Fitness trends for 2015


The American College of Sports Medicine commissions a survey every year into the predicted fitness trends for the coming year.

They listed 39 possible trends in their 2015 survey; the top 25 trends from previous years were included, as were some emerging trends identified by the staff and editors of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. To keep it fair, the editors represented all four sectors of the health fitness industry (corporate, clinical, community, commercial), as well as academia.

Now in its ninth year, 2015 has turned up some surprising results.

High-intensity interval training smashed into the no 1 spot in 2014 previously held by educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals, which has been in that position since 2008 and in 2015 appears at no 3. Interestingly body weight training took over the no 1 spot for 2015 – the kind of exercise you can do in your living room with the dog watching and don’t need a gym for; good old burpees and push-ups kind of thing (although exercise can be made lot more fun by a trainer and big space).

The 2015 ACSM Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends shows ongoing support for many of the previously high rated trends. However it also reinforced the deletion of four trends that were strong for several years but have now been unceremoniously dumped by the exercising public. Zumba, which first appeared in the top 10 (no 9) in 2012, fell to no 13 in 2013, dropped out of the top 20 last year, and dropped further in 2015 (no 28 in 2014 and no 34 in 2015). Perhaps the Olympics in Rio in 2016 will see a revival.

Pilates, indoor cycling, stability ball and balance training failed to appear on the list of top 20 trends in the health and fitness industry, which they say supports the theory that these were fads and not trends, and in doing so puts questions around the effectiveness of spin classes.

Some argue that a persistent sluggish economy in the US has influenced the results and that training programmes requiring expensive equipment or technical instruction are not supported because of the increased cost. Fitness New Zealand is currently undertaking a similar nationwide survey and it will be interesting to see if NZ follows the US in fitness trends as is commonly believed.

Watch this space.

Still others argue that Zumba, indoor cycling, and Pilates have run their useful course.

What this shows is that important investment decisions around the way you choose to pursue your fitness goals should be based on emerging trends, as embraced by knowledgeable fitness professionals and exercise specialists.

And so perhaps not the latest exercise innovation marketed during late-night television or the next hottest celebrity endorsing a product. (Tae-bo anyone?).

Disappointingly, all the talk around kids’ fitness programmes from a couple of years ago seems to have run its course too.  Here’s hoping they’re all out playing sport then.

Top fitness trends for 2015

  1. Body weight training
  2. High-intensity interval training
  3. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals
  4. Strength training
  5. Personal training
  6. Exercise and weight loss
  7. Yoga
  8. Fitness programmes for older adults
  9. Functional fitness
  10. Group personal training
  11. Worksite health promotion
  12. Outdoor activities
  13. Wellness coaching
  14. Circuit training
  15. Core training
  16. Sport-specific training
  17. Children and exercise for the treatment/prevention of obesity
  18. Outcome measurements
  19. Worker incentive  programmes
  20. Boot camp


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