Fitness trends for 2014

I read something online a few weeks ago that kind of made me stop in my neon-clad booty-popping tracks:

Zumba is going to be like the mom jeans of the fitness world.”

As you guys know, I’m a HUGE Zumba fan, so needless to say, the quote stung a little. Things tend to be more painful when there’s a little bit of truth to them.


In my fitness crystal ball -which is bedazzled yet murky- I foresee the Zumba juggernaut hitting a plateau after a long and successful climb to the fitness legend it has become. Of course, I’ll be right there until the end, but I predict that new(er) classes and techniques will continue to thrive in the new year.

Here’s my list of fitness trends for the new year, and some things I think will either plateau or decrease in popularity:

Hot and cold



Dance classes with live DJs or musicians (like Soli Beat!)

Functional exercises with minimal strength and equipment (GPP, CrossFit)

HIIT training and HIIT classes (like Les Mills GRIT)

Cardio/strength combo classes

“Playground” style gyms

Hot yoga and yoga/combo classes (like spin/yoga, pilates/yoga, etc)

Wearable fitness trackers

Group personal training sessions (or bootcamps)

Fitness programs for active older adults (low-impact strength and cardio options)

Yoga stuff

 Functional fitness should continue to gain momentum, as well as classes that emphasize total body strength while working the cardiovascular system. Group fitness training (like bootcamps) should continue to be extremely popular, as well as anything yoga-related. I think that fitness trackers will become even more common than they are today; almost everyone will have a Jawbone or FitBit on their wrist. I’ve been looking into one -I’d love to see the extra steps I take chasing Liv around- so please let me know if you have one your can recommend.

2012 12 12 FitnessTrackerLede



Ab classes


Bikram yoga


Heart rate monitors (still be extremely useful fitness tools, but I think they’ve been replaced by the fitness trackers for everyday use)

“Personal trainers” without fitness backgrounds. The big box gyms seem to be moving away from generic training packages and onto individual trainers with reputable certifications.

The programs I’ve chosen for my “cold” list tend to be the programs that have been stagnant (at least in my experience) for the past couple of years. Zumba is constantly looking to revitalize its program and the offerings, but in reality, the core classes haven’t changed much. The same goes with Pilates and Bikram yoga. Many people LOVE knowing exactly when to expect, while others tend to become bored and seek out alternative options. I think it’s also worth mentioning that the instructors make all the difference in the world! These can all be “hot” classes if you find an instructor who is constantly challenging and inspiring you. If you try out a new class and don’t exactly love it, be sure to experiment with different teachers and/or studios.

What do you think?


Any fitness predictions for 2014?

My preferences and predictions shouldn’t have an impact on your fitness routine (unless you feel inspired to try something new!). You know what you love, and it’s up to you to form your own opinions and create a fitness routine that suits your individual needs and preferences. I don’t care what your fitness love is… maybe it’s Prancercise, and that’s totally cool. I’m excited to see anyone moving, sweating and doing something they enjoy. This is just for fun discussion sake 🙂

Excited to read your comments!



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  1. Adrienne on January 2, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I traded in my FitBit for my heart rate monitor. Because the FitBit doesn’t accurately monitor heart rate, it didn’t give me a precise monitor of calories burned/how much to refuel.

    The FitBit encouraged cardio and steps, which is fine for a beginner, but it was when I cut back on cardio drastically and started strength training I dropped weight (22 pounds currently) and reached the fitness goals I was looking for.

  2. Susie M. on January 2, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Hi! When I was getting my Masters in Public Health I took a Physical Activity and Health course where we tested a lot of new fitness trackers. I LOVED the jawbone. Its fashionable, super easy to use, and more accurate than a pedometer or any other accelerometer. The only downside is that it doesn’t translate cycling into steps very well. But I loved that it tracked my sleep patterns. It showed me when I wake up throughout the night and how long I’m in deep or light sleep. Jawbone is also really good about replacing the bracelet if it stops working. Hope this helps! 🙂

  3. Maria on January 2, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Barre has been a favorite of mine for quite some time 🙂 They were all over the place when I lived in Chicago. I’ve been in WIsconsin now for over and year and we just got our first barre studio in Milwaukee at the beginning of December. I’m already addicted. It’s called Barre Bee Fit and they incorporate cardio with barre and offer HIIT classes. It’s like all of my favorite workouts coming together into one…amazingness!

  4. Sarah B on January 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Hmm, maybe I’ll make Prancercising a 2014 goal, although I hope the outfit and camel toe are optional!
    I’m still sticking to my Polar heart rate monitor. I don’t need another electronic gadget following me around all day! I guess I’ll be old-fashioned!
    Happy New Year! As an Army sister, I love reading up on your military lifestyle. Thank you for all of your sacrifices!

  5. Alissa on January 2, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    I love my fitbit, but after two years I am on the look out for an upgrade. I agree with you about the HIIT workouts, I am hoping that the new gym we might be joining gets GRIT soon! They have all the other LesMills classes, and personally I love Pump & Combat!

  6. Livi on January 2, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    I love HIIT! And I really want to try some Barre classes!

  7. Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food on January 2, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    I am a Jazzercise instructor and the program has been around since 1969. Even though we have stood the test of time, unfortunately, I feel like we cannot shake the “80’s, big hair, leotard + leg warmer” idea. However, we get new routines every ten weeks and we use current music that students know and love! While I know many people wouldn’t think to try Jazzercise, there are many that love it around the world and wouldn’t do anything else! 🙂

    P.S. Great post!

  8. Brittany @ read, run, repeat on January 2, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    I love my fitbit flex and just bought the force for my fiancé– I love that it tracks my sleep as well as all my activity stats!! I’m kind of a data nerd!!!

    I so want to try a barre class and find a way to get back into my yoga practice

  9. Laura B @ FitMamaLove on January 2, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Not Pilates! I’m just about to become certified! It’s ok, I’ll just be one of those awesome instructors who keeps you wanting more. 🙂 I would love to get into PiYo or Yogilates too after this certification, though.

    I see a lot of what’s on your “hot” list already popping up at the YMCA I go to. Lots of HIIT and senior classes. Also an old-school PE type class, which I’m not sure is the same as a playground style class, but it reminded me of that. Maybe you can expand on what that is?

    • Amanda on January 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Yes to PiYo! Go for it. The Y that I belong to only offers it once a week, and it’s the highlight of my week!

  10. Julie on January 3, 2014 at 2:09 am

    I definitely think more outdoor workouts will become popular as well as barre. I was exposed to it years ago but keep seeing more and more videos now. And definitely dancing! I’ve tried Bollywood and want that to come back!

  11. Lucie@FitSwissChick on January 3, 2014 at 3:24 am

    I love a good mix of my heavy lifting sessions, outdoor bootcamp(classes)&runs, Yoga classes and HIIT. Once a week I join a good old aerobic/body toning class which is so much fun!!

  12. Grace on January 3, 2014 at 4:49 am

    To be frank, I think barre has had its heydey – at least, on the coasts – and is on its way out. (I teach for one of the big barre franchises; this is just my own personal observation).

  13. Renae H. on January 3, 2014 at 5:33 am

    I take pole dancing classes twice a week and typically use that as my strength sessions. It still has a “dirty” reputation if you will, but it’s gaining in popularity and studios are popping up all over! I love it because not only does it challenge me, it makes me feel more comfortable in my own skin. Also, people are coming up with new tricks each day and keeps me interested!

  14. Joy on January 3, 2014 at 5:43 am

    I love the idea of a spin yoga class!

    I also think that good old fashioned running is gaining in popularity

  15. Runner Girl Eats on January 3, 2014 at 6:19 am

    I loveeee barre classes and agree it will only grow in popularity. I’m also a huge fan of hot yoga. Great predictions, I think they are spot on.

  16. CourtStar @ StarSystemzFitness on January 3, 2014 at 7:28 am

    I completely agree although I think BUTI is going to hit it big this year, that class is AMAZING its yoga, plyo and dance all combined I LOVE IT. In my realm group personal training sessions are hot because of the economy, you get a PT with a friend for half the cost yet still feel taken care of. I mentioned buddy PT training to my clients who were mentioning the economy to me and I was able to keep most of them so it works out really well plus I have to admit its a bit more fun! Lots of Love C

  17. Heather on January 3, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I love Zumba, but I agree with the comment. I think it will hold steady and be popular for years to come among those that want a fun way to get their cardio in, but either aren’t worried about strength training or are getting that elsewhere.

    I was part of the latter, but as much as I loved Zumba it became pretty inefficient for me to spend the hour (more if you consider commute and wait time) for class, then 45 minutes to an hour doing strength training as well as either HIIT or running in addition.

    Crossfit is my preferred form of exercise because I feel it combines all the different forms of exercise I was doing into one class, cardio, strength, agility, and mobility. Since starting I have become leaner, faster, stronger, and some nagging issues I was having while running have disappeared. I tool over 2 minutes off my 5K time which totally amazes me! I am a little confused about your comment that crossfit has minimal strength. Are you speaking about the equipment? I started Crossfit in September and as far as I can recall we have had a strength component at every class. Since starting Crossfit I have gone from a 140 lb back squat to 180 lb and my deadlift has increased by almost the same amount.

    As far as predictions, I think we are going to see a decline in big box memberships for places that don’t offer the types of classes you mentioned in your first list. I think the days of people wanting to have a two year contract and monthly fee to use cardio equipment and weight machines are coming to a close. I also think ladies are getting more interested in strength training because the myth that you will look like a dude has been busted. With that in mind I think exercises that offer strength training in addition to the cardo like some of the les mills classes, boot camps, and crossfit will continue to increase.

  18. Megan on January 3, 2014 at 8:25 am

    I love Pilates, using the Reformer and Cadillac machines. I think it provides all over strength and flexibility. Although expensive, the instruction is individual – something that I really need to stay motivated.

  19. emma @ be mom strong on January 3, 2014 at 8:39 am

    zumba cold? yes i agree on personal trainers without a background! i love seeing all these new things pop up though- keep workouts fresh!

  20. Cynthia on January 3, 2014 at 9:06 am

    I would like to have some kettlebells to use at home…any suggestions for starting weights?
    Thanks and Happy New Year!

  21. Nikki on January 3, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Location is huge I think for popularity of exercises. I don’t live in a huge town but we do have a Zumba studio. I would prefer Barre but like a commenter above said, who wants to travel an hour away? The gym I joined is the one closest, whatever I do is based on availability. Isn’t that how mst people choose their exercises??

  22. Captain Competition on January 3, 2014 at 9:47 am

    First blog post I’ve read in almost 2 weeks and there is a Prancercise reference, AWESOME!

  23. Frannie on January 3, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I have a fitbit force and I love it for daily activities and running. The only downside is that it’s not super good at tracking other exercises. I actually take it off for circuit training and bicycling. You can plug those in to your online tracker, but I’m afraid its double counting what it thought I was doing with what I was actually doing.

  24. Kris on January 3, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I’m surprised to see you list as hot fitness for older adults listed. These are “hot” at any community-based (YMCA) family fitness center, and have been for a long time (espec in FL where I live, and probably too in AZ). No, you’re not going to see them so much in a resort setting, but believe me, the older adults are certainly out there in plenty of class offerings. Where do you see Spin and TRX in the mix since you didn’t mention? From what I’ve seen, both seem to gain in popularity with modifications to add interest to Spin. I think Barre will be popular, espec online or through DVDs since many people don’t have a studio or can’t afford studio classes regularly. And I think classes/activities that are outdoors and incorporate daily living will continue to gain in popularity, especially those that go in the HIIT direction.

    • Fitnessista on January 3, 2014 at 11:24 am

      they’ve certainly been popular for a long time, but i’m starting to see a lot more variety in the classes offered. it’s amazing to have wonderful options for those who are able to be active their entire lives. very inspiring!
      i think trx and spin will continue to be popular for the hybrid or specialty classes, like suspension yoga (trx) and competition-based spin classes like soulcycle. aqua spin is a new thing, too!
      totally agree about the barre online workouts and dvds.

  25. Nichole on January 3, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Great post! I am currently pregnant (17 weeks!) and I’m loving my Fit Bit Flex and I also have a Polar heart rate monitor that I use when I take spin, TKB and Body Pump classes. I totally agree with your ‘HOT’ list and am looking forward to hearing where you end up teaching in San Diego. My dad lives there and I’m about an hours drive 🙂 Happy New Year to you and your family!

  26. Sarah on January 3, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I love my Polar Loop–I chose it over the Fitbit Force because you can wear it in the shower and pool. Happy and healthy new year!

  27. Christa @ Sit-ups & Sequins on January 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I have to agree with most of those! I started to get into hot yoga last summer/fall but lately, I’m really loving barre classes! It’s a great way to tone and take a break from high impact workouts every once in a while!

    • Fitnessista on January 3, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      i think so, too, especially when you feel like you’re still working extremely hard

  28. Erica on January 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Just wondering if some of the things on your list were pulled from the ACSM’s journal article on 2014 trends in their Health and Fitness Journal in Nov/Dec 2013? Not trying to be a stickler at all 🙂 but quite a few looked familiar to me. I definitely agreed with their list, interesting to read about their distinction between trends and fads.

    • Fitnessista on January 3, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Nope, my own list. The things I’ve predicted seem to be very common though, as many commenters have agreed too

  29. Yvonne on January 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Barre is the rage at my gym. But pilates is still doing OK. Noooo I love Bikram 🙁 If Bikram was more affordable in SC I would go more often. In Jacksonville it was only 13 a class!!!

    I just got a Polar for Christmas. I think fitbits are great but I really like that the accuracy of the Polar. I will use that thing until the “straps” fall off!

    • Fitnessista on January 3, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      bikram is CRAZY expensive. the best way is to get a class pack or groupon. did you take rob’s class in j-ville?!

  30. Liesl @ Fitnessinthekitchen on January 3, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I agree with the Zumba prediction…it only had so far to go, and I think those that love to shake it will always be on board, but those who aren’t as loyal will definitely stray.

    I bought Solibeat for my co-worker for her birthday this year I’m secretly hoping she’ll let me try it out. 🙂
    But I totally agree with your predictions for functional training! I can’t wait to start incorporating more of it into my routines.

    • Fitnessista on January 3, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      i hope she lets you try it out, too 🙂

  31. Katie D. on January 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I’m still loving zumba, but have to admit that sometimes we do the same songs in the same sequence 2 classes in a row and I want to gouge my eyes out! But I also agree that sometimes an hour seems “too long” to be working out. But for my pregnant self, I do like that I can modify easily!

    Before I was pregnant (and on a modified fitness plan), I LOVED TRX and my combine class! My gym also offers a TRX Yoga class.

    I think Aqua aerobics are out, my gym offers them but for the 5 years I’ve been a member, the same 8 or so ladies do it. Not a class that attracts new participants.

    • Fitnessista on January 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      i agree. there are some new aqua classes coming out (like aqua spin) so it will be interesting to see if that changes things!

  32. Katie D. on January 3, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    PS – I have Soli Beat and I LOVE the live music! Not to bash my zumba instructor (great person, could use a little instructor help), she sometimes “stops” class between songs to change the music or whatever. Talk about a buzz (and heart rate) killer!

    • Fitnessista on January 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      ahhh! i’m so glad you like it! the drummers are AMAZING 🙂
      i totally agree– just let it play through!

    • Cristal on January 3, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      That is THE worst! I took a Zumba class for 13 weeks and she stopped and changed the song after EVERY song! It was so annoying. Needless to say, I will not take that class again.

  33. Kelly on January 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Gina, where did you read that quote?

    This makes me very sad because I LOVE Zumba. Particularly because it got me back into fitness. Some of the new fitness is sooo difficult for those of us that are not at that level yet (and scary). I don’t feel that when I use Zumba for cardio. I also mix in strength training for workouts. I love my instructor and I’ll be sad when times change and we don’t have the great classes we have now. But… things that were once hot are… not! Guess we have to accept.

  34. Kristina on January 3, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    i too am a crossfit addict! it is definately growing ..with more and more boxes popping up. unfortnately so is the price… but i think every dollar is totally worth it anyway.=)

    i see crossfit growing and globe gyms dropping..

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      i totally agree. people are starting to realize that it’s not worth paying $$$ for weight and treadmill access

  35. kimberly on January 4, 2014 at 2:27 am

    So I just got a Jawbone for Christmas and I seriously love it. Like love it. You never have to take it off because it stays charged for 10 days. You’re also supposed to wear it as you sleep because it tracks how long it takes you to fall asleep, your sleep cycles and hoe many times you wake up during the night. And the step count is very accurate. I love it.

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      that’s awesome! i looked into the jawbone -love the design- but ended up with the fitbit flex. i really like it so far!

  36. AJ on January 4, 2014 at 3:18 am

    My favourite is step class at the gym, I know it is very 80’s but I love it. In my town there are two awesome instructors and their classes are full because they are fabulous instructors and the class is really complicated and fun. If the instructor isn’t fantastic though step is pretty boring!

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      DUDE i love step. i miss it like crazy! we had a similar class in NC with an incredible instructor.

      • Pam on February 1, 2014 at 9:20 am

        In reading the posts regarding step classes of the 80’s, I am reminded of how much I loved that type of class, ie, step, low-impact/high energy aerobics with current upbeat music. I am looking for that type of DVD to use at home. I have Zumba but not so fond of the Latin music and moves. I just want some old fashioned aerobics to current music. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  37. Jo on January 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I’m sorry to say I think zumba already is the mum jeans of the fitness world. But hopefully, like mum jeans, it’ll never go away. If you ever find anything as brilliant to replace it, I’ll be waiting to hear all about it!

    I got my FitBit One a few months ago as I really didn’t want anything on my wrist – it works really well on my sports bra or jeans pocket. Although it doesn’t track my strength workouts, that doesn’t bother me because my steps goal is additional. It’s definitely an incentive to get those last extra steps in to meet my daily goal. Highly recommended!

  38. Elyse @ Lizzie Fit on January 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    I got a Polar FT7 for Christmas. I had a basic tracker last year (pedometer and heart rate monitoring by checking pulse with finger tip) but I find the Polar to be WAY better. I don’t need to stop and wait for it to read my heart rate and I can see if I’m in the fitness or fat burn zone. The Polar gives an accurate calorie burn vs the tracker which went by my last checked heart rate.

    If all you want is a pedometer, scroll past my rambling, but I highly recommend the Polar 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      i have a polar (i think it’s the ft6?) but i never replaced the battery after it died. it’s an awesome tool for workouts, but i love that the fitness trackers can help give some insight into everyday activities and patterns

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