Get Your Sweat On: Top Fitness Trends of 2018

HIIT exercise
HIIT exercise
The American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) annual survey reveals people are going back to basics to get fit in 2018.

Working out never goes out of the style, but the ways we choose to work up a sweat often do. The American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) annual survey reveals people are going back to basics to get fit in 2018. More people are ditching fitness apps and indoor spinning and instead taking up yoga and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

The survey, published in the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, included responses from more than 4000 fitness professionals, including trainers, clinical exercise physiologists, and physical or occupational therapists. Survey respondents included experts from organizations including the ASCM, the American Council on Exercise, the National Council on Strength and Fitness, the Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals, and The Cooper Institute. Respondents represented 41 countries around the world.

Because the ACSM was interested in examining trends in this survey and not fads, the organization made a clear distinction between the two. A trend was defined as “a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving,” whereas a fad was defined as “a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period.” Survey participants were then asked to rank 40 potential fitness trends on a 10-point scale, where 1 was least likely to be a trend in 2018 and 10 was most likely.

HIIT, which typically involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest or recovery, topped the list. These workouts are often simple and take less than 30 minutes to complete. In the survey, HIIT was followed by group training, wearable tech, and body weight training, respectively.

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Many previously popular fitness trends didn’t make the top 20 list this year, including worksite health promotion, balance training, boot camps, running clubs, cardiodance classes, and Pilates. 

“The results of this annual survey may help the health and fitness industry make some very important investment decisions for future growth and development,” survey author Walter R. Thompson, PhD, FACSM, associate dean for graduate studies and research at the College of Education and Human Development at George State University wrote. “These important business decisions will be based on emerging trends that have been identified by health fitness professionals and not the latest exercise innovation marketed during late night infomercials on television or the next hottest celebrity endorsing a product.”


Thompson WR. Worldwide survey of fitness trends for 2018. ASCM’s Health and Fitness Journal. 2017;21(6):10-19.

This article originally appeared on Medical Bag