Whatever your 2020 fitness goals, you likely didn’t meet them. After all, that was a year like none other for most of us. It gave us a worldwide pandemic, month-long lockdowns, and a low hum of anxiety that made for the perfect recipe for flailing fitness plans.
But that wasn’t all it offered. The chaos of 2020 also acted as a catalyst for many of us and for the fitness industry as a whole. It spurred on evolutionary changes that would normally have taken years, and it’s left 2021 looking awfully bright on the fitness front.
So, let’s dive in and discover what the new year has to offer.
Fitness Trend #1: The Rise of Remote Fitness
Remote fitness has been around in one form or another since the dawn of the television. Even if you weren’t around in the 1980s, you’re likely aware of TV-based fitness gurus like Richard Simmons and Tony Little. But today’s remote fitness is light-years ahead of anything those programs could offer.
Zoom and other video conferencing apps have enabled coaches to work with clients one-on-one from anywhere in the world. The threat of COVID-19 has moved thousands of gyms and personal trainers online, and virtual coaching has become one of the hottest trends around. With a virtual coach, you get the exercise advice, meal planning tips, supplement recommendations, and accountability of a professional trainer without having to step outside of your living room.
Remote training is here to stay. And as personal trainers and wellness coaches become more familiar with it, you can only expect it to offer better, more effective options in the coming year.
Fitness Trend #2: Getting Fit in the Great Outdoors
Last year’s lockdowns left many of us feeling claustrophobic. Plus, the CDC and other medical experts let us know that virus transmission is far less likely outside. So, it’s no wonder that more people than ever have been looking for outdoor fitness opportunities. And while this isn’t exactly groundbreaking (after all, people have been exercising outside since people have been exercising), there are signs that this move outside could be a more permanent trend in the coming year. In fact, a recent RunRepeat study found that outdoor activities are the number one way people are looking to stay fit in 2021. And there are dozens of ways to do so, from outdoor bootcamps to hitting your local high school track.
If you haven’t considered moving into the great outdoors for your next workout, maybe now is the time.
Fitness Trend #3: A Focus on Holistic Fitness
When you think of fitness, you likely think of ‘physical fitness.’ Too often in the past, we’ve reduced the idea of wellness down to a series of numbers like blood pressure, heart rate, and BMI. But 2020 reminded us of just how much our minds impact our health. Mental indicators like stress, anxiety, and loneliness have become far more important factors as we consider ways to experience authentic, holistic fitness. In other words, we’ve realized that we aren’t just ghosts in a machine. We are complex, interconnected creatures that rely on healthy minds and bodies to feel whole.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons that yoga and Pilates were some of the most valued and sought-after workouts of 2020. This focus on nurturing body and mind will likely be a trend into the coming year and beyond.
Fitness Trend #4: The Next Evolution in High-Tech Fitness
The first Fitbit came out a little over a decade ago. In that time, wearables, fitness trackers, and other fitness-related tech have proliferated, but the high-tech fitness revolution isn’t over yet. Smart devices are getting smarter, and consumers who use them are gaining access to ever more personal data and ways to use that data. As this technology becomes integrated with other tech advances like Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality, we will enter a new high-tech fitness era. There’s every reason to believe that this will be one of the most groundbreaking trends of 2021 and beyond. So, if you haven’t already dipped your toe into the high-tech fitness pool, now is the time.
Fitness Trend #5: HIIT’s Continued Ascendancy
If you’ve followed fitness trends over the past few years, you’ve probably seen HIIT (or high-intensity interval training) before. This form of exercise that alternates brief periods of rest with intense bursts of activity has been growing in popularity for years. So, you might wonder why we would put it on a list of upcoming trends. The answer is simple: HIIT shows no signs of slowing down. A 2020 survey by the American College of Sports Medicine found it to be the world’s second biggest fitness trend. And since you can do it in a relatively short amount of time, it’s the perfect workout method for hard-pressed people who never seem to have enough time.
Over the past few decades, fitness fads have come and gone (Jazzercise, anyone?). But there have been a handful of broader trends that have stood the test of time and led to significant fitness industry evolutions. These five trends are the latter type and will continue changing the face of fitness into the new decade.