The 10 Biggest Fitness Trends Of 2018

While there’s no “right” way to get sweaty, there’s no question that fitness trends can influence how people work out. And with the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual survey, we’re getting a look at what’s going to be big this year. They’ve pinpointed the top fitness trends of 2018 to watch for, and chances are, if you haven’t gotten in on any of them yet, you just might soon.

Published in the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, more than 4,000 fitness professionals (including trainers, exercise physiologists, and fitness directors) gave their thoughts on the trends they think will be big in 2018. The survey respondents represented organizations including the American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, National Council on Strength and Fitness, and The Cooper Institute. The responses were international, too, coming from 41 countries across the world and nearly every continent.

In the survey, the ACSM made an important distinction between a trend and a fad to the participants. While a trend was defined as “a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving,” a fad was “a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period.” (Shout-out to ’80s Jazzercise and ’90s Tae Bo.) For the purposes of this survey, the ACSM was interested in trends, which have more staying power. Survey respondents were asked to rank 40 potential fitness trends on a 10-point scale, where 1 was least likely to be a trend in 2018, and 10 was most likely to be a trend in 2018.

Here are the top 10 fitness trends of 2018, according to the pros—and what you need to know about each one.

1. High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (or HIIT) took the top spot in this year’s survey (it was also number one in 2014). A HIIT training session involves bursts of maximum-effort, very hard work (typically about 20 to 90 seconds), followed by a period of low-intensity recovery. The goal is to recover enough that you can go hard again during your next work interval. If you’re a beginner, you might have longer rest intervals, or work intervals that are challenging but not at maximum effort.

The ACSM says HIIT workouts are typically 30 minutes or less, although they can be longer. But while they may be short, they definitely aren’t sweet. As the name suggests, HIIT workouts are designed to be high intensity, and a major part of the appeal is that they’re an incredibly efficient and effective way to get your cardio in and burn lots of calories (if that’s something that matters to you) without requiring a ton of time.

That said, because they’re so intense, you shouldn’t be doing HIIT workouts every day. This can lead to overtraining and an increased risk of injury (which survey respondents expressed concerns about, according to the ACSM). Read more about how to correctly do HIIT workouts here.

2. Group Training

Group training (or group fitness

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The Top 10 Fitness Trends of 2019

Halloween candy is in the bargain bin and holiday sales are on the horizon, which means it’s time to start thinking about 2019. For fitness professionals, that means anticipating what the top exercise trends will be next year. To get an idea of what’s in store for the future, the American College of Sports Medicine surveyed thousands of fitness professionals about health and fitness trends via an electronic questionnaire. The results went public this week in ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal.

Respondents were asked to rank 39 possible trends—25 of which were trends from previous years—from 1 (least likely to be a trend) to 10 (most likely to be a trend). ACSM received 2,038 responses from across the globe, from ACSM-certified professionals, subscribers to FIT (their content digest), and more. This is the 13th year of ACSM’s annual survey, and each time around, it hones in more specifically on the nuances of the industry. (Last year, for example, the survey asked participants about “dance workouts.” This year, the question was specified to “dance-based workouts,” to phase out the workouts where dance isn’t the primary form of exercise.) The point is to give every establishment from gyms to businesses to corporate wellness programs an understanding of what’s going on in the industry. If you’re passionate about working out, it’s probably interesting intel for you, too.

Ahead, the top 10 predicted fitness trends for 2019, according to the pros.

1. Wearable Technology

Wearable technology, like smart watches, fitness trackers, heart monitors, and more, has ranked in the ACSM’s top three trends every year since 2016. The merging of fitness and tech shows no signs of going anywhere, so expect to see even more ways to track and monitor your fitness in 2019.

2. Group Training

ACSM defines group training as any workout with more than five participants. It first appeared among its top 20 trends in 2017, and innovation in the industry—like online group workout classes—are keeping it high on the list.

3. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT took the top spot in 2018 (and in 2014), but despite its small drop, experts still see it playing a big role in the industry this coming year. A HIIT workout, according to ACSM, involves “short bursts of high-intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest.” They’re usually 30 minutes or less, though they can be longer. But the main point is to get a quick and very efficient workout. The best part? You can try a HIIT workout right from your living room.

4. Fitness Programs for Older Adults

As the population ages, it’s only sensical that fitness offerings would age along with us. These programs “emphasize and cater to the fitness needs of the Baby Boom and older generations,” says the ACSM. Which is wise, considering exercising is a great way for people to maintain bone density and muscle mass as they age, plus reap the numerous other health benefits that come with being active.

5. Bodyweight Training

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