With 2021 now in the history books, now is the time to reflect and embrace the full potential of the new year.

While the past 12 months presented some of the most difficult challenges the fitness industry has ever faced; more gym closures, fiercer cleanliness demands, and the rise of hybrid fitness platforms- it’s also created unique opportunities for growth and innovation.

Ongoing COVID waves forced us to take a deep look at not only how we exercise, but why, creating an overall shift in the approach of health and wellness. While home gyms and digital workout platforms are here to stay, consumer behaviors will continue to shape the industry’s landscape. Let’s look forward to 2022 and break down some of the top fitness trends gracing our fitness world.

Functional / Strength Training

The pandemic has permanently altered the consumer approach to health and exactly how it is defined. More people plan to focus on functional daily movement, low impact exercise, and effective workouts, causing strength and functional training to continue as a fitness trend. As most individuals are focusing on building immunities and training for activities of daily living, strength training will be the new barre training of 2019.

Mind-Body/Mental Health

New year wellness tendencies will likely continue to emphasize holistic fitness programs. Countless mandates, financial stresses, and general effects from living through a pandemic have caused a surge in the focus on mental health. As more people search for ways to ease stress and anxiety, practices such as meditation, tai chi and yoga will continue to be popular.

Active Aging Programming

Gyms, Boutique Studios, and Wellness Facilities all have one 2022 focus: how to financially stay in business. Catering to the members and clients, especially the 50+ population, is a guaranteed winner. Active Agers have the time, money, and desire to stay healthy and mobile. They want to enjoy retirement and spend time with the grandkids. Programs and classes geared to daily activity and movement, along with strengthening muscles to improve quality of life draws in the crowds. Chair fitness and active aging programming are HOT in the new year. New exercise programs, like S.E.A.T. Fitness (Seated Exercise for Ageless Training) offers the opportunity to have fun and get stronger (both physically & mentally.)

Aquatic Exercise

Exercising in an aquatic environment offers a comfortable, social atmosphere along with the advantages of the water’s resistance and buoyancy. The pool can be an expensive piece of equipment to maintain and having new specialized programming, like WATERinMOTION® Strength, not only draws in the excitement factor, but utilizes prime real estate in your facility. Think about the benefits of strength training in your pool with Aqua Dumbbells and Aqua Noodles. Since the CDC finds that chlorinated pools have six times (6x) the potency needed to kill the coronavirus (along with other viruses and bacteria,) it is pulling in people to exercise in this safe environment, perfect for active agers and younger participants alike.


Immune system support has created a lot of buzz regarding the COVID fight and will continue as an added regimen to stay healthy into the new year. Not only are consumers focusing on building stronger bones and muscles, but on the internal body system for life longevity and nutritious eating habits. Popular, “get skinny quick” diets will be left in the past while consumers make food choices that protect their bodies and the environment; selecting produce grown through sustainable agricultural practices, as well as vitamins and supplements to boost motivation and mood, support energy, and decrease fatigue.

Personal/Small Group Training

Months of lockdowns and isolation left many feeling that their rigorous exercise routines were falling by the wayside and socialization was at an all-time low. It is not surprising that personal and small group training programs increased in popularity during this time. These smaller and more personable sessions allow clients the opportunity to still feel connected and pursue their health goals while not feeling “lost” and left to their own devices as they would in large, traditional fitness classes. Statistics from recent 2021 MANIA® Fit Pro Conventions support that this training modality will continue to grow in the new year.

It is clear that technology, along with trends pointing towards consumers increasingly embracing health and wellness, will continue to drive fitness in 2022. As the shift toward more sustainable movement, rather than “trendy” quick alternatives dominate, new opportunities will be presented to meet consumer demands. Looking to elevate your current programs and prepare for the new trends? Join SCW at a live, in-person MANIA® Fitness Convention or from the comfort of your own home. May this new year bring about a positive, comprehensive, holistic approach to elevate your body, mind, and soul for a prosperous and healthy 2022!

About SCW Fitness Education

SCW Fitness Education has been in business for 39 years and is the largest provider of continuing education conferences in the world, focusing on Group Fitness and Personal Training with an emphasis on leadership and management. With seven (7) regional live shows spanning 36 years, MANIA® Conferences are held in Washington D.C., California (San Francisco), Florida (Orlando), Atlanta, Dallas, Midwest (Chicago), and Boston annually. SCW reaches over 8,000 fitness professionals in face-to-face contacts, 70K via email, and another 300,000+ in virtual connections. MANIA® Conventions offers 150+ sessions on all aspects of the fitness/wellness industry (HIIT, Functional Training, Active Aging, Strength, Cycling, Mind/Body, Barre, Dance, Aqua, Nutrition, Recovery, Business & Leadership.) SCW is unparalleled in its provision of certifications, continuing education courses and conventions to fitness professionals in multiple disciplines both live and online.