Photo: Fitbit

Wearable Technology is No. 1, again. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) released its annual international survey of 4500 health and fitness professionals, asking them to assess 42 potential fitness trends. Like last year, wearable fitness trackers occupied the top spot. “Wearables are certainly not going anywhere,” ACSM past-president Walter R. Thompson, lead author of the survey, said. “Not only are these devices becoming more affordable, but wearable data is increasingly being used in clinical decision making, so they are continuing to hold their appeal.”

Online training continues to decrease in popularity as the lockdowns of the COVID-19 height recede into the past. Online training leapt from No. 26 in 2020 all the way to No. 1 in 2021 (that survey was conducted in the pandemic-high final months of 2020), but receded to No. 9 last year and all the way back to No. 21 this year. Similarly, home exercise gyms, No. 2 last year, fell to No. 13 this year.

We at The Barbell are, of course, pleased to see strength training with free weights and bodyweight training ranking No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, this year. Also, it’s good to see high-intensity interval training (HIIT) remaining in the top 10 (No. 7). HIIT was No. 1 on this survey in 2014 and 2018. It seems these “trends” aren’t going anywhere.

One trend on the rise as baby boomers continue to retire and adopt fit lifestyles is fitness programs for older adults. This was No. 9 in 2021 and No. 11 last year, but climbed all the way to No. 4 this year.


According to the ACSM survey, the top 20 global fitness trends for 2023 are: 

  1. Wearable Technology
  2. Strength Training with Free Weights
  3. Body Weight Training
  4. Fitness Programs for Older Adults
  5. Functional Fitness Training
  6. Outdoor Activities
  7. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  8. Exercise for Weight Loss
  9. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals
  10. Personal Training
  11. Core Training
  12. Circuit Training
  13. Home Exercise Gyms
  14. Group Exercise Training
  15. Exercise Is Medicine
  16. Lifestyle Medicine
  17. Yoga
  18. Licensure for Fitness Professionals
  19. Health/Well-Being Coaching
  20. Mobile Exercise Apps

See also: Survey Reveals Fitness Trends