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Cindy Boggs Cindy Boggs

Cindy Boggs is an American Council on Exercise-certified fitness professional, corporate wellness presenter and author of the award-winning book "CindySays … You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World." Her website is

What's trending? For the eighth year, the editors of American College of Sports Medicine's, "Health & Fitness Journal," has released their survey for the top 20 fitness trends in world and the results revealed a few surprises. The 2014 results which are determined by thousands of fitness professional were asked to distinguish the difference between a fad and a trend when it comes to physical activity. According to the Cambridge dictionary, in the fitness arena, this would translate as follows:


  • Trend: A general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving
  • Fad: A fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period  


It's important to understand the difference in order to compile an accurate list of the kinds of activities that are on the rise as well as those that are declining. With this definition, the list becomes quite predictable, because the same trends should appear over multiple years in a trends survey.

Zumba out

What's surprising is not so much what made the trend list, but rather what didn't. Zumba, Pilates, Spinning and Stability Training are out. According to this survey they now can be labeled fads. All failed to make the top 20 list for 2014. Zumba first appeared as a No. 9 trend in 2012, then fell to No. 13 in 2013 and fell to No. 28 in this year's survey. For the second year in a row, Pilates, Spinning and Balance Training couldn't score in the top 20. 

What's trending


  • High-Intensity Interval Training — HIIT came in at No. 1 this year and is described as bursts of intense activity for short periods followed by a longer recovery period of less intense activity. It beat out Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals which had held that coveted position since 2008!
  • Body Weight Training — This is its first time in the top 20. This is the most affordable exercise because it uses the body as resistance and requires little or no equipment to get and stay in shape — back to basics fitness.
  • Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals — When searching for assistance in fitness, tapping into these people will always be a consumer's best decision.
  • Strength Training — This should come as no surprise as it is an integral part of maintaining health.
  • Exercise and Weight Loss — Managing weight is the bread and butter for health and fitness professionals. The best ones are tying sound nutrition information with regular exercise in each program.
  • Personal Training — Fitness facilities all over the world are demanding properly credentialed personal trainers at an increasing rate.
  • Fitness Programs for Older Adults — Physical activity that is appropriate for the aging baby boomers is not only smart, it is profitable as this population has the funds to pay for it. Also, programs and memberships provided by insurance companies, like SilverSneakers, can engage seniors and make them more active and healthier. 
  • Functional Fitness — This is very similar to the No. 7 and uses strength training, balance training and flexibility to help people live independently longer.
  • Group Personal Training — This trend makes personal training possible for many who could otherwise not afford it. This is a win/win for both trainer and client.
  • Yoga — Because of the many forms and intensities of this ancient practice, it is re-emerging. Yoga has mastered the art of repurposing itself. Certifications are growing and older adults are figuring out that because of the many gentler forms, yoga is yet another age-appropriate choice for them. 


Worth mentioning

Reappearing at No. 16, Outcome Measurements, which tracks outcomes and addresses accountability, is a critical piece of the pie to employers who are funding physical activity and health promotion. Determining the benefits and efficacy of these efforts is easier and more doable with the explosion of technology based apps.

Fad to flop

Keep in mind that just because something makes the trends survey that doesn't necessarily define it as a trend. They may make an appearance for a year or two and then drop out of sight, thus returning them back to fad status. Most of us remember but don't use toning shoes, shaker weights and the ab roller, which is why these surveys make sense to both fitness and business industries. Investors making decisions about fitness products and programming should steer clear of late-night infomercials with celebrity endorsement and look to those which are strong enough to hold a spot on the top 20 trend list.

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