Last year may have seemed a struggle for fitness professionals, what with the economic downturn. Will this trend continue, or will 2011 bring greater security for business owners? “After what has been a tough couple of years economically, things are looking up as far as the fitness industry is concerned,” says Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “Consumers are ready to focus on improving their overall health.” What else is in store for the New Year? Here are some of ACE’s top fitness trends for 2011:

  • Economic Upswing. In general, consumers are preparing for an economic upswing, which is motivating more individuals to resume their personal training and fitness regimens.
  • Added-Value Wellness Services. More gyms and health clubs will begin to hire allied healthcare professionals to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members.
  • Technology as a Support Resource. Although there have been many technological advances in the fitness industry, online interactive classes will not proliferate in 2011, demonstrating the desire for human contact with fitness professionals. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter® and YouTube will become increasingly popular, serving as online motivational support systems to complement personal training sessions.
  • Buddy System. Healthy support groups will become a more popular offering in gyms, owing to peer encouragement and increased potential for success. This thinking also holds true for older adults, with the majority of them seeking group classes to stay fit.
  • Elevated Professionalism. There will be a significant increase in the hiring of personal trainers who hold NCCA-accredited certifications at gyms and fitness centers. With consumers becoming more educated and fitness-savvy, they understand the need for fitness professionals to have the proper education and high-quality certifications.

For more insights into fitness industry trends, read “2010 IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Trends” by Jan Schroeder, PhD, and Shawn Dolan, PhD, RD, in the July–August 2010 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.