Trends 2013This annual survey is now in its seventh consecutive year. The 2013 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends supported previous trends and also reinforced the deletion of three trends that had previously appeared to be strong for 2 to 3 years but now have dropped off the list for the third year in a row much to the disappointment of Pilates instructors all over the globe.

Pilates, stability ball, and balance training again failed to appear on the list of top 20 trends in the health and fitness industry, supporting the theory that these were fads and not trends.

The Top 10 For 2013


10.  Group Personal Training – the answer for sluggish economy is join a small group and share the cost for semi-personal training rather than going it alone.

9.  Core Training – Core training stresses strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen, thorax, and back.

It typically includes exercises of the hips, lower back, and abdomen, all of which provide support for the spine and thorax. Exercising the core muscles improves overall stability of the trunk and transfers that to the extremities, enabling the individual to meet the demands of activities of daily living and for the performance of various sports that require strength, speed, and agility.

Core training often uses stability balls, BOSU balls, wobble boards, foam rollers, and other pieces of equipment.

8.  Functional Fitness – Functional fitness may be defined as using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to improve one’s ability to perform activities of daily living.

Functional fitness programs reflect actual activities one might do as a function of daily living.

7.  Personal Training – As more professional personal trainers are educated and become certified (see trend no. 1), they become more accessible to more people in all sectors of the health and fitness industry.

6.  Fitness Programs for Older Adults – The concern for the health of aging adults has been consistently at the top of the survey. The baby boom generation is now aging into retirement, and are accustomed to living active lifestyles.

They also heed the examples of their parents and research that staying fit dramatically improves the quality of life long into their future.

5.  Exercise and Weight Loss – For many years, weight loss programs have been trying to infuse a regular exercise program into the caloric restriction diets of many popular commercial programs. This has been a growing trend since the survey began in 2007.

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 programs.

4.  Children and Obesity – Pediatricians and fitness experts are all but begging the schools to reinstate daily gym class and put recess back into the school day for pre-k through 6th graders.

The last 20 years has seen a dramatic decrease in schools allowing physical activity in lieu of more time in the classroom. Not only is this dangerous for the kid’s health, it has shown to adversely effect children’s ability to learn, concentrate & test scores have decreased during this same period.

Many schools have completely wiped out gym class and recess, while others allow gym once a week and maybe 15 minutes of recess. This is NOT enough. This also effects all of us, even if we don’t have kids through higher health care costs.

Make it a point in 2013 to contact your state legislators to use legislation to reinstate both gym and recess a minimum of 45 minutes a day in our schools. (Side note: if you tell the schools 30 minutes, the kids will get 15 minutes, so parents need to monitor for compliance.)

3.  Body Weight Training – Appearing for the first time in the trend survey is body weight training.

Body weight training did not appear as an option in previous surveys because it has only now become popular (as a defined trend) in gyms around the world; this is not to say that body weight training has not been used previously.

On the contrary, people have been using their own body weights for centuries as a form of resistance training. Packaging it as an exercise program has now made it popular in all kinds of gyms.

Body weight training often uses minimal equipment, which makes it an inexpensive way to exercise effectively. Most people think of body weight training as being limited to push-ups and pull-ups, but it can be much more than that. Body weight training may be a trend to watch as more people get “back to the basics.”

2.  Strength Training – Strength training remains at the no. 2 position for the second year in a row but has been a strong trend since the first year of this survey.

This trend calls for both men and women to incorporate strength training into their exercise routines or to use it as the primary form of exercise.

Historically, many clients of both community-based programs and commercial clubs trained exclusively using weights, and there are still those who lift weights for body building.

However, today, there are many other individuals (both men and women, young and old, and children) whose main focus is on using weight training to improve or maintain strength

1.  Educated, Certified, and Experienced Fitness Professionals – It has become clear that in this still sluggish economy, as the market for fitness professionals becomes even more crowded and more competitive, those professionals with a national third-party accreditation have a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors.