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New Year, New Gear! Top 5 Fitness Trends for 2016

The Votes Are In!

The American College of Sports Medicine, internationally renowned as the foremost authority on sports and fitness, has published the results of an annual world-wide survey of fitness professionals. The survey sought to identify the top fitness trends for 2016. The ACSM is careful to distinguish between trends and fads, defining a fad as “a fashion taken up with enthusiasm for a brief period,” while a trend is defined as “a general development or change in behavior.” The votes are in, and the top five contenders are not surprising.

1. Wearable Technology

smart watch
Tracking everything from calories to distance to heart rate, blood pressure and more, wearable technology is quickly becoming the most lucrative trend in fitness. The iWatch and other wrist-worn devices were all hot sellers during the holiday gift season, but the buck doesn’t stop there. Get ready for smart glasses and interactive fabrics that will usher in a new era of workout wear. One caveat: While these devices report information and provide entertainment, it is still up to the wearer to do all the hard work.

2. Body Weight Training

push ups
Using your own body weight to get stronger is a savvy way to optimize your functional fitness without a lot of equipment. Experts agree that body weight training will continue to gain ground in the months and years to come. Creativity is key if gyms, trainers and fitness enthusiasts are to make the most of this popular trend. The challenge is to achieve whole-body balance and symmetry without specialized equipment.


High-Intensity Interval Training was last year’s number one trend, but many found it impractical for unfit populations due to high injury risk. The premise of HIIT is that you intersperse high-intensity bursts of activity between longer bouts of low-to-moderate intensity. With HIIT, you can accomplish your workout goals in a fraction of the time spent at low-to-moderate intensity. While it has fallen slightly in the esteem of the experts, HIIT remains a popular and effective training strategy for fit populations.

4. Resistance Training

black weight lifting
Weight training has been a cornerstone of fitness from its inception, and will continue to dominate in the years to come. Resistance training builds strength, coordination and bone mineral density. It accelerates fat loss and improves posture, optimizes joint health and reduces risk of injury. Resistance training differs from body weight training in that it uses free weights, machines and elastic resistance in ways that optimize muscle balance and optimal joint function.

5. Higher Standards of Professionalism

college grad
While professional standards ranked fifth out of the top 20, the category should not be ignored. With increasing numbers of professionals graduating from accredited higher education programs in exercise science, kinesiology and biomechanics, the bar has been raised. Trainers and other fitness professionals with minimal credentials stand to be challenged as more knowledgeable and lettered competitors enter the field. Enhancing your education is critical if you wish to remain viable in the fitness industry.


While you’re busy plotting your business strategy for the new year, do not forget to include professional development and continuing education in your fiscal game plan. W.I.T.S. has dozens of quality course options to keep you up to date on the latest fitness trends, and to help move your career forward. Visit our W.I.T.S. Store to beef up your credentials with additional certifications in Group Exercise, Older Adult Fitness or Fitness Management. Investing in professional growth lets your clients and others know that you are in it to win it in the New Year!

References and Credits

American College of Sports Medicine: WORLDWIDE SURVEY OF FITNESS TRENDS FOR 2016: 10th Anniversary Edition

*Images courtesy of

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