Like a lot of things in 2020, most people’s fitness regimes didn’t exactly go to plan.
With gyms closed and exercise classes going virtual, we became experts at working out from home. So what fitness trends can we expect from 2021?
From the latest fit tech to restful retreats, and a surge in health immunity to ‘bullet-proof’ ourselves from illness, we asked fitness coach Eliza Flynn to reveal her top trends for the year ahead.
Sales of home workout equipment soared during lockdown with retailers reporting a 6,000% rise in purchases. Top buys included exercise bikes, cross trainers, rowing machines and treadmills.
Eliza says this fitness trend is set to continue in 2021, as more people invest in technology such as Peloton bikes and The Mirror, an interactive device loved by celebrities like Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston.
‘Before 2020, investing in high tech equipment was seen as a luxury you didn’t need to invest in. If you were into spinning you would just go to a spin class. But now with a Pelaton, you’ve got a spin class at home. While The Mirror is like having a personal trainer in your house.
‘For those who had gym membership and were then not able to travel, home equipment is a smart buy – and other members of the family can use it too.’
Fitness Mash Up
The way we work out will also change in 2021, Eliza says, as people have been forced to try new things with gyms being closed.
‘Before people may have had one fitness routine they stuck to, such as weights. But as people have had to adapt, they have started mixing up their workouts a lot more,’ she explains.
‘If they haven’t had access to equipment, more people have been doing Calisthenics, a form of strength training where you effectively using your own body as a weight.
‘This can be anything from press ups to head stands – or for the more advanced, the cool things you see people doing on pull up bars in the park. It’s good for weight loss, posture and it trains your muscles in different places.’
Because of the travel restrictions in 2020, Eliza predicts people will head much further afield this year to get their fitness hit.
She tells us: ‘So many people have taken up running during lockdown, they’ve caught the running bug and it’s something they want to continue.
‘I think we will see an increase of people signing up to marathons, endurance runs and longer treks in 2021.
‘Whatever your fitness levels, I think generally people are feeling more outdoorsy because they haven’t been able to go out for so long, and are really wanting to push themselves a bit more.’
With Covid-19 still at the forefront of our minds, lots of people are still very wary of gyms. Eliza says a fitness trend that will continue into 2021 and beyond is exercising outside, regardless of the weather.
‘Space is less of an issue and there is a reduced risk of catching the virus if you are outdoors. Exercising is also just really good for the soul,’ she says.
For 2021, Eliza predicts more bootcamps and classes such as yoga and pilates in parks and other outdoor spaces.
‘Any activity you can adapt, there will be an outdoor fitness class for it. I also think there will be an increase in group fitness. People miss the community feel and there is so much you can do outdoors.’
Rise in Personal Training
Because of lockdown people are looking to improve their health generally, especially as being overweight has been linked to Covid-19.
Eliza says she has already seen a surge of interest in people wanting to hire personal trainers as we head into 2021.
‘Many people have not been as active in lockdown and maybe need that extra motivation to lose weight and boost their fitness.
‘Even people who are generally quite confident in fitness may be experiencing the side effects of Covid-19 and need some help to get back to fitness in the right way.’
Eliza also predicts an increase in online personal training sessions and remote coaching, now people are more familiar with using technology for fitness.
She explains: ‘Zoom is a great way to train someone as you can coach them in real time.
‘But once you are confident in the way the client is moving, PTs can also provide a tailored workout.
‘This includes bespoke exercises, which the client can then do in their own time if they want to. I think we will see a lot more of this in 2021.’
We’ve all had to endure higher stress levels in 2020, and the importance of self-care was talked about more than ever.
‘2021 is the year when people will try and recover from this,’ Eliza explains. ‘And retreats will be the time to really focus on the self and reflect what has happened over the past year.
‘Instead of the focus being on the physical, it will be a mental retreat rather than a jam-packed programme every day.
‘In my classes I always focus on resilience, and how to deal with overwhelm and stress is a big part. This introverted focus is all about a healthy mindset – and helping people get over the trauma of 2020.’
More people than ever are learning about what they can do to boost their immunity to ‘bullet-proof’ themselves from illness in the future.
Eliza says one of the more ‘out-there’ fitness crazes which is on the increase for 2021 is cold water immersion.
She explains: ‘This is when you immerse yourself in cold water for as long as you can. This stress reaction triggers a shock to your immune system and your white blood cells, which fight off infection.
‘Some people are trying wild swimming to get this effect. But if you can’t do that, you could even just turn the cold water on in the shower for a few minutes.’
Nutrition and gut health are also a big focus as people start to think about boosting their immunity. Eliza says: ‘This could be through probiotics and fermented products, such as Jin Jin. Or foods known to boost immunity such as kimchi and sauerkraut.’
Eliza Flynn is a fitness coach and personal trainer at The Warrior Method. She also specialises in pre and post-natal fitness.