Now in its 14th year, the annual survey from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) investigates the expected fitness trends for the coming year.
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
Wearable 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 three.
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 environment.
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 for 2020
- 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.