Many fitness lovers felt lost in 2020. That was obviously thanks to COVID-19 — it shut down gyms and fitness classes in March, leaving much of the country stuck inside with lots of uncertainty and little motivation. But as the year dredged on, hope was found: Fitness brands took their offerings online, people set up home gyms, and endless workout platforms were created to help us get our sweat on safely. And if the 2021 fitness trends are any indication, things will only continue to get better from here.
Rest assured that there's no complicated equipment or routines on the horizon, though. Like most of our lives now, fitness in 2021 is all about convenience, safety, and saving space.
"People want to stay the healthiest they can but from the comfort of their homes," says Sylvia Kampshoff, CEO of personal training app Kanthaka. "The same way that many people have seen the huge benefits of working remotely, users of at-home or virtual fitness solutions also don’t want to go back to more time-consuming and inconvenient ways to work out at gyms."
In other words, as we continue to adjust to this new normal, fitness offerings will, too. In fact, as many top trainers and industry experts explain, they already have — and the 2021 trends prove it. Ahead, here's what you have to look forward to.
2021 Fitness Trend: Fitness-Tracking Devices
Unsurprisingly, certified personal trainer Justin Shaw, who's worked with celebrities and pro athletes like Odell Beckham Jr. and Christina Milian, says the top fitness trend of the end of 2020 was wearable technology like FitBit and Apple Watches — and that definitely won't change anytime soon.
Lauren Jenai, founder of the Manifest app and co-founder of the CrossFit enterprise, agrees. She tells TZR she's seeing fitness concepts moving toward high-tech and online options, with wearable fitness-tracking devices growing in popularity and functionality.
According to Shaw, this rise has been booming since the emergence of COVID-19. "With gyms closing down and reduced capacity, I think this has led fitness lovers to take a hands-on approach to help track their results."
2021 Fitness Trend: Online Classes
As Kampshoff says, people changed their fitness routines right along with their work schedules, moving them in-home for safety, convenience, and comfort and turning to online classes for help. Specifically, she saw a rise in live one-on-one virtual training sessions last year. "We have more than tripled our sessions sold (both virtually as well as one-on-one at home) since pre-COVID."
NY-based Master Trainer Anthony Crouchelli predicts that on-demand streaming platforms that offer multiple modality options are a trend that will grow in the new year. "This past year has been a journey to discover new routines that work within your 'new normal,' and there’s has been a major push for fitness brands and trainers to offer dynamic classes."
Certified trainer, pilates instructor, and CEO of No Excuses Training, Ilana Milstein, says people will be finding most of these online classes through their phones. "As a personal trainer, the number one trend I have seen in the past year is the rise of the mobile fitness app," she says, explaining that they offer the ease, variety, and affordability people are now looking for.
2021 Fitness Trend: Yoga
Juliana and Mark Spicoluk, founders of travel, yoga, and lifestyle brand Boho Beautiful and certified yoga instructors, foresee a rise in a deeper understanding of the value of mindfulness in 2021. To try to find that, many will continue to turn to yoga.
"Through yoga we access a purifying acceptance of our bodies, as well as a deeper understanding of the connection of ourselves to limitations and benefits of mind-body connection through breathing and being," they tell TZR. "Both create a sense of mindfulness during practice but are carried forward into the rest of life, and both in 2021 will continue to be discovered and shared with others by students, practitioners, and teachers online and personally at record levels making it easily one of the biggest trends of last year and most important trends to come of 2021 to come."
2021 Fitness Trend: Lunch-Time Workouts
According to ClassPass, running to the gym after work is becoming a thing of the past. In its recent 2021 trend prediction report, the fitness booking platform said noon became the most popular time to work out during the week for the first time ever in 2020, explaining that lunch-break fitness routines would reign supreme in the new year.
"In 2019, the most popular time to work out on weekdays was 5:30 p.m.," says Shari Castelli, Director of Partner Expansion at ClassPass. "However, the pandemic altered our routines. More professionals now work from home, and it’s easier than ever to sneak in a daytime workout between meetings and look presentable in a video meeting right after."
With that, people are also looking to less lengthy exercises. "We have definitely seen fitness fans experimenting with 20- and 30-minute power workouts during lunch," continues Castelli. "Especially for those who are working from home, shorter workouts are a great way to get in a sweat session and still leave time for a meal away from the computer before hopping into the next meeting."
2021 Fitness Trend: The Revival Of Home Gyms
Even with so much technology, Jenai foresees a low-tech solution at the center of the new year: "the reinvention of the home gym," she says. "In 2021, we will embrace at-home fitness and integrate it into our living space in practical, and fashionable ways. Instead of dusty, old, rarely used equipment in a corner, it’s time to feature home workout spaces in a way that are convenient, enticing to use, and do not take away from home aesthetics."
That's becoming even more obvious through the fitness trends on their way out. As Crouchelli explains, workouts like Crossfit that require heavy equipment and lots of space have taken a hit as people look to more space-saving modalities. Now, he says, many are looking to things like HIIT, boxing, and dance classes because they allow for an easy in-home gym setup that's minimal and doesn't take over your house or apartment.