trends on a scale of 1-10. It was also placed on ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal website and Facebook and Twitter. The return rate from the mailing was 12%, with responses from across the globe. Almost half (45%) of respondents had more than 10 years of experience in the industry and many worked full time or part time as personal trainers.
Analysis of the Top 10 fitness trends
At the top of the list, the no. 1 and no. 2 trends from the 2014 report swapped places, with Body Weight Training moving up to take the top spot. Personal trainers often find that working with clients’ own body weight for resistance training is a highly effective training method and it can also be used in conjunction with equipment (see our blog on What is suspension training?).
High-intensity interval training was knocked into second place this time around, but this trend, which entered the top 20 for the first time in 2014, remains widespread in part because of the duration of training sessions – generally 30 minutes or shorter. It’s thought that this trend is related to the present popularity of CrossFit (see our blog on The CrossFit Craze).
Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals remains at no. 3, having held the top spot for six years prior to 2014.
There’s also no change at no. 4 for Strength Training, which has been a regular feature on the list since it began. (Find out more by reading our blogs on: Going to failure in strength training; The benefits of strength training for women; and Should young people do strength training?)
No. 5 and no. 6 have also changed places. Moving up into no. 5 is Personal Training, which has appeared in the survey’s top 10 from day one. This recognises the importance of certification programmes and the need for the health and fitness industry to encourage qualified personal trainers.
Now at no. 6, Exercise and Weight Loss – losing weight remains an important driver for many clients who seek help from personal trainers and fitness instructors.
Moving up from no. 10 to no. 7, Yoga appears to be making a comeback in its various forms (see our blog on What is Bikram yoga?), possibly in part related to our ageing population wanting to improve their health and fitness levels.
Although it has moved down from no. 7 to no. 8, Fitness Programs for Older Adults remains an important trend – and one that personal trainers, gyms and leisure centres should take on board from a commercial perspective. With an ageing population, many of whom have more disposable income than the younger generation, there are opportunities to market targeted training sessions, including during the day when gyms might struggle to attract those of working age.
Moving down one place to no. 9, Functional Fitness is often used by personal trainers – and frequently with older clients, as it uses strength training to help them perform daily activities (see our blog on Functional Training – a new tool for fitness professionals).
Now in its fourth year in the top 10, Group Personal Training has moved down from no. 9 to no. 10, but remains popular as the worldwide recession continues to make a slow recovery. By training in small groups, rather than hiring a personal trainer for a 1-2-1 session, clients can make their money go further – and many fitness instructors have woken up to this trend.
The rest of the top 20
While there have been a few trends moving around in the list between no. 11 and no. 20, none of last year’s trends have fallen out of this part of the list altogether.
Falling out of favour
Zumba fell out of the top 20 trends for 2014 and now stands at no 34 of 39 potential trends, suggesting it was a fad rather than a trend in fitness.
The top 20 in full
- Body Weight Training
- High-Intensity Interval Training
- Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals
- Strength Training
- Personal Training
- Exercise and Weight Loss
- Fitness Programs for Older Adults
- Functional Fitness
- Group Personal Training
- Worksite Health Promotion
- Outdoor activities
- Wellness Coaching
- Circuit Training
- Core Training
- Sport-Specific Training
- Children and Exercise for the Treatment/Prevention of Obesity
- Outcome Measurements
- Worker Incentive Programs
- Boot Camp
For more information, visit www.acsm-healthfitness.org.