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The Fitness Zone

Fitness Industry Trends - Australian Institute of Fitness
January 22, 2018 | by Jo Peisley

One of the most popular resolutions at the start of a new year is “Get fit, lose weight and be healthy”. With the ever-growing choices available in the health, fitness and wellness industry there are now more ways than ever to achieve your fitness goals.

So, which current fitness trends are here to stay and what’s new for 2018?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has recently released its annual survey of worldwide fitness trends. This survey has been in effect since 2006 and is seen to be a good predictor of where the fitness industry is moving and what has become a genuine trend verses a short-term fad.

Looking at trends for 2018, HIIT is back to number one!!

While this trend has proven to be long lasting and popular, HIIT had fallen to number 3 in 2017. But, with the popularity of mega franchise F45, along with many other fitness clubs offering HIIT style classes and training – this one looks here to stay.

Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals have been in the top 10 since the surveys inception in 2007, this year coming in at number six.

For the first time “Licensure for fitness professionals” enters the top 20 at number 16. This reflects the desire to see more regulations for fitness professionals and personal trainers worldwide. The intention is to ensure consistency in the level of education and knowledge, the validity of the trainer and overall to continue to improve the quality and standards of the fitness industry worldwide.

The two other activities return to the top 20 for 2018 – ‘core training’ and ‘sport-specific training’.

Wearable technology took over the fitness world in the last few years, but has dropped down to number 3 for 2018. Interestingly, falling outside the top 20 is smart phone apps! The general feeling toward fitness technology is, alone it will not motivate clients to get fit or stay fit, but rather these are excellent tools for personal trainers and fitness professional to utilise to monitor and track client progress.

Other trends that dropped out of the top 20 from 2017 were worksite health promotion and outcome measures.

For a comparison of the top 10 trends from the past 11 years’ surveys (1–11), please see the comprehensive comparison table available online at

The complete ‘Top 20 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2018’ are: (as reported by ACSMs Health & Fitness journal, November/December 2017)

1.  High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
2.  Group Training
3.  Wearable Technology
4.  Body Weight Training
5.  Strength Training
6.  Educated, Certified and Experience Fitness Professional
7.  Yoga
8.  Personal Training
9.  Fitness Programs for Older Adults
10.  Functional Fitness
11.  Exercise and Weight Loss
12.  Exercise Is Medicine
13.  Group Personal Training
14.  Outdoor Activities
15.  Flexibility and Mobility Rollers
16.  Licensure for Fitness Professionals
17.  Circuit Training
18.  Wellness Coaching
19.  Core Training
20.  Sport Specific Training

Many of the trends from 2017 continue to be relevant. Activities like HIIT, group training, body weight & strength training, along with the inclusion of core training - all being delivered by quality, educated personal trainers - have worldwide appeal for both fitness professionals and clients.

For fitness businesses and fitness professionals, it’s important that you take the time to consider how these trends work alongside your current offering or how you can improve what you are currently doing and potentially how to stay relevant by incorporating some of these trends into your business model.

Most importantly though is to remember it’s all about your clients – what do they enjoy, how do they get results and how these trends may further enhance your client’s health and fitness experience. With a client-focused approach, hopefully, their enthusiasm for those January resolutions lasts for the whole year!

To learn more and read the full article go to: ASCM Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2018   


Jo is the Training Team Captain at the Australian Institute of Fitness in NSW and the ACT.

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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