IT CAN BE difficult to decipher which fitness trends are here to stay, and which will pass in the time it takes to get through a video on TikTok.
In the ever-changing world that is the fitness industry, you would be hard pressed to predict exactly what’s around the corner to being the next big thing, especially at the reset point that is the New Year. Will at-home spin still be in? What about CrossFit or newer competitions like Hyrox? Will people still shell out major cash for advanced, next-gen recovery modalities like pro athletes?
To shed some light on what’s next, we asked a handful of Men’s Health fitness advisors and expert trainers to tell us what they think the top fitness trends we be in 2023. You might not believe it now, but you’ll probably find yourself sweating like this later this year.
Gyms Will Be the Focus for Communities
People are sick of the 10 pound dumbbells in their living rooms and the at-home workouts. While bodyweight and light-equipment workouts had their time, exercisers who haven’t rejoined gyms are itching to be back to the grind.
“We’re seeing that consistently there’s another person showing up who you haven’t seen [in] a gym in over two years,” says Mike Boyle, strength coach and Men’s Health fitness advisor.
Micro-gyms, as Boyle calls them, will also make a comeback. Small places, strategically equipped with turf, sleds, and tires that offer group fitness classes will see more and more popularity. People are ready to embrace the community aspect of fitness, says David Jack, fitness coach and Men’s Health fitness advisor.
Gyms that emphasize community, and “really establish themselves again as a place for people to feel like they’re part of something,” will find success in 2023, says Jack.
As the 10 pound dumbbells are pushed further into the closet, gym guides will be replacing the YouTube follow-along workouts that had us buy them in the first place, says Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S., founder of Le Sweat TV. “People learned and mastered the basic lifts during at-home workout training and are ready to take their knowledge to the next level,” says Atkins. Think old school workout PDFs, detailing form cues and rep ranges.
The at-home experience may be minimized, but it won’t die down completely. Jack believes the online-only coaching industry will attempt to stay afloat with new hybrid plans. “I think we’re gonna see a lot of new very creative digital offerings,” says Jack, blending at-home and in-gym workouts together. People still appreciate the convenience of home workouts, while still wanting to get into the gym.
Training Efficient Will Be the Goal
For lots of people, the focus on gym workouts will come with a time crunch. Even if some aspects of home workouts have lost their luster, you can’t deny the benefit of the five second commute.
With that in mind, trainers are becoming more efficient with the way they’re programming for their clients, says Alwyn Cosgrove, fitness coach and Men’s Health fitness advisor.
Trainers are getting to know their clients daily routines better to make their limited time together more productive—just like a doctor might ask a patient for their medical history and other questions to provide more context.
“A training program is like packing for a trip. There’s only so much room in the suitcase,” says Cosgrove. “So we’re gonna take what’s important. That idea of looking at activities of daily living and rounding it out with what you don’t get on a day to day basis, which is probably function and loading.”
What that means in practice is the elimination of redundancies. For example: No more starting your sessions with 10 minutes on the treadmill if you work as a mail carrier and already walk five miles a day. “You’ve got limited time for exercise like anybody else. So if you’ve checked that box already by moving around so much day to day, it’s redundant for us to program it,” says Cosgrove. In other words, 2023 will be the year of maximum efficiency.
Big Weights Will Rule
Making the training plans more efficient means taking advantage of the things your facility has to offer that your living room (probably) does not. That means training with weight—and lots of it.
“I think heavy strength training will be the hottest trend,” says Cosgrove. “I think during [the early days of] the pandemic and probably the year after that, it was a lot of circuit and light body weight stuff that people did at home, but they didn’t have access to load.” If 2022 was a year where people got back into the swing of training with big weights, 2023 will be when it becomes the norm.
What’s more, strength training with heavy loads will make its way into fitness routines that don’t typically see it. We’re emphasizing efficiency by combining things that maybe haven’t been combined before, like weight training routines blended with yoga, mobility, and even meditation. Expect more of this in the coming year.
Carbs Are Making a Comeback
You’re going to need something more to fuel that extra energy. Our trainers are expecting a resurgence of embracing carbs as a fuel source. It makes sense, considering carbs are the first macronutrient our bodies burn to build energy.
“People are really understanding the importance of well balanced nutrition, and they’re gonna start making decisions based on what’s good for their body long term,” says Don Saladino, MH advisor and celebrity trainer (his clients include Ryan Reynolds, Sebastian Stan, and David Harbour).
With the rise in popularity of carb-friendly diets such as the Mediterranean and DASH diet, carbs are no longer the enemy and whole grains are finding a place on plates again.
“Slow burning carbs are high in fiber also, they’re gonna help detoxify the body, clean out the body, keep you regular, and that’s important,” says Saladino.
Holistic Training Will Expand Beyond the Body
A balanced diet is one of many pieces that build the holistic style of training that will be more common in 2023. It’s not just about taking an hour in the gym and watching what you eat anymore—the mind and soul will be integral to fitness in 2023, too.
“It’s really gonna be about more of the holistic journey of an individual,” says Jack. “Their mental health, their physical health, and their fitness.”
Using meditation as part of a fitness routine isn’t exactly new, but expect the practice to become more common in 2023. Fitness studios are merging meditation with muscle building, like at the Breathe.Burn.Calm. class at Manhattan’s Mind Body Project.
More than anything else, 2023 will see people making their fitness practice an integral, interconnected part of their everyday lives, not just something they do for an hour when they remember to go to the gym.
Whatever new fitness trend you dare to take part in, find something that you enjoy and can stick to to make 2023 your healthiest year yet.
Cori Ritchey, NASM-CPT is an Associate Health & Fitness Editor at Men’s Health and a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. You can find more of her work in HealthCentral, Livestrong, Self, and others.