Fitness trends are not to be confused with fitness fads. A trend describes a continued change in the way people behave, while a fad is a craze that goes in and out of style faster than the word itself. Trends have changed over the last decades. Step aerobics, Tae-Bo, leotards, the Thigh master and jazzercise are some of the fitness trends from the 80s and 90s that have died down over the years.
For 13 years running, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has been carrying out annual fitness trends surveys with the help of over 2,000 health and fitness professionals. According to the latest annual Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends, these are 2019 top 10 trends to look out for in the fitness sphere.
Many Investment decisions for future growth in the health and fitness industry are made as a result of the annual fitness trends survey.
10 Biggest Fitness Trends for 2019, According to 2,000 Fitness Experts
1. Wearable Technology
Wearable technology first appeared as a fitness trend in 2016 and was the #1 trend in 2016 and 2017 but dropped down to the third spot in 2018 and now has climbed back to the top in 2019.
Wearable technology such as fitness trackers, smartwatches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices will see massive popularity in 2019. Big on the list of the wearable technology is the Apple Watch Series, Garmin smartwatches, and Misfit fitness trackers.
Three times South African bikini champion and personal trainer Jenna Carmen fully agrees with this prediction. “We’ve seen a growing trend towards fitness technology, and my prediction for 2019 is that more and more people will lean towards using smartwatches that do more than just counting steps.
“I also foresee people using fitness apps that illustrate how each exercise benefits the body and how to perform them.”
2. Group Training
Group exercising is aggressively becoming popular. According to ACSM, group exercise training made it to the top 20 fitness trends list in 2017, appearing at #6 and now it’s sitting comfortably at number 2 as a trend to watch out for in 2019.
Group exercise has more than five participants and during the session, instructors teach, lead, and motivate individuals through intentionally designed, larger, in-person group movement classes.
According to ACSM, group classes are designed to be effective, motivational sessions for different fitness levels with instructors having leadership techniques that help individuals in their class achieve fitness goals.
Burgess Patterson, a certified personal trainer and owner of Active Life– a fitness centre which specialises in group training, small group training and nutrition coaching says that “group training has been popular for a while and will continue to be so next year.
It’s a social activity that makes clients feel part of a community. Group training is a safe environment for clients. At Active Life, we also offer ladies only training as well as exclusive classes for elderly clients or new mothers.
Burgess adds that small group training will continue to gain popularity because it’s cost effective and in a way, it affords participants access to a personal trainer plus all the benefits of personalised plans.
3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) involves short bursts of high-intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest and recovery. The ACSM says that despite the warnings by some fitness professionals of potentially increased injury rates as a result of doing HIIT, this kind of training has been gaining worldwide momentum in gyms.
“HIIT workouts are short and usually last up to 30 minutes and are great for weight loss and overall fitness. Apart from being lots of fun, HIIT training fits perfectly well into busy schedules, and make the clients feel great at the end of the session,” Burgess says.
4. Fitness Trends for 2019- Fitness Programs for Older Adults
This fitness trend is aimed at older folks born between the early to mid-1940s, to 1960 – 1964. The baby boomers have more money to splurge on non-essentials than the younger generations.
The life expectancy increased over the years as more and more people now are living active and healthy lifestyles. Fitness clubs have taken note and are creating fitness programs for the older adults market.
5. Body Weight Training
Body weight training is a form of strength exercise where an individual utilises their own body weight instead of weights. Body weight training helps build muscle and improves strength, flexibility and balance.
“Bodyweight training has been singled out as a trend, but in reality, it’s never gone away. For people on a budget, bodyweight exercises are perfect because they don’t require equipment and can be done anywhere,” Burgess explains.
6. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals
For some time individuals without proper qualification have been able to call themselves fitness coaches or trainers, whip up training and eating plans in record time, and sell them online to unsuspecting people.
However, this is changing as the fitness industry demands to see the qualifications of health and fitness professionals.
According to the ACSM, employing certified fitness professionals was a new survey item for 2019 replacing “educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals,” which was determined to be too broadly defined as a survey item.
In 2019, fitness professionals who have been certified by educational programs and certification programs that are fully accredited will be more important than ever.
Fitness trends to watch out for
Did you know that yoga now comes in many forms? There’s hot yoga, power yoga Power Yoga, Hatha yoga and so many others. Certifications in the variations of yoga as well as instructional videos and books will be popular in 2019.
8. Personal Training
Since the publication of the first fitness trends report in ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal in 2006, personal training has maintained its spot in the top 10. Personal trainers will always be important in the fitness industry. There are always people who need help with reaching their fitness goals. Personal trainers also come in handy when one requires specific training needs or motivation.
Personal training nowadays is flexible- clients can be trained online, at home, at the gym or even in the park.
9. Functional Fitness Training
The Mayo Clinic defines functional fitness training as exercises that train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports.
Plyometric, metabolic, isometric, small group and unilateral training are some of the different types of functional fitness training.
10. Exercise is Medicine
According to ACSM, Exercise is Medicine (EIM) is a global health initiative that is focused 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.