Fitness Industry Trends Around the Globe Examined

Posted: Sep 16, 2015 in ACE Press Releases

BOSTON and SAN DIEGO, Sept. 15, 2015—Today, the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and ClubIntel released the inaugural International Fitness Industry Trend Report, “What’s All the Rage?” This study explores the offerings of fitness professionals and gym operators around the world, and quantifies the data to reflect growth in trends over the past two years. 

With the collective goal to shed light on what equipment, programs, services and technology the fitness industry is adopting and how these adoption rates are changing over time, ACE, IHRSA and ClubIntel gathered behavioral data from a broad spectrum of industry professionals and business segments across the globe—representing over 11,000 health and fitness businesses. The study explores more than 90 industry trends across three broad categories—programs, services and training protocols; equipment and facilities; and technology—and determines if they are emerging, niche, growing, maturing or declining. 

“This is a first-of-its kind report to measure the behavior outcomes across the entire industry, which gives fitness professionals around the world a better understanding of what their peers offer, what’s in demand, and what’s projected for growth,” said ACE President and CEO Scott Goudeseune. “Having access to data of this caliber can help professionals to better understand the opportunities that exist within the industry and assist them in developing a competitive business strategy to grow their businesses.” 

“The International Fitness Industry Trend Report provides real-world feedback on what fitness club operators and professionals are actually utilizing in the marketplace,” said IHRSA President and CEO Joe Moore. “The report provides an in-depth analysis of niche, emerging, and mature trends based on comprehensive responses from leading club operators and fitness professionals.”

The key findings from the report include:

  • Personal training has the highest adoption rate of any program or service in the fitness industry.
  • Traditional functional fitness equipment and accessories (medicine balls, BOSU, stability balls) and flexibility/mobility equipment (foam rollers, stretch trainers and myofascial release devices) proved to be today’s hottest equipment.
  • Boot-camp training, small-group training, HIIT group exercise classes and functional resistance training have all achieved a high level of adoption and continue to show above average growth.
  • Social media is the only well-adopted technology trend. The industry has yet to fully embrace technology as a means to enhance the member/client experience and improve productivity and efficiency. Technology opportunities such as online pricing transparency, online registration and reservations for programs, selling memberships online, virtual training and club mobile applications all have opportunity to gain significantly greater adoption with the industry.
  • Senior fitness programs are among the top ten most frequently adopted industry trends.
  • Treadmills and elliptical trainers have experienced resurgence in growth in the past two years. 

Notably, a significant majority of the trends across all three categories fell into either the emerging or niche categories. 

“The fact that many of these trends are either emerging or niche means one of three things. First, it could mean these trends are now just catching the attention of the industry and therefore hold great potential for growth. Second, they may truly be niche offerings destined to have low levels of industry adoption. Finally, they might be fads that quickly emerged and are destined to fade nearly as quickly in the years to come. Over the next couple of years we will have a better idea in which direction these emerging and niche trends will move,” said Stephen Tharrett on behalf of the partners at ClubIntel. 

The data in the report is segmented by global region, business model and scope or size of the enterprise. 

For a free overview of the study findings, go to or and download the executive summary of the 2015 International Fitness Trend Report. The full report can be purchased from the ClubIntel store at in early October. 

About ACE (

The nonprofit organization American Council on Exercise (ACE) educates, certifies, and represents more than 58,000 currently certified fitness professionals, health coaches, and other allied health professionals. ACE advocates for a new intersection of fitness and healthcare, bringing the highly qualified professionals ACE represents into the healthcare continuum so they can contribute to the national solution to physical inactivity and obesity. ACE is the largest certifier in its space and all four of its primary certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the gold standard in the United States for accreditation of certifications that assess professional competence. ACE also plays an important public service role, conducting and providing science-based research and resources on safe and effective physical activity and sustainable behavior change. For more information, call 800-825-3636 or visit AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EXERCISE, ACE and ACE logos are Registered Trademarks of the American Council on Exercise. 

About IHRSA (

IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, is the trade association serving the global health club and fitness industry. The mission of IHRSA is to grow, protect and promote the health and fitness industry, and to provide its members with benefits that will help them be more successful. IHRSA and its members (health clubs and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and industry suppliers) are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and activity promotion. As one of the world's leading authorities on the commercial health club industry, IHRSA regularly conducts industry and consumer research, along with club operator studies. IHRSA also regularly conducts research on club consumers, operations and global fitness markets. For more information on IHRSA research, visit To find an IHRSA member club worldwide, visit 

About ClubIntel (

ClubIntel is member and brand insights firm founded by Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson. The company is primarily focused on helping clubs understand, appreciate and leverage the needs, wants and personal journeys of employees and members. In addition, we help clubs understand the position and voice of their brand in the marketplace, providing a means by which clubs can take ownership of the white space in the market and gain a distinct competitive advantage. Our 50 plus years of experience spanning consumer and customer insights, branding, club operations and people development represents an industry-first storehouse of human insight and research expertise that can help clubs reach their full potential and gain a powerful competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. 

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