A summary of current fitness trends

October 4, 2022

Fitness trends can be found anywhere, whether it's a new exercise app, a late-night commercial hawking a new workout, a celebrity endorsement, or a top 10 list that appears in your Facebook news feed. And it might be challenging to sort through the chaff to discover the workout that's suitable for you in a culture that is fixated on keeping up with the Joneses. It's feasible, which is fantastic news. To help you get through the deluge of loud music and cheery exercise instructors, here are a few pointers.

What Are Fitness Trends?

"Fitness trends" is a vast topic that covers pretty much everything that is connected to fitness, whether it is a particular exercise, a piece of gear, or a particular look. But it's vital to understand that trends aren't just passing fads. The Shake Weight is the ideal example of a fleeting fitness fad; it came and went like a flash in the pan. Trends have staying power that lasts much beyond a New Year's resolution frenzy, frequently lingering around for years. Contrarily, Jazzercise is the ideal illustration of a trend that lasts for a very long time. The workout drastically revolutionized the fitness industry's landscape in the 1980s, and even though time has passed and things have changed, it is still a popular training class today.

Top 6 Things to Know About Fitness Trends

While certain fitness trends are significant, others are not. The effectiveness of the trend as a research-based exercise program and its capacity to appeal to an engaged audience and amass a devoted following are more crucial than its size and following.

1. Trends with staying power are methodologically sound or scientifically backed.

If something sounds too good to be true when it comes to fitness, it probably is. Consider "toning shoes," which were introduced by well-known companies like Reebok and Sketchers and claimed to give consumers more slender legs just by wearing the shoes. In a 2010 study, the American Council on Exercise was able to demonstrate that the advantages were almost nonexistent, proving that the promises weren't all they were cracked up to be.

In contrast, minimalist running shoes gained popularity after Christopher McDougall's 2010 book Formed to Run4 was published. The book offered some scientific proof in favor of the mechanical advantages of barefoot running, and the minimalist footwear craze was thus born. Although there have been class-action lawsuits against barefoot-style shoe makers as a result of deceptive advertising, the movement itself is still popular since there is scientific support for it in some situations and with some people, particularly for running and athletic undertakings.

2. Some trends develop a cult-like following. You don't have to join the cult ... but you can.

No matter how much your friends and fellow classmates bribe you with assurances that "it's totally worth it," maybe it is, maybe it isn't. In this regard, it's important to have some awareness of your personal approach to fitness. It's perfectly acceptable to try a class, enjoy the workout, and not sign up for a $200 monthly membership. There is no right or wrong method; some people are "trialers" while others are "buyers." However, if you enjoy checking out novel classes and experiences without committing to a certain type of exercise, feel free to switch between fashions. Variety is the spice of life, after all, and you are not have to enroll in a particular class or gym just because all your friends are.

Additionally, there is no law that forbids you. By all means, sign up and immerse yourself in the group if you attend a class and appreciate the workout, the instructor, and the other students. The most effective workout is the one you'll continue with, so selecting a class that inspires you is a wonderful approach to keep up your exercise schedule.

3. Not all trends are right for everyone.

There are many reasons a given trend might not be the perfect trend for you, aside from simple enjoyment. Take the following examples:

  • You have chronic pain or a recent injury. Exercise classes or programs that emphasize high impact exercises, plyometric movements, or heavy weights are usually not the greatest choice if you're recovering from an accident or experiencing chronic pain, especially in your back or lower extremities. If you do, your ailment is probably going to get worse.
  • You're pregnant. You've definitely read articles about pregnant women who run marathons and lift heavy weights; these are encouraging tales that can be done safely with a doctor's approval. Nevertheless, they're not recommended for all pregnancies, especially if you're not used to working out. Now is the moment to pay attention to your body, speak with your doctor, and begin with low-impact exercises. The rest is just cake, really.
  • Your budget and time are limited. Admitting that you cannot afford a $200 studio membership is not a sign of shame. There's also no shame in admitting you don't have time to go to an hour-long class five times a week, especially if you have to drive farther and spend more time getting ready. There are several exercises that can be done within a reasonable time and financial budget. Move on and congratulate yourself on discovering a trend that works for you rather than beating yourself up if you can't adopt the one your best buddy is.
  • You're new to exercise. Other routines do not offer lower-intensity adjustments or clear instructions on form, but some workouts are beginner-friendly. Avoid starting a new exercise regimen on day one with an aggressive workout if you haven't done so consistently for years; doing so will just set you up for tremendous soreness and maybe damage. Start with lower-impact trends or beginner-friendly exercises instead, including cycling, yoga, Pilates, aerobic dancing, or fundamental strength training sessions. In a boot camp or CrossFit session, there's really no need to destroy yourself. Work your way up to those.
  • You just don't like it. No matter how much you try, if you don't like a workout, you won't like it. It's not necessary to make every workout unbearable. Try new things until you find something you genuinely like.

4. A trend's popularity might ebb and flow over time.

Consider dance-based exercise as an example. Jazzercise helped this movement gain popularity in the 1980s, but in the 1990s Tae Bo and other kickboxing-inspired exercises gained popularity. But the trend was quietly simmering in the background the entire time, waiting for its chance to emerge once more. When Zumba made a major splash on the fitness scene in the early 2000s, it accomplished exactly that, serving as the model for a wide range of spin-off programs, including Broadway-inspired fitness, African-style dance classes, club-style dance workouts, Bollywood dance workouts, belly dancing, and more.

These fluctuations are typical and serve to illustrate two points: first, actual trends are enduring; they may rise and fall, but they never truly disappear. And secondly, the chance that "sub trends" within a bigger category will develop into trends on their own. If dance-based fitness is the dominant trend in this instance, sub-trends may include cardio-focused dance programs like Jazzercise and Zumba (both of which are trends in and of themselves) and ballet-inspired fitness classes like barre workouts.

5. Classes are often expensive, but it's possible to score a deal.

The development of contemporary boutique fitness studios is another trend in and of itself. Workouts used to be done in sizable gyms and fitness facilities where patrons could try a little bit of everything, including weights, cardio equipment, and a few group fitness sessions. Classes that were formerly seen as "fringe," like yoga and Pilates, were only offered in smaller studios.

But following the 2008 financial crisis, which resulted in a move away from more expensive "mega gyms" and opened the door for smaller, less expensive facilities that frequently lacked the amenity of group fitness classes, enterprising businesspeople saw an opportunity for specialized "boutique" studios that could offer repeated sessions of a single style of class set on repeat. Gyms for cycling, barre, yoga, TRX, and CrossFit consequently began to appear on every corner. Outdoor boot camps became more common, which is all positive.
everything but the cost.

6. Educate yourself before you go.

You are in charge of educating yourself on the advantages and disadvantages of every workout when it comes to fitness trends. Check out the workout's website and check reviews on independent websites like Yelp before signing up for a session. The most crucial thing to remember is to exercise critical thinking before mindlessly adhering to any teacher or trainer. Since there is still no regulation of the fitness business, no one is actively checking the credentials of instructors. You must conduct your own research to confirm the credentials and experience of the coach or instructor who is teaching your class.

Most Popular Fitness Trends

There's always something fresh on the horizon thanks to the fitness industry's ever-evolving landscape, while certain well-liked exercises become enduring "classics." The following are a few of the most well-liked trends from the first 20 years of the new millennium:

  • Indoor Cycling: Group cycling classes, such as SoulCycle, Flywheel, and CYC
  • Bootcamps: Indoor and outdoor military-inspired group classes that focus on "back to basics" exercises such as push-ups and squats
  • Cardio Dance: Any dance-inspired workout designed to increase heart rate, such as Jazzercise, Zumba, and Doonya
  • Barre Workouts: Any ballet-inspired workout that focuses on balance, coordination, and core strength by incorporating a mix of exercises that go through a full range of motion and those that isolate and hold challenging positions; popular examples include Physique 57, The Bar Method, Pure Barre, and Pop Physique
  • Interval Training: Interval training is an overarching trend that's often incorporated into other workouts, including boot camps, online and app-based training, and indoor cycling; this style of workout incorporates alternating bouts of high and low intensity exercise to keep participants' heart rates high.
  • CrossFit: CrossFit and its imitators focus on incorporating high-intensity, functional exercises and heavy strength training into their bare-bones workout programs; you can expect a "primal" workout environment and a strong sense of community.
  • Yoga and Pilates Workouts: These lasting trends (yoga's literally been around for more than 3,000 years, and Pilates since the 1950s) stay fresh with an ever-changing approach to delivery.
  • Functional Training: Functional training classes typically incorporate specialized equipment or environments designed to improve balance, coordination, agility, and speed, all while performing variations of traditional strength training exercises. Perfect examples include TRX, sand-fitness training, surf-inspired workouts and BOSU workouts.
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding: Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP, is a water-based activity similar to surfing but on a larger, more stable board, and it's earned its title as a "trend" in its own right as classes and programs, including races, water-based fitness classes, and paddleboarding yoga are popping up all over the country.
  • Boxing and Kickboxing: Boxing and kickboxing are trends that continue to reinvent themselves as group-based workouts; popular examples include Tae Bo, 9Round, Title Boxing, and Amenzone Rebel.
  • Fitness Wearables: As technology continues to take over the world, it continues to infiltrate the world of fitness with wearable devices that track everything from steps and heart rate to body fat percentage and hydration.
  • Online and App-Based Training: In the ever-connected world, more entrepreneurs are turning to the Internet to motivate and inspire the masses; popular trends include fitness apps, social media workouts, and online workout platforms and services.
  • Racing and Events: Once upon a time, a 5K was a pretty big deal, but these days races and events are constantly pushing the boundaries, looking for an edge to stand out. While standard races will always remain popular, other trending events include triathlons, obstacle course races, theme races, stair climbing events, extreme distance races, and mixed-sport races that incorporate non-traditional activities like skiing, kayaking, or skateboarding; a byproduct of the trend of obstacle course races is the rise of obstacle course gyms, and to some extent, parkour.
  • Fitness Travel: Busy schedules and a passion for exercise has led to a boom in the industry of fitness-related travel, including race or even travel, fitness retreats, and fitness-based tours such as running or cycling tours.
  • Exercise Recovery: As more people participate in intense forms of exercise, the importance of rest and recovery are having their moment; popular trends include foam rolling and sleep.
  • Workout Apparel and Athleisure Attire: Yoga pants are everywhere, and major brands now offer their own line of workout apparel; according to the NPD group, this new style of casual fashion that doubles as sweat-to-street apparel drove the increase in fashion sales in 2014.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Trying a Fitness Trend

Before enrolling in the next popular class, ponder a few things. The solutions will enhance the experience.

1. Can I try the trend on my own? If so, should I?

It's simple to try certain workout trends on your own. Online fitness classes and programs, for instance, are created expressly to be completed at home on your own schedule. However, it's a good idea to do the workout in a class environment under the direct supervision of an instructor if you haven't exercised in a while or aren't familiar with the correct form of a certain exercise. Why should indoor cycling be any different? After all, you definitely wouldn't try snowboarding for the first time without having a lesson.

2. Is the instructor well-qualified?

A successful workout depends on receiving excellent instruction. Do your homework and confirm that your coach has a current training certification from a reputable organization as well as positive feedback from both current and former clients.

3. Is the workout appropriate for my fitness level? If not, are there modifications?

Always ask the instructor what degree of fitness is required for the class or program. If the instructor says, "All levels!" right away, you should push for more information. The majority of classes—even those labeled as "all level"—are actually designed for beginners, intermediates, or advanced students, and instructors are then entrusted with making accommodations for students who are outliers. If it comes down to it and you're unsure whether the class is suitable for your level of fitness, ask the instructor if you can see one before signing up or check to see if there's an online version you can preview at home.

4. Do I need to buy gear before I go?

The majority of exercises only need your body and a pair of supportive shoes, but it's always a good idea to check with the teacher or studio manager to make sure you don't need to bring anything. Some cycling classes, for example, ask you to bring a water bottle, and some yoga studios ask you to bring your own mat. Knowing beforehand is preferable to arriving unprepared.

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