More educated and experienced fitness professionals are predicted to be the number one fitness trend in 2008, according to the results of a new survey. This will result in exercisers having more options when choosing a trainer to complement their fitness routines.

The survey, now in its second year, administered to health and fitness professionals worldwide, was conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), according to a Health Resources Publishing report. The survey is designed to reveal trends in commercial, corporate, clinical and community fitness program environments.

The top three predictions for 2008 were statistically close, but they all support the idea that “the health professional is going to be held to a higher level in education and certification,” said Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, and lead author of the study. “Overall, we're seeing these themes develop now that will help the fitness professional design specialty programs for their clients.”

The top ten fitness trend predictions are:

1.Educated and experienced fitness professionals. More organizations are seeking accreditation for academic and certification programs for fitness professionals, including personal trainers, which will contribute to industry regulation.

2.Programs to fight childhood obesity. An influx of fitness programs designed specifically for children and adolescents is expected to help combat this problem.

3.Personal training. This trend moved up four spots from last year's survey, signaling that the profession of personal training is becoming more accessible to the public.

4.Strength training. This is a trend for both men and women to incorporate strength training into their exercise routines.

5.Core training. This emphasizes strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen and back. Core training uses stability balls, BOSU balls, wobble boards and foam rollers.

6.Special fitness programs for older adults. Though fitness clubs are capitalizing on this growing market, this trend fell from No. 2 in 2007.


8.Functional fitness. This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance, coordination, strength and endurance to improve one’s ability to do activities of daily living.

9.Swiss ball. Also is known as gym ball, Pilates ball, stability ball, therapy ball, yoga.

10.Yoga. Yoga has taken on a variety of forms within the past year. Instructional tapes and books are plentiful as are certifications in the many yoga forms.

The survey results were published in the ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal.