When it comes to working out, boredom is one of the biggest barriers to progress. Luckily, the world of fitness is constantly evolving and adapting, meaning there’s always a new workout trend to try out.
So which fitness trends have swept the nation this year, and which ones have been left behind? Using Google Trends, we analysed search data to see which workouts have seen the biggest increase or decrease in popularity over the past 12 months. We also teamed up with Myprotein PT Tom Hall to predict how we’ll be working out in 2023.
Outdoor, functional and team-based workouts
At the top of the list are bungee workouts, the new kid on the block when it comes to high-intensity, low-impact exercise, with interest increasing by 6200%. The viral fitness trend involves being strapped into a harness with a bungee cord and performing choreographed aerobic dance moves and bodyweight exercises like planks, push-ups, squats and lunges.
Because bungee workouts mean all your weight is in your harness, this reduces pressure on sensitive joints, meaning people with limited mobility can push themselves in a safe way.
2022 has also been a year for getting back outdoors, following two years of finding ways to keep fit at home. As a result, outdoor-focused workouts like paddleboarding (+6000%), hiking (+2000%), cycling (+100%) and walking (+71%) have all seen a huge increase in interest, with people keen to get outside and explore their natural surroundings.
Functional fitness has also been a huge pull for many this year, with interest jumping by a massive 3500%. Based on everyday movements like pushing, pulling, twisting and bending, functional workouts help prepare your body for movements you’re likely to experience in daily life. It’s a refreshingly simple approach to fitness that works multiple muscle groups and makes carrying out common tasks that little bit easier.
As well as outdoor activities and functional weight-bearing moves, team sports have also seen a resurgence, possibly due to people’s renewed desire to spending time with others. Basketball (+355%), tennis (+94%), rugby (+89%), badminton (+75%) and football (+73%) have all seen rises in interest, likely due to the opportunity they provide to enjoy teamwork, camaraderie and competitiveness. Many people have also enjoyed getting reacquainted with their PTs too, with personal training seeing a 53% rise in interest.
Saying goodbye to high intensity & solo workouts
Unique workout trends like paddleboard yoga, nude yoga and hula hooping were clearly short-lived, each seeing a 100% decline in interest in the past 12 months.
High-intensity workouts, such as circuit training (-51%), squash (-37%), bootcamp (-22%), aerobics (-19%) and Tabata (-11%), have also seen drops in popularity, suggesting that people are looking for new ways of enjoying cardio, without the intensity.
Home workouts and fitness apps have also taken a hit in interest of -33% and -13% respectively, further confirming that right now people prefer to get out and about with friends than work out solo at home. Activity trackers have also seen a 32% decline in interest, suggesting that many prefer to go with the flow and work out intuitively, rather than looking at data and metrics.
How will we be working out in 2023?
So, now we know how the UK has been working out over the past 12 months, what does the future hold? We teamed up with Myprotein PT Tom Hall to make some predictions about some of the fitness trends we might see in 2023.
1. Functional fitness
No secret to fitness enthusiasts, functional fitness is the high intensity interval training that’s been growing fiercely in popularity over the last two decades.
As well as incorporating functional movements you’d use in your everyday life, Tom believes that its biggest attraction is something most people are craving right now – community.
“Functional workouts have obviously been around for years now, but the variety and community aspect is fantastic,” he says. “The coaching is getting better too, after a few years of taking some inspiration from the world of sports strength and conditioning. It’s great for beginners as well as seasoned athletes.”
2. HYROX (or equivalent)
For those not in the know, Hyrox is a competitive indoor fitness race where anybody can compete against themselves or anyone else in the world. Participants race in the exact same format, which includes a 1km run and a functional movement, repeated eight times.
Tom says: “I think these guys are onto something. What’s great about training for something like Hyrox is that it takes little skill, unlike a sport. This gives the ability for it to be open for all.
“Also, differently to functional fitness, it joins up eight different strength endurance exercises that are very simple and can be done in most gyms with a load of running. This is the new age of cardio.”
Though search interest in activity trackers was down 32% in 2022, Tom still doesn’t think wearable devices are going anywhere. Instead, he reckons that it might just come down to the type of device, and the quality and relevance of the metrics to the user.
Tom says: “Every year, wearables get better and better. You’ve got Aura for everyday, Polar, Garmin for the tech wizards and the simple Myzone to add heart rate community.
“I have also seen a push for VBT (which is velocity-based training) - something that I have used a lot over the last year. This is technology that tracks the movement speed of an exercise. It may take the place of Strava mapping or HR Myzone cardio workouts, but apply the same thing for resistance training.”
With our collective desire to get outside, spend time with others and also balance out any high intensity workouts, it’s natural that walking could fit the bill perfectly.
Due to its high accessibility, low cost and low skill required, Tom predicts that this simple act of movement will be another big focus in 2023.
5. Keto and/or Fasting
While some may believe diet trends like keto and intermittent fasting are on their way out, Tom believes this is far from the case. While keto may have lost its initial ‘buzz’ (seeing a 32% drop in interest over the last 12 months), fasting has gained popularity, with a 43% increase in interest.
“As a rule of thumb, fitness tends to trend in cycles,” Tom explains. “So I’m going to predict that certain dietary approaches like Keto or fasting come back. The WIM HOF method might also stick around; outdoor activities such as bouldering will make a return and lastly, I believe people will reach out to have an expert in their corner - an online coach or some sort of programming to get them on the right path.”
And what impact, if any, could the cost of living crisis have on our fitness habits?
“I can foresee a fair few similarities between 2022 and 2023, as the world hopefully continues to recover more from Covid,” Tom says. “But we also have to be aware of the perhaps financial implications for the fitness industry, and the reality that a gym membership may be one of the things people decide to ditch.
“However, I am pretty positive these trends will continue to grow (and that TikTok will continue to play a key role in shaping them).”
Take Home Message
However you prefer to work out, it’s reassuring to know that there’s always a type of movement to suit your style. Whether you’re looking to change up your current routine or need inspiration to get up and moving in 2023, there are so many choices to fit around your unique needs and circumstances, as well as pre-workout supplements and post-workout snacks to help you on your way.
We compiled a list of over 80 different workout trends, before using Google Trends to track their search interest over the last 12 months. We then looked at the increase or decrease in search interest over that period to uncover the most and least popular fitness trends.