5 Industry Reports Highlight What’s Hot in Fitness Trends Now

Here are five research reports showing how different fitness industry groups rank exercise activities and trends for 2022.

  • March 11, 2022

A few months into the year, and 2022 is just heating up. With the recent Omicron variant impacting the first few weeks of the new year, gym-goers are beginning to emerge in greater numbers from their winter hibernation and getting more serious about their fitness journey, especially as warmer weather approaches.

As they do every year, several fitness industry organizations have created rankings of 2022 fitness trends from surveys and other research. Here are five reports—in no particular order—you’ll definitely want to check out.

While each report differs in the details, all the lists have something to offer for club operators and fitness professionals. The reports covered in this article do not contain IHRSA research and IHRSA does not receive compensation of any kind.

Keep reading for a summary of the most notable rankings as well as where you can find the full reports.

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The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM): Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2022

What it is: One of the more well-known annual lists, ACSM’s rankings tap into the organization’s global reach—more than 90 countries—in the sports medicine field. Based in Indianapolis, IN, ACSM boasts more than 50,000 members and certified professionals in its association. This report collects survey results to determine trends.

Why this data is useful: The ACSM report takes a comprehensive view of health and fitness services with plenty of expert guidance. With the editors and researchers at ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal taking the lead, these rankings utilize data from a survey of more than 4,500 fitness professionals. The authors explain how to use the rankings in a way that provides practical application for industry pros of all types, while cautioning that it’s important to understand the distinction between a trend and a fad.

The top three trends from ACSM’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2022 include:

  1. Wearable technology: Devices like fitness trackers, smartwatches, and heart rate monitors that count steps and track heart rate, calories, sitting and sleep time, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.

  2. Home exercise gyms: Uses minimal exercise equipment or treadmills and bikes at home for solo or family events.

  3. Outdoor activities: Includes small group walks, group rides, and organized hiking groups.

Where to find it: The full report is available to view on ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal.

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ClassPass: ClassPass Beauty and Fitness Trends: What To Expect In 2022

What it is: ClassPass uses data from its reservations system to compile these rankings, which looks at fitness, spa, and beauty trends. This year’s report focuses on trends, popular days and times that ClassPass users book reservations, city-specific behaviors, and includes predictions for the year.

Why this data is useful: We’ll focus on ClassPass’s fitness trends. As the company notes, since January 2021, fitness reservations have grown by 329%, so they were able to utilize plenty of real-world data and deliver it in a straightforward fashion. The report is all-encompassing of what trends are back from the past, what’s new, and what was left behind in 2021.

ClassPass’s top three workouts of 2021 are:

  1. Strength training
  2. Yoga
  3. Cycling

Three trends and predictions for 2022:

  1. Commuting cardio is back: One in four people plan to return to offices full-time in 2022. As a result, workout routines are shifting as 64% of professionals now stop by fitness facilities during their office commutes.

  2. Hybrid work(outs) are fueling discovery: People are twice as likely to sample a new studio on the days they work from home.

  3. Our moods determine our movement: According to the survey, the type of workout someone books depends on if they’re stressed out, feeling neutral, or feeling calm and happy.

Where to find it: You’ll find the report as part of the 2022 US Mindbody Wellness Index.

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Les Mills: 10 Key Fitness Trends for 2022

What it is: The group fitness powerhouse utilizes a number of sources and research, including feedback from their own instructors, to create a lively breakdown of emerging trends. From boutique breakouts, fitness gaming, and inclusion efforts, this report lists 10 trends for fitness industry professionals to focus on.

Why this data is useful: Compiled by Jak Phillips, global content & PR director for Les Mills, this list is delivered in an entertaining, conversational presentation that will really get your creative juices going. By using so many different data sources, Jak finds interesting angles on what’s emerging. With an entirely new landscape, the trends are useful for health clubs, gyms, and studios looking to make a mark in the industry.

The top three trends for 2022, according to Les Mills:

  1. Gamification: “The cultural convergence between fitness, fashion, music and entertainment is fueling a new age of ‘exertainment,’ sparking exciting collaborations and innovative products,” notes Jak.

  2. Growth in new exercisers: The pandemic has prompted consumers to prioritize their health, with 82% of consumers planning to adopt regular exercise, according to the Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report.

  3. “Rock star” trainers: Labor shortages and new dominance of virtual training has made popular instructors more valuable than ever. Find ways to keep them.

Where to find it: The full list is available in the Research & Insights section on the Les Mills website.

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Mindbody: 2022 Mindbody Fitness Trends Report

What it is: This report is not a traditional list, but a broader view of where the fitness and wellness market is going, while grappling with the broadening definition of what constitutes wellness. The fitness section is part of the larger 2022 Mindbody Wellness Index.

Why this data is useful: Mindbody’s research looks at how views have changed from pre-pandemic to today, while digging into the preferences of different age demographics and other subgroups. It also provides guidance that’s especially useful for fitness facilities who want to attract new members. The data is taken from interviews with more than 16,000 Americans from major U.S. cities.

The top three responses to the Mindbody survey prompt, Top reasons people exercise today, is to:

  1. Reduce stress (43%)
  2. Feel better mentally (43%)
  3. Look better physically (39%)

Where to find it: You can download the report here.

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SCW Fitness Education: SCW Trends in Fitness: Part 1

What it is: The 34-year-old organization provides continuing education and certification in numerous fitness modalities, and holds popular events and conferences throughout the year. This list is compiled from the contributions from group fitness instructors, personal trainers, owners, and managers in the U.S. This report is the first of a four-part series.

Why this data is useful: Written by Sara Kooperman, J.D., founder of SCW, these rankings include the top 20 trends with five appearing in each write-up. Sara’s longtime industry experience and versatile skills help guide you through the list that benefits from the input of fitness pros who are in the field interacting with a wide variety of clients. In Sara’s words, these activities are the “most sought-after areas of fitness.”

The top three areas of fitness and wellness in the U.S. include:

  1. Functional training: “Owners, trainers, and clients are all seeking the benefits of functional training that translate directly into everyday life,” writes Sara, citing the value of its practical uses.

  2. Active aging: This programming isn’t just for those 70 to 80-years-old, but can begin for those decades younger, Sara says. The “exercise is medicine” revolution is taking on, and professionals should continue to emphasize prehab for Active Agers.

  3. Nutrition: Sara notes, “Clubs have an enormous influence in this area, and it opens opportunities for them to partner with licensed and registered dieticians to provide the research-based public answers and programming for their clients.”

Where to find it: Part 1 of SCW’s Trends in Fitness can be found on its website.

Your Mileage May Vary, Tailor Trends to Fit Your Consumers

As you can see, these reports differ in interesting ways. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but taken together, the reports can broaden your perspective and give you insight on how to set your priorities.

Nobody knows your clients and members better than you. The more you understand what they value, the better your results will be as we head deeper into 2022.

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