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Fitness Trends for 2017 - The Annual Survey is Out!

fitness trendsThe annual “Survey of Worldwide Fitness Trends” (1) By Walter R. Thompson, PhD is out for 2017. The focus for fitness trends in 2017 is doing the basics right! The most encouraging news yet is that the popularity of fitness is at an all-time high!

Wearable Technology Holds Fitness Trends #1 Position

The number 1 position remains the same as last year which is wearable technology. Wearable technology includes activity trackers (Fitbit, Jawbone..), smart watches (Apple iWatch, Samsung Gear S3..), heart rate monitors (Polar, Timex Ironman, Mio..), GPS tracking devices (Garmin, IP67..) and smart eyeglasses (Solos, Epson Moverio BT-300..). Although wearable technology was introduced to the community just a few years ago, it is fast becoming a multi-billion dollar industry. According to the Apple iWatch® in itself will exceed 485 million devices by 2018. The new “up and coming” wearable technology trend are smart glasses with a predicted $1.5 billion in sales ( Smart glasses enable athletes to glance at a host of useful data in real time including speed, cadence, heart rate and power zones. It is uncertain how wearable technology will change within the next decade as the popularity of fitness continues to increase.

Body Weight Training Remains #2

Body weight training hit the list for the first time in 2013 fitness trends in the #3 position. However, it rose to the #2 position where it remains on the 2017 fitness trend list. In reality, bodyweight exercise is not a new thing, it has been used for several centuries. Fitness clubs have taken these age old training techniques and repackaged them, which has resurrected bodyweight exercise around the world as one of the top fitness trends. Part of what makes body weight training so popular on the fitness trend list, is the fact it is both inexpensive and extremely effective.

HIIT the #3 Spot on the Fitness Trends List

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training; this fitness trend involves short exercise bursts of maximal effort followed by rest and recovery periods.  The HIIT program allure is they take less than 30 minutes which is beneficial for busy professionals (these programs can be longer depending on your goal and fitness level).

Although these programs have consistently been on the top fitness trends list since 2014 when HIIT programs are done incorrectly, they can be high risk for injury. These programs are often done too often or for too many intervals leading to health problems for some individuals.  It is important to remember that HIIT programs should be developed for you by a certified fitness professional.

Educated, Certified, and Experienced Fitness Professionals – #4

The #4 position should be #1 (or at least it is in our books)! People need an educated, certified and experienced fitness professional. This fitness trend is imperative to decrease the risk of injury, especially when it comes to exercise novices.  Infofit trains and prepares fitness professionals to write a number of provincial and international exams including the BCRPA, ACE, ACSM and NSCA. Ask your personal trainer what certification he/she has and if it is up-to-date.  Ask your trainer what other workshops he/she has done as part of continuing education. Check on “The Registry of Fitness Professionals” ( to validate whether your instructor has passed his/her BCRPA provincial certification exam and has kept it up-to-date. Check under find an ACE-Certified Professional to ensure your ACE certified trainer is up-to-date ( ASCM professionals can be located and verified at ( While NSCA professionals for NSCA – CPTs or NSCA – CSCSs can be located at (

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (4) “Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to grow 8 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As businesses, government, and insurance organizations continue to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, incentives to join gyms or other types of health clubs are expected to increase the need for fitness trainers and instructors.”

Become a personal trainer through Infofit Educators, and you’ll be part of one of the fastest growing industries in North America.

#5 – Strength Training Remains Popular Across the Board

Strength training maintains a top position in the 2017 list for fitness trends with a large variety of clientele in the health industry. The survey found many of the younger fitness clients in community and commercial based clubs only use weights for training.

Many health professionals integrate cardiovascular and strength training into well-rounded routines for the management of health conditions such as cardiovascular and pulmonary rehab or for decreasing symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome.

Teach, Lead and Motivate with #6 – Group Fitness

Group fitness leaders teach and motivate classes with a variety of techniques. Group fitness has been a fitness trend for decades, however it is only recently made a comeback on the survey list. Fitness facilities offer an array of classes including body pump, spinning, step, high or low impact aerobics and many high-energy dance classes.  These classes tend to be beneficial for both the client and instructor; it gives the instructor a chance to demonstrate their knowledge, and it offers clients a way to make fitness more affordable and fun.

Using Exercise is Medicine® makes the #7 spot

Using exercise as a medicine has been employed by the natural health community for years. However, Exercise is Medicine® is now a global health initiative that focuses on encouraging general medical practitioners and specialists to include physical activity when designing treatment plans for patients. It is also supporting referrals from the allopathic community to certified exercise professionals. We are hoping this catches on beyond a fitness trend and becomes a necessary part of medical practice.

#8 Third Age – Fitness Programs for Older Adults

Fitness trend or not; the baby boomer generation is a growing market.  As many reach retirement, safe, effective programs need to be developed to match their needs. Other things to consider is our aging population is highly active and participates in high-intensity exercise, so not all aging adults need to be given low-intensity rehab programs. Elderly adults who tend to be frailer need to improve balance with functional fitness programs which will help them maintain independence by being able to perform daily activities. It is important to be able to assess which clients need modified exercise programs, by being able to refer to other health professionals such as physiotherapists and massage therapists.

Certified Personal Trainers should consider how effective this client base can be for filling their underutilized mid-day time. However, it is important to note that this population does have many health concerns. It is important to take the appropriate third age or aging population courses to ensure you stay within the appropriate training zones and rehabilitation exercise prescriptions. The other consideration with the baby boomer generation is they tend to have a lot more discretionary funds that many of their younger counterparts do not have access to yet.

Myriad of Other Items Topping the List

There are a myriad of other items topping this year’s fitness trend list which include: Yoga, Personal Training, Exercise and Weight Loss, Functional Fitness, Outdoor Activities, Group Personal Training, Wellness Coaching, Worksite Health Promotion, Smartphone Exercise Apps, Circuit Training and Flexibility with Foam Rolling.

The biggest carry-overs from 2016 that should continue to grow with the ever increasing market, is wearable technology, body weight training and having a well-educated, certified fitness professional.

While other fitness trends seem to be on the decline including balance training, indoor cycling, running clubs, water workouts and Zumba®. Getting back to the basics never seems to go out of style whereas fads will come and go. The biggest thing that will never go out of style is having a well-educated certified personal trainer to guide you on your journey to being a better you!

Become a Certified Personal Trainer

Become a personal trainer through Infofit, and you’ll be part of one of the fastest growing industries in North America.