A recently published survey by ACSM about trends in fitness has spawned a number of articles; here, here and here. ACSM's top 20 fitness trends makes no mention of Indoor Cycling - going so far as to suggest its inevitable demise. My review of the survey finds it wanting > no, actually I see it as utter nonsense BS based on both sample size and respondents.

WORLDWIDE SURVEY OF FITNESS TRENDS FOR 2015: What”™s Driving the Market?

Pilates, indoor cycling, stability ball, and balance training again failed to appear on the list of top 20 trends in the health and fitness industry, which supports the theory that these were fads and not trends. [Really? 20 years of Spinning® is just a fad?]

Some of the survey respondents still argue that the persistent sluggish economy has influenced the results of this survey and that training programs requiring expensive equipment or technical instruction are not supported because of the increased cost. Still others argue that Zumba®, indoor cycling, and Pilates have run their useful course.

Where do I even begin?
The purpose of this survey is to: guide health fitness programming efforts for 2015 - and - developed a systematic way to predict health and fitness trends

During the last 8 years, the editors of ACSM”™s Health & Fitness Journal® have disseminated this electronic survey to thousands of professionals worldwide to determine health and fitness trends. The survey in this issue of the Journal helps to guide health fitness programming efforts for 2015. The first survey (1), conducted in 2006 (for predictions in 2007), developed a systematic way to predict health and fitness trends, and surveys have been done annually since that time (2—8) using the same methodology. As this was a survey of trends, respondents were asked to first make the very important distinction between a “fad” and a “trend.”

The potential benefit to commercial health clubs (those that are for-profit) is the establishment (or maybe the justification) of new markets, which could result in a potential for increased and more sustainable revenue. Community-based programs (typically not-for-profit) can use the results to continue to justify an investment in their own markets by providing expanded programs serving families and children. Corporate wellness programs and medical fitness centers may find these results useful through an increased service to their members and to their patients. The health and fitness industry should apply this information to its own unique settings.

OK, So exactly who, and how many did they survey?

Using Survey Monkey ( www.surveymonkey.com), the online survey was sent to 28,426 health fitness professionals....

After 3 weeks and 2 additional notices, 3,403 responses were received, which represents an excellent return rate of 12%, which is very similar to previous surveys.

While 3,400 isn't a small number, I don't know that I would be too proud of a 12% return rate. I get that people are busy. That often means that the people who do respond could have some additional time on their hands.

Here's the breakdown of survey participants. Notice anything strange?


If you thought (as I did); that's a lot of personal trainers (23%) - I wonder if they could have skewed the results to personal trainer-ish activities?

fitness trends for 2015

I added the red "X" next to each "trend" that would apply to personal training. Twelve of the twenty "trends" identified are what I would expect a personal trainer to list. Really?

The summary of the survey includes this observation:

Pilates, indoor cyclingbalance training, and use of the stability ball continue to exist in the health and fitness industry but with not as much popularity according to the ACSM trends survey. 

I'll leave you with this pearl of wisdom from one of ACSM's INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS

Yves Vanlandewijck, Ph.D., professor, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences and program director of the Education Board of the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Adapted Physical Activity, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

During the last 9 years, the ACSM Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends has been established as the primary mechanism by which the fitness industry has set its standard for the coming year. Around the globe, owners of clubs look forward to the survey to have a better understanding of market direction and emerging trends. That was true in the past, and it continues to be that way today. The survey was sent to thousands of health fitness professions, with 12% responding. That is a remarkable return rate for a survey of this type, demonstrating beyond any doubt that it reflects an accurate picture of the industry. Owners, operators, fitness staff, and sales professionals should pay attention to the results of the survey.

Good Grief... the only thing beyond a doubt is that you're clueless 🙁

No Ms. Vanlandewijck, owners, operators, fitness staff, and sales professionals should pay attention to what the 75 million participant/users of the MyFitnessPal App are doing for exercise.

We were curious to see what fitness trends we could see among the 75 million MyFitnessPal users, so we sat down with our fitness and nutrition experts to take a look at the hot workouts from 2014. The mission: to predict what 2015”™s hottest workouts will be.

We took the total number of minutes logged for each of these activities and divided by the number of active users on the app over the period of Jan-Nov of 2013 vs. Jan- Nov 2014. We did have a growth in our database over that time, so we corrected for the number of daily active users.

Here”™s what MyFitnessPal”™s coaching lead, Glennis Coursey, and our Registered Dietician, Elle Penner, have deemed the workouts to watch in 2015:

Ballet Barre classes like as Cardio Barre, Daily Method and Bar Method, which are based on workouts done by dancers, were up by a whopping 45.8%! We expect to see this trend continue as more and more people plié their way into 2015. [Barre was never mentioned anywhere in the ACSM survey]

And this nugget should set your mind at ease 🙂

Although there are fewer than 40 studios in the US, it”™s undeniable that there”™s a tremendous buzz around SoulCycle. We anticipate this class (and cycling workouts inspired by it) will be in big demand in 2015. The celeb fave is up 78.3% since 2013.

So to answer ACSM's question; What”™s Driving the Market? Participants are, not Personal Trainers.


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