More than 3,800 fitness professionals completed an American College of Sports Medicine survey to determine the top fitness trends for 2014. The survey results were released in the “Now Trending: Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2014” article published in the November/December issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®.
The top fitness trends according to the ACSM survey, “Now Trending: Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2014”:
1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery, are usually performed in less than 30 minutes and favored by educated fitness professionals to get people into shapeand to reach their goals quicker, in a more effective way. High Intensity Interval Training has topped the list of the 10 trends in its debut year.
2. Body Weight Training: Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness. This is the first appearance of this trend in the survey.
3. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals. More people are expected to turn to educated fitness professionals," even though educated and certified personal trainers cost more. The ACSM says in a news release that an increasing number of organizations are offering health and fitness certifications, which is a positive development. One reason people want pros is reach their goals quicker, in a more effective way.
4. Strength Training. Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs and is central for a complete health and fitness training program.
5. Exercise and Weight loss. More people are likely to look for exercise programs that include nutritional advice for weight loss and firming up.
6. Personal Training. Education and credentialing for personal trainers have become more important over time to health and fitness facilities. The survey says personal trainers are becoming more accessible to the public. More people are getting certified and more people want to learn how to exercise from fitness professionals.
7. Fitness Programs for Older Adults. Many aging baby boomers have more discretionary money than younger folks, are less price conscious and will be seeking certified trainers to design "age appropriate fitness programs," Thompson says.
8. Functional fitness. Functional fitness may be among the latest buzzwords in gyms these days, but for good reason. Functional fitness is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance, and train your body to handle real-life situations. Functional fitness can help improve balance, strength, and flexibility. Functional fitness focuses on building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, not just lifting a certain amount of weight in an idealized posture created by a gym machine. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.
9. Group Personal Training. Group personal training allows personal trainers to provide personalized advice and programs. Training two or three people at one time makes good economic sense for trainers and can also reduce the cost to people seeking professional fitness training.
10. Yoga. Another new trend is the popularity of yoga among men and women. Various forms of yoga can be done in groups or at home because many books and instructional tapes on the various types of yoga have become popular and are available online, and in many different types of stores.
11. Children and Exercise for the Treatment/Prevention of Obesity. Dropping from the top 5 in every previous survey since 2007 are exercise programs aimed specifically at the problem of childhood obesity. Childhood and adolescent obesity continues to be a major health issue in most developed and developing nations and is becoming increasingly important to address because of its association with other medical problems such as diabetes and hypertension. With obesity at epidemic levels for children and adults, more people are looking for exercise and fitness programs to help them or their children lose weight.
12. Worksite health promotion. Designed to improve the health of workers, this is a trend for a range of programs and services that incorporate systems to evaluate health, health care costs, and worker productivity. Employers have recognized that having healthier workers will result in lower health care costs and less absenteeism and are offering various types of fitness programs, from supervised classes to onsite fitness centers.Some of these programs are physically housed within the company or corporation building or on their campus, whereas other programs contract with independent commercial or community-based programs. Within the context of health care reform in the United States and rising health care costs, health promotion programs may take on additional importance in the future, especially with the train wreck OBAMACARE.
13. Core Training. Core training emphasizes conditioning of the middle-body muscles, including the pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen. From 2007 to 2010, Core Training was in the top 5 of the fitness trends. Since 2010, it has been dropping to now occupy the 13th spot in 2014.
14. Outdoor Activities. Outdoor activities for health and fitness often include walking, hiking, or other sports. Outdoor Activities can be done with family, with friends, with a group, or by yourself. In 2010, Outdoor Activities ranked no. 25 in the annual survey, and in 2011, it ranked no. 27. In 2012, Outdoor Activities ranked no. 14, and in 2013, Outdoor Activities ranked no. 13.
15. Circuit Training. Circuit Training appeared in 2013 (no. 18) for the first time in the top 20 trends and now occupies the no. 15 position. Circuit Training is a group of 6 to 10 exercises that are completed one after another and in a predetermined sequence. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set period before having a quick rest and moving on to the next exercise. Some respondents pointed out that Circuit Training is similar to high-intensity interval training but at a naturally lower intensity.
16. Outcome Measurements. A trend that addresses accountability, these are efforts to define and track outcomes to prove a selected program actually works. This trend did not appear in the top 20 for the past few years but reappeared in 2013 at no. 17.Measurements are necessary to determine the benefits of health and fitness programs in disease management and to document success in changing negative lifestyle habits. The proliferation of technology has aided in data collection to support these efforts. Accountability to owners and operators of health andfitness facilities provide important metrics to determine ifnew programs are cost-effective and if old programs are actually working.
17. Wellness Coaching. Falling from no. 13 in 2010 but remaining in the top 20 trends for 2011, 2012, and 2013 is Wellness Coaching. This fitness trend incorporates behavioral change science into health promotion, disease prevention and rehabilitation programs. Wellness Coaching often uses a one-on-one approach, similar to a personal trainer, with the coach providing support, guidance, and encouragement. T According to this trends survey (and results from past surveys), it appears as though Wellness Coaching and its principled techniques of behavior change are being adopted by personal trainers and other health and fitness professionals.
18. Sport-Specific Training. Falling from a top 10 spot (no. 8) in 2010, Sport-Specific Training dropped to no. 16 for 2011 and no. 17 for 2012 and dropped out of the top 20 in 2013. This trend incorporates sport-specific training for sports such as baseball and tennis, designed especially for young athletes. For example, a high school athlete might join a commercial or community-based fitness organization to help develop skills during the off-season and to increase strength and endurance specific to that sport.
19. Worker Incentive Programs. Appearing for the first time in the survey top 20 in 2011, Worker Incentive Programs stayed in the top 20 for 2012 and 2013. This is a trend that creates incentive programs to stimulate positive healthy behavior change as part of employer-based health promotion programming and health care benefits. This trend represents a resurgence of corporate health promotion programs as a result of rising health care costs experienced by both small and large companies and corporations.
20. Fitness Boot camps. After first appearing in the 2008 survey at no. 26, Boot Camp was no. 23 in 2009, no. 16 in 2010, no. 8 in 2011, but fell to no. 13 in 2012, and no. 16 for 2013. Boot Camp is a high-intensity structured activity patterned after military-style training and includes cardiovascular, strength, endurance, and flexibility drills. Fitness boot camps usually involves both indoor and outdoor exercises typically led by an enthusiastic instructor. Because of its climb in the survey rankings from 2008 to 2011, with a decrease in the trend analysis the past 3 years, it will be interesting to see if Fitness Boot Camp programs continue as a trend in the fitness industry.
Falling off the Top 20 Fitness Trends
Dropping out of the top 20 for 2014 is Zumba. Zumba combines Latin rhythms with interval-type exercise and resistance training and first appeared on the list of potential trends in 2010 and ranked no. 31 of 37 potential trends; in 2011, it was ranked no. 24 out of a possible 31 choices. In 2012, it jumped into the top 10 (no. 9) and then fell to no. 12 in 2013. It appears as though the popularity of Zumba, which was growing, with a rapid escalation between 2010 and 2013, can now be called a fad and not a trend. Falling out of the top 20 fitness trends last year was Spinning (indoor cycling), Sport-Specific Training, and Physician Referrals. Spinning was no. 16 in the survey for 2012, dropped out of the top 20 in 2012, and stayed out of the top 20 in 2014. Falling from a top 10 spot (no. 8) in 2010, Sport-Specific Training dropped to no. 16 for 2011 and no. 17 for 2012. Breaking into the top 10 for the first time in the survey in 2009 (no. 9), Sport-Specific Training jumped from no. 13 in 2008 after falling from no. 11 in 2007. After falling to no. 17 for 2012 from its relative popularity in 2010, Sport-Specific Training made the top 20 in 2014, appearing at no. 18. Jumping from no. 17 in 2010 and rounding out the top 10 for 2011 was Physician Referrals. In the 2012 survey, Physician Referrals fell to no. 20 and was out of the top 20 trends in 2013. For 2014, Physician Referrals remain out of the top 20. It is always interesting to see what fell out of the top 20 list on this survey for the next year and what seems to be supported by this year’s survey. Balance balls and stability ball training has also fallen off the top 20 fitness trends list.
- Thompson WR .“Now Trending: Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2014”, 12/13 ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal®.