Fitness Trends 2018

Fitness trends come and go every year, but we’re going back to the basics in 2018, according to a new annual survey from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published in its Health & Fitness Journal.

For the survey, the authors identified 40 possible fitness trends for 2018 and asked more than 4,000 fitness pros from organizations like the American Council on Exercise and the National Council on Strength and Fitness to rank them on a 10-point scale, with 10 meaning it was most likely to be a trend this year.

The ACSM also distinguished the difference between a trend and fad in the survey. A trend was defined as having more lasting power than a fad, which is typically met with more enthusiasm but lasts for a shorter amount of time.

With that, here’s what you should know about the 10 fitness trends you’ll see everywhere this year.


High Intensity Interval Training

A high intensity interval training (HIIT) session usually only lasts 30 minutes or less, but requires short bursts of (you guessed it) high intensity exercise followed by a slower-paced recovery period. For instance, you might sprint as hard as you can for 15 to 30 seconds and then walk for 45 to 60 seconds. You’d alternate between the two for a set amount of time. There’s a reason people can’t get enough of it: The workouts are time efficient and effective if you’re looking to fry fat, research suggests. One catch, fitness pros don’t love recommending HIIT to their clients, since it has a higher rate of injury, according to the ACSM.


Group Training 

Fitness classes have been around forever, but they’re making their mark this year. The ACSM defines group training as a workout of five or more people led by an instructor. The possibilities are endless: Boot Camps, boxing, cycling, and rowing would all make the cut. These classes are designed to teach you something new, motivate you, and help you reach your fitness goals, the ACSM says. Sign up for one with a friend, since working out with a buddy can push you to exercise harder and longer.


Wearable Technology

Our obsession with data continues this year. Wearable tech includes activity trackers, smart-watches, heart rate monitors, GPS tracking devices, and smart eyeglasses, the ACSM says. If you thrive off the numbers, devices like the Apple Watch and Fitbit can enhance your training and help you stick to your goals. This type of technology is advancing rapidly, and what we’ll see from this market in the next decade is a bit unpredictable, the ACSM says.


Bodyweight Training

“People have been using their own bodyweight for centuries as a form of resistance training,” the ACSM report states, but bodyweight exercises have only recently been defined as a trend. When you use just your bodyweight, you can work multiple muscles at once and work out wherever and whenever you want. Plus, you have countless moves to choose from, so it will never get boring. These workouts also involve little equipment, making it a great option for those looking to avoid pricey gym memberships.


Strength Training

Can we even call this a trend? Classic strength training seems to stand the test of time, the ACSM says, since it has made its way onto the list since they started doing this survey 12 years ago.

Everyone should lift weights: You’ll strengthen your bones, fry fat, keep your heart healthy, and build hard muscle.


Educated, Certified, And Experienced Fitness Professionals

Music to our ears! In a world of improper form, it’s important to have people who can educate those looking to get fit in a way that’s both safe and effective. Fitness certification programs continue to grow, says the ACSM, and while standards vary among organizations, getting certified simply means you’re a legit trainer that has studied and passed a test on gym safety, proper exercise form, and training guidelines.



Because there are so many styles, yoga trends are constantly changing, says the ACSM, which gets people excited. If you want to see better results in the weight room, then you need to work on your mobility, and getting a bit bendy during yoga is a great way to do that. Stretching just feels good, too.

Not to mention, yoga can help relieve stress, boosts your mental health, and improves your heart health.


Personal Training

Since the ACSM has been publishing its survey, personal training has always been part of the top 10 trends. “Personal trainers will continue to be an important part of the professional staff of health and fitness centers,” the report states. That’s because even one session with a trainer can teach you the correct way to perform staple exercises, like the bench press or deadlift, which is crucial if you want to minimize your risk of injury.

Plus, they can help you structure your workout plan; explain how to use equipment, and offer motivation if you need someone to hold you accountable. You also might want to get references before hiring a personal trainer. You want to make sure you and the trainer are the right fit for your goals.


Fitness Programs For Older Adults

If you want to keep your bones and muscles healthy as you age, staying active is crucial. The ACSM says that the current generation of older adults seems to be more interested in keeping up with their health, so we may see a boom in programs tailored to retired people looking to stay fit this year.


Functional Fitness

“Functional fitness 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,” the ACSM says. Think of it this way: Lifting groceries, walking up the stairs, and moving furniture around all require muscle. The deadlift, for example, is a functional exercise because you use your entire body—your arms, legs, and core—when you’re picking something up, like a heavy moving box. Functional fitness helps you replicate the movements you perform in daily life, so that way, you’ll feel strong outside of the gym, too. And as always check with your physician before embarking on any exercise routine.


Thanks to American College of Sports Medicine & Men’s Health for contributing to this article