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The popular fitness trends we will see take off in 2021


Outdoor fitness classes aren’t going anywhere (Picture: Getty Images)

Are you raring to get back to the gym floor when the doors open, or have you embraced a whole new way of working out?

A recent study by Run Repeat found that half of gym members who cancelled their memberships aren’t going back even after they’ve been vaccinated, so where does that leave those at home?

And with 90% of Brits stating they have a fitness or health goal they intend to pursue when Covid restrictions ease (Decathlon Activity Index), what can we expect from the world of fitness for 2021?

We asked some of the leading industry experts to talk through their trend predictions for the year.

Big-box clubs will bounce back

‘Traditional big-box clubs like Bannatyne and Nuffield Health can expect a group fitness resurgence by tapping into the demand for live studio workouts with boutique glamour,’ says Martin Franklin, CEO of Les Mills Europe.

‘West Wood Clontarf in Dublin has seen results from its cycle boutique The Chain, while David Lloyd Clubs made its mark with HIIT concept, Blaze. By offering world-class group workouts, alongside established benefits like pools and gym floors, big-box clubs are negating customer’s needs to look elsewhere for boutique workouts.

‘With remote working outside the city becoming the norm, all-inclusive monthly memberships start to look more attractive than paying £25 for a single class.

In markets that have already reopened like China, UAE and New Zealand, big-box clubs have harnessed group fitness to drive rapid recoveries, with attendance already back up to 95% of pre-Covid levels.’

Outdoor fitness

‘Throughout the past year, we saw a 400% increase in the number of outdoor classes being offered by studios,’ says Kinsey Livingston, VP of Partnerships at monthly subscription service ClassPass.

‘As gyms and studios were forced to close their doors due to the pandemic, they had to get inventive. The result was outdoor classes that took advantage of the fresh air and room to social distance.

‘Four in five surveyed members reported a willingness to attend these outdoor classes. While the UK government has stated indoor workouts won’t be able to resume until mid-May, outdoor workouts is a trend we’ve seen picking up again as the weather gets warmer. We have also seen studios investing in heaters and we expect that some will continue with outdoor classes all year round.’

Fitness dates

‘Dating has been hit hard over the last 12 months, but I predict a rise in fitness dating where couples take a walk/run or class together,’ says Jemma Thomas, PT and founder of Jemma’s Health Hub.

‘The top 2021 dating resolution for more than half of Hinge users is not to overthink dating and live more “in the moment” as they embark on their dating journey.

Research from Tinder also found some users will be less comfortable with physical contact post-pandemic. Rather than go back to conventional dating and with restaurants and pubs difficult to book, doing an outdoor workout together or taking a hike could be the romantic way forward.’

Interactive fitness mirrors

Who is the fittest of them all? (Picture: Mirror.co)

‘It might sound like something from Snow White, but this version of the home studio is the best in fitness tech innovation,’ says Hannah Lanel, founder of boutique studio The Fore.

‘The sleek design pieces are hung on the wall and a flick of a switch creates a gateway to the world’s best fitness classes and trainers, playing pre-recorded and live fitness classes direct to your room.

‘Mirrors allow you to see the exercises right in front of you, so you can monitor your movements simultaneously, while the trainer keeps a watchful eye.

‘Lululemon acquired Mirror in 2020 and during that year’s Google searches for the product competed with Peloton. There are now over ten different fitness mirror companies, all with varying price points and specs.’

Female fitness

‘From the work we’re doing with global brands like Nike, I predict a real focus on women’s fitness,’ says Hannah Vatandoust, an associate strategist at digital advertising agency R/GA London.

‘You can often tell when something isn’t made for women, by women, as it has skewed ideas of what we actually need when it comes to sport. While cycle syncing (optimising lifestyle choices according to your menstrual cycle) has become commonplace in the health world, its exploration in the fitness industry is only the beginning.

‘There will also be more focus on ensuring language and imagery aren’t a brainchild of the male gaze; this means better representation of a broad spectrum of women and their experiences.’

Fight fitness classes

‘Boxercise went big in the 1990s and shadow boxing has been popular ever since, but fight fitness has evolved and now incorporates more contemporary styles of martial arts,’ says James Griffiths, founder of Wild Training.

‘The rise of mixed martial arts and the popularity of the UFC will no doubt see more MMA-inspired training systems and equipment filter into mainstream gyms. When Les Mills, the global leader in group exercise programming, looked at the type of group exercise most people wanted to try next, kickboxing was named as the most popular choice for 18-45 year olds.

‘With 57% of people saying group exercise classes were the main reason they wanted to get back to the gyms after lockdown (TA6 National Fitness survey), this shows combat-themed classes are likely to be a strong trend.’

Swimming

BJPX3P Underwater views of an aqua aerobics or water aerobics class. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown.

Swimming is a Covid-safe way to keep fit (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)

‘Swimming has been hailed as one of the safest ways to exercise in light of the Covid pandemic,’ says Chris Ruddock, founder of fitness-tracking device Incus.

‘The Pool Water Treatment and Advisory Group (PWTAG) and Public Health England said that coronavirus would be inactivate at the levels of chlorine used in swimming pools.

For “at-risk” individuals and those uncomfortable with returning to traditional fitness activities, this will come as comfort. Pool-based fitness classes, such as Aquafit, Aqua Aerobics and Swimfit offer a fully formed community and by nature are socially distanced, too.’

Holistic fitness

‘Higher stress levels as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has led individuals to think about health and fitness more holistically,’ says Saskia Gregson-Williams, CEO of Naturally Sassy.

‘The goal of achieving a beach body is no longer at the forefront of people’s minds. Instead, they are seeking out exercises that will help improve mental wellbeing with restorative exercises such as yoga, Pilates, and barre.

Classpass revealed that yoga was the most popular exercise of 2020, as people sought out alternative holistic options to help them de-stress, no doubt due to the wonderful mind, body, and soul impact the activity has.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch at metrolifestyleteam@metro.co.uk.


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