Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2023 - ACSM

Hello Fellow Researchers!

The American Colleges of Sports Medicine (ACSM) just released their annual list of the top ten fitness trends for 2023. Its purpose is to provide a systematic way to forecast health and fitness trends and inform health and fitness professionals on what is in demand within the fitness industry so they can better adapt to the changing environment.

#10 Personal Training

A personal trainer's overall job is to guide their clients toward being a healthier and more functional person. This is best done by getting to know the client, conducting an initial assessment, setting realistic and achievable goals, and educating the client on nutrition and exercise technique. Personal trainers also monitor improvement, and adjust workouts with each client encounter and based on each client's progress, as well as coach their clients and motivate them to continue their progress when they leave the gym. One-on-one training continues to be a strong trend as the profession of personal training becomes more accessible online, in health clubs, in the home, and in work sites.

#9 Employing Certified Fitness Professionals

When seeking out and eventually hiring a personal trainer, it is important to work with one who has completed fitness-related educational programs and has fully accredited health and fitness certifications. In confirming that they are certified, you will know that they have, at the very least, a good foundation of knowledge concerning exercise, diet, and the human body. There are a number of accredited fitness associations that you would want your personal trainer or instructor to be certified by, including ACSM, NSCA, NASM, AFAA, ACE Fitness, and CanFitPro.

#8 Exercise for Weight Loss

A weight loss program usually begins with emphasis on a proper eating routine that will provide you with the nutrients that you need, but will result in a caloric deficit, which means you burn more calories than you ingest. To augment your progress over the weeks and months ahead, you should include frequent physical activity. This can include low-intensity exercise such as brisk walking or going to the park and running around with your kids, with high intensity exercise being running, swimming, and weight lifting. The increase in muscle will burn more calories at rest and enhance the level of hormones that control appetite. Aerobic exercise will lower the risk of heart disease and improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

#7 High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

As the name implies, the basic flow for a session is: alternating short periods of high intensity exercise and short periods of rest or active recovery. In practice, however, the format (including actual intensity, duration, rest, and number of cycles) and the equipment used (dumbbells, barbells, treadmills, etc.) vary considerably. The common measure of intensity is the percentage of your maximal heart rate. For example, if a 40 year old wants to reach an intensity of 80% during a particular bout, they would need to get to 144 bpm. So, using a device like a FitBit could be helpful in gauging intensity during the session.

#6 Outdoor Activities

Setting aside the typical resistance training methods of exercise, outdoor activities, as defined by the ACSM, are ventures that include small group walks in the neighborhood or your local park, group rides to other locations, and hiking excursions. In addition, these and other activities can be short events, day-long events, or planned multi-day excursions like stand-up paddleboards, kayaking, mountain biking, and backcountry hiking. This trend is more communal in nature and enables people to socialize while also getting low-to-moderate intensity exercises. Other considerations when planning to be active outside are clothing to address potential exposure to the sun, heat, and cold, as well as wearing proper footwear to avoid chronic injuries.

#5 Functional Fitness Training

According to the ACSM article, functional fitness training is strength training that is used to improve balance, coordination, functional strength, and endurance to improve activities of daily living. Exercise programs reflect actual activities someone might do during the day. Based on this definition, the training concerns older adults and those in a clinical setting. Example exercises are squatting and picking up a weighted object off the ground or lifting it over your head, lunges and step-ups, and performing different types of walking or shuffles in different planes of movement. A broader definition extends to the younger and more athletic individuals with exercises, such as the Farmer’s Walk, jump squats, pull-ups, and push-ups.

#4 Fitness Programs for Older Adults

People are living longer, working longer, and desiring to remain healthy and physically active throughout their life span. With 15% of men and 11% of women over the age of 65 meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines (per the CDC, 2020), it is important to not only to attract the older generations into a fitness facility, but to also make the gym or studio more accommodating to those individuals, including changing the lights and type of music, have the fitness programs be more functional and movement-based, and schedule the sessions and classes around the times that they participants are best able to arrive.

#3 Body Weight Training

Bodyweight training is a combination of multiplane body weight and neuromotor movements with your body weight as the primary source of resistance. There is typically minimal equipment or space needed for this type of training, making it an inexpensive and functional way to exercise. Utilizing this type of exercise activates multiple muscle groups in each exercise, incorporates more balance, core strength, mobility, and stability, and it lends itself to additional workout styles like circuit training. Other benefits of body weight training include making it easier to workout while traveling, and being able to workout indoors and outdoors, especially when the weather is nice.

#2 Strength Training with Free Weights

Strength training is an important style of exercise that is essential to muscular strength and endurance and also an effective aspect of weight management and a faster metabolism. The term “Free Weights” includes equipment like barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, and medicine balls. When starting out on a new strength training routine or using a new piece of equipment, it is incredibly important to focus on mastering the technique of a particular exercise first. This way the muscles will learn the correct way to do the movement and then you can move on to adjusting the repetitions, sets, tempo, load, and exercise selection to reach specific muscular fitness goals.

#1 Wearable Technology

This trend is the only one that has been in the top 3 every year since 2016, and it is not hard to see why. There are a multitude of devices like fitness trackers, smart watches, heart-rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices that record and monitor an extensive number of data points. The information can then be analyzed and used to improve exercise performance, recovery, and overall lifestyle. These types of devices are also used at the collegiate, professional, and international levels of competition in the hopes of getting an edge over their competitors, just like you pursuing to improve into your future self.

Thank you for reading this article. For more information on the entire survey and applicable resources, just click on the link below:


James Curley, Suspension Scientist. Science and Programming for Suspension Exercises and Elastic Bands. Related to TRX Suspension Training
James Curley, The Suspension Scientist 

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Science and Programming for Suspended Exercises and Elastic Bands: Live-Streaming
Science and Programming for Suspended Exercises and Elastic Bands: Live-Streaming