2012 Fitness Trends


More than 1,500 experts uncovered an encouraging shift in the public’s understanding of the nation’s obesity epidemic as well as a growing trend to marry traditional fitness programs with overall life coaching for improved total health.

The American Council on Exercise announced its top 2012 Fitness Trends to Watch as identified by its extensive network of personal trainers, exercise scientists, group fitness experts, allied health providers, and lifestyle and weight management coaches.  

The following is an overview of ACE’s 2012 Fitness Trends to Watch.  

Obesity awareness: Losing weight will continue to be the primary reason consumers seek personal training support as the public responds to the expanded messaging concerning the dangers of physical inactivity and obesity. The recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report that showed a modest improvement in the nation’s obesity rates for the first time in more than three years is a very encouraging sign. However, the fact remains that three out of five Americans are still overweight or obese, requiring more work to be done.  

Whole-life training: Lifestyle coaching will become a bigger trend with more personal trainers looking to holistically improve client lifestyle and expanding their education and training to include this skill set. Additionally, fitness facilities will hire nutritionists and other allied healthcare professionals such as physical therapists and psychologists to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members including wellness, nutrition, and stress-management programs.

Behavior modification: While great strides have been made in health education, the average consumer still believes the best way to lose weight is by following a restrictive or fad diet. Ace incorporates tools personal trainers can use to help them identify appropriate strategies for working with each client to enhance goal setting, motivation, adherence, and rapport. Educational campaigns and programs such as ACE’s IFT model, “Personal Training. Reinvented™”, and the ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Coaching certification will prepare fitness professionals to help consumers better understand that there is no quick fix to getting lasting results.       

Community collaboration: Access to fitness services and education will continue to expand in local communities including activities in gyms, parks, and recreation centers. In line with the key objectives ACE presented in its 2011 Vision, local leaders are taking a more active role to address health issues in their communities. This includes proactive measures through school-based education programs and engagement with low-income and at-risk families. ACE supports national initiatives such as Joining Forces, which provides fitness resources for military families and Lets Move!, which aims to encourage young people and their families to be more physically active to help them avoid becoming part of the nation’s disturbing obesity trend.

Influence of technology: The 2011 ACE trend report showed technology is starting to play a role in complementing in-person fitness services by providing additional motivational support. In the coming year, social media and mobile-based apps will continue to revolutionize the industry with fitness organizations creating more interactive and online-based programs and classes. Additionally, personal trainers will have more flexibility than ever before to provide one-on-one or small group fitness instruction to consumers anytime and anywhere in the world.

Senior and youth specialties: Aquatic fitness and group fitness classes will be the most popular forms of exercise for older adults. ACE’s Trainer program for AARP includes a number of benefits to address the specific needs of the 50+ community which makes up 41 percent of the population. With First Lady Michelle Obama advocating for active children, expect to see more physical fitness in schools, youth-based classes at fitness centers and families who work out or participate in outdoor activities together.

Advanced professional education: Fitness professionals will place increased emphasis on continuing education as an integral action item in further developing their fitness training knowledge, skills, and abilities. Because of the valuable education tools and resources offered by certifying organizations like ACE throughout a professional’s career, fitness and health clubs will continue to recognize the importance of hiring skilled employees who hold NCAA-accredited fitness credentials.

Workplace support: Due in part to several years of declining economic conditions for business owners, employers will look to outsource wellness programs to local fitness facilities and health clubs that can provide total health management while seeking out employee discounts and reduced membership fees to increase access for workers.

Popular Workouts: Zumba, boot camp-style workouts, TRX Suspension training, and interval training will continue to be popular workout trends along with balance and core training becoming more prevalent in 2012.

For more information on ACE and its programs, visit the ACE website at www.acefitness.org/.