The Top Ten Fitness Trends for 2011

It’s only November, but luckily for us, the fine folks at ACE and ACSM have put together their respective Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2011 lists.

So, if you’re interested in knowing what programs your local health club will be pushing onto you come January, read on.

The ACE Top Ten List includes:

  1. Economic Upswing: In general, consumers are preparing for an economic upswing that is motivating more individuals to resume their personal training and fitness regimens.
  2. Added-Value Wellness Services: More gyms and clubs will begin to hire other allied healthcare professionals to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members – nutrition, physical therapy, etc.
  3. Stress Reduction Through Fitness: With the increased knowledge of how stress negatively affects the body, gyms and clubs will start offering wellness programs so their members develop effective strategies for managing their stress levels.
  4. Technology Becomes a Support Resource: Although there have been a great deal of technological advances within the fitness industry, online interactive classes will not proliferate in 2011, demonstrating the desire for human contact with fitness professionals.  However, social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will become increasingly popular serving as an online motivational support system to complement personal training sessions.
  5. Buddy System: Healthy support groups will become a more popular offering in gyms due to peer encouragement and increased potential for success.  This thinking also holds true for older adults, with the majority of them seeking group classes to stay fit.
  6. Most Popular Workouts: Boot camp-style workouts will remain popular among consumers based on its intensity and efficiency.  Zumba classes will continue to offer a fun alternative to more traditional dance classes, while TRX Suspension training and interval training both offer intense workout experiences with impressive results.
  7. Small-Group Workouts: Small-group sessions remain a very popular way for individuals to exercise.  Whether through personal training, strength training, cardiovascular exercise, or sessions for older adults, small-group sessions will be “in” as a way to socialize, cut costs and stay motivated.
  8. Youth-Based Fitness: Expect to see more youth-focused classes and clients popping up in gyms thanks to the national attention and focus on childhood obesity.  Schools and fitness centers will also incorporate more exercise curriculum for the youth population.
  9. Corporate Wellness: Whether it is through the hiring of in-house personal trainers or discounts and incentives offered to employees that join a health club, corporate wellness programs will emerge country-wide to help encourage healthy lifestyles among workers, especially time-crunched consumers.
  10. Elevated Professionalism: There will be a significant increase in the hiring of personal trainers that hold a NCCA-accredited certification at gyms and fitness centers.  With consumers becoming more educated and fitness-savvy, they understand the need for fitness professionals to have the proper education and high-quality certifications…like an ACE certification perhaps?

The ACSM Top Ten List includes:

1. Educated and experienced fitness professionals. see #10 on the Ace list

2. Fitness programs for older adults. As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.

3. Strength training. Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete physical activity program for all physical activity levels and genders.

4. Children and obesity. With childhood obesity growing at an alarming rate, health and fitness professionals see the epidemic as an opportunity to create programs tailored to overweight and obese children. Solving the problem of childhood obesity will have an impact on the health care industry today and for years to come.

5. Personal training. More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that students are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.

6. Core training. Distinct from strength training, core training specifically emphasizes conditioning of the middle-body muscles, including the pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen—all of which provide needed support for the spine.

7. Exercise and weight loss. In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss program. Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.

8. Boot camp. Boot camp is a high-intensity structured activity program modeled after military style training and led by an instructor. Boot camp incorporates cardiovascular, strength, endurance and flexibility drills in both indoor and outdoor settings.

9. Functional fitness. This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.

10. Physician referrals. Physician referrals, a key component of the Exercise is Medicine initiative, partner medical professionals with heath and fitness professionals to seamlessly integrate exercise into their patients’ lives.


Well, I don’t know about you, but these lists seem to be focused on commercial health club activities and personal training. It’s almost as if ACE and ACSM are using these lists as a promotional tool to encourage more people to sign up for their courses to become personal trainers.

Damn, I have become cynical in my old age.


  1. I agree that it does look promotional. They are going to try to exploit overweight kids by having them workout. If the parents had money to get them a gym membership wouldn’t the money be better spent having them play a team sport or some fun activity to get them more active. Hockey, Baseball, Basketball, Karate, Soccer, Skating, Danging. There are many more things kids would rather do.

  2. I agree w your inner cynic, but will add positive personal experiences so as to continue to encourage working out. I workout at a small, locally owned gym “where everybody knows your name,” and it beats every big commercial gym I have ever been to. They offer a group training session for no more than 6 people 2x a week for $33 a month, which is cheaper than most memberships. I thought I’d hate group training, but the group environment has helped me push myself harder.

    Also, I know it’s easy to criticise parents who put children into personal training, but I was only moderately pudgy as a child and was teased so badly about it that I begged my mother to take me out of karate. Other children who were bigger than I got it a lot worse, so, while it may not be the best way to handle things, there are perhaps underlying reasons. Also, there’s a very obese 10 year old at my gym with his own trainer, and he has a ton of fun- the trainer takes him outside, does hula hoop, throws around basketballs, etc., so there’s ways to do personal training well for kids who need it

  3. @Darren, I agree… kids will probably get bored if they’re forced to do something week in and week out. But give them a sport that’s fun to them, and they’ll be motivated to do it regularly.

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