Every year the American College of Sports Medicine releases its survey of top fitness trends.  This survey is sent to exercise and health professionals across the world in order to predict what might be trending in the fitness industry in the coming year.  This year is no exception.  Trainers, coaches, dietitians, exercise physiologists, and more used what 2020 showed them and came to a few conclusions as to what we could see more of in 2021.

How COVID Has Affected the Fitness Industry

The list is riddled with trends based around exercising away from public indoor spaces.  Online training, virtual training, bodyweight training, outdoor activities, and mobile exercise apps all made the top 20 trends.  Considering how 2020 went, I think this list makes a lot of sense.  With COVID changing so much of what we do, online training, body weight exercise, and outdoor activities taking three of the top four spots is no surprise.  Exercise professionals recognize that the industry is changing, and everyone is looking for more to do at home and away from the gym.  Wearable technology like Fitbit, Garmin, Apple, and Samsung watches have been a top trend since 2016 and remain high on the list this year.  It seems like everyone wants some sort of watch to track their activity this year.

What We Can Promote and Talk About

The ACSM also has some information in this survey that is very important.  The ACSM mentions that the research shows that HIIT can be dangerous.  HIIT is something listed as a trend on their survey but is important for people to learn about.  Coming in at number five on their list, high intensity interval training, or HIIT, is what is practiced at most boot camp style workouts.  The high impact movements involved in HIIT can place unnecessary strain on joints and lead to injury if not carefully managed.

Numbers seven and nine on their list are “Exercise is Medicine” and fitness for older adults.  These are movements that the ACSM is pushing which aims to get more people referred to exercise facilities from doctors, friends, and family.  These are such important movements within the fitness industry as exercise can help with so many health conditions!  Exercise is vital to health and longevity.

How We Disagree With the ACSM

Unsurprisingly, the ACSM lists licensure a few times in its top trends list.  This survey is sent out to people already in the ACSM network.  ACSM certified exercise professionals are also taught that free weights are the best for strength training, which is why “strength training with free weights” makes the list over strength training with other items like machines or resistance bands.  The ACSM also utilizes catch phrases or hot topics like “functional training.”  Functional training is very catchy and trendy in the industry but should, in my opinion, be seen as much less important than proper strength training.


At Titanium Performance, we don’t chase trends.  Everything we do is backed by research and the results of the people we train.  What this list can do is help us educate ourselves on questions you might bring to us!  We can also be excited looking forward to helping more people referred to exercise by other health and fitness professionals.


If you have any questions about this post or the survey talked about in it please reach out!

Timothy Jerabek