The fitness trends set to take over your gym in 2023

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The fitness industry is an ever-changing one. In the past few years, it has had to prove its adaptability more than ever, with the pandemic closing gyms and bolstering at-home workouts. 2022 saw the return to pre-pandemic fitness practices, with many rejoicing in swapping those long, lonesome daily walks for group fitness classes with friends. It became a year focused on rebuilding a community that was so sorely missed. And, while 2023 will continue to build on that, it also has a lot more in store when it comes to fitness trends. 

Meaningful exercise isn’t about how many calories you burn, steps you track or how sweaty you get. It’s about moving your body in a way that feels good to you and this year will lean into inclusivity and personalised fitness, especially through the use of wearable technology, tailored workouts and active recovery.

To get the lowdown, we spoke to Hyrox athlete and personal trainer Jade Skillen, who has predicted the key trends to watch out for in 2023. She says: “The sport and fitness industry is in a super exciting place right now. It’s growing at a rapid rate and is branching out to provide sporting avenues for everyone to get involved in. 

“One of the fastest growing sport trends right now is Hyrox, the fitness race for ‘anybody’, as well as athletes focusing more on recovery and its importance. There’s also the exciting expansion of wearable technology, and its ability to track more than just workouts, and exercise entering the metaverse, with virtual reality becoming increasingly popular. Above all, there’s the need to keep workouts simple and time-efficient.”

Get ahead of the game with our insider’s guide to the fitness trends proving popular in 2023.  

Wearable technology

sport watches

It’s now more common to see someone wearing an Apple Watch than a traditional, just-time-telling device. 2020 saw Apple celebrate 100 million people watch users and the company holds the largest global smartwatch market share, estimated at 36.1 per cent. But now, as Skillen explains, the wearable technology market is going beyond just tracking steps and heart rate. 

“With each new iteration, health and fitness apps and trackers are looking more like medical devices. Going beyond biohacking, technology is providing a new era of hyper-personalised, proactive, and preventative healthcare to dive into what is really happening inside our bodies,” she explains. “[These devices focus on] cellular fitness to affect or hack every aspect of our lives, from performance in the gym and increased focus and energy to better sleep.

Skillen points towards companies like Levels Health, which leverages trackable data to enable real-time insights into the effects of food and lifestyle on health in real-time, as an example. “I’m personally using Levels at the moment and have found the experience eye-opening in seeing and understanding how certain foods can impact me negatively, and how to find alternatives which suit me better,” she says. 


Virtual reality workouts

virtual reality workouts

Developments in virtual reality fitness were undoubtedly accelerated by the pandemic. Instead of staring at the same four walls while working out, the likes of Peloton’s Lanebreak and workout app Supernatural created virtual worlds to exercise in, with the latter even providing a headset to transport you to a mystical land. And, while it’s not mainstream quite yet, Skillen predicts it’s about to explode onto the fitness scene. 

“Virtual reality fitness is a new phenomenon. It’s the latest blend of fitness and gaming which could gain a lot of interest and traction from certain markets,” she explains. “It’s a novel thing for me, but I can see how people would find it a useful escape from a sedentary lifestyle and [able to] increase their activity levels. For those who don’t enjoy the typical styles of training, VR workouts could be a great solution.” 

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The rise of fitness racing 

Jade Skillen

Hyrox, built on the concept of fitness racing, has become the biggest indoor fitness event in the world. For months, athletes train to compete in an 8km race, with participants required to complete functional movement, such as ski ergs, sled pushes or burpees, between each kilometre. Sounds tough, right? Well, it is, but it’s also a surefire way to get fit. 

Entering a Hyrox event is like trying to get a ticket for Glastonbury: near impossible. The last race had a 2,000-strong waiting list and PureGym recently named Hyrox as one of its leading fitness trends for 2023. So what makes it so appealing? 

“I’m a Hyrox Master Trainer so I have personally seen how much the race and the community have grown over the past few years,” says Skillen. “It’s a great concept designed for everybody of every fitness level. None of the movements require a huge amount of technical ability, which is why anyone of any age and ability is able to sign up and take part, making it the most inclusive race in the world.”

Skillen explains that 2023 will see Hyrox introduce a hybrid style of fitness training, focusing on both endurance and strength to create a well-rounded, complete exercise concept. “Hyrox workouts can be great for people who get bored training in one style. It’s the perfect sport for someone who has a competitive edge but isn’t overly familiar with technical movements.”


Focusing on recovery

massage gun

How many of us often skip the warm-up or cooldown stretch just to save ourselves five minutes in the gym? We admit we’ve been guilty of this too, but skipping these vital steps can result in injury. 

However, Skillen says, she has recently noticed a shift in athletes focusing on their recovery regimes as much as their workouts. “Recovery has now become inseparable from performance,” she says. “Professional athletes have always recognised recovery as being an integral part of their training regime, and that they simply will not improve if they do not incorporate it into their schedule. As fitness and training become more popular, the average gym-goer is increasingly understanding the importance of recovery.

“There are a vast array of apps, tools and supplements which help people to prioritise and optimise their recovery. Recovery tools from brands like Hyperice are increasingly in popularity, offering massage, compression, and heat settings to keep the body in tip-top shape.”


Keeping workouts short and sweet


“As the fitness industry continues to boom across the world, there can be a lot of false information going around. This includes the idea that working out for long periods of time with complex routines is better for you than a shorter workout,” explains Skillen. It’s true; many believe that the longer the workout, the better it is — but that isn’t necessarily the case. 

“Just because a workout is short and simple, it doesn’t mean you won’t reap any rewards. A recent study reported the fastest-growing activities among users were Pilates, breathwork, and yoga, and brands — be it gyms or tech companies — are all catering to this. I think this shows that people are taking interest in those slower activities and not constantly training hard and fast, as this can take a toll on the body. 

“There are some apps, like Pliability, which offer short, guided daily videos which fuse mobility, yoga, rehab, recovery, mindfulness, and strength to elevate performance in life and in sport. These are really useful as they are time effective, and require minimal effort from a user perspective.”


Read more: Game on: The best leggings for stylish workouts

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