Fitness trends 2023: Online challenges and workouts in the metaverse set to dominate

Looking to try the next big thing in fitness this year? Here's some inspiration

From shorter workouts to metaverse fitness, these are the big trends for 2023. Unsplash
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With a new year upon us, many will be re-evaluating their fitness goals after an indulgent festive season. And with each new year comes a new wave of trending fitness crazes.

Some will last the test of time, while others will become a distant memory (remember kangoo fit?), but if you're looking to try something new in 2023, here are the fitness trends we predict you'll be seeing a lot of.

The 12-3-30 method

People walking on the treadmill in gym (iStockphoto.com)

TikTok users will probably be familiar with the 12-3-30 workout phenomenon that dominated the video-sharing app in 2022. The premise of the treadmill-based workout is simple — walk for 30 minutes on an incline of 12 and a speed of three miles per hour (5kph).

When regularly built into your daily routine, the 12-3-30 method can be an effective aerobic workout that burns fat and builds strength in the legs. And the best part is, you only need access to a treadmill, which is why it went viral on TikTok.

Several users have reported seeing benefits from regularly using this method, including increased fitness, boosted mental well-being and weight loss when combined with a balanced diet.

“Walking is a fantastic cardiovascular activity and adding the incline will help to increase the heart rate — improving cardiovascular health and endurance,” says UK personal trainer Laura Eaton.

“This exercise is also much gentler on the joints than running or jogging, making it an excellent choice for different age groups and fitness levels”.

Shorter workouts

As people’s lives get back up to full speed in a post-pandemic world, getting a workout done as quickly and efficiently as possible is becoming more important than ever before.

Kourtney Kardashian’s trainer Lindsey Harrod recently revealed the “super-effective” nine-minute daily workout routine she swears by, which can be done at home with no equipment. Elsewhere, Nike Training Club recently partnered with Netflix to offer a series of workout videos on the streaming platform, with 10, 20 and 30-minute options available.

Beth Brotherton, a personal trainer at PureGym, says: “If you prefer or are only able to commit to shorter workouts, aerobic training, HIIT or circuit-style weight training that keep the heart rate high will help you get the most out of your workouts.

“For those who prefer traditional weight training, I’d recommend prioritising compound movements such as deadlifts and squats, as these recruit more muscles and burn more calories than isolation exercises.”

The 75 Soft Challenge

You may have heard of the 75 Hard Challenge, the fitness programme designed to push participants to the extreme by taking part in gruelling workouts for 75 days.

But to counteract that, the 75 Soft Challenge is gaining traction, with a 124 per cent increase in Google searches for it year-on-year.

The 75 Soft Challenge tasks participants with following four daily rules — eat well and only drink on social occasions, exercise for 45 minutes a day, with one weekly rest day, drink three litres of water each day and read 10 pages of a book per day.

The challenge is designed to build achievable routines that boost both physical and mental health in a realistic way, that can be sustained long after the challenge ends.

TikTok is full of people sharing their experiences of the challenge, with more than 180 million views across the hashtag.

Fitness in the metaverse

The Oculus Rift VR headset is being used in conjunction with Les Mills fitness classes. Jae Hong / AP Photo

Last year, the metaverse expanded at break-neck speed, with more and more elements of everyday life becoming a reality in the virtual universe. And fitness was no different, with Dubai leading the way, creating the first health and fitness game in the metaverse, FitnessVR, powered by Scorpio Metaverse Engine.

Users can take part in several sports and fitness activities, ranging from eSports competitions to attending health and wellness conferences, as well as purchase NFTs to enhance their experience.

Elsewhere, virtual reality is being used by fitness companies such as Les Mills, which has incorporated Oculus Quest headsets into boxing and HIIT classes.

Fitness gamification

Several apps pair with smart watches to encourage fitness gamification. AP Photo

In 2021, 202 million people worldwide wore smartwatches, according to Statista, which specialises in market and consumer data. Statista forecasts that number to increase to about 231 users by 2026.

And with more people than ever monitoring their health statistics, many companies are gamifying the wearable technology experience to attract new users and keep people engaged.

Gamification involves setting users daily fitness tasks and challenges, offering rewards when they are met and showing users of global leader boards.

Apps like PlayFitt allow users to track movements such as steps, squats or push-ups, and earn instant rewards when they reach their targets, while WaterMinder allows people to track their daily intake and sends reminders when it’s time to have a drink.

This year, this trend is expected to grow further, with more apps that pair with smartphones to track and offer rewards across all elements of health and movement, including women's health.

In September, Apple released its Series 8 Apple Watch with new technology that offers greater sleep-tracking and analysis, and allows women to track their fertility and ovulation using a basal temperature monitor.

Updated: January 03, 2023, 10:34 AM