The Top 5 Fitness Trends of 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018. Author Dr. Haran Sivapalan

The Top 5 Fitness Trends of 2018 - predictions from health and fitness experts

2018 is in full swing, but are you adopting any of the year’s top fitness trends yet?

Late last year, the Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals (CREP) asked 4,133 of their members to forecast the most significant health and fitness movements of 2018.  Respondents included various professionals in the health and fitness industry, such as personal trainers, academics and healthcare professionals.

Before summarizing the results, which were published in the American College of Sports Medicine Fitness Journal, it’s important to distinguish between a ‘trend’ and a ‘fad’. A trend refers to a general change in fitness activities that people adopt, whereas a ‘fad’ is more of a fashion that is taken up fervently but only for a short time (think Shake Weight or 8 Minute Abs).

Unsurprisingly, given the longevity of trends (in contrast to fads), many of the leading fitness trends of 2018 also proved popular in previous years.

Let’s take a look at the Top 5 for this year.

1. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

Coming top was High Intensity Interval Training, which involves brief (30s to a few minutes) bursts of high-intensity exercise, interspersed with periods of recovery. For example, a HIIT workout may comprise sprinting at maximum effort for 30 seconds, followed by 1 minute of walking or jogging to recover.

The benefits of HIIT are well proven and include enhanced fat loss, increases in VO2 max (a marker of aerobic fitness) and improved insulin sensitivity. Moreover, given that HIIT requires less time yet burns more calories and fat than continuous (steady-state), moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, it represents great bang for your buck.

Considering its myriad benefits, it’s hardly surprising that HIIT is an increasingly popular trend. On that note, you’ll be happy to know that all our FitnessGenes systems incorporate varying degrees of HIIT.

2. Group training

As its name suggests, group training describes exercise classes for groups of individuals (typically 5 or more, to delineate it from group personal training). It can include anything from spinning classes and aerobics to group dance classes. The most conspicuous benefit of group training is that exercising with others can aid motivation and incentivise attendance – we’re social animals after all.

Furthermore, group exercise instructors are renowned for whipping up an energetic and encouraging atmosphere, all part of its appeal. It’s perhaps due to these reasons that group training has shot up from number 6 on last year’s list of trends.

Aside from the direct effects on the body, group training can also improve mental and physical health by allowing people to form social relationships. Perhaps Henry Ford was talking literally, when he said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself."

3. Wearables

Fitbits, smart watches, GPS trackers, heart-rate monitors and smart glasses – these are all examples of wearable technology. The feedback from these devices allows individuals to plan, monitor and personalize their workouts and to chart their progress over time. Wearables are an integral part of the wider movement to use personal data to improve health and fitness: a movement sometimes known as the ‘Quantified Self’.  

The healthcare sector also stands to benefit from the increasing use of wearables. Speaking at an academic conference entitled ‘Doctor on Your Wrist’, our very own Dr. Dan outlined the main question for healthcare practitioners worldwide - “Can wearable technology change long-term behaviours, motivate patients, and help us all lead healthier lives?” 

4. Body weight training

Ever done a push-up or a side plank? If so, you’ve performed body weight training – resistance training that uses your own weight rather than free weights or machines. The advantage of body weight training is that it can be done at home, cheaply, without the need for specialist equipment. Such accessibility explains why bodyweight training is an enduringly popular fitness trend, polling 2nd on last year’s list.

If you’re stuck for ideas on what exercises to do, check out these 5 suggestions from Andy ‘Ironmac’ McKenzie.  Furthermore, our Get Fit plan gives you option of body weight or free weight workouts.

5. Strength training

Exercise to strengthen muscles has always been popular, so it’s no surprise that it ranks in the top 5 trends for 2018. Women and older people in particular are turning to resistance and strength training in high numbers, and with good reason - lifting weights has been demonstrated to increase bone density, promote fat loss and prevent age-related loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia).

If you’re looking for workouts with a very strong emphasis on strength training, why not check out our Build Muscle plan?  


I hope you enjoyed this article.  Please read my other blogs: 

Nutrition tips for exercising in the snow

What do elite athletes think about DNA analysis

Health benefits of Christmas foods

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Air pollution and exercise:  Is it safe to train outside?

Is struggling with weight your destiny?

How Your Finger Length Influences Overall Strength

Just Say No to Upselling

Unravelling the Secrets of Our Circadian Rhythm

3 Easy Ways You Can Get Started

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