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Fitness Trends for 2019

POSTED Monday 21 January 2019

For the last 13 years, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has released a survey to thousands of fitness professionals, to define the top fitness trends for the coming year. Lee Costin, fitness guru and UB Sport & Fitness gym manager, discusses what he thinks will be the key trends for the next 12 months.

The ACSM describes a trend as ‘a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving’ – as opposed to a Fad (‘a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm’), and recognised nearly 40 of them for the coming year, including Park Run, doing online classes and the importance of rest and recovery. Gym manager Lee Costin talks through a few of the key ones and gives us his thoughts on which ones he thinks are important for 2019.


A few things that the ACSM notes for this year are:


  • The employing of certified fitness professionals to create worksite health and well-being programmes – ensuring you get a workout that takes your goals, body and abilities into consideration.
  • HIIT sessions – short, intense workouts saw a spike in 2018, and the benefits – not least getting your exercise over and done with quickly – are clear.
  • Free weights – a fantastic way to tone, strengthen and change up a workout. In addition to a bit of cardio, challenging yourself by strengthening your muscles can be a great way to see results.
  • Park Run – social, motivating and accessible, the free running club across the country is a brilliant opportunity to get out and run. A quick 5k round a park on a Saturday morning starts off the weekend well, and is open to anyone – whether you’ve done it before or are trying to get your PB!
  • Tracking personal stats – this is a fantastic way to gauge your progression, and whereas it doesn’t need to become obsessive, it can show you how far you’ve come, in terms of things like strength and fitness. Weight isn’t everything; remember, fat weighs less than muscle!
  • Streaming / online classes and Audio workouts – another way to access classes for those who can’t get to a fitness facility, online classes and fitness apps are a great alternative to going to a gym, and are a lot more flexible for those busy lives. They also create a great online community, which can encourage and motivate. 2019 will see the rise of Peleton – an at home indoor cycling experience, and more virtual exercise streaming services for that DIY workout – like VR head sets or just through your TV.
  • This also leads us on to Technology – wearable tech continues to be top of the agenda. Tracking everything from exercise to sleep, although fashionable it is still a trend. Plus, sports scientists have been using catapult tracking systems to track athlete movements. Wearable tracker shirt technology is also in development – for example, the Racefit suit.stretching
  • Rest & recovery – all too often we see people completing their workout and rushing off, either because they’re busy or maybe just because they’re glad their exercise is done! However, the importance of easing those hard-working muscles after a workout is increasing – too many injuries come from not looking after our bodies, rather than during exercise, and so In order to reap those massive gains from exercise you need a good recovery strategy – and so this year, this could see the development of things like massage strategies, sleep/recovery related
  • supplements, and the evolution of sleep trackers.


  • circuit weight training
  • sport-specific training
  • core training

However, it is important to note that this is a commercial survey, and that types of training get renamed or rebranded under another trend. For example, circuit training can easily be described as group training, HIIT, or bodyweight training among others. When we say these are ‘out’ – it just means that other elements of fitness are taking a more prominent focus, and so they are less ‘on trend’ this year.



  • Supplements in the name of sport are never ending and these will continue to be advertised heavily. The exercise pill – supposedly offering cardio-vascular benefits and muscle building – is on the horizon but not this year…!
  • The carnivore diet. This is just another evolution of the keto and paleo diets, which is open for much debate but does seem to work for some!
  • Veganism is becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle decision. A range of foods are now offered alongside protein alternatives, and is also cost effective.
  • The sugar tax will drive new energy-type drinks – look out for fizzy caffeinated products.
  • The importance of ‘chrono-nutrition‘ is also growing – not just what you eat but when you eat it.


  • Group training is still popular with brands like Les Mills which continues to adapt to the market.
  • Boutique multiple fitness concepts e.g. Soul Cycle, Barry’s Bootcamp plus many others are really popular. F45 will be big this year. Maybe a a big development will be having more under one roof – big clubs trying to recreate boutique areas within their clubs.
  • HIIT is not only classes but a way of gym training, so we also expect to see more on the gym floor.
  • Free weights – All the big gym suppliers are diversifying as they have seen a reduction in demand for traditional machines, and people are combining elements of Olympic lifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding and conditioning in varying degrees. People want athleticism, strength, aesthetics and fitness – and free weights are a good way to achieve these.
  • Crossfit remains popular but still very niche and considered ‘cultish’ by some.
  • The integration of measuring and programming activity in this environment is growing – considering apps and programmes like Archon Combine.
  • Swimming pool-based resistance training – which is great for people with injuries too.
  • Instagram-driven trends e.g. glute training – can definitely expect these elements to continue to thrive.


  • Park run has seen a huge uptake over the years and continues to grow.
  • Obstacle races (like Tough Mudder) and challenges are still very popular.
  • Triathlons – a nice way to challenge yourself.
  • All sporting bodies are driving participation at a grassroots level.


  • This is still a large area to be developed, and the link between exercise and mental health has gained momentum.
  • ‘Mindfulness’ is considered important to health and fitness, and again is growing with the different types of yoga, pilates, meditation and massage options available.
  • Already, there are apps and tools for sport psychology for athletes. For example, Headspace has now joined with Weight Watchers to encourage awareness of state of mind and benefits of meditation – you can read more about it here.

To find out more about the top trends for the next 12 months, check out the ACSM website. For a chat with one of our knowledgeable gym instructors about muscle and weight analysis, PT sessions or exercise programmes, contact the team.


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