Every year, there are a handful of new fitness trends. Whether it’s a fad exercise app, celebrity workout endorsement or the latest craze on social media, fitness trends come and go in waves.
But some fitness trends have staying power. These long-lasting trends are methodologically sound or scientifically backed.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is more than just a fitness trend—it’s an exercise style that is here to stay. In fact, it was voted the number one workout by fitness professionals in a recent survey. HIIT-style workouts can be found in the gym, on apps and YouTube, at group classes like Orangetheory, and even in home-based fitness programs that provide virtual training with trainers.
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be used to meet any fitness goal. It involves alternating between brief periods of intense or explosive anaerobic exercises with short recovery periods until exhaustion. For example, you could do a HIIT workout by running as fast as you can for one minute and walking for two minutes, or you can try a more advanced workout like Tabata, which uses 20 seconds of all-out work followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of four minutes.
This type of workout can increase the amount of EPOC—excess post-exercise oxygen consumption—and burn more calories in a shorter period than continuous cardio exercise. It also boosts metabolism, and helps you build muscle mass. But it’s important to note that HIIT is not a magic bullet. It’s best paired with steady-state cardio and strength training for a complete, balanced workout routine.
In addition to its physical benefits, HIIT has been shown to have psychological benefits as well. It can help improve mental clarity and reduce stress, and it can increase motivation to exercise by releasing “feel-good” endorphins. Moreover, it may also improve cognitive performance, and research has found that it can help prevent age-related memory loss. It can also enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels, which can lower your risk of diabetes.
In the spirit of a recent surge in nostalgia (think Stranger Things, vintage fashion, and throwback workouts), many pop culture trends are finding their way back into the fitness world. For example, step aerobics are making a comeback, with new dance-based workouts designed to target the whole body while boosting cardio. Meanwhile, weightlifting—a popular training style in the 80’s and 90’s – is now more accessible for both home gyms and studio classes. Weightlifting involves using free weights, barbells, and dumbbells to build strength over a range of motion with a focus on pure physical performance. The trend is likely being driven by a desire for more muscle tone and a greater sense of physical capability, but it’s also often motivated by health concerns like improving bone density.
The Covid-19 pandemic has influenced the fitness industry in several ways. First, it has accelerated the popularity of at-home workouts. This includes the use of smart equipment, such as stationary bikes that connect to apps for virtual class streaming, and workout gear such as squat-proof leggings that won’t become see-through when stretched during lunges or squats. It has also led to a greater awareness that exercise can take place anywhere, including outdoor activities such as hiking, running, cycling, and stroller fitness (an increasingly popular variation of core workouts).
Another trend that is continuing to grow is prioritizing mobility training. This is a crucial aspect of any workout routine and helps to improve movement, reduce pain and injury, and prevent sedentary lifestyles. It’s also becoming more common to include this component of workouts as part of a holistic wellness program that goes beyond getting the perfect bikini body.
A quick glance at any gym schedule and you’re likely to see a Functional Training class or two. These workouts are designed to help your body perform daily tasks, making them more efficient and less painful in the process.
Functional fitness training is a type of strength training that focuses on movements that mimic real-world activities like picking up an object off the floor, climbing stairs or swinging a baseball bat. By working multiple muscles at the same time, these exercises improve balance, mobility and posture while helping to prevent injuries.
These types of exercises may also help you to achieve a leaner, more athletic-looking physique. Incorporating Functional Training into your routine can challenge your muscles in new ways and increase the total number of calories burned during a workout. It’s important to keep in mind that just as with any new exercise, you should begin with a functional workout slowly and gradually work your way up.
There are many different variations of functional training that can be done using your own body weight, free weights or even machines. Calisthenics (bodyweight exercises) are a popular form of functional training, but you can also crank up the resistance with some of the best adjustable dumbbells or resistance bands to achieve the same muscle gains as other forms of strength training.
For example, the Lateral Shuffle Bar Pickup is a great full body functional training workout that can help you strengthen your shoulders while targeting your obliques and triceps. It also helps to improve your balance, mobility and core stability while challenging your entire body. If you’re interested in incorporating functional training into your routine, join Planet Fitness today and take advantage of our free Functional Training program, PE@PF, available to all members!
Yoga is a 5000-year old practice that professes a complete system of physical, mental, social, and spiritual development. It is not only great for burning calories but also a great way to strengthen muscles and reduce stress, which has made it a huge hit with people who are looking to make some positive changes in their lives.
Another fitness trend that has popped up during the pandemic is exercising outdoors and using nature as a backdrop for workouts. The UK gym chain, Pure Gym, conducted a study to spot trends and fads and found that searches for outdoor exercises like reverse running and stroller fitness are rising. This trend is great for the environment and for people who want to feel connected to the world around them whilst they exercise.
In addition, yoga and Pilates are popular fitness trends due to their focus on holistic wellbeing rather than aesthetic goals alone. Searches for yoga mats have spiked during the pandemic and these can be a great investment to ensure you have a comfortable workout space at home.
Another great low impact fitness trend that has been on the rise is body weight training. This uses bodyweight to help build muscle and is a great option for people who don’t have access to a gym and are on a budget. The trend also includes exercises that are designed to mimic movements we use in everyday life such as squats, lunges, bear crawls and farmer carries.
Finally, functional training is one of the hottest fitness trends of 2023. This includes a range of exercises that work to improve balance, co-ordination and strength, which will help to prevent injuries in more intense workouts.
In addition to well-known fitness benefits like weight loss, increased strength, and improved flexibility, exercise has been shown to positively impact emotional wellbeing. Studies have found that a sense of community and support are associated with participation in group exercise. These social benefits are also a driving force behind one of the biggest fitness trends of 2023, fun fitness!
Fun fitness workouts are designed to make exercising more sociable, and help individuals achieve their fitness goals more quickly. This includes new group exercise classes like ZUU, an army-inspired form of HIIT that uses animal-inspired exercises such as bear crawls and gorilla walks to help improve balance, endurance, functional strength, and flexibility. Fun fitness workouts are also a trend seen on TikTok, where many users have posted videos of themselves performing exercises such as the weighted hula hoop challenge.
Another big fitness trend of 2023 is the rise of ‘biohacking’, which combines almost any science-based method of improving physical or mental performance – whether that be diet, exercise, mindfulness practice, technology, or drugs. It’s an interesting trend that is set to grow in popularity as the body continues to push for its limits, and as people search out ways to improve their health and wellbeing.
Throughout the pandemic, exercise habits and preferences have shifted significantly. In addition to the changes that have occurred in onsite gyms and studios, people have embraced virtual fitness offerings and outdoor workouts as a way of continuing to stay active during the pandemic. As we move into 2023, it’s expected that these new trends will continue to influence how people workout both onsite and in their homes. For example, people are likely to maintain their preference for utilizing workouts that have a social element in them such as group 5k runs and city walks, outdoor group workouts, and community organized day hikes.