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A new year can inspire an “out with the old and in with the new” attitude. But when it comes to fitness, some styles remain relevant. We discuss the top 10 fitness trends in 2020 and which ones we think will work.

If you wear a smartwatch, heart rate monitor or digital tracker to monitor your exercise levels, turns out you’re right on trend for health and fitness in 2020. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), wearable technology will be the hottest new means to get fit in 2020, after more than 3,000 health and fitness professionals ranked it number one among new fitness trends in the coming year. 

ACSM has run the same survey every year for 14 years, and wearable tech has topped the list for the past two years. In 2018, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) was hot, while back in 2015 body weight training was the coolest kid on the block.  

With new trends emerging all the time, it can be tricky to know what will get results among the hype. Here are the trends I think will stick.

Wearable fitness trackers

In recent years, we have watched wearable fitness transition from a novel plaything to a useful tool in everyday life. From FitBits to Garmins, TomToms, Whoop and the omnipresent Apple Watch, there are hundreds of devices you can wear to monitor and record your steps, movement and sleep. Some of these operate like wearing a personal trainer on your wrist. The ease of use and constant feedback offers users the information, tools and inspiration to improve their health by achieving small goals such as hitting a daily step count, or running slightly further than last week.

Continued popularity of HIIT

As society becomes increasingly time poor, the average fitness user wants more bang for their buck. People will continue to look for the most efficient workouts in the least amount of time. This has led to the rise of fitness facilities such as F45, Barry’s, Orange Theory and other boutique offerings that take participants through an intense, full-body workout mixing cardio and weights in a short amount of time (usually under an hour). These programs combine elements of group training (which itself ranked third on the ACSM list) with HIIT methodology. Great music, a sense of community, and the energy of the crowd helps maximise calorie burn and keeps participants coming back.

Personal, professional training

Personal training has been rising in popularity for 10 years now and in 2020 it shows no signs of slowing down. The difference now is that clients are coming to expect more from their personal trainers. They demand nutritional qualifications, eating plans, advice on massage and recovery techniques. Physique transformation coaches are also becoming common in a competitive market. Clients are prepared to pay high prices, but they want a world class service in return.

Exercise for health (as opposed to weight loss or body transformation)

The most interesting trend for me is “exercise as medicine”. Exercise is Medicine (EIM) is a global health initiative focused on encouraging doctors and other health care providers to make a physical activity or exercise assessment a part of their interactions with every patient, every visit. The aim is to encourage physical activity and exercise to be sustained in the long term – due to the many benefits it can offer in reducing risk of diseases and improving physical and mental health. Exercise is a completely natural, drug-free remedy that has proven benefits for recovery. It’s not just a trend, but a sustainable tool helping people lead healthy, happy, long lives.

Top 10 fitness trends for 2020, according to ACSM Health & Fitness Journal:

  1. Wearable fitness
  2. High intensity interval training (HIIT)
  3. Group training
  4. Training with free weights
  5. Personal training
  6. Exercise as medicine
  7. Body weight training
  8. Fitness programs for older adults
  9. Health and wellness coaching
  10. Employing certified fitness professionals