The top fitness trends survey is published in the organization's Health and Fitness Journal:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Strength training. Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs and is central for a complete health and fitness training program.
5. 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.
6. Core training. Core training emphasizes conditioning of the middle-body muscles, including the pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen.
7. Exercise and weight loss. More people are likely to look for exercise programs that include nutritional advice for weight loss and firming up.
8. Fitness Boot camps. Modeled after military boot camps and basic training, fitness boot camps are typically high-intensity fitness program that have become popular because they incorporates cardiovascular, strength, endurance, and flexibility drills in one workout and in environments that vary from a typical health club setting.
9. 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.
10. Doctor referrals. A new trend is the partnering of medical professionals with health and fitness professionals to more easily integrate exercise and fitness into the lives of patients to improve wellness and reduces the risk of diseases.
11. 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.
12. Worksite health promotion. Worksite health promotion programs rose from No. 20 to No. 12 on the fitness trend list. 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..
13. Outcome measurements. Efforts abound to define and track outcomes. Measurements are needed to determine the effectiveness of health and fitness programs.
14. 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.
15. Spinning (indoor cycling). Popular in health clubs, spinning allows people to pedal indoors, avoiding humidity, temperature, and other environmental changes.
16. Sport-specific training. This fitness trend allows athletes to hone their skills in the off-season to build strength and endurance beneficial for performance in a particular sport such as baseball or tennis.
17. Worker incentive programs. The fitness trend makes the Top 20 fitness trends for the first time. Employers are creating worker incentive programs to stimulate health behavior change for employees in order to reduce absenteeism and costs of health insurance. "Interest in medical fitness, worker incentive programs, and worksite wellness programs may be a direct result of health care reform measures" as well as an initiative called Exercise is Medicine, according to a news release by fitness expert Walter R. Thompson, PHD, Regent's Professor at Georgia State University. "With an estimated 80% of Americans not having a regular exercise program or a place to exercise, health and fitness professionals must search for new ways to deliver their services to people who need them."
18. Clinical integration/medical fitness. This is a fitness trend toward integrating and blending of disease prevention and clinical services. This is the first time this trend has made the Top 20 fitness trends.
19. Reaching new markets. More people will seek expert fitness and health advice and find more commercial gyms and health and exercise programs. Only about 20% of the public has a regular exercise program.
20. Wellness coaching. This fitness trend incorporates behavioral change science into health promotion and disease prevention.
Falling off the Top 20 Fitness Trends
Pilates has become passé. Pilates, has fallen out of the American College of Sports Medicine's top 20 predicted fitness trends for the first time in years. One reason may be economic, says Thompson. "Pilates requires some specialized training, and that may be why that kind of training isn't in the top 20 predicted fitness trends for 2011," says Thompson. "Some gyms may be looking for a cheaper way to deliver services, at least through the economic times we're in right now."
Balance balls and stability ball training has also fallen off the top 20 fitness trends list.
- News release, American College of Sports Medicine. Thompson, W. Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2011, Health and Fitness Journal.
- Walter R. Thompson, PHD, Regent's Professor, Georgia State University.