To keep you in-the-know this year, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently completed its 12th annual Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends. Sent electronically to thousands of fitness and health professionals across the globe, it aims to identify what you’ll see in the months ahead as you hit the gym and pursue better health and fitness in 2018.
Combined with our own take on what’s to come, discover the top 15 trends ready to rule the industry.
High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT)1 of 16
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT workouts, have been increasing in popularity for years due to their ability to burn more calories in less time—and they show no signs of slowing down in 2018. Most HIIT workouts take 30 minutes or less, and usually involve short bursts of exercise followed by short periods of recovery, making them an ideal option for the busy gym rat.
Emphasis on Walkability2 of 16
Millennials are most responsible for the unexpected trend toward walkability, including the choice to live in an area that's especially friendly to pedestrians. Since many young people are actively selecting residences and workplaces in urban centers, they no longer rely on a car for transportation and see walking to and from work as an important form of exercise.
Group Personal Training3 of 16
People are often looking for ways to save money, and personal trainers are often looking for ways to improve business. In an effort to accomplish both, more personal trainers will likely seek opportunities to provide instruction to groups of two to four people at a time.
Online Workout Videos4 of 16
Online workout videos are convenient, easy to use and, most importantly, free, which is why they are one of the emerging trends of 2018. YouTube boasts a wide variety of workout videos to choose from, whether you're interested in yoga, bodyweight training, cardio or dance classes. Popular channels like BeFit and Fitness Blender get millions of views each month.
Individual Studios5 of 16
Boutique studios dedicated to Pilates and yoga have become increasingly popular, and mainstream gyms are taking notice as their memberships decline. In order to stay competitive, these gyms are starting to restructure their interior workout spaces, creating distinct areas that seem more like mini-boutique studios.
Wearable Technology6 of 16
Wearable technology was first introduced just a few years ago, but it's become so popular and widespread that it's hard to find a single person who doesn't own some type of fitness tracker.
Wearable technology will continue to dominate the fitness market in 2018. The category is growing to include not only fitness trackers, but also heart rate monitors, GPS trackers and even smart eye glasses, which alone are predicted to hit $1.5 billion in sales.
Bodyweight Training7 of 16
Bodyweight training has been around for centuries (yes, centuries), but it only became a defined trend in 2013. Not only is bodyweight training extremely cost-effective—no need to splurge on expensive equipment—but it's also a surprisingly effective way of building muscle, especially for new exercisers.
Functional Fitness Programs8 of 16
In 2018, expect to see more fitness programs that are tailored specifically to the individual's daily needs and lifestyle—a nod to the term "functional" fitness. Whether it's a class to help seniors improve their quality of living or a camp to help athletes advance to the next level, exercise is no longer one-size-fits-all.
Holistic Health Coaching9 of 16
As in other sectors, the fitness job field has become increasingly competitive in the new millennium—from trainers to wellness coaches, nutritionists and other specialists. And as competition grows among health and fitness job applicants, those who broaden their skill set and focus on more than just exercise are likely to see the most success.
Strength Training10 of 16
Not to be overshadowed by bodyweight training, strength training also made ACSM's list and has been a strong trend since the very first year the survey was conducted. Heading into 2018, we learn that most professionals use some kind of strength training in their exercise routines for clients and patients, and individuals cite it as an important way to stay healthy and fit.
Outdoor Activities11 of 16
Outdoor sports and activities have always been around, but individuals' desire to participate may grow in 2018. As technology continues its steady takeover, some people are losing interest and rebelling against screens. Subsequently, high-adventure activities like rock climbing and overnight camping trips will see growth, in addition to more traditional activities like hiking and outdoor games.
Smartphone Exercise Apps12 of 16
Most smartphones now come automatically equipped with some type of health-monitoring app that tracks your steps, encourages exercise and monitors your diet. And if you don't have one, there are literally thousands available for download, many of which are completely free.
Certified Fitness Professionals13 of 16
Though amateur fitness may seem to be on the rise thanks to social media, certification programs for fitness enthusiasts are still growing in popularity. As the fitness industry becomes more competitive, experts are seeking accreditation to stand out from the pack, and educational institutions are responding with expanded offerings.
Workplace Fitness Promotion14 of 16
With so many Americans sitting at a desk for several hours a day at work, companies are spearheading programs to promote the health and well-being of their employees. Whether it's a lunchtime workout or a fundraising race, events that give employees a chance to interact with one another while exercising have yielded positive feedback and will only continue to become more popular in 2018.
Group Exercise Classes15 of 16
Group classes have long been a fitness industry mainstay, if less than trendy in recent years, but they're making a serious comeback. Whether you're taking on a hot yoga sweat session or good ol' fashioned Jazzercise, working out as a group is great way to stay motivated and accountable to your fitness goals. It's also a particularly beneficial option for new exercisers who can receive informal feedback from group instructors.