Here's What Fitness Will Look Like in 2021 (At Least Until Our Regular Gyms Reopen)

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Fitness in 2020 was all about the digital workout, with folks tuning in to Instagram live sweat sessions with their favorite instructors or trying something new on YouTube. There was also a significant uptick in outdoor sports, like running and cycling, to keep us moving and out of the house while gyms remained closed for much of the year. But what will working out in 2021 look like? Are we doomed to continue doing living room HIIT forever? Not according to ClassPass. Here, five fitness trends you can expect to see a lot more of in the coming months.

The Mirror Has Turned a Corner of My Apartment into an At-Home Gym

2021 fitness trends outdoor gyms
FatCamera/Getty Images

1. open Air Gyms And Outdoor Classes

It can be hard to motivate yourself in a virtual class where no one can really see you, nor can you see anyone else (because, let’s be honest, you only ever pushed yourself at Barry’s because your competitive sister was on the bench next to you). Luckily, it looks like there will be more opportunity for in-person group classes in 2021, albeit with a weather-permitting twist. Outdoor and socially-distanced sweat sessions, as well as open-air gyms where you can get a solo workout done, are on the rise, with ClassPass searches for “outdoor” increasing by more than 400 percent in 2020. Just don’t forget to bring the SPF!

2. Lunchtime Workouts

As much as we miss being in an actual office space with our coworkers (kind of), working from home has allowed many of us to restructure our days to better fit our changing energy levels. Whereas before you’d be very likely to find us thinking about snacks or another round of coffee come noon, now we’re using that afternoon slump as an opportunity to sneak in a workout and boost our energy for the second half of the day. For the first time since the app’s release, ClassPass found 12 p.m. to be the most popular time to work out during the week. With meetings happening over the phone or video call­—where you may or may not need to have your video on—we don’t have to worry about being a sweaty mess while working. Conversely, we can also take an energizing shower midday to refresh. If you haven’t already tried the lunchtime workout, we highly suggest sneaking in even just a five-minute session.

2021 fitness trends virtual classes
Marko Geber/Getty Images

3. global Workouts

Feel like you’ve already tried every boutique fitness class or gym in your area? Why not branch out and try yoga in London, HIIT in Sydney or a cycling class in Amsterdam? Virtual classes make it easy to work out with a friend who lives far away or revisit a studio you found on vacation or while studying abroad. There have been significant increases in the number of U.S. residents tuning in to classes broadcast from the U.K., Australia, the Netherlands and even Singapore, satisfying both our need to break a sweat and a little bit of wanderlust.

2021 fitness trends chic at home equipment

4. chic At-home Equipment

You may not have cared about the aesthetic appeal of dumbbells when they lived at your gym and not in your living room, but now that they’re constantly on display, you’re starting to think otherwise. Companies are coming out with fitness equipment that doubles as chic decor, like the sleek wooden dumbbells above (from $229) that also come with matching resistance bands by Kenko. Or the U-bend design by Equipt ($129) that we genuinely mistook for art. Even the Mirror, a smart mirror that doubles as a virtual fitness studio, has seen a major boost in users. Expect to see more innovative equipment designs hitting your Instagram feed in the near future.

5. Corporate Wellness Efforts

Company holiday parties and team retreats may no longer be viable options, but that doesn’t mean coworkers can’t still get together for some good old-fashion team building by way of working out together. More and more companies are booking virtual fitness classes for their employees to help foster team spirit and keep morale up. And it seems to really be working—according to ClassPass, three in five professionals who participated in a workout with their coworkers reported feeling more connected to their teammates afterward. (And here we were thinking trivia night was the only fun method of team bonding…)

Abby Hepworth


Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...
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