The results of this year’s survey could very well be titled “postpandemic recovery impacts the fitness industry” or “what happened to online training and home gyms”? During the COVID-19 era of quarantine, face coverings, social distancing, and health club closures, fitness professionals turned in an impressive way to an online delivery of fitness programming. In fact, the 2021 survey placed online training as the #1 trend. It fell to #9 for 2022 and now is out of the top 20 at the #21 position. Online personal training went from #17 for 2022 to #26 for 2023. Home exercise gyms was #2 for 2022 dropping to #13 for 2023. The health and fitness industry is returning to the basics, with strength training with free weights the #2 trend, body weight training as the #3 trend, and functional fitness training as the #5 trend for 2023. Fitness programs for older adults was the #4 trend for 2023. As it has for the past 17 years, the results outcome of this annual survey helps health and fitness professionals make critical business decisions for future growth and development. These investments can be based on emerging trends that have been identified by health and fitness professionals all over the world instead of basing these decisions on the latest exercise infomercials found on television, social media, or the next hottest celebrity endorsing a product.
For the last 17 years, the editors of this Journal (HFJ) have developed and circulated an electronic survey sent to thousands of professionals around the world to predict trends in the health and fitness industry for the following year. The author is grateful to all those who have contributed to the success of these surveys through the years (see sidebar).
Sidebar: Special Thanks
The author wishes to recognize and thank those who have participated in the creation and maintenance of ACSM’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends through the years, especially the following:
Past Editors-in-Chief Ed Howley, Ph.D., FACSM, and Steven Keteyian, Ph.D., FACSM, for considering this project important enough to include in this Journal more than a decade ago, and to current Editor-in-Chief Brad Roy, Ph.D., FACSM, for continuing the tradition.
This Journal’s editorial team, especially those who contributed to the original survey in 2006: Paul Couzelis, Ph.D.; John Jakicic, Ph.D., FACSM; Nico Pronk, Ph.D., FACSM; Mike Spezzano, M.S.; Neal Pire, M.A., FACSM; Jim Peterson, Ph.D., FACSM; Melinda Manore, Ph.D., R.D., FACSM; Cary Wing, Ed.D.; Reed Humphrey, Ph.D., P.T., FACSM; and Steve Tharrett, M.S.
Associate Editor-in-Chief Paul M. Gallo, Ed.D., FACSM, and the Fitness Trends Working Group of Vanessa Kercher, Ph.D., FACSM, ACSM-EP, M.Ed.; Kyle Kercher, Ph.D., M.S., ACSM-EP; Trevor Bennion, DHSc; and Paul Levy, M.P.H.
The ACSM staff who have supported this study by assisting in the construction, formatting, analysis, and delivery of it to thousands of fitness professionals around the world. In particular, the author recognizes the important contributions of Francis Neric, Kela Webster, Heather Drake, Katie Feltman, and especially to Lori Tish,