10 Fitness Trends of 2021-2022: Fads vs Trends

The last two years have been very memorable, especially for those who enjoy fitness and exercise. The pandemic forced closures of gyms, and it limited access to all sorts of clubs, equipment, and group training sessions. With all this change, it makes me consider 2022 fitness trends.

The result of this paradigm shift in the fitness world has resulted in new fitness and exercise trends. Or, at a minimum, reinforced some trends that have solidified in the last handful of years. Necessity is the mother of invention. While there will always be new gadgets and new miracle weight loss that pop up every year, the last couple of years have redefined or, more accurately, relocated how we stay healthy.

The Health & Fitness Journal by the American College of Sports Medicine surveyed fitness trends for 2021, and the results probably won’t surprise you. The question is, did the pandemic cause these trends to be more of a fad, or are the trends of 2021 going to continue into 2022?

Below is the list of top 10 trends according to this survey. I’m going to discuss the potential for these trends to fade out and just be a fad caused by the pandemic or will they continue.

10 Fitness Trends of 2022

Online Training

1) Online Training – Online training came about for the at-home exercise aficionados. Online training can be streamed to individuals, group classes, or presented as an instructional workout program. And it’s easy to see why online training skyrocketed over the last couple of years.

Gyms and clubs were forced to close, so those who were consistently going to a workout class were faced with picking up a different way to get their exercise or joining an online training session. There are pros and cons to online training. Training in a live group can motivate you to push through the hard parts and burn those extra calories.

With the online version, you don’t get that same peer pressure you feel in a live group session. If most of your motivation is internal motivation, you might not need this peer pressure to get the most out of your workout session.

For others, being surrounded by everyone else going through the same workout can be invigorating and help you power through. There is a convenience factor to online training. If your gym, box, or workout place is far away, it’s easy to skip. Whereas online training is available 24/7, so this level of convenience is nice for busy professionals.

Finally, I think this pandemic has really shown how gyms can be germ factories. It’s always been in the back of my mind that sharing equipment and breathing the same air is an excellent opportunity to catch something. But the pandemic brings this awareness to the forefront of my mind. I’m a little more hesitant about joining a group workout session now, just because of this. From now on, I think online training is here to stay. I don’t see it fading away anytime soon.

Wearable Technology

2) Wearable Technology – Blame excellent marketing by Apple, Garmin, Fitbit, and others for this trend. This technology started in 2016, so to say it came about because of the pandemic is a bit incorrect. These devices can show steps, heart rate, calories burned, sleep time, and much more. The more recent tech can show blood pressure, oxygen saturation, body temperature, and more.

It’s turned into a $100 billion industry. We are a society of data and communication. We want all the information, and we want it all right now! Brain scans show dopamine increases from these “fixes.” Knowing our heart rate and how many steps we’ve done has turned us into slaves of technology. From now on, I think wearable technology will plateau a bit. This technology can be pricey, and smartwatches, smart clothing, and other wearable tech will lose their steam.

Bodyweight Training

3) Bodyweight Training – This type of exercise has been around for years. It really picked up momentum around 2017. Bodyweight training uses minimal equipment usually combined with higher repetitions to achieve the desired level of workout. I’ve written several posts about bodyweight training along with how to do it.

There are pros and cons to bodyweight training, and while it isn’t for everyone, the benefits are undeniable. From now on, bodyweight training will continue to rise, just because it’s easy, accessible, inexpensive, and effective.

Outdoor Activities

4) Outdoor Activities – This is self-explanatory. The pandemic pushed everyone from the gym to outside. If you were a cardio machine user, you either swapped out the treadmill for running outdoors, or you changed your workout program. Cardio machines are very popular at gyms. They burn calories, and they’re simple to use. So if you wanted to keep up your cardio routine while gyms were closed or limited, you moved your routine outside.

If you thrived in group gym classes, the option to move some of those classes to an outside setting was appealing. Smaller group walks, rides, runs, and hiking have increased, and it’s not surprising. Being forced to avoid people for fear of getting sick showed us how much we need social interaction. And if the only place to get that social interaction is outside, then so be it.

From now on, outdoor activities will plateau. The weather has been and will always be a factor in exercising outdoors. Climate change is starting to be a significant factor in how comfortable the temperature is, so significant dips or explosions in this trend won’t change much.

High-Intensity Interval Training Workouts

5) HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training has been a popular trend for several years. This type of exercise involves short bursts of high intensity followed by a short period of rest. The results are undeniable, but there is some controversy about the safety of HIIT. If you’ve never tried HIIT, I will encourage you to give it a try.

It’s a glimpse into the world of really working hard for and reaching your maximum output. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand why people who use HIIT are in the best physical shape they’ve ever been in. The good thing about HIIT is, it can be done with or without equipment. It can be done at a gym, outside, or in your home. HIIT is flexible and is probably the most effective type of workout you can do.

The catch is, you have to work hard for it. If you’re looking for an easy activity, HIIT isn’t for you. But if you’re looking to burn some fat and torch through some calories seriously, HIIT is it. From now on, HIIT will continue to rise. There’s no denying the results. 

Virtual Training

6) Virtual Training – Virtual training is defined as the fusion of group exercise with technology offering workouts designed for ease of convenience to suit schedules and needs. Many fitness pros and enthusiasts will return to open gyms, while others will enjoy the convenience of virtual options. Peloton is a prime example of virtual training where live and on-demand workouts are as close to the actual group training session as you can get.

You might not get the stench of being surrounded by sweaty individuals, but virtual training can offer a similar peer pressure. From now on, similar to online training, this will continue to rise. Time is a valuable asset, and the convenience of getting your workout in at home without time wasted in a vehicle to and from the gym is unmatched.

Exercise is Medicine

7) Exercise is Medicine – This is a push for physicians and health care providers to emphasize the benefits of exercise in our everyday lives. I’m fully convinced that if you could put the benefits of a daily exercise routine into a pill, you could sell that pill for thousands of dollars.

Unfortunately, there is no equivalent to getting off the couch and getting exercise. There is no magic pill, elixir, powder, or trick to achieving physical fitness. It has to be done the old-fashioned way. You have to earn it. Most doctors, nutritionists, and healthcare providers know the importance of daily exercise and healthy eating. Continuing to reinforce this mentality will increase as we move forward.  

Free Weights

8) Free Weights – Free weights are the use of barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, and medicine balls. To be honest, this one surprises me. I know how effective strength training using free weights can be, but I wouldn’t consider it a trend or a fad. Using free weights has been around for a very long time. The hardest part of using free weights is using proper form and manageable weight.

Men tend to use too much weight to showboat, while women are afraid to use too much weight in fear of becoming bulky. Behind HIIT, free weights are an excellent way to burn calories and achieve the definition and toned muscles we all want. If all healthcare providers continue to push the benefits of “exercise is medicine,” free weights will continue to rise.

Fitness Training For Older Adults

9) Fitness Programs For Older Adults – Theodore Roosevelt once said, “A soft, easy life is not worth living if it impairs the fibre of brain and heart and muscle. We must dare to be great; and we must realize the greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage…For us is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness, striving mightily; let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.” 

Again, there is no denying the benefits of daily exercise. Study after study shows exercise leads to longevity and happiness. Older adults realize this and will incorporate exercise into their lives, so it’s no surprise this is a growing trend. From now on, this trend will only increase as we live longer, healthier, and happier lives.  

Personal Training

10) Personal Training – Gyms and clubs are on a steady rise because people see the value of health and fitness. And gyms will always push for signing clients up for personal training. It’s a great revenue stream for gyms and it prevents beginners from injury. Personal trainers develop tailored workout programs, that clients don’t have to come up with. Having a program developed for you along with a coach that is mentoring you to reach your fitness goals will be appealing moving forward. 

What 2022 Fitness Trends Are People Trying?

I strongly believe you need to put in the work to get the results you want. That being said, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have time or in some instances the desire to try every latest piece of workout equipment or weight loss supplement. But if you’re going off of popularity and where a lot of people are putting their money, the Okinawa Belly Flat Tonic is seeing massive attention. I haven’t tried it, but just based on the amount of money and draw it has, I intend to learn more about it.

What Fitness Trends Should I Avoid?

I’ve always been fearful of any piece of equipment or supplement that promises amazing results with no effort. Even some of the shadier supplement companies will acknowledge that the best results come from healthy eating and regular exercise. So, pay attention to results that sound too good to be true.

Wrapping Up Fitness Trends of 2022

The after-effects of COVID are unknown at this time. I’ve heard of people struggling to get back to their normal lives after COVID. Only time will tell how much of an impact the pandemic will have on everyone. Until then, fitness and exercise will continue to grow albeit in a different form or place.

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