How 2020 changed the way we do Fitness, Food & Wellness!

As we settle into 2021 it is time to reflect on the year that was 2020.  For many of us it was the year that wasn’t, but off the back of this experience it has left many of us more resilient and more robust than ever.  As a Personal Trainer and Health and Wellness coach I have witnessed a shift that has occurred within the health and wellness space.  This shift has come about mainly due to Covid  and the effect this virus has had on our the way we live we our lives and what we choose to focus on. 

With that in mind, here are my observations on all things fitness, food and and wellness and what 2021 will look like in this space!

Here’s to a healthy and happy rest of 2021!

Online Fitness Subscriptions and On Demand Workouts:

While we were shut off from much of our lives physically, a saving grace was being able to remain connected digitally which allowed many of us to keep our exercise regimes going.

When gyms closed across the country due to Covid outbreaks, avid gym attendees started looking at online options for fitness motivation.  Most commercial and boutique exercise facilities started offering zoom classes with an instructor that you could do in the comfort of your own home.  These alternatives proved to be quite popular as they kept the social element of exercise alive, whilst also providing participants with a community in times of isolation. 

On demand workout apps are so sophisticated now that they you can stream any type of workout anywhere, anytime from dance classes to weights-room workouts to your home.  Not only are these type of workouts more readily available, but, according to some fitness experts they are here to stay.  Charlie a client of mine who trained with me online was a big fan of online workouts; she says,

“Digital exercise options suited me for many reasons, those being, I didn’t  have to leave the house to do it and I can still receive expert guidance from a professional in real time’.

Outdoor Training:

If there is one thing that 2020 taught us, it’s that Mother Nature provides the perfect backdrop to deliver a butt kicking workout.  You only have to look around in your neighbourhood to see an abundance of outdoor yoga sessions, run clubs, bootcamps and swim squads being run by fitness experts who have moved their businesses outdoors. 

The great outdoors can provide the ideal environment to work on your fitness and change up your workout routine.  Nothing compares to a run in natures backyard or a swim in the ocean to revitalise your energy.  During the peak of the lockdowns one of the few permitted reasons to leave your home was to exercise outdoors which resulted in people running, walking and training everywhere there were green open spaces.  For some of us getting outside and going for a walk several times a day broke up the monotony of being stuck indoors.  I know of several clients whose exercise actually increased as they were no longer commuting long distances to go to work and could spend this time working on their health instead.

For a lot of health professionals these outdoor sessions are here to stay as their clients feel safer than exercising in an indoor space. Smaller gyms and exercise facilities might find it harder to adhere to the ever-changing social distancing requirements therefore the outdoors solves a lot of these problems as well as reducing costly overheads from hiring out facilities.

Mental Health & Self Care:

With long periods of time at home and isolated from friends and family this has brought into the spotlight for many of us issues that have been bubbling under the surface in terms of our mental health.  I have had numerous conversations with friends and clients with whom have really struggled with anxiety, depression, addiction and loneliness during this time.

The resulting demand for self-care practices has seen these services increase in popularity and range from services such as counselling, psychology, meditation, breathwork, massage, and Yoga.


With pubs and clubs shut across the country intermittently last year and somewhat this year, the result of this has seen an increase in purchase behaviour from bottle shops according to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (May 2020).  Whilst alcohol consumption has seen a reduction from pubs and clubs due to these closures.

In a study collected from (Biddle et. al 2020) the most common reason given for alcohol consumption was that the person is spending more time at home (67% males/ 64% females).  The next most common response was ‘boredom nothing else to do’ (49% males) whilst for females it was ‘increased stress’ (42%).

Whatever the reason some of us turned to alcohol more in 2020, 2021 is about the year of sobriety or trying to cut back on our alcohol consumption.  During the calendar year we have events such as ‘Feb Fast’ and ‘Dry July’ campaigns which encourages participants to go a month alcohol-free.

Boom in Athletic & Eco Friendly Wear:

Sales of athletic wear have gone thru the roof as a lot of the world’s population are still working remotely.  Some of us have swapped out our corporate attire for athletic wear and athleisure apparel.  This athletic wear serves a multi-function as it can be worn to work and  also for a cheeky workout during your lunchbreak.

From trainers to post-gym face scrubs and reusable water-bottles to bags, every facet of your gym locker will soon be responsibly sourced according to the ‘Third Space’ a popular gym in London.  Predictably, larger brands are leading the charge here. This includes adidas, with a campaign fighting plastic pollution by intercepting plastic and turning into sportswear.  Other brands are making shoes out of sustainable materials including algae foam or sportswear from recyclable materials.

Home Cooking:

During lockdown we saw a shift away from eating out as much as cafes and restaurants closed, this led to more of an emphasis on cooking healthy meals at home.  The surge in home cooking has tapped into our ‘wannabe chefs’, that, combined with spending more time at home has seen us carry out some culinary experiments in the kitchen.  Off the back of this cooking trend, we are looking for ways to streamline this process so kitchen equipment such as air fyers, microwaves and steam ovens have been placed on back order such is the demand for them.

Learning a New Skill or Picking up and Old One:

With the availability of more time on our hands and the closure of some of our favourite places this has led to some of us learning a new skill or picking up an old one.  Take for example, one of my clients Tash.  Tash was a keen Group Fitness Class participant and would fill her week with classes such as cycle, Circuits and Boxing.  When her favourite gym closed, Tash found herself in desperation going back to running and which she used to do 10 years ago and online Yoga which she has never done before.  Tash is loving the variety and whilst she has gone back to group fitness she has kept her online Yoga and running once a week!.

Wrap Up:

What is evident from the health and wellness industry in 2021 is that people value their health more than ever.  Watch this space to observe what happens to the popularity of online classes and health apps as we move closer towards the end of the year and more and more people feel safe to go back to their previous routines.  The lure of places like gyms and boutique offerings may prove too strong over the longer term as  the social, competitive and communal roles that these facilities provide is integral part of exercise for so many of us!