Now in its 14th year, the annual survey from the American College
of Sports Medicine (ACSM) investigates the expected fitness trends for the
Using information gleaned from more than 2,000 professionals
across the globe, from personal trainers and fitness instructors to sports
centre managers and training providers, the survey offers an interesting
insight into trends (as distinguished from fads) in the fitness industry.
Each contributor was asked to rank each trend on a scale of one to
10, with one being least likely to be a trend and 10 being most likely.
This year has seen remarkably few changes in the top 10 from the 2019
Survey, with all of the entries
that appear in the top 10 having appeared in the top 10 or top 20 for 2019,
apart from one.
No 1 trend in the survey
Technology remains at number one, the same place it held in 2016, 2017 and
2019. This reflects the ongoing interest in measuring exercise carried out, as well
as tracking heart rate, sleep, calories burned and other aspects of fitness.
No 2 and 3 trends
Meanwhile, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Group
Training have swapped places at number two and
Again, their high placing shows the continuing interest in both
trends. Personal trainers and gym instructors often use high-intensity training
with the aim of achieving fast results for their clients in shorter training
sessions, although it’s important this kind of training is carefully monitored
to avoid injury.
Group Training has long been popular, with gym classes
available in everything from aerobics and step to spin and kettlebells. Group
training can help with motivation and reduce the cost of exercise.
No 4 and 5 trends
At no 4 we have Training With Free Weights, which is the
only top 10 entry that is new to the top 20.
Up from no 8 to no 5 is Personal Training, indicating that more
people are looking for 1-2-1 support from a qualified professional in a gym
The rest of the Top 10
Trend 6 is Exercise Is
Medicine (EIM), up from no 10 last year. This is a global health initiative
that encourages health professionals to recommend exercise as part of their
clients’ treatment plan.
Bodyweight Training at no 7 has slipped slightly from its
no 5 slot in 2019. Because there is minimal or no equipment required, this form
of exercise is flexible and cheap, leading to results that can help an
individual with strength, flexibility and functional movement.
At no 8 we have Fitness Programs for Older Adults. It has
dropped from number 4 but remains an important trend as the global population
ages and people become more aware of ways that keeping fit and healthy can
improve their wellbeing as they age.
Health/Wellness Coaching is at no 9, up from no 11 last year.
Again, this reflects a wider trend in society recognising that physical and
mental health often go hand in hand.
Finally, at no 10, we have Employing Certified Fitness Professionals – something that we are happy to
champion as providers of courses for the fitness industry (see our blogs on What
qualifications do I need to become a PT? and The
importance of qualifications in the fitness industry).
The top 20
- Wearable Technology
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- Group Training
- Training With Free Weights
- Personal Training
- Exercise Is Medicine
- Bodyweight Training
- Fitness Programs for Older Adults
- Health/Wellness Coaching
- Employing Certified Fitness Professionals
- Exercise for Weight Loss
- Functional Fitness Training
- Outdoor Activities
- Licensure for Fitness Professionals
- Lifestyle Medicine
- Circuit Training
- Worksite Health Promotion and Workplace Well-being
- Outcome Measurements
- Children and Exercise.
If you’d like to read the full article in the ACSM’s Health and
Fitness Journal (November/December 2019), you can access it here. You can
find the ACSM trends for the years from 2013-2019 on our blog site.