Top Upcoming Fitness Trends In 2016

Top Upcoming Fitness Trends in 2016

Every year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) conduct a survey of a diverse group of over 1000 fitness professionals worldwide to assess the top trends in the fitness industry in the coming year. The sample of fitness professionals is typically made up of both full and part-time personal trainers, group fitness instructors, gym owners, medical professionals, clinical exercise physiologists, students, and professors.

Survey respondents are asked to differentiate between ‘fads’ and ‘trends,’ and to focus on trends alone- something that influences the way that individuals behave (trend) as opposed to something that people are very enthusiastic about for only a brief period of time.

The survey results indicate what over 2,800 fitness professionals’ view as the fitness-related ideas and exercise modes that will be the most popular amongst those who participate in regular exercise in 2016.

Here are the top fitness trends you will get to see in 2016:

  1.  Wearable technology (first time in the Top 20- unranked to first!): This probably is going to be the top fitness supportor on the fitness road in the coming year. Fitness trackers are popular . Smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices will continue to rise in the new year. They allow fitness participants and professionals alike to quantify and track progress. Nothing indicates progress more effectively to the client or the trainer than changing numbers. If technology allows us to more easily and efficiently show results, we may as well take advantage of it!
  2.  Body weight training:  Convenience, affordability and effectiveness are just a few of the reasons why bodyweight training will continue to be a big trend in 2016. It may have dropped a spot from last year, but it is still a heavyweight. Continue to do your workouts including push-ups, squat jumps, Burpees and pull-ups. Most people think of body weight training as being limited to push-ups and pull-ups, but it can be much more than that. As the no. 1 position in the survey suggested last year, body weight training is a trend to watch for the future.
  3.  High-intensity interval training (HIIT) (#1 for 2014 and 2015):  Falling from the top spot in the 2015 survey, high-intensity interval training typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery and typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform (although it is not uncommon for these programs to be much longer in duration). High-intensity interval training was no. 1 in the survey for 2014 despite the warnings of many survey respondents about potential dangers. Despite the warnings by some health and fitness professionals of potentially increased injury rates using high-intensity interval training, this form of exercise remains popular in gyms all over the world.

Top Upcoming Fitness Trends in 2016

  1.  Strength training: Strength training remains popular in all sectors of the health and fitness industry and for many different kinds of clients. Many contemporary health and fitness professionals incorporate some form of strength training into a comprehensive exercise routine for their clients and patients. It is not uncommon at all for cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation or metabolic disease management programs to include weight training in the exercise programs for their patients.
  2.  Educated, certified, experienced fitness professionals: There continues to be exponential growth of educational programs at community colleges and colleges and universities that have become accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP, through the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences ( and more certification programs independently accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA, The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts “…employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 13% from 2012 to 2022” (, cited July 29, 2015). As the economy continues to grow and as the market for fitness professionals becomes even more crowded and more competitive, interest in some degree of regulation either from within the industry or from external sources seems to be expanding.

  1.  Personal training (stable in top 10 for last 9 years):  As more professional personal trainers are educated and become certified, they are increasingly more accessible in all sectors of the health and fitness industry. Personal training has been in the top 10 of this survey for the past 9 years. Attention recently has been paid to the education (through third-party accreditation of CAAHEP) and certification (through third-party accreditation by NCCA) of personal trainers. There is no doubt that personal trainers will continue to be an important part of the professional staff of health and fitness centers in coming years.

Top Upcoming Fitness Trends in 2016

  1. Functional fitness: It is defined as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to enhance someone’s ability to perform activities of daily living.  Some of the survey respondents said that they typically pair functional fitness with fitness programs for older adults (see trend no. 8) depending on the needs of the client. Functional fitness also is used in clinical programs to replicate activities done around the home.
  2. Fitness programs for older adults:   Health and fitness professionals should take advantage of this exponentially growing market by providing age-appropriate and safe exercise programs for the aging sector of the population. The highly active older adult (the athletic old) can be targeted by commercial and community-based organizations to participate in more rigorous exercise programs including strength training and team sports. Even the frail elderly can improve their balance and ability to perform activities of daily living when provided appropriate functional fitness activities. The concern for the health of aging adults has been consistently at the top of this survey, and this year is no different. The “baby boom generation” is now aging into retirement, and because they may have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts, fitness clubs should capitalize on this exponentially growing market. Fitness programs for older adults will remain a strong trend for 2016.
  1.  Exercise and weight loss:  This may not seem like a trend per se, but in addition to exercise, nutrition continues to be a key component of weight loss programs. The combination of exercise and diet is essential for weight loss maintenance and can improve compliance to caloric restriction diets and in particular weight loss program. Most of the well-publicized diet plans integrate exercise in addition to the daily routine of providing prepared meals to their clients.
  2.  Yoga : Rooted in ancient tradition, yoga is widely known for improving health and promoting relaxation. Yoga comes in a variety of forms, including Power Yoga, Yogalates, and Bikram Yoga (the one done in hot and humid environments). Other forms of yoga include Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, Anuara Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, and Sivananda Yoga. Instructional tapes and books are abundant, as are the growing numbers of certifications for the many yoga formats. Yoga seems to reinvent and refresh itself every year, making it a more attractive form of exercise.

We leave it on you to decide what is going to be your fitness priority in 2016.


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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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