We love our jobs—reporting obsessively on the health and fitness scene.
As the year winds down, we take stock of everything we’ve covered: what was fleeting and what will endure and blow up.
So we’ve peered into our crystal kettlebells to bring you the trends we’ll all be talking about in 2015.
Without further ado, here’s our sixth annual Wellness Trends Report!
Read it now…
1. Treadmill Studios Take Off at a Sprint
The takeaway: With the entertaining aspects of spinning, and new technology, group treadmill workouts are growing on the boutique fitness scene
Buzz-worthy, high-intensity interval studios like Barry’s Bootcamp and Orangetheory prove that treadmills are not just for solo days at the gym. By making the workouts as entertaining as spinning (great music and charismatic instructors), these boutique brands, and new classes like Equinox’s Precision Running, are putting the treadmill to exciting use. And a lot more are coming.
This fall Mile High Rub Club, a treadmill studio devoted to runners, opened in New York City. In 2015, it will be joined by another indie studio called The Run. And Orangetheory plans to double its presence in 2015, with a projected 180 openings.
Equinox running guru David Siik says the treadmill’s comeback has partially been fueled by innovations in technology. “This is the tip of the iceberg. To feed the demand of where treadmill running is going, the treadmills that will be designed in the very near future are going to be very impressive,” he says. May we suggest a new pair of sneakers?
(Photo: Larkin Clark for Well+Good)
The takeaway: Activated charcoal is going mainstream as an accessible new detox tool
Activated charcoal cleansers and masks are hotter than ever. Juice brands like Juice Served Here and Juice Generation are using it as an ingredient. And wellness aficionados like Shiva Rose are popping charcoal supplements—all for the same reason: the idea that it attaches to toxins like a magnet and helps cleanse your body and skin of impurities.
“Coconut oil was the big wellness trend and now activated charcoal is taking off,” Rose says. “It’s going more mainstream. It’s on morning shows like Good Morning America and in drugstore beauty brands like Origins and Biore.”
3. A Juice For Every Reason
The takeaway: Juices are no longer one-size-fits-all; soon there will be a juice for everyone, and every reason
You used to drink your green juice for the, well, leafy greens. Now, there’s a juice for your lady parts, an immune-system-strengthening blend, Kosher sips, bottles geared towards kids, a SoulCycle-inspired workout-recovery juice, tons of organic-only juices—and that’s just the beginning. “
Companies are realizing that juice is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” says Max Goldberg, founder of Pressed Organic Juice Directory. He expects specialized juices to continue to grow. “There’s a huge opportunity for juice companies to target men, kids, pregnant women, and college students. Additionally, pressed organic juice as an alcohol mixer at restaurants and bars will definitely grow in popularity,” says Goldberg. “We’re in a relatively early stage of the pressed organic juice industry.”
We predict that 2015 will be the year of stress-reducing sips, sleep-better bottles, blends to down pre-CrossFit, and more concoctions to help with your complexion. Bottoms up!
(Photo: Alicia Sokol for Weekly Greens)
4. Cardio is the New Cocktail
The takeaway: A healthier kind of social life is emerging after-hours that blends fitness and yoga with nightclub bells, whistles, and DJs
When your best friend wants to get a drink after work, you may have to start asking her to clarify: green juice or Chardonnay? Socializing or “going out” is no longer synonymous with behaviors that interrupt your healthy lifestyle—it’s now part of it.
The nightlife scene in big cities is experiencing a major wellness shift, so instead of meeting for drinks, this year you might be headed to a trendy Brooklyn nightclub to do yoga, attend booze-free morning dance parties in London, work out in a Los Angeles concert venue with a DJ, or do black light yoga in Boston.
“When wellness activities are more fun, we’ll actually stick with them. And when our social life doesn’t leave us feeling like we got hit by a truck, there’s no reason not to make it a habit,” says Tasha Blank, the DJ-founder of healthy-dance party The Get Down. Your 2015 social life is about to look a lot healthier.
(Photo: Sasha Juliard for The Get Down)
5. Enthusiasm for Bone Broth Reaches a Boiling Point
The takeaway: Bone broth is the new “it” wellness beverage
Bone broth may be an ancient health remedy, but its modern moment has arrived. “It’s having a renaissance,” says renowned chef Marco Canora, who recently opened Brodo, New York City’s first take-out window devoted to sippable broths, served in coffee cups. New Yorkers went crazy for the concept right away, and he’s not the only one preaching its health benefits.
Celebrity facialists like Julia March recommend it for better skin, and top acupuncturists prescribe it for gut health. And slow-food pioneer Sally Fallon Morell just released Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World. Not to mention the proliferation of praise and recipes you’ll find all over the Paleo blogosphere.
In other words, while bone broth’s simmering right now, it’s about to reach a boiling point.
(Photo: Cat Yeh)
6. Fashion Designers Are Getting Their Sweat On
The takeaway: Fashion designers have sweat envy, and are flocking to activewear, realizing they need workout lines to stay on-trend
A slew of fashion brands have recently launched activewear lines, like Trina Turk, Betsey Johnson, and Norma Kamali. And other than trailblazer Stella McCartney, this is the first time that designers are launching full-blown collections made for working out. Why the sweat envy?
“Women are wearing activewear from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and beyond,” says Caroline Gogolak, co-founder of luxe, online fashion boutique Carbon38. “Fashion designers need to stay relevant and want to dress this new woman.” Likewise, Net-A-Sporter senior buyer Candice Fragis says there’s “quite a bit” of overlap with brands “such as Theory+ as well as Alexander Wang and Isabel Marant” making stuff to sweat in, and she hints at more to come (Zimmerman and Lisa Marie Fernandez).
And with Tory Burch’s forthcoming fitness fashion line, we speculate that it’s only a matter of time before brands like DKNY, Kate Spade, and Mara Hoffman follow suit.
(Photo: Trina Turk)
7. “Barre” is About to Become a Household Name
The takeaway: This is the year those who haven’t heard of barre—or haven’t taken a class yet—will
Yoga, CrossFit, and spinning are already household names. And in 2015, everyone will know what barre workouts are. Since taking its name and fitness inspiration from sculpting ballet warm-ups, barre is gaining traction as the fastest growing fitness genre—and as the everywoman’s workout.
City to suburb, studios from brands like Barre3, The Dailey Method, Xtend Barre, and The Bar Method are in almost every state, and one of the biggest brands, Pure Barre, has locations in 40 states. Aarti Kapoor, an investment banker at Moelis & Company, has taken note of this growth. “Barre is poised to continue to grow this year and for years to come—in existing markets and worldwide,” she says.
8. Sugar is the Next Trans Fat
The takeaway: We’ve known sugar isn’t great for us, but in 2015 its very unsweet side will the topic of a lot of buzz
Trans fat, gluten, and dairy have all had their moment in the cross-hairs—and in 2015, sugar looks to be the next target. With an increased awareness of sugar’s not so sweet side—from the documentary Fed Up that showed what a health-disrupting nightmare sugar has become to the journalist-turned-anti-sugar spokesperson Sarah Wilson who wrote a book about quitting it—more people are forgoing the one-lump-or-two mentality, even when it’s in raw or other seemingly healthy forms.
“Sugar is the devil,” says Frank Lipman, MD. “I’ve been saying that forever. As I see it, sugar is a socially acceptable, legal recreational drug. And similar to other recreational drugs, it can lead to mood highs and lows and can destroy your health over time.”
We predict a lot more buzz on the topic in 2015, and for healthy companies across the food spectrum, from yogurt and cereal to beverages, to start championing how low in sugar they are.
The takeaway: Meditation is getting way cooler, moving beyond the usual suspects, and into the mainstream
Russell Simmons wrote a book on meditation, the other Russell (Brand, that is) does Transcendental Meditation, and Iron Chef Marc Forgione leads his staff in the practice. Busy professionals do it, most famously Arianna Huffington, Congressman Tim Ryan, and Kobe Bryant.
Suze Yalof Schwartz opened chic meditation studio Unplug in Brentwood earlier this year—and people are flocking there for sessions like they do to SoulCycle. Speaking of, cool fitness instructors, like SoulCycle’s Melanie Griffith (above), find calm and clarity through meditation, too.
“It’s no longer just for hippies and yogis—on a typical day, you’ll meet a heart surgeon, a celebrity trainer, an investment banker, and more,” Schwartz says. “I’m finding this type of meditator is someone who cares enough about themselves to want to improve.” Now that’s a type anyone would happily be part of.
10. The End of the 60-Minute Sweat Session?
The takeaway: This year will bring shorter, more intense workouts that are supported by science and loved by the time-strapped
More studies show shorter workouts can be just as effective for things like weight loss and building endurance, and workout programming is following the science.
Insanity and P90X each just debuted 30-minute sessions of their cult-fave programs, former Biggest Loser trainer Brett Hoebel released the 20 Minute Body in October, and the ever-surging popularity of High Intensity Interval Training and CrossFit, where WODs are often as short as 10 to 15 minutes, are also fueling the trend.
Adam Rosante, creator of The People’s Bootcamp and author of the forthcoming The 30-Second Body, says that while the research is important, the biggest excuse for skipping workouts is a lack of time, and shorter workouts solve that problem. “As long as people want to see results quickly and allocate more of their time to enjoying their lives outside of the gym,” Rosante says, “the trend will grow.”
(Photo: Reebok CrossFit Lab)
Healthy cooking used to be a lean aisle in the bookstore (especially compared to the bloated rows of diet books). Now a glossy, new era of self-taught cooks with robust Instagram followings and at-home “test kitchens” have turned up the heat in the healthy cookbook space. And their photogenic, easy recipes are making more confident chefs of the rest of us.
“Healthy cooking is definitely a larger category than it used to be,” says Jennifer Levesque, editorial director of Rodale Books, pointing to the “terrific bloggers and home cooks who’ve shown readers that they, too, can make fabulous meals.” Rodale’s titles reflect this trend, especially Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook, as do 2015 debuts like Deliciously Ella (Simon & Schuster), based on the successful vegan, gluten-free blog of the same name.
As for healthy cooking’s increasing cache, “bloggers can help you achieve that by [regularly] posting new and in-season recipes,” says Levesque. Their beautiful photography doesn’t hurt either.
(Photo: Deliciously Ella)
12. Fitness Fashion Gets the Barneys Treatment
The takeaway: No more shopping at sporting goods stores for your workout wardrobe—fitness fashion boutiques are a growing retail category, where there’s no “gear” lingo
Shopping for your workout outfit in a sporting goods store is a thing of the past. Increasingly, retail and online stores like Carbon38, Net-A-Sporter, Without Walls, and Bandier cater to the “luxury athlete,” selling a wide variety of curated designer activewear brands from Michi and Lucas Hugh to Vie Active.
Jim Whitlow, founder of Deka, a boutique in Atlanta and Chicago that specializes in women’s high-end workout clothing, believes the fitness fashion store’s rise is due to “more designers in activewear than ever before—a fashionable woman can dress head to toe in different high-end activewear brands, and it’s okay for her to wear them from studio to street.”
The multitude of activewear designers and stores that carry them has created a brand-new way to shop within the fitness fashion category. Excuse us while we go overnight a new outfit for barre class tomorrow.
The takeaway: Like tools and appliances to make coffee, more people are going to purchase (and become) at-home juicing machines
Juice bars have been popping up like crazy over the past three years. And while people are now spending $10+ a pop for bottles of liquid greens and made-to-order smoothies, they’re also spending hundreds on devices, so they can make the drinks at home, too.
Joe Cross, the filmmaker and entrepreneur behind the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, says this speaks to how important (and habitual) green juices and smoothies have become—and something he dubs the “Starbucks effect.” “People still buy coffee at Starbucks—and make it at home,” says Cross. “That’s what’s happening with juices and smoothies.”
Lots of new gadgets are making it easier: Vitamix just debuted a personal blender (similar to the NutriBullet) and Breville recently released the “Boss” (similar to Vitamix’s wildly popular 5200). There are rumors that a Nespresso-for-juice is in the works. This year, we’ll all become juicing whizzes.
(Photo: Aimee Ray / CC BY 2.0)