The Top 10 Fitness Trends For 2021

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The face of fitness has pivoted with the recent COVID-19 pandemic to more technologically based programming. This is evident in The American College of Sports Medicines’ annual worldwide survey of fitness trends where online training took the #1 spot. In fact, three technology-based fitness trends took their place in the top 10. Do you want to know where they landed? Here are the top 10 fitness trends for 2021.

Online Training

On the previous survey, online training was listed at #26 but boosted to the top spot for fitness trends with everyone stuck indoors. In fact, many companies offered free trials of their exercise programs to accommodate their new market. With the continuance of restrictions, it does not look like online training will go away anytime soon.

Wearable Technology

Wearable technology like fitness trackers, smartwatches, and sleep trackers allow us to track our health and fitness goals. Many send us reminders to exercise, track our monthly cycle, measure sleep quality, and more. They keep us motivated with the friendly competition with others and give a visual of our health.

Body Weight Training

Bodyweight training turned into an essential form of exercise while stuck indoors. It involves using the weight of the body while moving through variable exercises. In addition, it is an inexpensive and easy way to get a workout in from anywhere. Don’t be fooled; bodyweight training is effective for building muscle with these tips:

  • Increase repetitions
  • Decreased rest in between sets
  • Implement time under pressure like wall sits or isometric holds
  • Train until failure

Outdoor Activities

Because if COVID-19 more emphasis was put on outdoor activities, and for a while, it was one of the only options for any activity outside of the house. With the restrictions on gym openings in some states, many facilities are hosting outdoor classes to accommodate more people at a safe distance. Exercising outdoors has always been a free way to get activity while soaking up some vitamin D for protection against viruses.


High-intensity interval training involves short bursts of exercises, with short rest periods, that burns a high amount of calories. It’s a popular form of fitness because it takes a short amount of time for big results. If done correctly, it helps you burn more calories throughout the day.

Virtual Training

Why is virtual training different from online training? For the purpose of the survey, it involves group exercise training. For example, many studios and gyms will offer their same in-person programming but virtually via streaming applications. The experience is the same live class but in the convenience of your home or other remote location. This is one big way businesses kept up their revenue to combat clients’ absence in live classes during COVID-19.

Exercise is Medicine

This term is something I personally live by. If you did not know, it is a global health initiative that encourages physicians and other health professionals to include physical activity in their recommendations. The idea is to include physical activity in every patient visit and promote referrals to exercise professionals. View the reasons why exercise is important here.

Strength training with free weights

If you were like most people during 2020, you knew the shortage of free weights in the stores. Free weights can be any “free” form weighted equipment like dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells. This is also different than using stationary machines for strength training and allows for more functional training. The only thing to focus on is proper form because there is an increased risk of injury.

Fitness Program For Older Adults

Fitness programming is essential for older adults to reduce age-related decline. Specifically, fitness programs reduce fall risk and keep the mind sharp. With people living longer, it is important to focus on fitness programs to maintain independence as we age.

Personal Training

Since the surveys’ beginning, personal training has always been in the top 10. There will always be a need for guided personalized exercise instruction for people who need motivation. Be careful; many claim to be a personal trainer but really lack the knowledge. It is important to do your research when putting your fitness needs in someone else’s hands.

As you can see, many of these fitness trends are a direct result of the necessary shift fitness took in 2020. As we look into 2021, I predict the trends lead to more accessible, quick, and effective fitness. Overall I see a positive shift of people putting more emphasis on incorporating fitness in their busy lives, which is always positive.


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