Predictions for Online Workout Trends in 2021

With gym closures and stay at home orders continuing on from 2020 into this year, online fitness solutions and home workout trends have become a must.

While it’s still uncertain exactly when restrictions will ease on gyms, many opting for fitness apps and online programmes to help them keep in shape, TechRound decided explore industry expert predictions into online workout trends for 2021.


Our Panel of Experts:


  • Vanessa Gebhardt – Training Experience Manager at Freeletics
  • Ruth Stone – PT and Brand Ambassador for
  • Akeem Bundu-Kamara – Founder and CEO at Lockr Space
  • Arj Thiruchelvam – Performance Coach
  • Yulia Pashevkina – Founder of KARVE
  • Darren Lee – Founder and CEO of CicloZone
  • James Ronan – Founder of Ronan Personal Training
  • Adrian Collins – Founder of Collins Fitness and the Social Butterfly Program
  • Kevin Cornils – Managing Director at Peloton International
  • Daniel Shellard Fiit CEO


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Vanessa Gebhardt, Training Experience Manager at Freeletics




“In 2021, there will be an increased use of audio led workouts, podcasts, guided audio courses as motivation to keep fit and healthy. Bringing mindfulness into the new year will help people de-stress, sleep better, and develop healthier habits no matter what challenges they must overcome.”

“Additionally, high impact low intensity training will be very popular. HILIT workouts are sessions that alternate intense bouts of exercises with short periods of rests. They are similar to HIIT workouts, but use only lower impact exercises to do so, meaning that jumping style and high velocity of exercises are out of the picture.”

“Lastly, thanks to the global situation that 2020 brought us, at-home workouts will be bigger than ever. Working out from home offers huge benefits. It is incredibly cost-effective, flexible and above all, it can be a highly effective way to train the body and mind.”

“There are plenty of ways to workout from home, and one of the biggest areas of growth in 2020, which is set to continue into 2021 is the use of fitness apps like Freeletics. Currently Europe’s #1 fitness app, Freeletics offers its over 50 million users a hyper personalized, AI-powered Coaching experience with workouts based on their preferences and fitness goals.”


Ruth Stone, PT and Brand Ambassador for




“The online fitness world has exploded since the pandemic – but quantity does not equal quality and the enduring online options will look a little different to how they look today…”


1. More personalisation

“On-demand online classes are by nature generic and many participants are prone to injury in following programs without that crucial feedback loop. Participants requiring alternatives and adaptions are also overlooked, which can be frustrating and dangerous too. As online emerges as a common fitness option, personal screening and tailored explanations of the most effective ways to execute exercises for each individual will begin to be added on to the introduction phase of a programme to ensure safe, effective workouts, which will motivate people for the long-term.”


2. More blended options when gyms and studios re-open

“However good the online experience, physically sharing the space with the instructor and participants can’t be beaten and when these spaces finally re-open we can expect more clubs to blend online and real-world class experiences, broadcasting sessions in real time to those unable to attend, featuring the participants who do.”


3. A return to familiar and friendly instructors

“There are some fantastic instructors in the online world, but for most, nothing can compare with the instructors you love and those that know you. A high number of them already have migrated their classes to online, but lost some regulars to the big-name fitness brands. Slowly, these people are starting to return to the instructors and friends they know for the community they create. These boutique offerings – because they’re built on established relationships – will be robust in the future.”


4. More participant interaction and transactions

“As all these trends continue, additional community elements – both on and offline – will be built around these groups to educate them and bond them.  Some are already available, but in their infancy in terms of leader boards and prizes for participation.  As people engage more with their online fitness brands, more health-related products and services will be sold to them at preferential rates because they’ll have more buying power.”


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Akeem Bundu-Kamara, Founder and CEO at Lockr Space




Sportswear wardrobe review

“Lockdown has more and more people engaged in sports whether indoor or outdoor and it has had many reviewing their sports apparel. The fragilities of cheap and fast fashion sportswear are being found out and consumers are seeking more premium and sustainable sportswear items, in an effort to become more conscious shoppers in a time where health is on everyone’s minds. We’ll see more people expand their sports wardrobe and look for clothing that can be worn for a workout or to simply work from home.”


Home workouts continuing post lockdown

“Gyms will not be going away and will still attract many people. We have seen, over the past year, a surge in home gyms stocked with all the equipment necessary for a great workout. So, it won’t come as a surprise if many continue to make this their primary source of fitness since many will continue to work from home.”


Innovation in gyms

“With the rise of home workouts, gyms will need to embrace the competition. Gyms will be using technology and social media to create more varied packages tailored to individual needs, online workouts and/or virtual streaming classes to tap in to customer bases such as beginners, who’ve started embracing fitness during lockdown and avid gym goers who will be reintroduced back into their studios.”


Arj Thiruchelvam, Performance Coach




High intensity interval training classes

“These online classes are going to be making a big move forwards because minimal equipment is required and we increasingly have a shorter time to maintain motivation. Our desire to ‘feel’ like we’ve really worked out by sweating and being out of breath means these are onto a winner this year.”


Blended approach

“As things begin to open up, expect virtual classes to complement those you can attend in person. People will attend sessions at a venue but then join an online group class built to develop another aspect of their fitness. Think weights and maybe cardio in class or the gym but more core fitness, stretching and mindfulness online at home.”



“People will be staying competitive with online leaderboards and group challenges, whether it’s with colleagues, friends or strangers around the world. Tracking runs, bike rides and training progress is one thing, but I expect to see more of us competing against one another to achieve the most miles, weights lifted or even the highest number of mindfulness minutes!”



“People who’ve got into running during the lockdown probably haven’t had the chance to see a running coach to improve their technique. A lot more runners will start sending training videos for evaluation and coaching, live and on-demand.”


Kettlebell class

“We’ve heard all about the surge for fitness equipment during the pandemic and the piece that everyone wanted was a Kettlebell. So many people now have them, the online classes just keep on growing because of this great way of developing fitness and strength.”


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Yulia Pashevkina, Founder of KARVE




“I believe this year the online workout trend will remain with many studio’s adapting to ensure they focus on putting as much effort into creating an online community as the traditional studio one.”

“Online workouts have always been great for people who didn’t have the confidence to go into the studios from busy mothers to professionals etc, and now even more people can appreciate the adaptability and flexibility of working out online.”

“At Karve we are all about inclusivity, this means once the physical club doors open, we’ll also continue to nurture our online memberships in tandem with studio classes. This means our offering fits around people’s busy lifestyles – whether they choose to train inside the club on our signature machines and expert trainers or grab the few simple pieces of equipment our online workout requires to do at home, or whilst travelling.”



Darren Lee, Founder and CEO of CicloZone




“Increased functionality of mobile phones and simple connectivity between devices, thanks to bluetooth technology, has been a game changer when it comes to opening up the fitness industry,”


“Many fitness fans have been choosing to complement their gym subscriptions with home workouts for a number of years but the closure of gyms due to the pandemic has really accelerated that shift.”


“Most of the headlines have been grabbed by international corporations, such as Peloton, which offer slick marketing and expensive equipment and subscriptions. But mass-produced classes don’t necessarily deliver great fitness outcomes.  For that, you need a more tailored, personalised approach.”


“At CicloZone, our aim is to bring the benefits of the same sports science used by elite cyclists to everyone, allowing them to optimise their time in the saddle and experience real performance gains.”


“Advances in technology mean that, rather than having to make do with a generic class, we can personalise the in-app experience to make sure every rider is riding at the right intensity for them, for the right amount of time to deliver results. Add to this greater availability of master trainers during the pandemic, as traditional cycling studios close their doors, and there is a real opportunity to educate the fitness community and challenge the mediocrity of many of the classes that have previously been available.”


“It isn’t just the quality of home workout content that Darren expects to see undergo a significant change this year but also the quality of the equipment and home workout experience.”


“As people re-invest unusable gym membership budgets into home gym equipment, we’re seeing them take far greater notice of the quality of equipment they buy – investing in smart, connected machines and seeking out apps that allow them to not only connect with a community of like-minded fitness fans but also to enjoy a high-quality, personalised experience.”


“While home workouts look set to be the mainstay of the fitness industry for the next six months or so, customers who are keen to get back to the gym too are choosing apps that will allow them to mix and match when the gyms re-open. Ensuring users can port their performance data between home and gym, reviewing and building on their progress wherever they work out, is likely to be another key trend we see develop over the next 12 months. Those fitness business that are able to deliver on this front are the ones most likely to prosper over the longer term.”


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James Ronan, Founder of Ronan Personal Training




“While many are desperate for gyms to re-open, I think that lockdown has increased the need and appetite for online training.  The trends below may not be new but are certainly accelerating.”


1.  Wearables for activity tracking and goal setting:

“Already very popular, use of wearables such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, Suunto and so on combined with apps and activity trackers to give feedback on specific fitness targets and track progress, also against friends if you want to.”


2.  Smart equipment:

“Products such as Peloton and their competitors allow goal setting and give instant feedback on how you’re doing. Some brands also encourage competitive online training with leaderboards to show your progress vs the pack.”


3.  Online training as a work benefit:

“The working from home trend is likely to be with us for a while and more companies are offering or considering the flexibility of online fitness packages for staff instead of more traditional gym-based training.”


Adrian Collins, Founder of Collins Fitness and the Social Butterfly Program




“Since 2020, with the rise of Zoom and subsequent boom of the online fitness industry, I’ve restructured my business to suit this era of change.  Being agile, adaptable and willing to diversify is king when running your own business.”

“Working online has always been a key aspect to my business. I was featured in articles such as Coach Magazines Top 10 Online trainers back in 2016. Being able to provide my services further afield from London was a key element to keeping the growth through outreach to many other countries.  I wrote programs and used apps such as WhatsApp and FaceTime to interact with my clients and see their posture movements. Now with Zoom, I can run full classes and 1:1s to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Also, with my App programs that my clients follow have interactive videos to the exercises prescribed allow better knowledge of form and guidance.”

“This has also had a knock-on-effect on people seeking online workouts and a huge amount via YouTube is out there.  This is all well and good as people seek the knowledge and guidance to how to exercise properly or follow a guided script etc.   However, the key aspect to how I am diversifying is keeping by things personal – not a one size fits all training policy but to understand and interact with the individuals I am training and guiding.  This allows me to see the movements in real time, provide corrective feedback to teach better techniques thus enhancing their user experience and ensuring the learning process is quicker.”

“Now in 2021 and beyond I predict that what has bought people to online training has now highlighted that corrective movement is a huge part of wellbeing.  Improving posture, and learning the corrective and safe way to do this is within real time virtual training.  Rapid technology growth with video and sound quality improvements will only continue to shape and impact this industry even more.”


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Kevin Cornils, Managing Director at Peloton International




“We believe a permanent sectoral shift of subscription fitness from the gym to the home is underway, and even post-COVID-19, we believe many consumers will have well-established new at-home routines which will continue in 2021 and beyond.”

“We’ve been believers in the benefits of at-home fitness from the very beginning, particularly the value of convenience and what we call the ‘2-second commute’ from the bed to the bike, you get up, splash some water on your face and jump straight on the bike – it just makes a great workout that much more accessible. Also, we feel the shift to at-home fitness has been happening for some time, just as you’ve seen films shift from the cinema into the home, where you can get a higher quality experience on your own time.”

“Digital technology is enabling people to take back control of their lives and do what they want when they want to do it – Netflix is a great example of that. With Peloton, we’re doing something similar by bringing studio-style, group fitness classes into the home, so you can access the classes anytime, anywhere. I think all of this will continue to be as relevant even as we get back to some form of new normal in 2021. At Peloton, we now have multiple points of entry, whether you’re joining us on the Peloton Bike, our new Peloton Tread or the app, so there’s something for everyone.”


Daniel Shellard, Fiit CEO




“At home and digital workout, solutions were always predicted to surpass traditional bricks and mortar gym offerings, this has been somewhat accelerated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as stay-at-home orders introduced new audiences to at-home fitness with many citing the efficiency, variety of class styles and trainers on virtual apps, such as Fiit as a huge bonus.”



“At Fiit, we believe that bricks and mortar facilities are still a hugely important part of the fitness industry. We’ve always felt that the long-term winner will be those that build multi-channel offerings, providing consumers with both at home and in the gym services.”


“This is why we have partnered with market-leading gym chain, The Gym Group, bringing the Fiit experience into the gym through an innovative, newly developed digitalised studios and Fiit pods. The first two gyms to launch will be Tottenham White Hart Lane and Oxford Street.”


“When able to open, these studios will enable The Gym Group members to join Group Fiit Classes, in their local gym. So that they can experience both the in-person camaraderie, as well as the major benefits of digitalised classes, with live leaderboards, stats tracking and virtual trainers – meaning eventually The Gym Group can offer industry-leading classes led by Fiit’s top trainers in multiple places at the same time, offering an unparalleled level of accessibility and motivation to a far larger percentage of the UK.”


“Gamification and creating genuine social connections between members are set to be big trends within digital fitness. The brands who can generate a feeling of ‘in-person’ camaraderie remotely will be the leaders of this sector. Fiit is already steps ahead of most competitors in creating a real community, our Group classes bring members together from across the UK, enabling them to take classes with one another, and race each other to the top of the leaderboard, offering motivation and accountability similar to what they experience in the gym. Which is reflected in their Fiit Points, with Group Class users burning 22% more calories than those taking part in an on-demand class.”


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