2018 fitness trends

A Look at the Predicted 2018 Fitness Trends

As you know, I look forward to ACSM’s annual worldwide survey of fitness trends. I love to see how it changes from year to year and how it corresponds to what I’m doing and feeling most interested in, fitness-wise. As always, here’s my take on their predictions for the top 10 of the 2018 fitness trends. (And if you’d like to compare, take a look at my 2017 overview here. There is a little shuffling and few items dropped out of the top 10.)

High-Intensity Interval Training

Yes, yes, yes! It’s fun, it’s effective, and it’s how I’ve spent most of my time working out this year thanks to F45. You see the popularity of HIIT not only in the wide spread of F45 franchises around the world, but at Orangetheory Fitness and other gyms that offer HIIT classes on their group schedule. Even though it’s intense and could be overwhelming for a total beginner, it can be scaled for varying fitness levels. At F45, for example, everything we do is based on time, so if you choose a light weight and do fewer reps, you can make your workout more gentle. It’s also possible to choose a lower box to jump on, for example, or to step up instead of jumping. I love it, and it’s definitely high on my list of personal trends for 2018.

Group Training

This is another thing F45 is getting right! Group training is motivating and fun. I’ve loved group fitness classes since before I started teaching them 15 years ago, and I still love it. I much prefer a group setting over my solo workouts nowadays.

Wearable Technology

It was #1 last year and has fallen to the third spot. Meanwhile, my opinion of it took an ever-so-slight uptick: I am now using a heart rate monitor for my workouts at F45. I haven’t used it anywhere else, and I’m still not interested in a more versatile tracker, but I do find I’m enjoying it at F45. I can watch what my heart rate is doing on the screen in the studio during the workout, and I get a handy report by email afterward:

2018 fitness trends wearable technology


Body Weight Training

What I love about this is that you have no excuses: there are so many incredible effective exercises you can do with no equipment. All you need is your own body and you’re workout-ready. Squats and push-ups are great, but when you think beyond them, your body weight workout programming is nearly limitless.

Strength Training

Obviously, right? It bounces up and down on the survey, but it’s been on the list for the entire 12 years the survey has been conducted. It’s an essential part of a fitness routine. Strong feels good.

Educated, Certified, and Experienced Fitness Professionals

I’m glad to see this is still important to people, especially given the rise of various workout program certifications that don’t require you to have a personal training or group fitness instructor certification. (And, as I mentioned last year, the ability of anyone to start an Instagram account and call himself or herself an expert.) Most gyms will take care to hire only certified professionals. When in doubt, ask.


I love that this is on the list and I believe it belongs there forever and ever, but I’m not keen on what they wrote about it, which is the same thing that irritated me last year: “The sustained popularity of yoga seems to be that it reinvents and refreshes itself every year making it an attractive form of exercise.” Yoga as yoga is a rich practice. There is no need for goats or beer or other “creative” yoga classes. Those are fun sometimes, sure, but the appeal of yoga, at least for me, is its power to change your mind, body, and spirit for the better. Goats or no goats. And I believe more and more people are realizing that.

Personal Training

That one-on-one approach is always a good choice! You get a workout program designed specifically with you in mind, taking your preferences and unique needs into consideration, and someone to challenge you to be your best. Just make sure you’re choosing a good personal trainer who is empowering you rather than making you feel dependent on him or her.

Fitness Programs for Older Adults

Active aging is healthy aging. I used to teach Silver Sneakers classes, and I’ve had classes of older adults for body sculpting, yoga, and more. I love it when seniors choose exercise, and they’re so much fun to work with.

Functional Fitness

Another highlight of F45: that F stands for functional. “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.” A workout isn’t just about losing or maintaining weight: it’s about preparing your body to thrive during daily life.

Are these 2018 fitness trends part of your plan for next year?


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