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The Triathlete's Guide to the Top Ten Fitness Trends of 2020

By Emily Randolph | Jan. 31, 2020, 3:18 p.m. (ET)

paratriathletes smiling at the finish

With the new list of top 10 fitness trends for 2020 from American College of Sports Medicine, we wanted to give you an inside look. As an annual survey that helps the health and fitness industry make informed business decisions, ACSM’s list can help you switch up and strengthen your training regimen. 

Many of these may already be engrained in your routine, but employing some of these tactics could give you that extra boost in 2020. Let’s put some triathlete eyes on this top 10 list.


coach explaining

10. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals

Find a coach! While it may seem silly to hire someone to coach you through something that you’re doing on your own, or you may feel like you’ve been in the game so long that you already know whatever they might tell you, there is always more to learn. A coach can be your right hand, an accountability partner and support, and a USA Triathlon Certified Coach can help you train smarter, get faster and avoid injury. Everyone has different training needs, and you can search for a coach to fit those needs — whether you’re new to the sport or training to qualify for Kona — by visiting our Find a Coach page.


health coach name tag

9. Health/Wellness Coaching

Another coach, I know, but seriously, there is always more to learn. Health and Wellness coaching can help to keep you on track, especially if you are changing up your training plan and aren’t sure exactly what will supplement it well. It can be hard to change your habits and behavior, and having someone there to coach you through it and keep you steady is the perfect solution. This isn’t just about dieting or eating right either, you want to make sure you are making healthy decisions for your body, especially as a multisport athlete, and if you aren’t well versed in the field, it can be hard to know what to do.


older people working out

8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults

A lot changes with age. Muscle mass is harder to retain, so you need to have a consistent plan that doesn’t cause your body too much stress, as it is also harder to recover. Finding a fitness program tailored for your age and current health can not only give you that extra edge when racing, but also keep you healthier and racing longer.


person in push up position

7. Bodyweight Training

Don’t like the gym? Me too, but lucky for you, bodyweight training is a great way to build strength. You don’t need any equipment, just your own body, which saves you time and money. Simple moves like push-ups, squats, and core exercises can keep your body strong and ready to get out in the field. Simple bodyweight training regimens can be found almost anywhere online, and USA Triathlon’s partnership with Pilates for Sports gives you a 7-day free trial and a 20% discount on their workouts, combining Pilates and technique training to give you balanced muscles and extra power in triathlon. 


doctor explaining options

6. Exercise is Medicine

Exercise is Medicine is a global health initiative managed by ACSM whose vision is to make the assessment and promotion of physical activity part of the standard of care for doctor’s visits. EIM connects physicians and other health care providers with evidence-based resources for physical activity. They encourage doctors to implement physical activity in treatment plans and refer patients to the same evidence-based resources. As a triathlete, physical activity probably isn’t something you’re lacking, so keep it up! A swim, bike, run a day keeps the doctor away?


personal trainer explaining

5. Personal Training

Personal training may seem intimidating, but working with someone one on one can boost your training. Like coaches, personal trainers have knowledge of what works, and can modify training plans to meet your specific needs. They are really good motivators — maybe you need them to yell at you to keep going, or maybe just a simple high-five and “nice job” at the end of the workout will keep you going back to the gym floor. It’s been around for a long time, but personal training is always changing and adapting with the fitness world. It may be something that feels uncomfortable at first, but that one on one training will ultimately make you more comfortable with your regimen.


free weights on gym floor

4. Training with Free Weights

You’ll see strength and fitness benefits by incorporating free weights for as little as a 30-minute training session. More reps with less weight ensures the endurance athlete the strength to handle the cardiovascular efforts required on race day. Free weight workouts use all the muscle groups just like in a race, improving your ability to maintain longer periods of work against resistance. Though it does require equipment, free weight training is also something you can do from home to save time, and if you don’t have weights, just throw your kids around and call it a day. Same thing, right?


indoor cycling class

3. Group Training

With cardio dance parties, sunrise yoga and cycling classes led by enthusiastic instructors, group training has become all the rage, making fitness fun and accessible for everyone and their friends. Most classes are 45 minutes to an hour, keeping it short and sweet — and the group setting (and positive instructor) keeps everyone motivated. Group training style gyms, like Orange Theory and Burn Boot Camp, have also taken off, with set class times and a trainer that takes you through the workout. Group training is not only fun, but it builds a sense of community within the gym — you get to go and be a part of a group that encourages each other to keep getting stronger instead of silently dodging people in the weight room or giving the death stare to the girl hogging the treadmill. Consider hopping in a group cycling class when the weather in unfavorable this winter.


running on treadmill

2. High-Intensity Interval Training

High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is a great way for triathletes to get in a workout if you’re crunched for time. These exercise workouts typically involve short bursts of high-intensity exercise, followed by a short period of rest. For endurance athletes, these short, explosive bursts translate to sprint finishes on the run, or quick attacks on the bike. In 30 to 45 minutes, HIIT workouts pack a punch, especially great for those of us with other priorities like a job and family. 


man looking at smart watch

1. Wearable Technology 

This one seems like a no-brainer, but wearable technology, like smart watches, fitness trackers, heart rate monitors and GPS trackers, are taking over the fitness industry. Watches can create training plans and track your progress, and you only have to tap a few buttons. Syncing your devices to fitness social apps like Strava allows you to connect with other multisport athletes, and in USA Triathlon’s Strava Club you can see how you stack up against elite U.S. athletes Katie Zaferes and Tamara Gorman. 

Not only does USA Triathlon have a club you can join to connect your training with others in the triathlon community, but through Dec. 1, you can get rewarded for it! The Time to Tri Virtual Triathlon is the world’s first entirely online triathlon, and completing is as easy as swim, bike, run, upload — all on your own time. The race is free, but you can choose to purchase a finisher package and receive a t-shirt and medal for completing the race! Click here to register and receive a $20 gift card to and be entered to win great prizes, including Rudy Project gear, Jaybird headphones, and gift cards from TriBike Transport and 2XU.