It’s that time of year again when we look towards a bright and shiny New Year. How will we be working out in 2022? Over the past couple of years, the fitness industry has faced great challenges and opportunities with gym closures and a massive influx of digital fitness offerings. The way the world approaches health and fitness has shifted and become a priority for many consumers.
With the New Year fast approaching, no doubt we will see a wave of fitness trends arise. While some tend to stand the test of time, others come and go. Fitness trends will always evolve as consumer behaviors change. Although the fitness industry faces roadblocks, there’s also opportunity and room for innovation. In this article, we look forward to 2022 and break down some of the top fitness trends for next year.
Skip ahead to:
- What is shaping the future of fitness in 2022?
- 2021 reflection: the rise of online workouts and personal training
- 12 fitness trends for 2022
What is shaping the future of fitness in 2022?
Throughout multiple lockdowns, many people had to adjust how and where they exercise. From this, a new mentality that you can exercise anywhere has continued to rise. The fitness mindset that craves flexibility and convenience is apparent as well as the awareness that fitness can be for everyone. Consumer behavior trends and priorities will continue to shape the future of fitness. Brands will need to adapt and serve the needs of their members.
Fitness providers are re-evaluating their value proposition and finding opportunities to target new audience segments. While the fitness industry is facing big challenges, you can see the balance of great opportunities that come with it. As people continue to reassess so many different aspects of their lives, the way they approach exercise is also in the spotlight.
The Covid-19 crisis continues to put a major focus on health with many consumers taking better care of their own well-being. As fitness trends continue to emerge in the industry, brands have a chance to empower members by helping them not only work out but improve different areas of wellness. Mental health and fitness continue to interlink with mind-body practices weaving into various gyms and health clubs.
After several lockdowns and restrictions on social gatherings, connection and interaction appear to be key drivers in the industry. You can see this in the way that brands like Peloton and SoulCycle use rockstar instructors to help build thriving fitness communities. There’s a reason that group fitness training always makes it to the list of fitness trends year on year. Incredible fitness instructors are a key part of the group fitness experience and have the power to skyrocket your brand.
2021 reflection: the rise of online workouts and personal training
Before we jump into the fitness trends for 2022, let’s reflect on 2021. Last year, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACMS) ranked online training as number one in the ACSM Fitness Trends survey. The huge changes within the fitness industry were a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerated a massive shift to digital fitness. As brands launched digital fitness platforms in what felt like days, consumers had access to a growing number of virtual training options. Initially, we were seeing fitness professionals run Zoom classes for their regulars. Now, we’re seeing extremely polished digital offerings from small businesses as well as huge names in the industry.
One year on and online workouts are still growing in popularity and don’t appear to be showing signs of slowing down. According to RunRepeat, the online fitness industry is projected to be worth more than $59 billion by 2027. Statistics show that gyms that offer virtual classes also increase their in-person class attendance by 12%. It’s clear that convenience-based wellness and fitness services are in demand as they provide a whole new level of accessibility to customers.
Personal training first made its appearance in ACSM’s top ten fitness trends in 2006 and has been a regular on the list ever since. As we see a higher demand for personalized services, personal training will continue to be a popular option. But now we’re seeing virtual personal training and online offerings from personal trainers. You are no longer dependent on location, you could have a trainer on the other side of the world as long as you have a decent internet connection.
12 fitness trends for 2022
With online workouts still trending and more gym-goers returning to the gym, the world is trying to adapt to a new way of life. Let’s look toward 2022 with optimism in the hopes that the pandemic releases its grip on the world. As technology continues to advance, there will be new opportunities for brands and consumers in fitness.
1. Hybrid gym memberships
We’re seeing an increase in gyms offering hybrid memberships. Many traditional gyms are noticing that members want to have the option to work out either online or in-person. Online fitness isn’t necessarily a competitor to brick-and-mortar businesses, but an ally as long as you can adapt to the needs of your members. Members want the option to head to the gym a few days a week, but also get a workout in at home. Hybrid gym memberships are all about providing a level of convenience that consumers not only demand but expect.
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2. Wellness-tracking wearable technology
Wearable tech and activity trackers continue to be a big trend for 2022, but they are going beyond fitness. This year, many smartwatches and fitness trackers are adding features that delve into metrics like body temperatures, stress levels, sleep, and heart rate. People are looking to track a variety of wellness metrics that go beyond just steps or miles run. A great example of this is the human performance company Whoop. In the last year, they have raised $200 million in funding. Whoop can track your sleep, health, strain, recovery so that you can have a bigger picture of your overall healthcare.
3. Exercising outdoors
People are spending more time outdoors and with the closure of gyms, many members went to their local outside space for their workouts. UK gym chain, Pure Gym, conducted a survey based on Google searches to spot the latest fitness trends or fads. They found that reverse running and stroller fitness are climbing the list of popular searches. Outdoor activities like hiking, running, cycling, and outdoor workouts in nature will continue to be popular ways to exercise. More people are not only looking to exercise more but benefit from being out in nature.
4. Low-impact exercise
As popular as high-impact exercise is, there’s a space for low-impact exercise to grow. Workouts like rowing, yoga and Pilates are perfect for strengthening but are much less harsh on the body. As more people look to work on functional daily movements and just live a healthier life, low impact but effective workouts will continue to be a fitness trend. For instance, Pure Barre which is the largest barre studio franchise focuses on small movements that result in big changes.
5. Inclusive fitness
Cultivating a diverse and inclusive fitness industry will continue to be an underlying theme for gyms, fitness studios, and even fitness apps. From your instructors to workout styles, as a business owner, it’s your responsibility to create a diverse environment. With online and home workouts, more people have access to fitness like never before. But there’s still room for a higher level of inclusivity. You can see this through the development of fitness apps such as Joyn which focuses on body-neutral movement with no judgment and no diet talk.
6. Mini workouts
Mini workouts are for the people who don’t have 45 minutes spare to dedicate to a workout. They are for the people who want to squeeze in an effective, but quick workout throughout the day. Mini workouts benefit both time-sensitive people as well as those who simply don’t have the motivation to commit to a huge workout. Whether it’s strength training with free weights or a ten-minute bodyweight training program, a mini workout is simple and quick. Mini workouts could be five or ten minutes long that you can spread out throughout your day.
7. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
Every year, high-intensity interval training continues to be trending. Typically, HIIT workouts involve short bursts of activity with periods of rest. The benefit of HIIT training is that you can get in an intense workout in a relatively short period of time. The good thing about HIIT is that you don’t need any special equipment as you can use bodyweight exercises. Most of the time, you can customize HIIT workouts so they are suitable for a range of abilities. A style of HIIT training known as ZUU is also increasing in popularity. ZUU is inspired by the animal kingdom and delivers a tough full-body workout.
Moving into 2022, there will likely continue to be a big focus on holistic fitness programs and mind-body practices. Following multiple lockdowns, financial pressures, and general stress from living through a pandemic, mental health is a key focus in health. As more people look to find ways to ease stress, anxiety and support their mental health, practices like yoga, tai chi, and medication will continue to be popular. As physical activity becomes part of the greater health puzzle, consumers will look to movement as a way to meet their overall wellness goals.
9. Outdoor personal training
As the trend towards outdoor exercise and personalized training continues, outdoor personal training looks set to be popular this year. Personal trainers also have the opportunity to teach small groups in an outdoor setting. By training outdoors you can maintain social distancing more easily and have fresh air circulating. Outdoor personal training also supports clients who may be hesitant about exercising indoors or those more vulnerable to COVID-19 and seeking alternatives to the gym.
10. Smart home gym
Smart home gym equipment was already trending before the pandemic, but multiple lockdowns really accelerated consumer adoption and growth. No doubt smart home gym equipment can be pricey, but brands like Tempo and FightClub continue to raise millions in funding this year. For many people, the barrier to smart home gym equipment is price and size. We’re already seeing brands tackle this with equipment like the Temple Studio which is an all-in-one home gym the size of a mini-fridge, costing just under $400. While Peloton is a huge player in the home gym equipment space, it will be interesting to see how new brands come to the field with different offerings.
11. Fun group fitness classes
There’s something about working out in a group that makes you feel good. Entire brands are built on the premise that people like to work out together and that feeling of community elevates the business. While HIIT and yoga will always be popular group workouts, we’re seeing classes like trapeze, roller skating, and trampoline grow in popularity. Thanks to TikTok, weighted hula hoop exercises appear to be back on the scene. While it’s difficult to tell if something is a trend or fad, one thing remains the same, which is there’s no denying the popularity of group training.
12. Movement as medicine
In the fitness landscape, one of the biggest shifts we’re seeing is that fitness is going beyond achieving the perfect bikini body. It’s about moving your body and living a healthier life. Fitness is just a part of your overall wellness, and the mindset of exercise is medicine is growing. There are benefits to daily exercise and movement for health and well-being. The American Heart Association even suggests that doctors could prescribe exercise for some cases of high blood pressure and cholesterol.
While no one can predict the future, it’s clear that consumer behavior and technology will continue to drive the fitness industry. As a shift towards sustainable fitness rather than get-fit-quick alternatives continues to rise, there are various opportunities within the industry to meet consumer demand. How the world approaches health and fitness will continue to evolve as we step into another year.