Hottest Fitness Trends of 2015

fitness trends

Back in October the ACSM released its hottest fitness trends for 2015.  The results came from a survey that was given to thousands of fitness pros. Let’s talk a bit about what this means for you as a trainer, coach and fitness pro.

Check out the results of the 2015 Top 20 Fitness Trends

Not surprising, at least to me, bodyweight training has climbed up to the top of the list.  This was a brand new addition to the list last year but topped it in 2015. Why? Like a lot of things in fitness, trends come full circle and I think that we are finding out that fitness needs to be more accessible for people.  There is also a performance-related theme to bodyweight training that is very appealing.

You have seen bodyweight training pop up everywhere recently from the hottest new programs that include gymnastics type movements, books on bodyweight training from Men’s Health and programs that are easily done at home like Insanity which feature mostly bodyweight movements. Progressions for training with your bodyweight are discussed in more detail than ever before which makes bodyweight training much more appealing to the average joe. That along with viral video sensations like the Bartendaz and other feats of bodyweight strength have made this an extremely popular fitness trend.


One thing I appreciate about bodyweight training is the focus on performance as a goal.  When you implement bodyweight training into your program we are getting back to the basics of fitness and kinesthetic awareness that has been lost by many due to the restriction of movement based activities in our lives.  As we relearn or learn some of these movements performance is the focus.

One thing I appreciate is the focus on performance as the goal.

That can be a very good thing for some of your clients.

My fears with bodyweight training being the top fitness trend come from trainers trying to implement movements that are much too advanced for their clients without understanding the proper progressions.  Not only will this be frustrating for the client due to their inability to complete a high level bodyweight movement but it can also be a bit dangerous for them to attempt these movements before they are prepared. Gymnasts spend years developing strength, muscle and tendon, as well as the control needed to perform high level movements.

Are we really doing HIIT?

HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training dropped to #2 on the fitness trends for 2015 list after holding the top spot last year. My biggest concern with this is the proper implementation of this training to a client’s program.

With so many trainers out there having no idea about what they are doing when it comes to proper progressions or programming and with most of their continued education coming from the Biggest Loser or other extreme weight loss shows that glorify the puke and rally mentality I worry that clients are being subjected to HIIT in the improper ways. In fact I see it every day. Now that I personally train at a regular membership gym where trainers are taking their clients through progr…uh, let’s just call them workouts :), I get to see a lot of different training styles.  A lot of which include something that looks like HIIT.

I try not to judge what I see one trainer or another doing with their clients because I have no background of the client and know nothing about the program or workout that the trainer is using with them. BUT, it is tough to avoid wincing at a few of the things I see in the gym. In fact, if you read the reviews of the ACSM (a very respected certifying organization) survey many fitness pros expressed concern of high injury rates and other potential dangers. The trouble with HIIT comes from improper programming both in frequency and with the wrong populations. Knowing when and how to use this type of training is critical.

Take Notice of these Fitness Trends of 2015

There are a few fitness trends of 2015 that actually surprised me (either by their placement on the list or their ranking). The most noticeable was “Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals” dropped to #3 on a certifying organizations list that was completed by fitness pros that I would assume are certified. I sort of understand why this might not hold the #1 spot, as it did for several years, and I also have  tough time figuring out how this is considered a trend. Shouldn’t it be the expectation? In all honesty I could care less about certifications and care more about the education, especially continued education of those that consider themselves fitness pros.

Getting a degree in the field or holding a certification that is widely recognized shows clients and potential employers, as well as your peers in the industry, that you care enough about your career to dedicate some time to it and learn the basics. However, to truly earn your spot and call yourself a fitness pro I think you need to passionately pursue your continued education and expand your knowledge either wider or deeper (or both).

The number of potential resources for the fitness pros has never been greater but I fear a many trainers consider their monthly reading of popular fitness magazines their “continued education.” Things like the Elite Training Mentorship making learning easier than ever and give you a behind the scenes look at what some of the best in the world are doing in their programs and with their businesses. Exercise and Weight loss currently ranks at #6 on the list which is a little surprising to me simply due to the number of fitness pros and trainers that market to the fat loss market.  It seems that this would be a much bigger trend.

My hypothesis for it’s position on the fitness trends of 2015 list is due to many fitness pros focusing on other aspects of training, including adult performance training, and also their own insecurity with putting together a solid fat loss or weight loss program. Being a huge advocate of body transformation programs it is hard for me to think this shouldn’t be in the top 5!

One nice drop on the list was Boot Camp to #20. While I don’t think that every boot camp is bad there are a lot of them out there giving the good ones a bad name. In fact, I spent a few years racking my brain to call my own boot camp something different and to help other trainers and business owners come up with their own name. The trouble was nothing connected with potential clients immediately like the name boot camp.  Let’s face the facts, new clients don’t understand Metabolic Resistance Training. Boot camps were an awesome addition to the fitness world a few years back but the popularity of them also brought with it a lot of unqualified fitness hobbyists putting people through grueling workouts.

And you know what, I might be guilty of putting people through stupid workouts as well.  Actually, I am absolutely guilty of putting people through extremely shitty workouts.  However, I have enough pride in what I do to continue to learn and grow as a fitness pro. And I know you do as well! My biggest complaint is directed at those trainers that are committed to staying exactly where they are at and not growing as a professional. What do you think?

I would love to hear what you think about the list and what your prediction for the biggest, and best, fitness trends of 2015.  Leave a comment and let me know!



If you want to join 500 other high-level fitness pros in their pursuit of constant professional growth and learning you can access over 100+ staff in-services and coaching videos from Cressey Sports Performance, Mike Robertson and IFAST, Dave Schmitz, Smart Group Training and myself over at the Elite Training Mentorship. For less than $1 a day you can get behind the scenes access to the best coaches in the world.

Oh, and you get access to our community on Facebook once you become a member! Give it a try for 30-days and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Let us know what you think

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Gregg Walden says:

    Hi I liked your article but thought you might touch on Crossfit. In New Zealand right now there re more people hurting themselves than in any other sport. Don’t get me wrong I think that Crossfit has it’s place but I would really put the emphasis back on the trainers and those educating people in this specific field. I liked your intro vid about FR because we don’t have enough trained and qualified people but if they are, then there’s room to teach them how to run a business and be accountable. Great article

  • Ryan Ketchum says:

    Thanks Gregg!

    Bad training is the problem not CrossFit.

    I’m pretty open to ideas and methods of training and nutrition. I think that’s what is going to get our industry to the next level to where we can make a difference.