Take a look at the list of trends and how you can use them to your advantage

3 minutes

Let’s turn the clock back to a year ago when we looked at the trends for 2022. There were still remnants of the pandemic in the top 10 and far into the top 20. Home exercise gyms at number 2, outdoor activities at 3 and online live and on-demand exercise classes at 9. The outlook for the following year looks very different, online services including personal training and on-demand exercise classes have dropped out of the top 20 trends for this year and home gyms have dropped to number 13 on the list.

Ok, so let’s look at how these trends are formed. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveyed over 125,000 exercise professionals, professional members and editors of the ACSM journal. The survey asks them annually to identify the trends they consider to be the most apparent in the coming year out of a list of 47 options devised by the editors of the ACSM Health and Fitness Journal.

A clear line is drawn between fads and trends when selecting the trends to ensure a comparable list can be used in the future.

  • Trend: “a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2023).
  • Fad: “a style, activity, or interest that is very popular for a short period of time” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2023).

To be clear here, whether a trend or a fad, all exercise forms will work for someone, if your favourite form of exercise is not in the top 20 don’t let it deter you from continuing to do it. If it works and you enjoy it - keep doing it. 

We’re going to break down the list and show you how to use it this year to help 2023 be the year of consistency.

1. Wearable technology

Fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, GPS trackers - you know the ones, Fitbits, Apple watches, Polar and Garmin. Wearable tech has topped the list 6 times in the last 8 years since its entry into the survey in 2016. Wearable tech is something we’re all fairly familiar with now, our UOP Fitness app can help track all your performances in the gym, classes, climbing or in the pool. Connect accounts such as Google fit, Fitbit, Garmin, Map my fitness and My Fitness Pal, Polar, Run keeper, Strava, Swimtag and Withings. Just head to your settings within the app to connect your existing accounts. If you’re training within Ravelin Sports Centre or training outdoors - if you’re tracking it, it can all be stored in one place.

2. Strength Training with Free Weights

Barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells are our jam here. Strength training with free weights is extremely popular, I mean, we’ve known for a while and you only need to walk into Ravelin Sports Centre gym at 5pm to see that free weights are popular. If you know your way around the free weights area, how often do you throw a kettlebell into the mix?

Try this quick workout, all you need is some space and a kettlebell:

15 reps of each exercise, 3 rounds, 2 minutes rest between rounds:
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Goblet squats
  • Shoulder press (15 on each side)
  • Overhead lunge (15 on each side)
  • Bent over row

Want to make it a full-body workout? Add:

  • Bicep Curls
  • Overhead Tricep Extensions
  • Laying single arm floor chest press (15 on each side)

If you’re new to free weights or want some tips or gym hacks, book a free consultation with one of our personal trainers. They can write you a programme or you can go down the personal training route. Think Personal Training is only for beginners - the Rock has a Personal Trainer. Just saying.

3. Body weight training

An incredibly effective way of training, all you need is enough space to lay down and stretch out, or if you want to take it up a notch, our rig. Press-ups, bodyweight squats, pull-ups the list really is endless and using our TRX can increase the resistance of any move simply by moving your feet nearer or further away from the TRX. If you want to be guided through some bodyweight training try one of our classes - bodycombat, bodybalance, pilates, yoga, barre. You’ll use your body weight to work out, you’ll feel it the next day. Portsmouth is lovely for bodyweight workouts as it gets a little less wet - workouts in Ravelin Park, in the sunshine and fresh air. We cannot wait.


4. Fitness programmes for older adults

As a University gym facility, the majority of our members are students and as a broad statement, most are not considered older adults. That being said, we're pleased to have many older adults as members and our activities are open to everyone. Our instructors are fantastic and will always offer alternative exercises if you’re struggling with something and are always on hand for advice, should you need it. Our personal training is ideal for catering specifically to any specific needs. 

5. Functional fitness training

Focusing on using strength training to improve essential balance, coordination, muscular strength, and endurance to improve activities of daily living typically for older adults but also in clinical populations. It’s not the only application for functional fitness though, balance training and developing strength in your supporting muscles and movements are great for anyone playing sport. The Power Plate is an unbelievable piece of kit to help you achieve this. The vibrating plate from the 80’s it is not. This medical-grade piece of equipment vibrates at high frequency to improve proprioception, it improves your neuromuscular pathways which in turn improves your strength. Try performing single-leg squats for 30 secs using the handles as a guide as a starting point - just don’t stand up fully or your head will feel funny.

The full list can be found below with the full article available from the ACSM.

  1.  Wearable technology
  2.  Strength training with free weights
  3.  Bodyweight 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


If you’re looking to learn more about any of the Top 20 trends and how to incorporate them into your workouts, book a free consultation with one of our personal trainers.