Fitness Trends For 2021: What’s New and What’s In

The fitness industry has been booming for the last decade, growing at a rate of 3% every year. The 2020 pandemic hit economies hard worldwide, though, and the fitness industry was also greatly impacted. Health clubs had to close their doors for months and could lose about $10 billion annually in the coming years. Before 2020, fitness trends stayed fairly constant. For example, since 2014, high-intensity interval training has been one of the most popular choices according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Small group classes and yoga have also been on the rise for several years as people have become more health-conscious while looking for more affordable prices than private training can offer. 

Woman exercising at home while watching an online tutorial as one of the fitness trends.
Many Gyms And Trainers Had Already Started Offering More Virtual Options (Image Source: Shutterstock)

In 2021, health clubs will have to redirect their attention to the online space and a health-based approach to training. Before the pandemic, many gyms and trainers had already started offering more virtual options. However, with many cities still quarantined and many members wary of returning to gyms so soon, we’ll see a huge rise in online classes, fitness apps, and web-based training.

COVID-19 has also caused fitness communities to prioritize working out as an immune booster. People have been more health-conscious for the last few years, but there was more of a focus on aesthetics until 2020. COVID-19 mostly impacts those who have compromised immune systems, so strengthening your body’s natural defenses is a necessity. 2021 will see the rise of specialized classes for at-risk groups and gyms promoted as health centers.

Home Gyms

As gyms began to close down at the beginning of the pandemic, more and more people have spent time developing home gym spaces. A recent study by McKinsey showed a 12% increase in Americans working out from home. Home workouts can be just as beneficial as gym workouts, but the more equipment you have in your home, the easier it is to stay on top of your fitness goals. As a result, the all-in-one home gym has been on the rise and will most likely be here to stay in 2021 as people realize they can exercise safely and effectively from their home without paying for a gym membership.

There are several different all-in-one home gyms. At their foundation, each model offers you the same home gym essentials. Hover, each provides unique perks that will benefit you, depending on your goals, the size of your home, and your budget. 

Bowflex Xtreme 2SE Home Gym

Bowflex home gyms are set above the rest. They invented a power rod resistance technology that reduces joint strain. Their systems don’t use gravity to work, keeping you from cheating on exercises and using inertia in your favor.

This model is the best because you can do the most strength exercises on it—over seventy, to be exact. However, Bowflex also offers more affordable and/or smaller options. 

The biggest complaint about this particular model is that it requires a lot of assembly to work.

Total Gym XLS

The Total Gym XLS is the most ideal home gym for small spaces and comes at a much lower price point. Composed of a glide board and cable pulleys, it is capable of doing more than eighty different exercises. It folds up and can be slid under your bed or tucked away when not in use. It’s also very easy to put together, unlike some of the more advanced gyms.

Mary Diamond Elite System

If you’re looking for a home gym that supports free weights, the Mary Diamond Elite System is the best! It has a Smith machine, pulley systems, and an Olympic free weight rack. It also supports several leg and arm exercises.

It’s a very large model, so it isn’t ideal for small apartments. It also takes a lot of assembly. The biggest con is that the free weights aren’t included. All things considered, the price for this equipment is great considering everything else you can do. Just make sure it’s still in your budget after you factor in the price of the free weights as well.

Tonal Smart Home Gym

The Tonal system combines two fitness trends: virtual technology with an at-home gym. As we noted before, virtual offerings are on the rise, and this is just one of the ways we’ll see it implemented in 2021. This system combines two weighted arms with a sleek, wall-mounted screen, providing hundreds of workout programs for you to follow. This is a popular choice because it has the equipment necessary for you to stay in shape as well as workout tips from expert trainers. As a result, it can do what many other at-home gyms lack—give you direction, and motivate you through your workouts.

Tonal Review – PCMag

Since it is a tech-enabled system, Tonal Gyms run at a higher price point. Just remember, if cost is a concern, you can get just as good of a workout in with other systems.

Virtual Fitness

Aside from smart home gyms, virtual fitness is on the rise in several other ways. As big commercial gyms and small studios alike closed their doors, they were forced to turn to online training methods. Although fitness technology had already begun to rapidly grow in 2019, fitness centers began to explore more online options such as live streaming, online workout subscriptions, and web-based training and classes.

Back view of fit sporty woman sit on floor at home mediate practice yoga having video call with coach.
Fitness Centers Began To Explore More Online Options (Image Source: Shutterstock)

With the creation of more online offerings, the demand has increased. This has also enabled studios to hold on to their loyal followers and continue to create a sense of community that captured their members’ interest in the beginning.

Even if gyms fully open in 2021, this trend is likely here to stay. For example, several gyms have already purchased peloton bikes for their facilities so that members can get instructor-led bike workouts without signing up for small group classes.

Virtual fitness also allows gyms to cater to a younger audience and the largest generation of gym-goers—millennials. Caring for each generation’s health care needs will be a huge trend for 2021. Therefore, it’s no surprise that digital technology will play a big role in the coming years. 

Generation Health

Generation health has become a major fitness trend as preventative care becomes more important. As gyms focus on the needs of each generation, physical fitness will be used as a tool to boost the immune system and fight against disease.

Millennials are one of the biggest spenders on gym memberships and are much more motivated to stay healthy and fit. More than 76% of millennials exercise regularly as opposed to 70% of Gen X, and 64% of baby boomers. Millennials and their interests—mostly technology—will be a big focus for gyms in the coming years as they offer high profits.

High-risk corona groups and the elderly will also be the main focus. Special programs, training, and classes will be designed to draw in this clientele. Several gyms have also begun designing programs that allow seniors to train at home safely.

Group Fitness

Group fitness classes will also be more individualized and designed for each generation. HIIT focused classes will still be one of the most popular since the majority of members have busy lifestyles and need to get an intense workout in a short amount of time.

Fit young people focused on planking in a circle in a gym.
This Year Will Be More Individualized And Designed For Each Generation (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Studios that offer all-around fitness will continue to exist, but small studios that offer specialized classes will be the most successful. Generation group training is very important for 2021 as is taking these new group classes outdoors.

Outdoor Fitness

Outdoor classes have grown in popularity as they limit the spread of coronavirus. Training intensively can increase the spread, because you are more likely to sweat or cast germs on your neighbor through heavy breathing. If you train outside, you are less likely to spread viruses and bacteria, because you are in a well-ventilated area.

We’ll also see personal training sessions and more fitness machines be brought outside too. This creates a safer environment for everyone.

Focus Recovery

Another fitness trend in gyms this year will be recovery and regenerative services. Proper recovery after a workout is always important, but it will be even more important this year. After gyms closed, many people stalled in their workout plans or began doing home workouts that kept them in decent shape but weren’t as effective. Getting back to a gym means that our bodies will have to get used to physical activity again. Many were stuck in their homes for so long with nowhere to go that simple movements may even take some getting used to. Therefore, proper warm-ups and recovery throughout workouts will be an important part of health and fitness in 2021.

Woman athlete uses foam roller green for muscle recovery.
Getting Back To A Gym Means That Our Bodies Will Have To Get Used To Physical Activity Again (Image Source: Shutterstock)

All of us had to adjust our fitness routines last year. This means that 2021 will see some new trends. Although some core elements of fitness like group fitness and weightlifting will remain, how we do them will drastically change. You can expect to see more of a focus on your individualized health needs and interests as well as a rise in outdoor classes, fitness technology, and preventive healthcare. In the end, gyms will become more of a center for health care services than a fitness center.