The American College of Sports Medicine has recently released its annual Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2015. The survey, now in its ninth year of release, looks at trends that emerge in the fitness industry and weeds out fads that are merely a “passing fancy”. This year’s list of the top 20 trends in fitness essentially proves the validity of the survey over the years as the top 10 trends include the exact same group as last year!
The top 10 fitness trends for 2015 include:
- Body weight training
- High-intensity interval training (HITT)
- Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals
- Strength training
- Personal training
- Exercise and weight loss
- Fitness programs for older adults
- Functional fitness
- Group personal training
These trends can be potentially beneficial to individuals looking at a career in the fitness industry (or looking to change their role as an established fitness professional) or for commercial fitness businesses as they look to provide more value to their fitness-focused customers and clients.
About the Survey
This year’s survey included 39 possible trends. This list included the top 25 trends from 2014 and an additional 14 emerging trends identified by the editors and staff of the ACSM Health and Fitness Journal. Using SurveyMonkey.com, the online survey was sent to 28,426 health and fitness professionals (all from the ACSM database of certified fitness professionals, subscribers to the ACSM Health and Fitness Journal, other affiliate programs and social media outlets). Of the 28,426 people who were contacted, 12 percent responded (3,403 people from every continent).
Survey Results – The Top 5
As noted earlier the list of the top 10 fitness trends from 2014 includes the same “players” as this year, which indicates a stability in the trends at this time.
1. Body Weight Training: up one spot from last year, these programs use minimal equipment making it very inexpensive to exercise effectively (i.e., stability ball, chin-up bar, TRX Suspension Trainer, etc.)
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HITT): down one spot from last year, these programs typically involve short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest (each workout takes less than 30 minutes to complete)
3. Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals: maintaining its spot from last year, this continues to be an important focus as more third-party organizations are providing quality education programs that benefit the quality of fitness professionals (and an overall standard of practice and care)
4. Strength Training: maintaining its spot from last year, strength training continues to be a cornerstone of the industry as most fitness clubs are designed around its offering and it is an integral part of most results-based exercise programs (i.e., weight loss, weight gain, body shaping, sports performance, etc.)
5. Personal Training: up one spot from last year, continues to play a strong role in the fitness industry and is driving the growth of the professional around the globe (Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts careers in the fitness industry will increase by 27 percent by 2016)
6. Exercise and Weight Loss: down one spot from last year, continues to play a significant role in the fitness industry as a whole (especially with the rise in obesity and obesity awareness globally)
7. Yoga: up three spots from last year, continues to climb the chart as yoga has become more mainstream, changed its identity to meet the needs of today’s fitness enthusiast, and does not require expensive equipment or specialized (i.e., clinical) instruction
8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults: down one spot from last year, programs focused on the needs and expectations of the older population are becoming more popular as the aging population continues to grow (at a rate that exceeds the global birth rate)
9. Functional Fitness: down one spot from last year, are exercises and programs that replicate physical activities that enhance one’s abilities to attempt activities that they do in daily life (i.e., sitting, lifting bags of groceries, twisting in a golf swing, climbing stairs, etc.)
10. Group Personal Training: down one spot from last year, continues to be popular as people can receive the benefits of personal training at a discount (which is a focus in today’s “value” economy)
Fitness Industry Trends in 2015 – Final Thoughts
Just like anything else in the world, some things change and some things stay the same. Some of the findings may be obvious while others may not make sense. Regardless, it’s important to realize that the survey responses are from 3,403 people connected to the American College of Sports Medicine. Just because something does not show up on the top 20 list, doesn’t mean it’s not a good exercise option … it’s just not popular amongst the ACSM fitness crowd.
One theme that is evident over the past few years is that exercise options that require expensive equipment or specialized training (i.e., Pilates and spinning) are losing popularity amongst fitness professionals. This is most likely due to the shift in the economy and the funds required to go this expensive route.
For more information on the complete survey, click here.