2013 IDEA Fitness Programs and Equipment Trends Report

I have talked about IDEA Health & Fitness Association before, but I will say it again: I feel this is one of the most valuable memberships that I have. They have some of the best conferences that I have ever been to, great periodicals and reference materials, and a website that can do a lot for you professionally.  They just issued their 2013 trends report on equipment and programs.  This type of information is extremely valuable in keeping up with industry standards and benchmarking what competitors are offering.

Their survey was distributed to over 100,000 members and 2,818 people responded – I know I did, I remember getting it.  Some of the top services offered at clubs, studios, and various fitness centers around North America were (no surprise) personal training and group exercise classes.  Interestingly, small equipment is at the top of the equipment trends report and it’s being used with what they refer to as a “multisystem” approach.  In other words, small / inexpensive / versatile equipment is being used to improve cardiovascular, muscular, and neuromuscular fitness.  Sounds efficient – and nothing too expensive or complicated.  Event better, no mention of trademarking!. I like it.

The survey respondents were:

  • 22% personal trainers
  • 19% group exercise instructors
  • 19% owners
  • 16% hybrid fitness professionals
  • 8% fitness directors
  • 7% mind-body instructors
  • 4% group fitness directors/coordinators
  • 3% general managers
  • 1% personal training directors

Some notable personal training activities that respondents indicated they are offering that I thought were interesting were (in no particular order):

  • Posture assessment
  • Outdoor personal training
  • Social activity groups
  • Skill-related components assessment (agility, speed, power, reaction time, etc.)
  • Meditation
  • Olympic-style lifting

The Top 10 Personal Training Trends:

  1. Body weight leverage training (TRX, GTS, ropes, pull-up devices)
  2. Functional resistance training
  3. Seniors training
  4. Balance training, Cardiorespiratory interval training
  5. Shared training among 2 clients
  6. Weight management classes, Shared training 3-5 clients
  7. Outdoor activities
  8. Boot camps, Nutrition coaching, Lifestyle coaching
  9. Exercise for chronic medical conditions, Stretching
  10. Social activity groups, Strength training

The Top 10 Equipment Trends:

  • Body weight leverage equipment
  • Foam rollers and small balls
  • Balance equipment
  • Kettlebells
  • Online scheduling programs
  • Nutrition analysis software
  • Computer workout tracking
  • Yoga mats and equipment
  • Medicine balls
  • Fitness assessment equipment
  • Stability balls

The Top 5 Mind-Body Program Trends:

  1. Yoga
  2. Mind-Body Fusion, Pilates and Yoga Fusion
  3. Pilates
  4. Meditation
  5. Group Reformer

Source:  Donlin, A., & Schroeder, J.  (2013).  2013 IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Trends Report.  Idea Fitness Journal.  June 2013.  34-45.


Don’t miss out on IDEA World Fitness Convention in Los Angeles, California August 7-11, 2013.

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