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Well, we can officially say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 (thank goodness). I think we can all agree the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented wasn’t what anybody expected—and we certainly weren’t prepared for it. I know I wasn’t the only one leaping from Target to Target to stock up on boxes of pasta and toilet paper. (Okay, and maybe a little bit of wine, don’t at me.)
On top of that, our go-to second homes (AKA: fitness studios) were forced to go through multiple openings and closings to help keep our communities safe and healthy. When that happened, us fitness-minded folks also needed to pivot the way we get our daily workouts in— routines abruptly changed overnight. One day we’re toweling off after our favorite spin class, the next day we were looking for an at-home spin bike—and finding a decent one was like winning the lottery.
But amid all this chaos, fitness studios near and far worked fast to make sure all of us fitness junkies didn’t turn into Netflix-binging couch potatoes by providing us with virtual fitness classes. From sweating it out in a virtual HIIT class to getting our asana at-home in virtual yoga, people all over the country were able to get a healthy dose of fitness whenever they needed it. This just goes to show, that even though we’re going through a pandemic, our wellness routines will always be there for us no matter what.
So, as we shut the door on the dumpster fire that was 2020, these are the fitness trends you can expect to see in 2021:
Even though fitness studios in some states are currently allowed to host in-studio classes, the convenience of working out from home is something that most folks can’t pass up. Not to mention, virtual options are typically cheaper and require zero commute time. So, for those of you who hit the snooze button at least twice before getting up, you can still get the morning workout in before the workday starts—or if that late afternoon meeting runs a little late, you can still make that yoga class.
Another advantage? You can also get a taste of new types of fitness classes that might not be offered in your area. I certainly jumped on the bandwagon ASAP and figured it was the perfect time to switch up my regular workout routine. Check out my articles on the virtual classes I tried:
And you can check out these articles from some of my esteemed colleagues here:
The COVID-19 pandemic turned our day-to-day routines upside down—even our work schedules changed with loads of people now working from home instead of going into an office. However, with the slew of lockdowns triggered by coronavirus, this means childcare, work, and our fitness routines are all now happening in the same place. With so much going on at home at any given time, we're forced to get a sweat sesh in whatever little free time we have.
That’s where bite-size fitness classes come into play. In fact, nearly four in ten Americans say their workouts are now a half-hour or less. Shorter fitness classes are also helping folks stay motivated while working out at home. I don’t know about you, but I find myself getting distracted or suffering from screen fatigue once that Pilates class hits that 30-minute marker. Instead of focusing on my abs, I start wondering what’s for dinner or tapping out early to enjoy a glass of rosé.
But with more and more fitness studios adding shorter workout classes to their schedules, we can all stay on top of our fitness goals and still have time to juggle the many responsibilities that come with sheltering-in-place.
Hey, we’ve all been there—trying out a new type of fitness class can be a scary thing. I’ll be honest, gymtimidation (gym intimidation, get it?) is the main reason I haven’t tried an in-person HIIT class yet. But one I can do by myself in the comfort of my own home? Now you’re speaking my language. If you also feel this way, please know you’re not alone. In fact, 56% of Americans are right there with you. So, if getting in better shape or the fear of the unknown have been what’s holding you back from trying that spin class or starting your yoga practice, virtual classes can help ease you into your fitness journey until you’re ready to strut your stuff in an actual studio.
Change is tough, but the way the fitness industry changed to help us all stay on-track with our wellness goals was nothing short of inspiring. Now, missing a fitness class because it didn’t fit into our schedules or because we were stuck in traffic are things of the past.
Ready to make 2021 the year you actually stick to your resolution of being a happier, healthier you?
Browse Mindbody to find one that fits your schedule!
Want an even more in-depth look into the fitness trends you can expect to see in 2021? Check out this blog.
Alicia Sokol opened her barre3 location in Washington DC after a series of career pivots. As an equity analyst, she never set out to be a fitness instructor or business owner. Through self-reflection, she realized that studio ownership meant she could fully express her values in a meaningful way. She opened her studio to help people find a movement practice that not only feels good but nurtures a supportive community.
As a kid, one thing Sokol struggled with was a sense of belonging—which is precisely why she created a place where simply walking through the door validates acceptance. Alicia's always striving to bring versatility to her community through connecting people from all different backgrounds. She's consistently motivated by what barre3 has brought to individuals—it's a challenging and effective workout, but more importantly, it's the practice of feeling our intuition and following it accordingly.
We recently chatted with Alicia to learn more about her and how she views the world of wellness.
I was slow to find joy in movement. As a kid, I shied away from sports. I don't have a competitive nature and I was an awkward kid—always picked last in gym class! A friend invited me for a run along Lake Michigan when I was in college—that was the first time I realized the healing power of movement. I felt so alive! I remember thinking: why didn't anyone tell me this was a thing? I have always enjoyed movement that doesn't require hand-eye coordination or special skills. I also tend to enjoy movement that is meditative and allows me to be in nature—running, hiking, swimming, and paddleboarding.
My career path has been a series of pivots. Each opportunity has been a chance to learn about myself. I started my career as an equity analyst at an investment bank—it was what I thought I should do with my undergraduate finance degree. I never set out to own a business. I never set out to be a fitness instructor! But through a series of asking tough questions and connecting with what makes me feel purposeful and alive, this is exactly where I have ended up.
Owning a barre3 studio has allowed me to fully express my values in a way that is meaningful to me. My studio is staffed by kind, wise people who love what we do. We are a place that instantly welcomes anyone who wants to be a part of what we're all about. I'm constantly trying to diversify our community—a wider range of ages, shapes, sizes, goals, experiences, backgrounds. Moving together helps us see that we all crave the same thing—a sense of belonging, a space to express ourselves, to be seen and heard, to know we are loved just as we are. My favorite part of my work has always been teaching barre3 classes. My studio is now 5 1/2 years old, and this is still what I love to do best.
Even though I went to business school, I never set out to be an entrepreneur. When I discovered barre3, I was working as a freelance writer and photographer and exploring a more creative path to my career. I had two small children and I knew it was time to make yet another career pivot. barre3 provided peace at a time in my life when running hurt and I needed both an effective workout and an endorphin release. I fell hard for the workout (tough), the community (kind), and the feeling of being in the studio (better—ways better!).
One of the reasons I opened my studio was to help people find a movement practice that felt good and a community that felt supportive. You don't need to be a dancer. You don't need to be fit or flexible. This workout is truly for any human body. As a kid, I struggled mightily with belonging. I wanted to create a place where simply walking in the door permitted belonging and support. I am always so happy to hear people say, "I've never been able to stick to a workout routine, but this is the first exercise I've really loved! I WANT to do this!"—that was the feeling I was going for.
On a day-to-day basis, I'm motivated by what barre3 has brought to people's lives. Yes, it's a tough and effective workout. But more than that, it's a practice of feeling and responding to our inner voice. It's been a tough couple of years, and for most of us, it would be easier to just go numb. What we are doing in class is permitting ourselves to feel the uncomfortable physical sensations, and in doing so, giving ourselves permission to face the uncomfortable mental work of being human. We all need that. We all struggle at some point. I love to see our community members find love and acceptance of their bodies just as they are. Diet culture has made it difficult for us to do that, and it puts us in a state of constantly trying to change and improve. I love to see people stand a little taller and become more confident in who they are.
I also love to hear when people have been able to use their voices more effectively because of the work they are doing in class, which is all about listening to one's own voice. Over the years the studio has been open, my clients have developed the courage to ask for a promotion, leave a toxic relationship, come out as gay, apply to grad schools, start new businesses, and so much more. When they connect the work they did at barre3 to the courage to do those scary things? Chills. Every time.
To me, wellness is a continuum rather than a destination—kind of like "balance.” It takes constant attention and continued work. There is no getting there and staying there. When I was younger, I thought of wellness as something that was much more physical—staying active, getting enough sleep, eating nutrient-rich foods, enjoying some treats. But now I see wellness as much more complex—the mental component is substantial.
I have also noticed that when the mental health piece is off-kilter, it impacts the physical! I discovered that when I had a pain in my back "for no reason"—oh, there was a reason. And it had nothing to do with the mechanics of my body and everything to do with sorting out some stressors in my life. That was a serious a-ha moment for me. I am the mother of teen boys (the hardest work I have ever done!) and I think it's important to show them how I process emotions in a very real way. Even just saying "I'm feeling frustrated right now because ___" or "I'm sad because ____" or "I'm angry right now, and I need to _____ to deal with my anger." It makes everyone uncomfortable, to say the least. But I hope they are taking note somewhere deep in their brains and seeing that being able to recognize, sit with, and process our emotions is at the core of our mental health. There is no ticket to overall wellness without that.
If you’re in the DC area, you should definitely check out Alicia’s barre3 location to help you advance your wellness routine. Not in the area? No worries—barre3 offers live stream studio workouts that can be done at home. Or find a studio near you at one of more than 150 locations sprinkled all over the US (in cities like Seattle, New York City, and Austin—just to name a few) and Canada. They even offer a complete virtual membership for folks who prefer to work out at home—so everybody has a chance to get that barre3 experience they are known for. Ready to lengthen and strengthen with Alicia and her team? Book barre3 classes on the Mindbody app.