The 7 Top Fitness Trends for 2014

gwyneth-made-me-do-it-logoLast week the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal released its worldwide top fitness trends survey for 2014, and I was surprised at the lack of any Hollywood-type exercise fads or celebrity videos on the list. In fact, the trends revealed were a refreshing look ahead at not just fitness but at overall health. 2013 was the year of arguing over one mother’s seemingly taunting self-portrait of her toned & fit physique, and hashing out why Kim was worrying so much about losing the baby weight. We even got to see what a hot soccer-wife looks like just 5 days postpartum, thanks to Instagram. The news would have us believe that 2013 fitness goals were very much about working out to look good instead of working out to be healthy, but despite what grabbed national headlines, according to the journal’s vast survey, people truly are focused on fitness for health and healing.

The survey is in its eighth year and received more than 3,800 responses, and the respondents, which included commercial trainers, gym owners, and medical fitness professionals, are asked to differentiate the difference between a trend versus a fad. I think that’s probably why we see such solid, reliable results that those of us concerned with fitness can actually fall back on. Some of the top trends for 2014 include:

  • High-Intensity Interval Training 1 of 7

    This type of workout usually involves short bursts of high-intensity reps of exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery. Best of all? Routines typically take less than 30 minutes to perform. Because they yield good results in short periods of time, they have grown in popularity. However, high injury rates may be involved, especially with individuals not in the best shape to begin with.


    We did a similar workout this morning at boot camp, where our routine involved 20 second bursts of jump rope, then wall sits with shoulder raises, and a 10 second rest period in between. Our instructor is skilled and trained enough to advise certain individuals perform a moderation of the exercises if need be, but if an individual is working alone or with an unskilled trainer, I can see how easily injuries could occur. 

  • Strength Training 2 of 7

    Strength training, that is, using some form of weight lifting in your exercise routine to gain strength, isn't limited only to body builders and pro-athletes. Young and old women alike are seeing the benefits and results from weighted strength training, and even many medical professionals are prescribing it as a way to heal and become stronger after ailments and illnesses including cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

  • Body Weight Training 3 of 7

    This form of exercise uses your own body weight as a form of resistance training, and it involves much more than just pushups and pull-ups. Body weight training uses minimal equipment, which makes it an inexpensive way to exercise effectively, making it a popular choice across the globe.

  • Educated, Certified, and Experienced Fitness Professionals 4 of 7

    After years of seeing little to zero results from solo gym workouts, many individuals are seeking the help of certified professionals to guide them into the best shape of their life. This trend has grown in strength because of the vast offering, not just at huge gyms, but at small community centers, colleges and personalized studios and park bootcamps.

  • Exercise and Weight Loss Programs That Involve Nutritional and Diet Coaching 5 of 7

    The days of just dieting your way to skinny are slowly fading out, and taking its place is the very valid notion that through a healthy combination of both diet and exercise one can lose weight. Moreover, people have begun to realize that the two working together is what will help participants actually keep the weight off.

  • Fitness Programs for Older Adults 6 of 7

    My mother-in-law, pictured above, has been instructing senior citizens in the art of Tai Chi and Longevity Stick for many years now. As she nears 80, she continues to be flexible, nimble and strong, serving as an inspiration to hundreds of students each year. These types of programs are predicted to surge in popularity and availability, as educators and medical professionals continue to see the importance of keeping adults active as they age into retirement and beyond.

  • Children and Exercise for the Treatment/Prevention of Obesity 7 of 7

    Between the continued abundance of overly processed junk food and fast food, plus the proliferation of electronic devices and game consoles, today's kids face exercise and dietary challenges no other generation has ever been faced with. Programs that foster an excitement and love for exercise will help with the treatment and prevention of childhood obesity, as well as the increasing numbers of children with Type 2 diabetes. 

One trend that my mom was sad to see on its way out? Zumba. Since retiring last year, she’s become a regular attendee at her local gym’s weekly Zumba class. She loves how it gets her moving in a fun and unique way, which really doesn’t even seem like exercise.

As I make a list of my own health and fitness goals for 2014, I’m happy to see that group bootcamp sessions are still a valid and important trend for 2014. I’ve become strongly attached to my local bootcamp, and will be looking forward to the motivation I’ll receive through our instructor and fellow participants. First up on the docket for 2014: a spring triathlon at the local Navy base! Hold me, I’m scared!

Any trends you’re surprised to see make the cut, or any fitness routines you can’t believe weren’t included?
All images via Andrea Howe of For The Love Of

Read more of Andrea’s writing at her blog For The Love Of
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