Fitness Trends That Will Power You Through 2020

2020 brings a new year and a new decade of wellness. Over the last few years, we’ve seen people embrace health and wellness more than ever before, including everything from mainstays like running and weight training to the slightly new age-y and abstract (goat yoga anyone?). And just like Flo Jo, the fitness industry has no signs of slowing down. The global fitness and health club industry generates more than 80 billion U.S. dollars in revenue per year, and continues to climb. 

So what can we expect to be the hottest (and sweatiest) workouts for next year? We asked top fitness experts to predict the fitness trends for 2020 just in time for you to make those fitness New Year’s resolutions. 

HIIT

As more people continue to seek efficient workouts (more sweat in less time) HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) will continue to remain popular, according to Heather Englund of Fit Mama Real Food

“HIIT allows you to be efficient with your time, while boosting metabolism and getting an amazing workout in. The key is to at a high intensity during the short bursts of exercise, and follow it with short recovery before going back into the next interval. The after burn is increased with this method of exercise,” she says. The result? “More effort in less time.”

Doing What You Love

Here’s a trend we can all get behind: doing less of what we hate, and more of what we love. Mandi Em of Healthy Living for Hot Messes says 2020 is “the year of the nature walk, the lazy hike, or the living room dance party.”

Science shows us that getting out into nature is immensely good for our bodies and minds, says Em, which makes nature “the original gym.” 

“Also it’s free and comes with complimentary endorphins! Literally just go for a walk,” says Em. “That’s your step one. Kettlebells can wait. What 2020 needs is people looking at where they are at, and taking it to the next level instead of bounding to the top step, falling short, hating it, hating themselves, and giving up entirely.”  

At Home Options

While gyms can serve as great motivation for our workout, sometimes getting to the gym is impossible, especially when the weather is bad or the kiddo is sick. “Even though many consumers still crave an in-person experience, we’re seeing people supplement their workouts with at-home options, which offer a convenience factor that physical gyms and studios lack,” says Erika Shannon, former coach for SoulCycle, Equinox and Daily Burn, and current Director of Fitness for MYXfitness. “There’s a demand for both in-person and at-home alternatives, and rather than one completely eclipsing the other, we’ll start to see more people combining the two for a more personalized approach to wellness.”

 Mike Fantigrassi, M.S., NASM-CPT, and co-author of NASM’s new Certified Nutrition Coach program (NASM-CNC) calls it a fitness hybrid approach. “What this means is people will still go to the gym…they’ll still work with personal trainers to help them achieve proper form. They may supplement with on-demand workouts and different programming when they’re not with a trainer.” Fantigrassi says an on-demand/live fitness content is a more affordable option and “actually gives a trainer an opportunity to work with more clients, and even retain them. For example, a client may seek a trainer to ensure they’re doing the on-demand movements properly, or trainers can recommend the proper on-demand programming for a client who is traveling.”

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Image: Shutterstock / Fascinadora

Functional beverages 

According to Jillian Michaels, health and fitness expert and creator of the My Fitness by Jillian Michaels app, says functional beverages, a drink that typically has additional health benefits, including herbs, vitamins, nootropics, amino acids, or additional raw fruit or veggies, will trend in the new year. “We are seeing this trend in everything from sparkling waters with CBD to hard seltzers with probiotics,” she tells SheKnows, citing Lucky Jack Organic Cold Brew offerings like Golden Milk Lattes or Mocha Cold Brew with added adaptogens.  “The whole trend is for people that want more and are always looking for an extra edge. Any way to improve themselves including, but not limited to, the products they consume. And I admit to being guilty of partaking. If I’m gonna have a coffee, why not have it with collagen or turmeric golden milk?”

Health and sustainability in weight loss

Next year will be more about a functional and holistic long-term approach to weight loss rather than the rapid “diets” of years past. “In 2020, the trend will continue away from a focus on rapid weight-loss/diet-only approaches and toward true sustainability accompanied by healthy nutrition and regular exercise,” says Jim Frith, Founder of TopFitPros, Certified Personal Trainer & Advance Sports Nutrition Specialist. “Over 80 percent of people who have lost substantial amounts of weight have historically gained it back. Constant ups and downs in weight are unhealthy and frustrating. Many people are looking for a path to weight loss that allows them to keep it off and to be healthy. They are tired of every weight loss program out there claiming to be sustainable, but with few offering credible scientific research to back up their claims.”

Working out in groups 

Working out in small, focused groups, including small training groups and fitness classes, will still be trending in 2020. “People love working out with friends and getting pushed by others in a class setting,” says Marie Urban, Personal Trainer and Regional Group Training Coordinator at Life Time. “Working  out with a group of friends is not only impactful for yourself but for others as well. Working out and fitness breaks down natural barriers and gets people to feel more comfortable and confident with one another.” Plus it helps develop relationships, friendships, and self-confidence. Says Urban: “People are craving connection now more than ever.”

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Image: Shutterstock / Valmedia

Wearable apps and technology

“People are really interested in recovery and fitness stats,” saysy Urban who thinks “2020 will be all about ‘the more information the better’.” Adds Shannon: “As technology-based wellness innovations continue to evolve, the fitness landscape is definitely shifting toward more digital connection. Fitness/wellness apps, wearables, and at-home equipment with digital programming abound right now! We’ve already seen the beginning of what fitness tech is capable of, and we’re going to see more of this in 2020, with an increased focus on community. This, more than anything, has the potential to affect traditional gyms, as there is a new option to connect with like-minded people right from the comfort of your home.”

Functional fitness 

Functional fitness has been around for decades, but has been growing in popularity exponentially over the past few years, according to Jay Unwin, gym manager at F3E Fitness. “Most people are bored of the usual same gym routines. They want something that will challenge not only their strength and fitness, but also their flexibility, balance and coordination,” says Unwin. The two biggest benefits of functional training? “One, the movements translate to real life much more readily, due to the use of unusual objects as well as rotational and unilateral (using one side of the body) movements,” says Unwin, “And two, because of the varied mash-up of equipment, movements and session structures, you’re way less likely to get bored and quit!”

One alcoholic drink a day

As sober curiosity continues to trend, it’s not surprising that implementing a renewed focus on nutrition and how we fuel our bodies will become more important. “Fitness is optimized with improvements to lifestyle choices. As we enter 2020, people are looking for answers to how their lifestyle choices can increase longevity and quality of life,” says Frith. “ A very small amount of alcohol on a given day promotes the formation of brown fat, which speeds our metabolisms. More than one drink a day disrupts the processes of having a faster metabolism, and it leads to weight gain. As people seek to have more active lives and greater social interaction along with better health and longevity, they will increasingly embrace having a single drink per day, but no more.”

Restorative Fitness 

 Restorative fitness will bring a welcome balance to those who are HIIT and CrossFit lovers. “Restorative fitness centers on the idea that the body goes through a cycle of stress and recovery, and high-intensity workouts aren’t effective when the body is stressed, as from an intense workout,” says Adam Zeitsiff, Gold’s Gym President and CEO. “New data suggests that varying workout intensity to include low, moderate and high, rather than aiming for maximum effort every time, makes all exercise more effective.”

Factors in restorative fitness, says Zeitstiff, include using heart rate variability (HRV) to determine where they are in the recovery cycle and what level of workout will most benefit their body. Examples of restorative fitness includes lower-intensity yoga and Pilates classes, other recovery techniques including cryotherapy, sauna, compression and percussion therapy and “gyms beginning to specifically address nutrition with dedicated professional nutrition counseling, meal plans, cooking classes, nutrition seminars and even on-site meal prep.”

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Image: Shutterstock / oneinchpunch

Strength Training 

“In 2020, dieters will increasingly insist on having strategies for muscle retention or development while they lose fat,” says Frith. “Most popular diets result in the loss of about a third of a pound of muscle for every pound lost. Losing muscle mass not only makes you weaker, but it also slows your metabolism down, which in turn makes weight loss all the more difficult.”

Adds Englund: “Strength training is nothing new but a mainstay fitness trend. Using weights or you body weight, strength training helps to increase metabolic, build bone density and improves muscle tone.  There are many ways to build a strength training program. You can alternate between muscle group, focus on full body, or split between upper and lower body days.

Body inclusivity

“Many fitness companies hire trainers with a certain ‘look’ – a look that is unattainable or unrealistic for most of us, and that can be really discouraging for people starting at the beginning,” says Shannon, who adds that, thankfully, the industry mindset is shifting. “It’s no longer about coaching people to be thinner, but coaching people to be stronger and healthier – both mentally and physically — so they can live better lives. We’ve started to see some support from some big brands this year, but we still face an uphill battle with regards to social media and public perception. In 2020, we will see even more body types represented, not only in advertising for fitness brands, but also with the trainers, coaches, and leaders within the industry.”

No matter what fitness trend might suit your fancy, it’s important to remember that a little goes a long way. Says Em: “I’d be thrilled if 2020 was the year of people striving to move just a little more than they are now, without scrolling Instagram and then mentally flagellating themselves for not doing advanced chakra-toning yoga on the side of Chad’s new infinity pool.”

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