Fitness professionals weigh in on key industry trends to watch in 2023

Fitness professionals weigh in on key industry trends to watch in 2023

Optimism prevails as fit pros plan to upskill, build careers and adopt flexible business models

As we look ahead to 2023, fitness experts across Canada are predicting more focus on personalization, physical and mental wellness and a return to foundational moves designed to build strength and prepare us for daily life.


The canfitpro Fitness Trends Report 2022 is based on responses from more than 1,500 fitness professionals across Canada, focusing on what they expect to be most popular and effective consumer-facing fitness trends, as well as fitness industry directions for the year to come. 


“We’re seeing more interest in the role fitness plays in supporting better physical and mental health and wellness. More people than ever are approaching fitness as a tool to take better care of themselves, so there is a renewed focus on the fundamentals…like primal movements, active recovery exercises, unique and effective group fitness classes,” said Maureen ‘Mo’ Hagan, COO of canfitpro.   


The top 10 fitness trends predicted for 2023: 
  1. Functional fitness: bodyweight training, core-central, balance-stability training, primal movement training (43%) 
  2. Active aging/older adult programs (39%) 
  3. Freestyle group fitness classes: small group, bootcamps, circuit training, cycling, dance (38%) 
  4. Upskilling for fitness pros: education, learning, research, self-study, training (37%) 
  5. Active recovery: e.g. Yoga, hot yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates etc. (34%) 
  6. Express/mini workouts: 10 to 30 minutes (31%) 
  7. Fusion-style group fitness: cross-experience training with varying modalities such as yoga/HIIT, boxing/Pilates (31%) 
  8. Pre-choreographed group fitness classes: small group, bootcamps, circuit training, cycling, dance, etc. (31%) 
  9. Becoming a fitness professional or starting a fitness career: in-person and/or online (31%) 
  10. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) (29%) 

Responses to the survey reflect increased optimism across the industry in Canada, as fitness professionals adopt a flexible business model and look to improve their skills and build their careers. Here are some highlights from the research. Please read the full Fitness Trends report here.


Hybrid fitness is here to stay, in-person fitness is coming back

While the pandemic dramatically accelerated the transition to online fitness, followed by a hybrid model. New patterns in the flexible business model are forming, with one in three fitness businesses now offering 100% in-person programs. Roughly one quarter (24%) of businesses have moved to a 50-50 in person and online model and just 18% of businesses offer fitness programming and services completely online.

Industry retention/recruitment is up, appetite for learning and positive culture

The survey also shows fitness professionals are feeling more optimistic about their careers and are looking at ways to continue their learning beyond the essential certifications. They are keen to pursue extra education and on-the-job training to improve their skills and expand their roles. It’s also encouraging that ‘becoming a fitness professional/starting a fitness career’ was in the top 10 fitness trends predicted for 2023.


Nearly eight out of 10 (77%) fitness professionals indicated they plan to keep working in the health and fitness industry in the coming years. When it comes to their careers, fitness professionals are looking for learning opportunities and positive company culture, in addition to compensation. 42% of fitness professionals indicated training and educational opportunities matter most when choosing an employer while 39% of fitness professionals think that the culture of a company matters the most when looking for employment.


Nearly four in 10 (37%) of the fitness professionals surveyed are willing to take educational opportunities through in-person classes. More than one third (36%) of fitness professionals indicated job shadowing or in-class practical time can help them to be more prepared for their jobs. Three in 10 (30%) fitness professionals plan to pursue more learning opportunities even after getting certified. There is a fantastic opportunity for education providers and fitness businesses to collaborate to provide internship opportunities to prepare fitness professionals better for their jobs.


“As more people turn to fitness to manage their health and wellness, the role of the fitness professional is more comprehensive and essential. It’s encouraging to see strong interest in working and developing rewarding careers in our sector. There’s huge cause for optimism,” said Hagan.

Mobile apps, integrated online content help deliver better workouts

Fitness business owners are investing more to provide the technology infrastructure and tools members need to deliver better services to members across multiple platforms. Some of the leading technology changes include:

  • 25% of fitness businesses currently have a mobile application for members
  • 22% integrated internet services to purchase classes without a membership 
  • 17% shared wearable devices available to members to monitor in-class performance 
  • 15% of businesses have integrated use of AI-enabled systems to enhance member experience (e.g., virtual reality training) 
Program delivery, motivational coaching top job skills

When it comes to hiring top talent, fitness business owners ranked their top five criteria. For aspiring fitness professionals, these are areas to develop and promote as the pursue their careers.

  • Program Delivery 46%
  • Motivational Coaching 43%
  • Interpersonal / Soft skills (listening, empathy, sensitivity, flexibility, self-awareness, etc.) 37%
  • Client management and communication 35%
  • Program design 31%

About the canfitpro Fitness Trends Survey

The canfitpro Fitness Trends Survey was open from October 17-28th, 2022. More than 54,000 fitness professionals and over 3,500 business owners from across Canada were invited to participate through email outreach and social media promotion. Dynamics 365 Marketing was the platform used to collect data and opinions regarding future predictions for the fitness industry. Data collected has a +/- 2% margin of error.

About canfitpro 
canfitpro is the largest provider of education in the Canadian fitness industry. Founded in 1993, canfitpro delivers accessible, quality education, certifications, conferences, trade shows, and membership services. canfitpro’s over 100,000 members include some of the world’s finest fitness professionals, health club operators, industry suppliers, and fitness consumers.

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