It seems that the fitness trends from 2020 have spilled over into 2021 and have become a lot more mainstream.

Co-hosts Gary Chambers and Shaun Haney discuss the top trends of 2021 in the fitness world, including everything from virtual training and racing, to food boxes, to working out outdoors.

Online and virtual training, for more obvious reasons than ever, have become very popular. Digital or in-person hybrid training is continuing to expand and more trainers are seeing that trend continuing beyond the pandemic. They’re investing in the trend with locations, cameras, and streaming services that will enhance experiences for their clients.

“Online virtual training, for the obvious reasons of convenience, and I think as rural people, and in farm communities, we’re really reaping the benefits of this explosion in investment in health and wellness online,” says Chambers.

Examples of success in the virtual world include the Peloton, Zwift, and virtual racing like “Everesting” — climbing 8,848 metres, the equivalent of Mount Everest. In 2020, there was a 600 per cent higher success rate on the popular fitness app Strava, than in the previous year.

There will be a challenge for smaller rural town gyms, who still have a brick and mortar facility, but they’ve pivoted to more virtual experiences as well. Chambers thinks there will be room for both in 2021, and gyms will get creative to adapt.

E-bikes have continued to grow to the point that major cycling retails have opened e-bike shops to accompany their bike shops. E-bikes can open up a lot more opportunities for people who aren’t necessarily fit or were fitter in the past — for some people, they might not be cycling at all, if it weren’t for an e-bike.

As warmer temps return, Chambers thinks that more open-air concept gyms and fitness classes will be popping up. The open air trend might be the only way to survive as a brick and mortar location; it might take re-tooling, but it’s possible.

With the shutdowns of gyms across the country, the rebuilding of the home gym has surged in popularity. Free weights, treadmills, and bikes are in short supply, but body-weight programs have exploded. People are working with what they’ve got, and apps can really fill some of the void.

Check out the full conversation between Chambers and Haney, story continues below player:

The growth of boutique fitness offerings online or in small groups is commanding top dollar for trainers. Online spaces are getting crowded, and let’s face it, long-gone are the days of large group programs; people are becoming accustomed to the smaller group attention and will continue to want it past the pandemic programming guidelines, says Chambers.

Self care, mental health awareness, and mindset training are all on the rise. The high stress of 2020 and going into 2021 has caused exponential growth in this market. There’s less emphasis on body image nowadays and more emphasis on mental training, which has more value than ever before. Lumped in with this category are yoga, meditation, and all forms of training mental clarity, which Chambers thinks will grow in 2021.

“Abs are made in the kitchen,” and food boxes have seen huge growth over the past year. Chambers thinks that personalized nutrition might be one of the next markets to grow — custom tailoring of the food box concept to individual nutrition programs.

“It’s all about convenience now, and we’re not spending the same kind of money at a restaurant with the family, so to order in a food box, the cost isn’t really that big anymore, relative to dining out like we used to,” says Chambers.

Post-recovery products will continue to grow in 2021, which might be a bit of a splurge for some. People are taking the available cash they’re not spending on other things, and spending them on foam rollers, percussion guns, sleep trackers, smart mattresses and the likes. Chambers would like to see the health care system become more preventative, and that eventually some of these post-recovery products could be covered under insurance.

Everything outdoors is the single biggest trend that Chambers is seeing this year, not just for fitness classes, but also the surge in walking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and more. All forms of outdoor activities have exploded and people are embracing everything adventure-based from simple camping trips to backcountry exploration. The evidence is in the sales of this equipment and parking lots within provincial and national parks on any given weekend or holiday.

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