3 January, 2020

With both the New Year and New Decade upon us, fitness professionals and enthusiasts alike are anticipating what the top fitness trends will be for the year ahead.

To help guide health and fitness programming efforts for 2020 and beyond, The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) have conducted their annual survey of worldwide fitness trends. The electronic questionnaire is circulated to thousands of professionals around the world, with the results helping to make up their annual list of fitness trends that are predicted to emerge throughout the world in 2020.

Here’s what made the Top 10:

Wearable Technology Fitness Trend

1. Wearable Technology

Topping the list once again this year is wearable technology. This includes everything from fitness trackers, smart watches, HR monitors, and GPS tracking devices. These devices can track heart rate, calories, sitting time, steps, distance and much more. Brands such as Fitbit, Samsung, Garmin and Apple have become major players in the estimated $95 billion industry, with the market only set to grow in the years to come. Expect to see wearable technology at the top end of this list for a while.


2. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

These exercise programs typically involve short bursts of high-intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest. HIIT has been a popular form of exercise in gyms all over the world, most likely due to the maximal health benefits gained in minimal time, with workouts typically ranging from 10 to 30 minutes in duration. It has been a consistent performer on the list over a number of years, featuring in the top five since 2014.


3. Group Training

Coming in at number three, group training is defined as having more than five participants in a class. It involves group exercise instructors teaching, leading and motivating individuals through fitness-based classes. Group classes are designed to be effective, motivational sessions for different fitness levels with instructors teaching many types of classes and equipment, from cardio-based classes, indoor cycling, dance-based classes, step classes and bootcamps. The motivation training with others provides, the variety in workouts, and the social aspect of group training makes it so popular and a fitness trend that is likely to stay high in this list for some time.

Group Training Fitness Trend


4. Training with Free Weights

A newly created category for 2020, training with free weights makes its debut at number four. The previously used ‘strength training’ category was determined to be too broad, with free weight training becoming its replacement in this year’s survey. Free weights include barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls and plates. The functional aspect and versatility of free weight training is what makes it so effective and why it’s widely used around the world.


5. Personal Training

Defined by ACSM, personal training includes fitness testing and goal setting with a trainer working one on one with a client to prescribe workouts specific to clients’ individual needs and goals. One-on-one training continues to be a trend as the profession of personal training becomes more accessible online, in health clubs, in the home, and in workplaces that have fitness facilities. Since the survey’s inception in 2006, personal training has been a top 10 trend.


Personal Trainer Fitness Trend

6. Exercise is Medicine

Exercise is Medicine (EIM) is a global health initiative that focuses on encouraging primary care physicians and other health-care providers to include physical activity assessment and associated treatment recommendations as part of every patient visit, and referring their patients to exercise professionals. EIM has jumped up to #6 this year, after coming in at #12 in 2018 and #10 in 2019.


7. Body Weight Training

This type of training has become increasingly popular over the years as it requires minimal equipment, making it a convenient and inexpensive way to train effectively.


8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults

This trend continues to highlight the fitness needs of the Baby Boom and older generations. People are living longer, working longer, and remaining healthy and active for much longer, opening up a big market for fitness programs targeting the older population.

Training Older adults


9. Health/Wellness Coaching

Health/Wellness coaching uses a one-on-one approach with the coach providing support, goal setting, guidance, and encouragement. The coach focuses on the client’s values, needs, vision, and short- and long-term goals using behavior change intervention strategies. The is the first time this category has featured in the top 10.


10. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals

As the fitness industry continues to grow, the importance of hiring certified fitness professionals is fast becoming a trend. ACSM predicts that the industry will continue prioritising hiring professionals that have been accredited through “educational programs and certification programs that are fully accredited for health/fitness professionals.”

Personal Training


Rounding out the Top 20:

  • Exercise for weight loss
  • Functional fitness training
  • Outdoor activities
  • Yoga
  • Licensure for fitness professionals
  • Lifestyle medicine
  • Circuit training
  • Worksite health promotion and workplace well-being programs
  • Outcome measurements
  • Children and exercise



In Summary – How to Use This Information:

If you’re already a qualified Personal Trainer or are currently completing your studies, this information can be used as a valuable tool for planning your year ahead:

  • Use this information when programming for your clients. Everyone loves to be up-to-date with the latest trends and seen to be doing what’s ‘in’. If you are offering the latest training methods, clients will come to you, stay with you, and recommend you to others.
  • Fitness programs for older adults has again featured in the top 10 fitness trends for the year. These individuals in general have more discretionary money and are looking for fitness professionals to help them stay active and maintain daily functions. There are definitely opportunities out there to capitalise on this growing market. Children and exercise is a category that has snuck into the top 20 this year for the first time and could also be a market to watch.
  • Three of the top ten on the list involve fitness professionals. Value the skills and knowledge you have, as people are on the lookout for qualified professionals to help them meet their health and fitness goals.


If you aren’t yet qualified but are thinking about a career in fitness, get qualified now! Enrol into our Certificate III & IV in Fitness and take advantage of the continuously growing industry.




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