2018 Fitness Trends

Hi friends! How’s the morning going? We had a rough night last night – Miss P has an ear infection – and are taking it super easy today. Even though I feel awful for P, it is kind of nice to just chill in our pajamas and keep things low-key, especially after getting back from such a long trip.

For today, let’s talk about fitness trends. Each new year, I try to take a little bit of time and assess what I think is happening in the industry. It helps me think of new topics to discuss here on the blog, and also gives me ideas for new Focus On posts. There are trends that come and go, and some formats that undoubtedly stand the test of time. I thought I’d share a little post with my thoughts on the up-and-coming classes for 2018, and the formats that have staying power for packed classes this year. 

2018 Fitness Trends - What's Coming Up and What's Going Out This Year. fitnessista.com #fitnesstrends #2018fitness

Up and coming:

Apps. I feel like apps started to gain traction over the past few years but are now more popular than ever. It’s amazing because there are so many apps for the different types of workouts you like to do. Some of my personal faves are the Peloton app, Sweat by Kayla Itsines and Aaptiv. On the same note, many boutique fitness studios offer online classes if you don’t live near a studio. Physique57 and barre3 are two that come to mind that are particularly amazing. There are running apps, rowing, strength training, dance, anything you could think of. 

Play-type workouts. Overall movement and functional movement are becoming focal points of fitness. Instead of thinking of putting in your headphones to hit the treadmill, these are more based on competition (like indoor obstacle courses), playground-style gym equipment, and activities based on everyday movement, like community gardening.

Immersive fitness the trip


Interactive, immersion workouts (like Immersive Fitness by Les Mills). Studios are just now starting to transform fitness classes into a multi-sensory activity, using scents, full screens, and music to match the purpose of the class. Instead of cycling blindly in a dark room, you’re riding in a group to a large screen with an outdoor course. You’re performing plyometrics to pulsing lights or practicing yoga with aromatherapy and a live DJ. Studios are starting to truly make fitness an experience, and there’s so much opportunity and limitless options in this arena. I’m excited to see what they come out with next!

napcercise gym class


Focus on restorative techniques, mobility and recovery. For the first time in a while, recovery feels *trendy.* Classes like group nap are popping up (and omg I would LOVE TO TAKE ONE. Maybe every day), and full classes are built around mobility work, foam rolling, stretching, and restorative yoga. Back in the old days, I would have written this off as a waste of a workout (how things have changed), but I know now that if you take the time to show your body some TLC, it’s less likely to get angry and hop on the injury train.

Staying power:

Bootcamp-style workouts. Classes like Burn Boot Camp, Orangetheory, and Barry’s are going to be around for a while, which is a good thing because they’re amazing. I love that you can work at your own pace according to your unique abilities, and are pushed to your personal max. 

Total body barre hiit workout

Barre. Yay for all the barre love! It’s one of my favorite formats to take and teach, and I’m happy to see it thriving. The small movements are unlike traditional strength training, and it challenges your body in an entirely different way. 

Spin. Spin had a good chance to become stale, but thanks to new bikes, immersion-style classes, Flywheel, Soulcycle, and Peloton, it’s still as popular and fun as ever.  


Yoga and Pilates. Yoga and Pilates are here to stay forever and ever, amen. These classical workouts are very different but are both a beautiful blend of strength, core work, and flexibility. I like that they’re challenging without impact, which make them an awesome low-impact option for those with special considerations or certain injuries (with modifications as necessary, of course). 

lifting weights

Les Mills. Les Mills just keeps on doing its thang. They’re constantly adding in fresh music and new moves, and followers appreciate that they know exactly what to expect when they take a class. It’s one of those classes that’s the same wherever you go, and it’s easy to add additional challenge and stressors to the workouts. The new releases help keep it fresh and relevant. 

CrossFit. CrossFit has amassed a cult-like following, and from what I’ve seen, it seems like it’s sticking around. I do think there’s a high potential for injury (don’t throw anything at me!) but know a lot of fit friends who love it dearly. 

On the way out (or already gone):

Scorching hot classes. I just haven’t heard a ton about hot classes lately. I personally enjoy them – I want to sweat my face off – but can see why they’ve kind of lost their appeal over time. Warm classes can be safer since they don’t artificially elevate the heart rate as much, but are just enough to get that nice, stretchy feeling. 

Summer zumba party


Zumba. Poor Zumba. I love you so, and I’m even teaching it again (!), but that doesn’t mean I think it’s still alive. Classes are still popular in certain areas, like V-town, but for the most part, I think it’s waiting to be replaced by a new form of dance cardio. (I’m excited to see what it will be!)

So, tell me friends: Do you agree with my predictions above? Are there any new classes or formats you’ve heard about? Also worth mentioning that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter what’s popular. The best fitness modes and classes are the ones you LOVE and that you’ll actually do. 

What’s something you love that is no longer a *thing*? I yearn for the good ol’ step aerobics days. I could L-step and mambo cha-cha all the live long day. 


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  1. Becky on February 20, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on Pound! It’s been around for about 7 years now but I think it’s gaining more and more popularity since being featured on This Is Us last year. Would love to see it on this list or in a future Focus On.

    (I’m biased because I recently started teaching it…)

    • Fitnessista on February 20, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      yes! i used to teach a similar class in tucson, but haven’t taken an official pound class. i’ll definitely check it out!

      • Sarah V on February 21, 2018 at 7:26 am

        I was going to ask the same! I teach Pound and, as someone who has been an avid spinner, runner, yogi etc for eons, Pound has me HOOKED! I feel like you would LOVE it. It is sneaky challenging and before you know it you’ve rocked like 500 squats and lunges to kickass music. Def try it out if you can!

  2. Holly on February 20, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    I used to love Zumba, but I love Jazzercise even more!

    • julie @ peanut butter fingers on February 20, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      YESSSS to Jazzercise! It’s seriously so, so, so much fun!

    • Fitnessista on February 20, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      jazzercise is so fun! i wish we had it here

  3. Janice O'Kane on February 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Water aerobics! Oh, how I loved those classes. They’re still around, mostly during daytime (read working hours) only, but I kind of feel like these had their heyday in the 80’s. Ha, I don’t think I could nap with strangers and would be way too cheap to pay to take a nap!

    • Fitnessista on February 20, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      i like water aerobics! it’s surprisingly hard
      and good point about the strangers haha

  4. Juliette | Namastay Traveling on February 20, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    I’m a BodyPump fanatic forever! What are your thoughts on all the new climbing gyms? I have a lot of friends forging the traditional gym memberships and just climbing. Would love to know your input!

    • Fitnessista on February 20, 2018 at 11:43 pm

      i like them! i don’t think i’d personally get the best workout out of it (i like to MOVE), but think that it’s a great workout choice, especially for building upper body and grip strength

  5. Kaitlyn on February 20, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    There is a new dance cardio format that originated in the DC area called BANG! (https://freedomgroupexercise.com) and I’m in loooove! Their barre format is amazing as well!

    • Fitnessista on February 20, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      ohh that’s exciting! i’ll check out the link now!

  6. angie on February 20, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    I know in San Diego Zumba is being taken over by STRONG by ZUMBA and UJAM..but they both were out in 2016-2017, i actually took a SBZ class at NAS Pensacola in January 2016 when i was visiting family right after i retired.

    • Fitnessista on February 20, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      i’ve been wanting to try strong! what did you think about it?

      • angie on February 21, 2018 at 12:20 pm

        I actually liked it more than regular zumba

  7. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on February 20, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    I teach spin and it’s really hard to keep people engaged. I’ve started doing relays, team sprints and intervals with squats mixed in to keep people coming back. It’s tough because most people don’t know how to ride a bike properly so I’m always looking around like who’s gonna fall off on this drill? lol

    • Fitnessista on February 20, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      those are all great ideas! at PLSC, they added a screen which makes the class so much more interactive. you can bike to a course, and each bike has a “bubble” on the screen that you fill according to power/wattage. i feel like spin atmosphere makes a huge difference (like screens or flashing lights)

  8. milania dela cruz on February 20, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    OMG on the L=step!! I love all the you listed, but I’ve never tried OFT. Yoga, Pilates, Running, Zumba, Les Mills, Spin, HIIT, I love! I used to love CF but it’s so easy to get injured so I stopped it.

    • Fitnessista on February 20, 2018 at 11:41 pm

      haha the l-step, v-step, figure 8, mambo cha-cha life 😉
      i really like the idea of crossfit, but don’t think it’s the best choice for the general population. you just need to go into and be honest with yourself about modifying if you need to

  9. Stephanie on February 20, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Gina, have you ever tried SurfSet? I recently became licensed to teach and LOVE it! There are different types of classes (balance, burn, build, blend) and it is so good for your core as you really need to focus on core strength to stay balanced on the board.

    • Fitnessista on February 20, 2018 at 11:40 pm

      no, i haven’t heard of it, but it sounds amazing!!

  10. Tammy Cox on February 21, 2018 at 8:58 am

    I am so lucky because my gym still offers step aerobics…twice a week even. It is my favorite work, aside from just running. But I love boot camp classes to sneak in the strength training.

  11. Diana on February 21, 2018 at 11:05 am

    I really loved Crossfit, I think it was mostly my gym though. I always gravitated towards the older set in the group because they were so much more focused on pushing themselves instead of competing with each other. After babies though, I just can’t find the time. Jazzercize was SO MUCH FUN when I did it, and Zumba I felt like half the work out was me laughing when I messed up the moves! I think all in all I’ve learned that I like classes. I like that accountability to the teacher and my classmates and the competitive part of me comes out 🙂

  12. Katie on February 21, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Step aerobics, Jane Fonda workouts, and Jazzercise! I still do all three of these things on a consistent basis and love them so much. I prefer low impact workouts and these are perfect for getting your heart rate up without jumping and burpee-ing all over. 🙂

    I do miss Tae Bo, though! That was the first workout that really gave me defined abs!

  13. Kayla on February 21, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    In New York I feel like the next big thing is definitely more “mindful” workouts that go beyond yoga. For awhile it was spin classes, then rowing classes, then HIIT, then boxing. Now I think New Yorkers are trying to slow down a bit more.

    And I miss zumba so much! But it’s sadly not really a thing anymore in NYC.

  14. Reghan on February 22, 2018 at 6:44 am

    I love kickboxing style classes (my fav is Combat by Les Mills) and I think they are here to stay!
    I also love and miss step aerobics! I used to rock a lot of step classes.
    I’m a huge fan of spin and would love to try one of the cool classes with the loud music and lights.
    I’d also love to do some style of hip hop dancing class 🙂

  15. Brittany V on February 22, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Have you tried STRONG by Zumba?! I am NOT a dancer, but I’ve been doing SBZ for 18mos now, 2x a week, and I love it!

  16. Nina on February 22, 2018 at 10:46 am

    I agree, specially with the out list. And as a former dancer i love how popular barre is getting!

  17. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on February 22, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    I feel like they need to make Zumba “cool” if that makes sense. The outfits and branding are just so dated looking. I miss Zumba but I am all about Orange Theory at the moment!

  18. Tammy on February 22, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Pilates 100%! It may look easy but with the right instructor, it can kick your buns! And so many “tools” can be used in Pilates which they can “fusion” classes.

  19. Rachel on February 23, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    305 Fitness (originated in NYC, followed by a studio in Boston) has recently grown to DC and LA and it’s like Zumba x 10000! The DJ + fancy lights make the class fly by and it’s so. much. fun!

    • Fitnessista on February 25, 2018 at 11:40 am

      ohhhhh i want to try it!

  20. Jennifer on February 25, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I am glad to see hot workouts leave… or rather I hope they do. Although you mentioned them being safer because of less stress on the heart, but if you have asthma it is much more dangerous. I have asthma and don’t treat it since it is pretty mild. Worst case scenario is a slow down a little in my workouts. But the other day I did a spinning class with my sister, and although I am a little out shape, I just couldn’t keep up. I finally slowed down and realized I couldn’t catch my breath. I had to step out to breath. It was easily 80+ degrees, door was closed, no windows, it was awful. They don’t advertise it as hot spinning, but I think it was intentional. Just something to keep in mind

  21. Victoria on February 25, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I don’t mind hot yoga but I swear that’s all the studios in Pittsburgh do! I’d rather do a normal yoga class but it looks like I’ll be still doing hot yoga. I do mainly use yoga to get a good stretch so I guess I can’t complain too much.

  22. Liz S. on February 25, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    100% agree on all!! I’m especially relieved about the ones on the way out, to be honest.

  23. Claudia Urner on June 25, 2018 at 4:33 am

    ?? Jazzercise is fun, dance and fitness i love it ??

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