We’re putting our money on these fitness trends in 2020.
2019 was the year fitness went big. Gyms transformed into fitness playgrounds, boutique studios and activewear brands popped up everywhere, fitness events hit a record high, couch potatoes suddenly got into fitness, and almost every watch brand launched its version of fitness watches to cash in. Once thought to be something for the health nut or weight-conscious, fitness is as mainstream as bubble tea now.
You may be looking to start a workout routine, trying to keep to one, or finding ways to level up. Wherever you are on the spectrum, there’s no denying that fitness is – and will continue to be – a huge part of your life. As seasoned spectators and passionate participants in this scene, we are counting on these fitness trends to take the lead in 2020.
Unless you’re lucky enough to be able to work at a park or a beach, you probably spend your working hours indoors, with a desk plant or two, or that occasional stream of sunlight from a nearby window to call your dose of nature. Which is why outdoor bootcamps and workout events such as Shape Run and Shape Yoga have become so popular over the years.
The more time we spend indoors, the more we crave outdoor experiences. Being in nature makes you instinctively happier, plus it brings about a host of health benefits. FYI: Outdoor activities is ranked 13th on the American College of Sports Medicine’s survey of fitness trends for 2020, up from 17th in 2019.
As much as we praise mindful movement like yoga and pilates, there’s also a sizeable camp that lives for stimulating environments. We’re talking about throwing punches or dancing on a bike in a dark setting with mood lighting (for instance, red when you’re going all out, blue when you’re taking a breather), to the beat of rock, pop or electronic dance music blasting from top-tier speakers. Add charismatic fitness instructors to the mix, and you have a lethal, winning combination for a highly raved, waitlist-worthy class.
Clearly, this strategy appeals to the externally motivated, and is being employed by a rising number of gyms studios. Some examples are Crubox, Ground Zero, Haus Athletics and Barry’s Bootcamp. Just ask those who swear by their spinning instructors, boxing classes and workout playlists.
Fitness anytime, anywhere
People are starting to move away from the all-or-nothing approach when it comes to exercise – and that’s awesome. Short, incidental physical activities are getting more recognised, in part due to our obsession with move-tracking. Think AMRAP (as-many-reps-as-possible) workouts, 7-minute workouts, bathroom workouts (home workout queen Jaime Teo has some pretty cool tricks), and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (also known as NEAT) such as taking the stairs, walking your dog, playing with kids or doing housework. The bottomline: Every little step counts.
Along with the fitness-anytime trend, people are starting to embrace lunchtime workouts. It doesn’t mean forgoing lunch to do a workout, but rather, fitting in a speedy 30- to 45-minute sweat sesh into a lunch break. The justification? Productivity.
“The ‘always-on’ generation is pushing back and saying I that may always be online, but that doesn’t mean I’m always reachable. If you want me to perform my best, I need the freedom to escape for a quick midday refresh—be it in the form of yoga, HIIT or power cycling,” said Payal Kadakia, founder and chairman of Classpass to Forbes.
Thankfully, more companies are measuring productivity by results instead of hours in the office. The government’s push to elevate our physical activity status helps, too. With free and accessible workouts made available by the Health Promotion Board, such as Healthy Workplace Ecosystem and Sunrise In The City, coupled with the rise of Classpass that ties up with various gyms and studios to offer a smorgasbord of fitness classes all around the island, working out has never been this convenient.
Instead of eat-chill-sleep holidays, fitness vacations (or activacations) and retreats are becoming sought after. Runcations too, are a thing. And why? An active vacay relaxes and recharges you, essentially achieving all that you want from a holiday – without the sluggishness, unwanted weight gain or post-holiday guilt. No time for an overseas trip? A fitness staycation will do just fine. Check out wellness-focused hotels such as Oasia Hotel Downtown, which are paving the way for more mindful stays.
Running is probably the most convenient cardio workout, but let’s admit it: running is not for everyone. There are people who believe running is bad for their knees (even though research has proven otherwise), people who swear they will die from running, and people whose idea of running is really, running after a bus. Love or hate running, heart health matters. And that’s why cardio-based workouts like cycling, spinning, boxing, rowing, trampolining, dance fitness etc. have seen a surge in participation.
For a taste of trampolining, try the JumpX classes at TFX – a mix of plyometrics moves on the trampoline and resistance training exercises on the ground, done at a 30:30 work-rest ratio. This high-intensity workout helps to improve speed, agility, endurance and strength.
Fitness as a part of wellness
Fitness is more than just about hitting the gym to get a workout done. As the industry matures, we are starting to appreciate the strong co-existing relationships between fitness, health and nutrition. For all-round wellness, a fitness programme has to come hand in hand with a healthy diet and lifestyle approach. For instance, prioritising sleep, constantly tuning into your body and focusing on your needs, choosing to slow down or take a break when you need, and making sure you get your daily nutrient requirements.
Brands that reflect this wellness approach include Core Collective, a co-working space that houses wellness professionals such as exercise physiologists, psychologists, and nutritionists together with fitness pros who teach anything from pilates to aerial arts to combat sports. UFIT, which started as a personal training gym, has recently launched its first integrated hub at Club Street to offer personal training, group exercise, physiotherapy and nutrition services under one roof. The idea is to harness data collection across various touchpoints, to optimise training plans for customers. There are plans for more UFIT hubs, in Orchard and One-North.
Catering to the increasingly on-the-go and globe-trotting lifestyles, online fitness has seen an uptake. There are tons of exercise apps in the market, with popular ones being Daily Burn, Nike Training Club, Garmin Connect, Strava, Seven and Sweat. The latter features programmes by well-known trainers such as Kayla Itsines and Kelsey Wells.
Closer to home, check out No Sweat, a fitness app created by Singaporean personal trainer and Youtuber Tyen Rasif, in partnership with Clicknetwork. Launched in November, the free-to-download app lets users access a seven-day trial workout programme, as well as a fitness community where Tyen posts fitness tips, food recipes, meal plans and related articles. As with other apps, customised workout plans for various goals such as weight loss, muscle-building or body-toning require a paid subscription. Members can also submit photos, notes and questions which Tyen will reply with comments and assessments based on each person’s progress.
Once regarded as an activity to promote mindfulness and mental wellness, yoga is now widely practised for its physical benefits – the key ones being strength, balance and flexibility. And yoga has evolved to include many types beyond the classic hatha, vinyasa and Iyengar. There’s hot yoga, aerial yoga, acro yoga, yin yang yoga, alignment-based Anusara yoga, and even fusion yoga such as HIIT yoga, yogasthenics (yoga and calisthenics), yogilates (yoga and pilates) and yobarre (yoga and barre). With all these combis, there’s surely a yoga type for everyone.
Yoga’s reach has grown, too. While yoga classes used to be offered at community centres, studios and big gyms, they are now accessible via fitness memberships like Classpass, and even just a click away with portals such as Fitsphere. Founded by yoga personality Liv Lo who wants to make yoga workouts easily available to frequent travellers like herself, Fitsphere has plans for beginners, busy travellers, HIIT yoga, yoga with weights, and even a confidence-boosting routine that promises to get you red carpet-ready!
Fitness gets social
Hands up if you’ve arranged a workout for yourself and bestie as part of a birthday treat or catch-up plan. Bonding over workouts instead of drinks is getting more common, thanks to the proliferation in boutique studios that allow you to purchase a trial class or drop-in class without further commitments. Going for workout dates can only be a good thing. For starters, you will feel more accountable and be less likely to abandon a workout when there’s a friend involved. With the right company, you might even be emboldened to try something new!
For those looking to be part of a larger community, consider joining running clubs (for instance, adidas Runners Singapore and Asics Running Club), inclusive, teamwork-driven Crossfit boxes and mass events such as Yogafest (21 and 22 March 2020) and Shape Run in July/August 2020.