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Staying Fit in 2021: Workout Trends Bend to the Times

Dec 30, 2020 06:30AM ● By Marlaina Donato
Trending fitness and exercise workouts

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For 2021, fitness will be more about better health and inner peace rather than weight loss. Gyms and studios will be on the top of their game adhering to hygiene standards and offering safer environments with smaller class capacity and vitamin D-enhanced outdoor sessions. From remote coaching to cost-effective wellness apps, the workout will get a fresh makeover. 

High-Tech Wellness

Pandemic repercussions in 2020 amped up client demand for alternatives and also inspired trainers to get more creative. “I’ve enjoyed working with private clients virtually through FaceTime and Zoom. It has required me to create more precision with my training programs depending on what each client has at their home or home gym,” says Hollywood, California, fitness trainer Ridge Davis. “Results have been going through the roof because my clients are more likely to dive into healthy routines and meal plans with my daily guidance.”

For those that cannot find local, in-person fitness provisions, subscriptions to streaming-fitness websites like Daily Burn and Peloton provide plenty of guides to workouts from yoga to muscle-building. 

Health apps can tailor individual wellness strategies for the new year. “Fitness and health apps are becoming more popular, and trainers are able to interact with clients all over the world. If you are like me, you need accountability if you cannot meet your trainer directly,” says Dominic Kennedy, a personal trainer in Los Angeles and creator of the newly launched fitness and nutrition app Dominic Effect. “Nutrition is also going to be key now more than ever. Apps will help keep you in check and on track with your food and goals, helping to set up monthly meal plans, as well as recipe suggestions.”

Wearable tech in the form of watches and smart clothing will be another hit in 2021, providing accurate readings on calories burned, number of daily steps and even heart rate and blood pressure.

Virtual Variety, No Pressure

Having the option to work out at home might motivate more people to begin a fitness routine without the pressure of comparing with others. Sampling classes online can help them find what they like before they sign up at their local gym or studio. “Virtual fitness classes provide an opportunity for people to test out different instructors at different times all around the country and even the world,” says Paris Alexandra, co-founder of the BK Yoga Club, in New York City. “People are now realizing the things we can control is our breath and our bodies. Because of this, there’s an appreciation of our capacity, challenging ourselves to try something new.”

Even with gym cutbacks, there is a silver lining. “One of my private weight-loss clients has loved our FaceTime workouts so much that she swears she will never go back to in-person training with a coach,” says Chicago-based Stephanie Mansour, host of the weekly national PBS show Step it Up With Steph. “Even on vacation or while traveling, people can still get in their workout because everything is virtual. Trainers also win because they can still do their job, but at a distance.” 

Me-time with a private virtual coach will offer a tailored regimen for those that prefer a one-on-one experience. Mansour muses, “Private fitness and health coaching sessions will be the hottest trend in 2021. By now, many people’s excitement toward their ‘pandemic workout’ is waning, and they’ll be looking for a totally customized approach to kickstart their motivation and goals.”

Allies for Body and Mind

Davis predicts there’ll be greater appreciation for stress-recovery tools such as massage guns for percussive self-treatments, foam rollers to release muscle tightness and stretching apps, noting, “There’s so much noise, uncertainty and anxiety that has come with this pandemic; on-demand meditation classes will be huge.”

Mansour concurs, “Focusing on finding inner peace, meditating and positive programming are all huge trends that have emerged due to COVID. By getting your head in the game, you’re 75 percent of the way to your goal.”

Mostly, 2021 will be a year for self-care. “I think growth mindset is everything right now,” says Kennedy. “We need to fill our minds with positive affirmations, thoughts or whatever it is that makes you light up inside.”


Marlaina Donato is an author and recording artist.


Other Fitness Trends on the Rise

  • Outdoor classes from yoga to strength training
  • Boutique and micro-studios with specialty clientele
  • Safer small groups, especially for seniors
  • Broga yoga, with a focus on strength training, cardio and muscle toning for men
  • Less-crowded yoga classes with BYO mats and props
  • Mind-body fitness

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