The year 2020 has been challenging for everyone. The fitness industry, along with many others, have been shaken quite thoroughly by the Covid-19 pandemic. But that does not mean physical fitness should take a back seat. The road to the healthiest and happiest you is still achievable in the “new normal.”

To get a leg up on “higher, faster, further,” we list down all the biggest, most important fitness trends of 2020, as well as what you can expect to see in 2021. And to help fitness buffs adjust to the new way of doing things, we also catalogue 24 of the best tools and gadgets to get it done, because it’s never too early to start your holiday shopping (We see you, Black Friday sale).

Fitness Trend #1 – Higher Hygiene Standards

Even in the height of the pandemic, many fitness enthusiasts managed to clock exercise hours by way of walking, running or other home workouts. Over 70% of these people say they intend to maintain training in the future. This means a possibly big influx of gym goers once the facilities open up again.

Of course, the biggest considerations to going to the gym are cleanliness and hygiene. Gyms must be ready to win back the confidence of fitness enthusiasts by ensuring the highest possible hygiene standards of protection. On top of that, gymmers will also need to focus on what they can personally do to keep themselves safe from infection.

Best Fitness Gifts for the Clean Freaks:

1)     A Tub of Disinfecting/Sanitizing Wipes – This probably doesn’t sound like the most exciting of gifts, but no one can doubt they’re practical. Ideally, gyms should be cleaning their equipment throughout the day. But err on the side of caution and wipe down equipment, machines, mats and other gym tools before and after working out. This ensures whatever germs and bacteria were left lingering on the surfaces aren’t transferred to skin.

Photo credit: UTHealth

2)     Exercise Mat – Add extra caution by bringing your own exercise mat to the gym. Whether you’re doing strength training or yoga, it’s a good idea to use an exercise mat. On top of the cleanliness aspect, mats provide support, cushion, comfort and ensure you maintain your personal space while exercising. Short, standard ones are great for ab exercises and regular exercise while longer ones are recommended for yoga. Look for one with a thickness of at least 0.7cm with a non-slip bottom.

Photo credit: Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

3)     Antimicrobial Gym Bag – Sweaty gym clothes and towels provide the perfect environment for bacterial growth. A proper antimicrobial gym bag lets you stow away damp items while preventing the proliferation of bacteria and mold. Find one that’s big enough for clothes, shoes and exercise mats that’s also machine washable.

Photo credit: Perfecto_Capucine from Pixabay

4)     Water Resistant Mobile Phone Armband Case – If your friend is the type to listen to music while working out or someone who puts the work in workouts by taking business calls while simultaneously putting in gym time, a good phone armband case will help untangle the mess of holding the phone and wires of headphones and earphones. Not to mention it’s entirely more hygienic to put the phone in a case versus gripping it with sweaty hands.

Photo credit: Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

5)     Towels – Towels are some of the most abused items in any gym kit. They’re used to absorb sweat while working out and need a post-workout shower. Most gyms provide towels for patrons. But who wants to use a towel (albeit a previously cleaned and sanitized one) in a public facility? A personal towel is therefore one of the best gifts you can give a workout warrior. Look for one that has a hygienic coating, is lightweight and has a high absorption ratio.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Fitness Trend #2 – Health-Oriented Facilities

The COVID pandemic has one good effect. People, more than ever before,  became concerned about their health. Because of this, gyms are transitioning to be more than just fitness-oriented, but rather “health-oriented.”

What’s the difference?

Fitness is usually a term associated with physical activity. Health-oriented fitness, meanwhile, is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It takes into account an individual’s muscle fitness, flexibility, cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition, among others.

Best Fitness Gifts for the Health-Oriented:

1)     Self-Cleaning Water Bottle – Hydration is very important. Water helps regulate body temperature. It’s also instrumental in lubricating joints, transporting nutrients and keeping you in generally good health. So your friend will definitely benefit from having a bottle of aqua handy during workouts. But don’t add to the world’s single-use plastic problem and instead, choose a reusable water bottle. But wait, you know what’s better than a reusable water bottle? A self-cleaning one, that’s what. It self-sanitizes both the water contents and the actual container. Dirty bottles will no longer be a convenient excuse for not getting your daily water intake requirement.

Photo credit: Goop

2)     A Protein Bar Pack – Muscles break down during exercise. To rebuild and recover, protein is needed. Protein bars are a quick and convenient way to replenish protein stores.

Photo by Jade Wulfraat on Unsplash

3)     A Good Quality Blender – Make it easy for your friend to whip up a healthy shake or smoothie and gift him a personal blender. Look for one that has a ready-to-go bottle that’s BPA-free and dishwasher friendly.

Photo by Jake Weirick on Unsplash

4)     A HYDRAGUN Percussion Therapy Device – Fitness junkies swear by foam rollers for easing muscle tension. But foam rollers are a thing of the past. The trendiest fitness tool is a massage gun. The benefits of percussion massage guns are plenty – they help relieve muscle tension, ease the effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and improve recovery time. They’re handier than a foam roller and can be used before, during and after training sessions to warm up muscles and improve flexibility.

Fitness Trend #3 – Holistic Training (Body + Mind)

The popularity of yoga, Pilates and mental training increased exponentially during the Corona pandemic. Now, more than ever, people are recognizing the need to partner physical fitness with mental well-being. The stress of dealing with such widespread disease (and the many fears that came with it) also triggered the desire to strengthen the human psyche.

Because of this, the fitness landscape is evolving. Many facilities have started adding nutritionists, dietitians, therapists and doctors to their rosters to eliminate the need to visit multiple places for your wellness needs.

Best Gifts for the Holistic Fitness Junkie:

1)     Comfortable Sports Wear – Make exercise sessions as relaxing as possible by using correct and comfortable sportswear. Ladies will benefit from adjustable, wide-strapped and sports bras that offer full support. Soft and flattering leggings are always a welcome addition to any gym lover’s closet. Gents will love lightweight joggers that minimize sweat and odor.

Photo by Grailify on Unsplash

2)     Yoga Books – Whether a beginner or advanced, yoga practitioners will benefit from easy-to-follow guides. Books with simple instructions or illustrations of poses are particularly useful for anyone using Yoga to achieve mind and body balance.

Photo credit: Naturally Fit Living

3)     Chocolate – This may not be a conventional choice for fitness junkies but eating chocolates resulted in a myriad of health benefits. Studies also show chocolate consumption can help improve mood. And if that’s not enough to convince you, Market Research World found out that 18% of gymmers are more likely to indulge in this sweet treat compared to non-gym goers.

Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

Fitness Trend #4 – Individualized Training

Maybe it’s the effect of social distancing, or maybe we all just need to establish our own unique selves. Either way, individualization is gaining traction. This phenomenon manifests itself in the fitness industry by way of a differentiated and targeted approach to workout sessions.

While all-around fitness facilities will not be going out of business any time soon, 2021 will likely see a rise in micro studios that offer tailor-made training.

Best Fitness Gifts for the Lone Wolf:

1)     Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds – Serious, solo sweat sessions can benefit from some killer sounds to pump up the energy. A waterproof set of wireless Bluetooth earbuds that’s also sweatproof and smash-proof will be the perfect companion for this activity.

Photo by Stephen Phillips – on Unsplash

2)     Balance Board Trainer – Inject some fun into a training session by giving a balance board. It’s a great and serious challenge for any fitness enthusiast and helps strengthen the core. It helps develop  balance and coordination, and you don’t need anyone else to do it with you!

Photo by Gustavo Torres on Unsplash

3)     Weighted Wrist Bangles – These are fantastic additions to anyone’s workout sessions. They can add the extra tension needed on a run or a simple walk. Many brands come in a variety of pretty colors as well.

Photo credit: Bala

Fitness Trend #5 – Wellness on-the-Go

On-the-go wellness has been on the rise even before the pandemic. With everyone living very busy lives, squeezing workouts where and when you can is important. Fortunately, wellness opportunities are all within arm’s reach.

Best Fitness Gifts for the Busy Bee:

1)     Fitness Tracker App – For that someone that likes to work out but doesn’t know  where or how, a fitness app is the perfect gift. Look for the app that gives access to fitness classes or one that provides different workout types.

Photo credit: lukedurward from Pixabay

2)     Gym Kit – No time to shower after working out? Help your gym rat stay fresh and smelling good by giving a gym kit that includes staples as a deodorant, dry shampoo, cool down body lotion and balm.

Photo credit: Pinterest

3)     Bath Salts – Help a friend relax from a long, tiring, stressful day. Himalayan salt bath soaks are relatively inexpensive. They’re also a thoughtful gift for anyone needing to unwind and focus on recovery. A warm bath is especially soothing after an intense workout.

Photo by Ella Christenson on Unsplash

4)     Food Delivery Subscription – Make eating healthy easier for the busybody by giving him a subscription to a healthy food delivery program. These subscription programs cater to all diets and health needs and makes focusing on health more achievable.

Photo credit: Urban Taste Bud

Fitness Trend #6 – Online and At-Home Fitness

With many people opting to stay in, online offers are looking amazing. Spinning classes, for example, can be streamed online and done with a virtual group.

Because of this, more and more people have also started investing in gym equipment they can use at home.

Best Fitness Gifts for the Home Workout Guru:

1)     Tension Toners – These are travel-sized workout bars that have resistance built in. It works by activating muscles during workout. It’s also very easy to operate and is perfect for anyone wanting to exercise at home.

Photo credit: Bodypusher

2)     Jumping Rope – Jumping rope burns calories, improves coordination, helps reduce injury risk by teaching you coordination, improves heart health and helps increase bone density. With so many benefits, is it even a wonder that this unassuming tool can be found in most gyms?

Photo by Dom J from Pexels

3)     Resistance Bands – Resistance bands, like tension toners, strengthen arms, legs, shoulders and the abs. They’re very user-friendly. All one needs is a sturdy pole or tree or door to anchor it on and it’s good to use.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

4)     Dumb Bell or Kettlebell Set – Anyone intending to work out from home or set up a home gym will need a set of dumb bells or kettlebells. They’re very versatile exercise pieces. One that’s made of cast iron will prove to be sturdy and will last a long time.

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

5)     Budget-Friendly Cycling Bike – Build fitness momentum with a budget-friendly stationary bike. Look for one with various resistance levels and comfortable and adjustable seats.

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

Whether you’re looking for a gift for the friend that likes working alone or with a group, at home or in a gym, these suggestions are sure to hit the mark. After all, fitness and health are among the best gifts anyone can give and receive.

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