For the first time in seven years a new winner has taken over the number one spot on the annual American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) fitness trends survey. High-Intensity Interval Training tops the chart as the most popular fitness trend in the upcoming year. The survey was completed by over 3,800 fitness professionals across the corporate, clinical, community, commercial, and academic sectors.
It is important to distinguish that the survey is recognizing “trends” and not “fads.” A trend is defined as a general development or change in a situation or way that people are behaving. A fad is a fashion that is taken u with great enthusiasm for a brief period. A number of the top trends have reappeared over a number of years, solidifying their status as trends.
The ACSM uses the survey for academic purposes and presents the results as a resource for trainers and industry professionals to utilize when designing fitness and marketing programs.
1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. This is the type of training used in the popular program “Crossfit.” These exercise programs are usually performed in under 30 minutes.
2. Body Weight Training: This is the first time this trend has made the survey. Body weight training uses minimal equipment which makes it more affordable and available to a wider demographic.
3. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals: This trend has owned the top spot since 2008, but falls to number three in 2014. The ACSM stresses that given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
4. Strength Training: Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete physical activity program for all physical activity levels and genders. This is the focal point of many training facilities that host machines and equipment to complete exercises requiring heavy weights and unique movements.
5. Exercise and Weight Loss: Exercise and proper nutrition are vital components of any weight loss program. Health and fitness professionals who provide nutritional plans in conjunction with manageable exercise programs tailored to individual clients for weight loss are finding a high rate of success.
6. Personal Training: An increasing number of students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. With the relative ease of obtaining certification, higher education, training and proper credentialing are becoming increasingly important employers and clientele searching for quality personal trainers.
7. Fitness Programs for Older Adults: The survey results note, “As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts.” Fitness programs for older adults have remained a staple on previous surveys and speak to the need for age-appropriate training. Catering to a class of retired adults may also help fitness facilities and trainers fill gaps in the day when the working class is not utilizing time and space.
8. Functional Fitness: This is a trend toward using strength training to ease the chores of daily living. These programs are used to increase strength, endurance, flexibility and balance with a focus on specific activities that will be made easier with these improvements. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.
9. Group Personal Training: The difficult economic may be attributed to one of the reasons many personal trainers are offering more group training options. Training multiple people at one time makes economic sense for the trainer and the clients. This can also ease some apprehension for clients who may otherwise be uncomfortable working with just the trainer.
10. Yoga: According to the survey, yoga is making a comeback and appears in the top ten for the first time since 2008. The practice of yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures to encourage flexibility, balance, posture, relaxation and overall health. New styles of yoga seem to be encouraging the practice to a larger demographic. Some of the variations include Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.
The remaining trends rounding out the list are as follows:
11. Children and Exercise for the Treatment/Prevention of Obesity
12. Worksite Health Promotion
13. Core Training
14. Outdoor Activities
15. Circuit Training
16. Outcome Measurements
17. Wellness Coaching
18. Sport-Specific Training
19. Worker Incentive Programs
20. Boot Camp