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Fitness Trends 2024: 9 Things to Keep an Eye On

Coaching platforms, wearable technology, virtual reality workouts, artificial intelligence fitness coaching, and exercise as a tool for mental health are some of the biggest fitness trends in 2024. Thanks to the continued innovations, wearables are proposed to have a huge impact, allowing for more in-depth tracking and seamless integration.

1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

You’ve undoubtedly heard of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) at some point. Perhaps you’ve even tried it for yourself. It’s certainly not a new way to exercise.

HIIT is simply a form of exercise where you alternate between short periods of near-maximal effort and recovery. One popular option is interval running––for example, run at 80-85 percent for 30 seconds, walk for a minute, and repeat. Do ten rounds of that, and you’re done.

battle ropes

These training principles can be applied to jumping rope, lifting weights, doing bodyweight movements, cycling, and more. Some of HIIT’s most notable benefits include:

  • Efficient training. Rather than working out for 45, 60, or even 90 minutes to burn enough calories and deliver the necessary stimulus to your muscles, HIIT allows you to condense a lot of work in little time to get great results in far less time.
  • Decent caloric burn. Despite the relatively short workout duration, HIIT allows trainees to burn a respectable number of calories in as little as 15-20 minutes (1). Trainees can burn an extra 6-15 percent calories after the session, thanks to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) (2).
  • Muscle growth. The neat thing about HIIT is that it can deliver a decent muscle stimulus to promote modest muscular development (3). Even cardio activities like running can lead to growth if we do them at a high enough intensity.

The question is, what makes HIIT a trend in the fitness industry now? Well, the truth is that HIIT isn’t a new trend. The exercise modality has been popular for a while now, thanks to how it’s presented and marketed.

One reason HIIT continues to be so popular relates to time management. People are increasingly busy with work, school, and other obligations, making spending an hour working out impossible.

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HIIT is a simple and effective form of functional fitness training that keeps people on track to reaching their goals, even if they can’t spare more than 20 minutes to train.

Online training used to be a fragmented experience, with coaches using email, social media, Google Sheets and Docs, Skype or Zoom for video calls, and other tools to communicate, plan workouts, and deliver files.

The scattered communication often made for a frustrating and overwhelming experience, even with a small client roster. Things would become even more confusing as coaches signed more clients.

Gathering feedback was also challenging, and coaches couldn’t always respond promptly, leading to frustration for clients. To make matters worse, progress tracking was also a problem that required a lot of manual input that took hours every week.

Enter coaching platforms designed to streamline the coaching process and put all communication between a trainer and their client in one place. How relieving is that?

A good coaching platform allows fitness professionals to create training programs, assign them to clients, track everyone’s progress from a single dashboard, communicate, make adjustments when necessary, and much more. 

That way, coaches can save time and spend more energy on things that move the needle: serving clients better, communicating more clearly, and finding ways to expand their businesses

Hevy Coach is our all-in-one platform designed to connect trainers and coaches with their clients. Its simple interface makes coaching and progress tracking a breeze. The platform works with the Hevy app, which clients use to access and log their workouts.

3. Wearable Technology

HIIT watch

Wearable technology might seem like a fad, but it’s a fitness trend unlikely to go away soon. 

In the early days, wearables were basic, inaccurate, and not that useful. But today, such devices are everywhere and are growing more sophisticated by the year. 

Take smartwatches like the Apple Watch and Garmin. The early versions were mostly good for telling the time. Now, these same devices can measure people’s VO2 max with surprising accuracy.

Smartwatches can also measure heart rate and blood pressure, sleep quality and duration, calorie expenditure, and more. We can pair them with our phones and jump from one device to another when using apps for strength training, running, etc.

Heart rate monitors are another popular product that assists endurance athletes and health-conscious individuals. Their sole purpose is to track heart rate, but their increasingly accurate tracking, thorough reports, and data-exporting capabilities make them great products.

Fitness bands and smart shoes are other fitness wearables to watch out for. Bands can track various metrics (steps taken, calories burned, stress levels, etc.), whereas smart shoes are equipped with sensors that measure gait, step count, the force of impact when your feet strike the pavement during runs, etc.

With the continual innovation we are seeing, the growing consumer demand, their appeal among various groups of people, and the integration with other devices, wearables have the potential to become one of the top fitness trends in the next decade.

4. Exercise for Mental Health

We’ve (hopefully) put the global crisis that was the COVID-19 pandemic in the rear-view mirror, but that doesn’t mean its impact has faded completely. Even today, countless people still carry the trauma of social isolation, uncertainty, contracting the virus, or even losing close people to Covid. 

The pandemic took a toll on our mental health and led to depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. According to the World Health Organization, there was a 25 percent increase in anxiety and depression globally during the pandemic (4). 

In a study published this year, researchers accounted for the data by WHO and conducted an online-based 45-question online survey with 205 anonymous participants (5). The researchers found that people with higher education were more likely to be in a worse mental state. Additionally, women under 30 were more likely to suffer from anxiety.

According to experts, new parents, young people, and those hospitalized due to Covid appeared to be the most impacted by the pandemic.

These recommendations are not new, as health professionals and organizations like WHO have preached the importance of physical activity for mental health long before Covid (6). But perhaps the topic is more popular because we’ve collectively become more conscious of our mental health and the positive impact exercise can have on our well-being.

Group fitness classes have particularly grown in popularity since the Covid restrictions were lifted because they combined two things known to help us feel better: connecting with others and doing physical activity.

5. Online Fitness Coaching

Like most other fitness trends on our list, online coaching is not new. It’s been around for quite a while and has evolved over time. Instead of meeting clients in person, coaches can work with them over the Internet, which provides a few distinct benefits. Most notably:

group online fitness
  • Convenience – instead of meeting at specific times, coaches provide clients with all the necessary information. Doing so allows clients to train when it suits them.
  • Cost-effectiveness – charging clients per session can be costly for them. A huge benefit of online coaching is that there is typically a monthly fee that’s more affordable and predictable.
  • Privacy – not everyone is comfortable in a gym setting. Online coaching allows anxious trainees to learn and work out in the privacy of their homes.
  • Greater access – instead of being limited to the local area, trainers and clients can work with people from various parts of the world. This is particularly beneficial for those living in more rural areas.
  • Personalized feedback – good online coaching is about accountability and progress tracking. Using tools and coaching platforms provides clients with the feedback and analysis they need to adjust their approach when necessary and stay on track.

Another advantage is that coaches can offer various services. One of the primary options is to create custom fitness programs and meal plans and give clients the freedom to do things on their own.

Alternatively, coaches can offer online fitness classes for newbies and those who don’t have the time or energy to plan their workouts and decide how to tackle each minor issue that comes up.

With the rising popularity of fitness wearables, coaching platforms, home exercise equipment, and other tools, it’s easier than ever for trainers to guide people online. Progress tracking is far easier; clients can get almost instant feedback, and overall satisfaction rates are only going to increase.

For these and other reasons, online personal training continues to grow in popularity and will likely become an even bigger trend in the upcoming years.

6. Virtual Reality Workouts

Virtual reality, often called VR, is a new type of digital technology designed to immerse people into a simulated environment. Unlike traditional screen interactions, VR places users inside the experience, allowing them to interact with a new world.

For VR to work, people must wear a special headset and use hand controllers or gloves that create movement in the simulated environment. As tech develops and new features are added, VR will emerge as a new way for people to exercise in a more engaging way.

Here are a few potential benefits of VR workouts:

  • Immersive experience – the most distinct thing about VR is how real the simulated environment feels. Despite being simulated, the surroundings feel real, and users can jump from one place to another. From a hardcore digital gym to a beautiful beach, the possibilities for exercise environments are endless.
  • Engaging workouts – people often need help to stay consistent with an exercise routine because they find it boring. VR workouts promise to eradicate this issue and turn exercise into an engaging experience. Workouts can feel like journeys or games, boosting people’s motivation to log in and exercise more consistently.
  • Tailored training – VR promises to make workouts more customizable by adjusting the difficulty in real time based on the trainee’s performance. Doing so would ensure that the challenge is always adequate––just beyond the user’s abilities and enough to keep them motivated.
  • Reduced perception of effort – they say that time flies when we are having fun. A neat benefit of VR workouts could be that trainees enjoy the experience so much that it doesn’t feel like work. Instead, it could be something fun to enjoy after a long day at work.

How exactly VR integrates with fitness remains to be seen. However, the potential is there, and the possibilities are endless. 

VR could become the future of fitness, allowing for social integration, advanced biometric tracking, tactile feedback, and integration with AI tools.

As VR technology improves and becomes more accessible, we are likely to see a boom in this new type of working out, including the ability for coaches to connect with clients from all over the world on a much deeper level.

For example, how cool would it be to have a virtual weight training session with a friend who lives thousands of miles away?

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7. Functional Fitness

Functional fitness is any form of physical activity that prepares the body to handle real-world activities, including daily tasks like carrying groceries and climbing stairs. The goal is to train the body in a way where muscles learn to work together, produce more complex movements, and keep us safe.

While there is a lot of buzz around functional fitness and how it’s vastly different from traditional gym training, that’s not true. Almost all forms of exercise are functional, but some are more useful than others.

For example, even a simple bicep curl can be seen as functional because it strengthens a muscle involved in pulling motions. An overhead press is also functional because it makes us better able to lift heavy objects overhead. That could certainly come in handy the next time you want to stuff a heavy suitcase in the overhead bin of an airplane or train.

Deadlifts? Those are fantastic for learning to lift heavy objects off the floor safely. That might not seem like much, but countless people injure themselves precisely by lifting heavy objects with poor form (7).

That said, functional fitness has become a buzzword and will likely continue to be a trend in the industry. The promise of helping us in our daily lives, the appeal to diverse demographics, and the evolving nature of physical activity make functional fitness a topic of interest.

At its core, functional fitness addresses our innate desire to move and be capable. While some people are motivated solely by aesthetics, most also care about their performance and enjoy the feeling of getting better over time.

8. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Fitness and Health Coaching

Despite the countless innovations in tech, artificial intelligence (AI) stands out as a particularly transformative force that’s captured our collective attention. 

Take ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chatbot that launched in November 2022. According to OpenAI (the company that made ChatGPT), it reached a million users just five days after launch (8). For reference, Facebook took ten months to reach that milestone, and Netflix needed 3.5 years. Talk about mind-bogglingly rapid growth.

Interestingly, AI is slowly making its way into fitness coaching, with people turning to such tools for guidance and answers to their questions. Many businesses have also started to leverage AI to automate certain procedures and improve their products.

For example, Noom, a popular weight loss and nutrition app, has been using chatbots to help its users. These chatbots can analyze data, answer specific questions, and provide guidance for people to stay on track.

Automation will likely increase in the upcoming years, providing people with 24/7 support, timely responses, and (mostly) accurate feedback based on their previous training performance, weight trends, and other important metrics.

Some potential benefits of AI coaching are:

  • 24/7 support – automated tools never sleep, which means people can reach out and have their questions answered in minutes, regardless of the time
  • Affordable – AI tools are more affordable than paying for personal training or nutritional services.
  • Tailored guidance – AI analyzes each person’s data to become increasingly accurate and relevant with its recommendations.

Of course, none of that is to say that AI can replace real coaches. While useful in some ways, AI comes with some significant drawbacks:

  • Lack of a human touch – people like talking to people. While a chatbot can answer questions and help you make decisions, it lacks empathy, understanding, and the ability to solve nuanced problems.
  • Inability to coach people in person – AI is restricted to the Internet, which means it can only work in a chat setting to solve a limited number of problems in specific circumstances.

    People looking to master a new exercise, do the correct number of reps, learn what mistakes they are making, and stay motivated during a workout will need the guidance of a real trainer.
  • Generic responses – while AI tools are impressive and are likely to become more sophisticated, they are prone to oversimplifying complex subjects and providing similar responses to people in different situations.
  • Over-reliance – learning to put too much stock in AI guidance can cause people to become dismissive of real experts with knowledge and specific expertise. A real coach can often provide a more tailored fitness routine and holistic guidance.

9. At-Home Fitness Equipment

at home gym

Home training saw a meteoric rise in popularity during the pandemic, with countless people opting to exercise in the comfort and safety of their homes. Of course, many people have since returned to the gym and have forgotten the days of doing push-ups and bodyweight squats to maintain muscle. 

However, that temporary shift to home exercise has become a permanent fitness solution for some individuals who discovered the unique advantages of having a home gym or doing living room workouts.

For example, according to a survey by the guys at GarageGymReviews.com, 61 percent of the responders said they have a home workout space, with only 31 percent claiming to have some sort of gym membership.

Of course, there is a degree of bias among survey responders, given that the website is dedicated to reviewing equipment, often for people looking to build home gyms. Plus, we can’t discount the benefits of a traditional gym environment––socializing, having access to more machines, etc.

That said, a different report suggests that the home fitness industry grew from $6.76 billion to $9.49 billion in 2020 before settling to a stabler $8.62 billion in 2023. This indicates that people are interested in purchasing training equipment and carving out a home workout space.

“This growth is due to a variety of factors, such as lack of time, low confidence, busy gym crowd, childcare, and a fear of lycra. People are increasingly turning to home gyms for their fitness needs.” – Source: Gitnux

One good about the pandemic is that it’s shown us how beneficial home workouts can be. Fitness goals change as people look for simpler, more effective ways to stay active while juggling other responsibilities.

Back in the day, a dumbbell workout in the living room was seen as only suitable for beginners and older adults looking to get active. But today? A growing number of trainers and coaches recognize the value of home training and actively coach people in such a setting.

Of course, it’s difficult to say how the fitness landscape will evolve in the upcoming years. Still, the market for at-home training equipment will likely see modest and consistent growth, especially with all-in-one smart devices like Tonal popping up.

Final Words

The fitness landscape is dynamic and unpredictable. However, looking at many fitness trends reports and other data, it’s clear that the intersection of technology and fitness is there and is bound to reshape the industry.

Today’s options are vast and varied, from sophisticated fitness trackers to the convenience of online personal training and coaching platforms. These and other technologies are fast becoming an irreplaceable companion on one’s fitness journey.

While somewhat unpredictable and perhaps a bit scary for coaches, the good news is that fitness professionals also have access to tools that make their job easier and improve client satisfaction. 

Plus, the surge in innovation doesn’t make real coaches obsolete because they provide a unique human touch and create personalized and holistic plans that help people reach their goals.

Check out Hevy Coach if you’re interested in elevating your coaching practice. The platform allows you to create programs, assign them to clients with one click, and track everyone’s progress and adherence from a single dashboard.

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