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High Intensity Training tops the fitness trends for 2014

It’s that time of year again, when people look back, reflect and plan ahead for the year to come. It’s also the time of the year, when the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) run their annual survey in an effort to reject fads of the previous year and confirm emerging exercise trends for the year to come.

It is interesting that responders of the survey were asked to make a distinction between “trend” and “fad”, as one would expect health and fitness professionals to be able to distinguish between an exercise program based on scientific research and a program based on excellent marketing and hype. In any case, we acknowledge that exercise fads make a big part of the fitness industry and each year’s trends; and we are happy to see the list of top 10 ACSM trends improving year on year.

With that being said, let’s look at the survey methodology and results.


Survey methodology
During 3 weeks, ACSM gathered 3,815 responses from individuals with experience in the health and fitness industry – 34% having more than 10 years experience. Every continent was represented and surprisingly the majority of the responders were female (65%). The responders were asked to rate from 1 (least likely to be a fitness trend in 2014) to 10 (most likely to be a fitness trend in 2014) a list of 38 potential items. The list was comprised of the top 25 trends from the 2013 results, plus an additional 13 items suggested by the editors of the survey to represent all sectors of the health and fitness industry (corporate, clinical, community and commercial).

It is a great pleasure to see that high intensity training, body weight training and strength training are in the top 5 spots of the 2014 trends. This really is the time for us, for the HIT niche to grow and show the world that what we have been doing for ourselves and our clients for decades is still valid and current today, as it is proven to produce great physical adaptations in the safest, most efficient and effective way.

Out of the top 20 list are Zumba and other dance workouts, Pilates, spinning, stability ball and balance training – all designed to lure people into an “exercise” that will make them feel trendier, but not healthier.

Let’s now discuss the results more closely.


Top 5 fitness trends for 2014

1. High Intensity Interval Training
Last year, high intensity interval training was not even on the list and this year, it climbed to number one. What a great year 2013 was! It is worth noting that while HIIT and HIT differ in more than just an extra ”i” in the title, they both support the same principle of intense workouts of no more than 20-30 minutes per week and therefore, we welcome the No 1 place for HIIT.

One of the commentators of the survey mentioned on high intensity interval training: “Very, very popular. However, high injury rates. We need more highly trained professionals working this area.” Yes, we do! Dear commentator, your wait has been worthwhile. In 2014, we will be launching our courses, solely focused on high intensity training and we will be certifying HIT specialist trainers around the world.

2. Body weight training
This trend re-appeared last year and according to the survey, this is because in 2013, many gyms adopted this way of training, as an inexpensive alternative to resistance training; it requires minimal or no equipment. We are happy to see body weight training in second place, as implementing high intensity training through body weight will be an important part of our trainers’ education.

3. Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals
The accreditation market is becoming more crowded. Consumers are more educated today and will look beyond their local gym to find what’s best for their fitness and health. To respond, trainers and fitness professionals will need to choose wisely which program will make them more competitive in their market and will equip them with additional skills to succeed, like business and marketing skills that we consider essential and we will provide for our Master Personal Trainers.

4. Strength training
According to the survey, in 2013, strength training was incorporated in specific cardiovascular rehabilitation and metabolic management programs. Strength training and resistance training are in essence the same thing and simply put. and high intensity training is a form of strength training. So, in a way, it’s odd that strength training dropped to number four (from second in 2013), but it’s still a strong trend among young and old, men and women. Strong is the new sexy.

5. Exercise and weight loss
Roughly speaking, diet is responsible for 95% of weight loss or gain and exercise for 5%. The trend here suggests that most weight loss programs will continue to incorporate some form of exercise. We promote high intensity training, as a type of exercise that has been shown to speed up metabolic rate and make the body a fat-burning machine. Our Master Personal and Personal trainers will be educated in nutrition and how to combine nutrition with a HIT program.

Here are the remaining trends that complete ACSM’s list of top 20 fitness trends for 2014:

6. Personal training

7. Fitness programs for older adults

8. Functional fitness

9. Group personal training

10. Yoga

11. Children and Exercise for the treatment/prevention of obesity

12. Worksite health promotion

13. Core training

14. Outdoor activities

15. Circuit training

16. Outcome measurements

17. Wellness coaching

18. Sport-specific training

19. Worker intensive programs

20. Boot camp


Have a read of the complete ACSM Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2014 and let us know what you think. We sure are excited with the results and even more excited for 2014, as this will be the year we launch our courses and introduce our first HITuni certified trainers to the world. And what a year it will be for high intensity training, according to the fitness trends!

Thank you all for you on-going support and patience, while we work to bring you courses of exceptional quality.


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