American Council on Exercise Cites Increased Obesity Awareness and Whole-Life Training Among Leading 2012 Fitness Trends

Posted: Nov 07, 2011 in

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Nov. 8, 2011) —The American Council on Exercise today announced its top 2012 Fitness Trends to Watch as identified by its extensive network of personal trainers, exercise scientists, group fitness experts, allied health providers, and lifestyle and weight management coaches.  The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is America’s leading authority on fitness and the world’s largest nonprofit fitness and personal trainer certification, continuing education and training organization. More than 1,500 experts uncovered an encouraging shift in the public’s understanding of the gravity of the nation’s obesity epidemic as well as a growing trend to marry traditional fitness programs with overall life coaching for improved total health, among other key findings.


“While there is still much more work to be done, we are encouraged by the positive attitude change among consumers, which will hopefully foster important fitness-related behavioral and lifestyle modifications,” said ACE Chief Science Officer Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D. “In the year ahead, personal trainers and other fitness professionals will be called upon to provide more coaching focused on overall health and well-being to spur this momentum and ACE will support this effort by continuing to offer the industry’s most innovative, research-based professional fitness certifications, education and information.”


The following is an overview of ACE’s 2012 Fitness Trends to Watch.  


  • Obesity awareness: Losing weight will continue to be the primary reason consumers seek personal training support as the public responds to the expanded messaging      concerning the dangers of physical inactivity and obesity. The recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report that showed a modest improvement in the nation’s obesity rates for the first time in more than three years is a very encouraging sign.      However, the fact remains that three out of five Americans are still overweight or obese requiring more work to be done.  ACE remains commitment to its 25-year vision to reverse the obesity trend plaguing the nation through involvement of communities, businesses, and government.


  • Whole-life training: Lifestyle coaching will become a bigger trend with more personal trainers looking to holistically improve client lifestyle and expanding their education      and training to include this skill set. Additionally, fitness facilities will hire nutritionists and other allied healthcare professionals such as physical therapists and psychologists to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members including wellness, nutrition and stress management programs.


  • Behavior modification: While great strides have been made in health education, the average consumer still believes the best way to lose weight is by following a restrictive or fad diet. The recently introduced ACE Integrated Fitness Training® (ACE IFT®) Model incorporates tools personal trainers can use to help them identify appropriate strategies for working with each client to enhance goal setting, motivation, adherence, and rapport. Educational campaigns and programs such as ACE’s IFT model, “Personal      Training. Reinvented™”, and the ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Coaching certification will prepare fitness professionals to help consumers better understand that there is no quick fix to getting lasting results.       


  • Community collaboration: Access to fitness services and education will continue to expand in local communities including activities in gyms, parks and recreation centers. In line with the key objectives ACE presented in its 2011 Vision, local leaders are taking a more active role to address health issues in their communities. This includes proactive measures through school-based education programs and engagement with low-income and at-risk families. ACE supports national initiatives such as Joining Forces, which provides fitness resources for military families and Lets Move!, which aims to encourage young people and their families to be more physically active to help them avoid becoming part of the nation’s disturbing obesity trend.


  • Influence of technology: The 2011 ACE trend report showed technology is starting to play a role in complementing in-person fitness services by providing additional motivational support. In the coming year, social media and mobile-based apps will      continue to revolutionize the industry with fitness organizations creating more interactive and online-based programs and classes. Additionally, personal trainers will have more flexibility than ever before to provide one-on-one or small group fitness instruction to consumers anytime and anywhere in the world.


  • Senior and youth specialties: Aquatic fitness and group fitness classes will be the most popular forms of exercise for older adults. ACE’s Trainer program for AARP includes a number of benefits to address the specific needs of the 50+ community which makes up 41 percent of the population. With First Lady Michelle Obama advocating for active children, expect to see more physical fitness in schools, youth-based classes at fitness centers and families who work out or participate in outdoor activities together. ACE      offers its Operation FitKids™ curriculum at no cost to educators looking to integrate health and fitness into classroom learning.


  • Advanced professional education: Fitness professionals will place increased      emphasis on continuing education as an integral action item in further developing their fitness training knowledge, skills and abilities. Because of the valuable education tools and resources offered by certifying organizations like ACE throughout a professional’s career, fitness and health clubs will continue to recognize the importance of hiring skilled employees who hold NCAA-accredited fitness credentials.


  • Workplace support: Due in part to several years of declining economic conditions for business owners, employers will look to outsource wellness programs to local fitness facilities and health clubs that can provide total health management while seeking out employee discounts and reduced membership fees to increase access for workers.


  • Popular Workouts: Zumba, boot camp-style workouts, TRX Suspension training and interval training will continue to be popular workout trends along with balance and core training becoming more prevalent in 2012.


To learn more about The American Council on Exercise's efforts in the fight against obesity, download the organization's Impact Report.

About ACE
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s premier fitness and personal trainer certification, continuing education, and training organization, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting Americans against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction.  ACE sponsors university-based fitness and exercise science research studies and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization.  For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or visit the ACE website at

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