Top 20 Fitness Trends of 2020

Top 20 Fitness Trends of 2020

Top 20 Fitness Trends of 2020

For the past 14 years, the American College of Sports Medicine has been showing us the evolution of the fitness industry. This year, over 3,000 fitness professionals shared their thoughts on the industry's hottest trends. We are pleased to see that TREKFIT's vision is represented in many of the 20 top trends for 2020.

  1. Wearable technology :

This trend includes fitness trackers, smart watches, HR monitors, and GPS tracking devices. Examples include fitness and activity trackers like those manufactured by Fitbit®, Samsung Gear Fit2®, Misfit®, Garmin®, and Apple®. These devices can track HR, calories, sitting time, and much more. Wearable technology has been estimated to be about a $95 billion industry. It has been the no 1 trend in this survey since 2016.

2. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) :

These exercise programs typically involve short bursts of high-intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest and recovery. Despite warnings by some fitness professionals of potentially increased injury rates using HIIT, this form of exercise has been popular in gyms all over the world and in this survey since 2014.


Defined as more than five participants, group exercise instructors teach, lead, and motivate individuals through intentionally designed larger in-person group movement classes. Group exercise training programs have been around for a long time and have appeared as a potential worldwide trend since this survey was originally constructed.

4. Training with free weights

Free weights, barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, and medicine ball classes do not just incorporate barbells into another functional class or activity. Instructors start by teaching proper form for each exercise and then progressively increase the resistance once the correct form is accomplished. It is new in the top 20 trends for this year.

5. Personal training

One-on-one training continues to be a trend as the profession of personal training becomes more accessible online, in health clubs, in the home, and in worksites that have fitness facilities. Personal training includes fitness testing and goal setting with the trainer working one on one with a client to prescribe workouts specific to clients’ individual needs and goals. It has been in the top 10 trends since 2006.

6. Exercise is Medicine®

Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) is a global health initiative that focuses on encouraging primary care physicians and other health-care providers to include physical activity assessment and associated treatment recommendations as part of every patient visit, and referring their patients to exercise professionals. In addition, EIM recognizes fitness professionals as part of the health-care team in their local communities. It is gaining in popularity and has been in the trends survey since 2017.


Using a combination of variable resistance body weight training and neuromotor movements employing multiple planes of movement, this program is all about using body weight as the training modality. It has been in the top 10 trends since 2013.


This trend continues to stress the fitness needs of the Baby Boom and older generations. These individuals in general have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts do, and fitness clubs may be able to capitalize on this growing market. People are living longer, working longer, and remaining healthy and active much longer.

9. Health / Wellness coaching

This is a growing trend to integrate behavioral science into health promotion and lifestyle medicine programs. Health/Wellness coaching uses a one-on-one (and at times small group) approach with the coach providing support, goal setting, guidance, and encouragement. A trend since 2010.


Debuting last year, the importance of hiring certified health fitness professionals through educational programs and certification programs that are fully accredited for health fitness professionals is fast becoming a trend. More certification programs have become accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, allowing employers easy access to certification validation through the U.S. Registry of Exercise Professionals.


Most diet programs incorporate some kind of exercise program into the daily routine of caloric restriction adding the caloric expenditure of physical activity. Exercise for weight loss programs has been a top 20 trend since the survey began.


This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance, coordination, muscular strength, and endurance to improve activities of daily living typically for older adults but also in clinical populations. A trend in this survey since 2007.


Since 2010, this survey shows that more outdoor activities such as group walks, group rides, or organized hiking groups are becoming popular. They can be short events, daylong events, or planned weeklong hiking excursions. Participants often meet in a local park, hiking area, or on a bike trail typically with a leader. The fitness equipment in local parks are more and more popular for group training.

14. Yoga

Yoga has taken on a variety of forms in the past (including Power Yoga, Yogilates, yoga in hot environments, and many others). On-demand videos and books are plentiful, as are certifications in the many yoga formats. Yoga first appeared in the top 10 trends of this survey in 2008.

15. Licensure for fitness professionals

There are some professions in the United States and around the world that are regulated by local, state, or national licensure. For example, people cannot call themselves a medical doctor or nurse or, in most states, a physical therapist or dietitian, without holding a license. This is a trend in the fitness industry to pursue regulation of fitness professionals such as personal trainers and exercise physiologists. This trend has been in the top 20 for the past two years.

16. Lifestyle medicine

Lifestyle medicine is the evidence-based practice of helping individuals and families adopt and sustain healthy behaviors that affect health and quality of life. Lifestyle medicine promotes healthy behaviors as the foundation to medical care, disease prevention, and health promotion. Lifestyle medicine debuts for the first time in the fitness trends survey at no. 16.


Circuit training is typically a group of about 10 exercises that are completed in succession and in a predetermined sequence. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a set time period before having a quick rest and moving on to the next exercise. In the top 20 since 2013.

18. Worksite health promotion and workplace well-being programs

This is a trend toward a range of programs and services provided by employers to improve the health and wellness of workers integrated with systems to support the evaluation of and reporting on the effect on health, costs, and productivity. Programs are generally on site or with a local gym. It first appeared on this list in 2017.

19. Outcome measurements

There are efforts to define, track, and report outcomes leading to accountability of both the health club member and the trainer. Measurements are necessary to determine the benefits of health and fitness programs in disease management and to document success in changing negative lifestyle habits. The proliferation of technology aids in data collection to support these efforts. It is the second year that we see this trend on this survey.

20. Children and exercise

Children and exercise for the treatment/prevention of obesity exercise programs, they are specifically developed for children and weight loss. Childhood and adolescent obesity continues to be a major health issue in most developed and developing nations and is important because of its association with other medical issues such as diabetes and hypertension. Health clubs around the world may find this to be a new potential source of revenue. This trends has been on and off the top 20 list since 2007.

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