July 17, 2024

From virtual coaching to the return of work gyms, these are the 2021 fitness trends that will shape up your workouts

When gyms reopened in April, only 30% of us said we’d feel confident going back, and the number could be even less after Christmas when the restrictions in England have been relaxed for the festive season. We may even face another lockdown, forcing fitness centres to close again.

Every year, when January rolls around, we pack ourselves into every spare corner of the gym, determined to stick to our New Year fitness goals and start the year off right. Classes are packed, there’s a queue for the treadmills and everyone inside has brought a friend for moral support.

Fast forward to 2021 and the start of the New Year will no doubt look a lot different.

So what does that mean for our fitness resolutions in 2021?

Last year, we saw a huge increase in at-home gym installations with many of us clearing out a small pocket of our living spaces to work out in. We invested in weights, exercise bikes, steppers and Pilates equipment. Whether it was yoga, HITT or a spot of Joe Wicks, we all became experts in working out from home.

Now committed to this new style of fitness, we’re unlikely to be throwing the weights out again and rushing straight back to the way we used to do things when we start the New Year.

One industry expert in private gyms is Mark Reynolds, former professional footballer and personal trainer, who has seen first-hand how people’s workout environments have adapted to incorporate fitness into their everyday lives in 2020.

“Home gyms aren’t just for the rich and famous anymore,” says Mark, from WeMakeGyms. com. “They can be as elaborate or simple as simple as you make them, from jumping up and down in your bedroom, in front of your favourite Instagram Live personal trainer, to cornering off a section of your living room, with some cardio equipment and weights, to a fully functioning separate room, garage, basement or outhouse, ventilated, air-conditioned and kitted out with the latest fitness technology. ”

With the new way of working out in mind, Mark has predicted the Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2021, based on consumers’ new habits.

Work Gyms

In 2021, businesses will be trying to entice wary employees back into the office. With health at the forefront of everyone’s minds still, savvy companies will seek to motivate staff with a fitness offering, at the same time investing in their long-term health and wellbeing. A work gym also offers time efficiency, removing the extra commute to and from the gym.

Home Gyms

With gyms closed for months in 2020, it’s no surprise that many fitness enthusiasts invested more time and money into creating workout spaces at home. You can create a bespoke environment and get your workouts done according to your needs and schedule. Avoid wasted time travelling to the gym, and add value to your home while you’re at it. As 2020 has highlighted, a home gym also avoids the health implications of a public gym space.

Holistic Health

The unique experience of a pandemic has brought health into focus more than ever. Holistic programmes cater to short term as well as long term fitness and health goals, including weight loss, heart health and immunity. Fitness is a key part of the holistic health approach, well known to strengthen the immune system. Ideally, you want to have good physical and mental health alongside fitness.

Mind/Body Connection

A healthy body includes a healthy mind. Yoga and Pilates were popular before Covid-19, but this has intensified as more and more people want to combine physical training with mental relaxation. This may be due to job-related stress, home-schooling with children, financial and health fears connected to the pandemic. Progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, meditation, mindfulness and biofeedback are a few of the other ways to strengthen body-mind connections and achieve positive wellbeing.

Going Virtual

Online training is here to stay, whether via a screen on your spinning bike, an interactive TV in your home gym, or just an online class viewed on your mobile or laptop. Even when gyms are open as normal, the online mode will remain on-trend as it offers more flexible, specialised guidance.

Remote Coaching

A great way to motivate you at home is to work one-to-one with your personal trainer on an online platform. Regular workouts provide fresh fitness content, and your trainer can review your progress and make recommendations for the next session. Covid-19 restrictions have encouraged more gyms and PTs to expand their online presence so people can train no matter where they are, and fit it around their lifestyle.

Getting Outdoors

Outdoor fitness has seen gains through 2020 whilst gyms were closed, and it’s also a much lower Covid-19 risk than indoors. Lockdown saw a rise in bootcamps in parks, as a way around the ban on indoor gym classes. This trend is set to continue into 2021 as people enjoy mixing up their fitness routine with getting out in the fresh air and all the health benefits it brings.

Wearable Tech

We’re not just talking fitness trackers and smartwatches, but also heart rate monitors and GPS trackers (for charting cycling and running routes). Helping you to keep on track with your goals, data is specific to your requirements and activity and therefore make fitness more personalised. Over the years capabilities have expanded, and we’re now seeing AI and VR fitness solutions emerge which bring a whole new level to high-tech workouts.


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) was very popular in 2020, and this will continue into 2021. The technique burns calories fast, and takes significantly less time than regular exercises, making it appealing to busy people. It’s also really accessible to do at home, requiring little space and limited equipment.

Full Day Training

Full day training divides your programme into several smaller workouts – think yoga when you get out of bed, a walk or run at lunchtime and an explosive HIIT workout in the evening. It might sound full-on, but it actually makes regular training easier to accommodate in everyday life, and it’s easy to develop a routine. If you’re WFH it’s even easier!

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