Well+Good’s 14 Fitness and Wellness Trends of 2013

We love this time of year in the media. The recaps. The best-of lists. And our favorite: top trends.

Last year we accurately predicted the rise of food cleanses, fitness nightlife, and better-for-you vacations. (See for yourself.)

For 2013, we came up with these 14 trends by obsessively reporting on the health and fitness scene in NYC—and beyond. We interviewed experts and influencers, but ultimately we followed our gut on what we're all going to be talking about next year.

So what’s coming in fitness and wellness? A focus on high-intensity interval training, green juice replacing coffee, a cultural shift in yoga, and a new-found love for facial oils. Check out all 14 trends now...


1. Yoga For Jocks

Think Warrior III with weights and loud, motivating playlists that replace the harmonium and Om-ing.

Now that more than 20 million Americans practice yoga, it’s no surprise that there’s more segmentation of yoga classes. Expect to see more yoga for athletes or for non-yogis who just want a great workout.

SLT Yoga created by Erin Jacques is a terrific example of sweaty, athletic yoga. Lauren Imparato of I.AM.YOU. keeps a bit of spirituality and adds grueling poses and tons of cross-legged chaturangas. And Loren Bassett of Pure Yoga teaches what’s essentially yoga cross training in a heated room.

If you don’t break a serious sweat in ten minutes, ask for your money back. Speaking of which, this more athletic breed of yoga can be priced more like a fitness class at about $25.

Photo: Lauren Imparato


2. Got Juice?

Juice is the new coffee. According to Barron’s, "juicing, as a cleanse or mere refreshment, has become a $5 billion business, and is projected to grow by 4% to 8% a year."

We’re seeing the proof in the chia pudding: In New York, there are four main players on the juice landscape—Organic Avenue, BluePrint, Juice Press, Juice Generation/Cooler Cleanse—all of whom are expanding at warp speed. They’ve been joined by at least a dozen indie brands over the last year.

Even high-end coffee joints are cold-pressing produce because they recognize that that a juice run is about to replace the 4:00 coffee run. And there are companies, like Juice Pressery, Kimberly Snyder, and even Starbucks doing big business on the West Coast.

Photo: Organic Avenue


3. CrossFit Becomes a Household Name

The once fringe workout originally embraced by male law-enforcement officers has officially gone super mainstream. Tribeca moms discuss the WOD (workout of the day) over non-fat lattes; New York City has more than 30 “boxes” (lingo for a CrossFit gym), and there are more than 4,000 nationwide. Not to mention a Reebok partnership and the televised CrossFit games.

The workout, based on near-Olympian feats of strength, like Thrusters, Snatches, and Dead Lifts, is also an example of the current trend for women to lift heavy. And because progress is easy to measure and super satisfying, we predict even more people will gravitate toward the awesome sense of accomplishment that comes with performing your first unassisted pull-up.


MyBarre3 online fitness classes4. Fitness Studios Go Online

A host of fitness brands—barre3, Physique 57, and Circuit of Change (launching in January 2013)—are introducing online workouts that can be accessed anywhere there’s an internet connection.

The prevailing model is to charge a reasonable rate per class or a monthly fee for unlimited access. This works especially well for studios with cult followings and for celebrity trainers, like Mary Helen Bowers (Ballet Beautiful), Simone De La Rue (BBS TV), and Terri Walsh (ART Virtual Studio), whose travel schedule can fill up with getting an actress ready for a part. And for the rest of us that love to train with them.

 Photo: Sadie Lincoln of barre3 and Mybarre3


5. High Intensity Interval Training Comes Down from the Mountaintop

Until recently, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) was the exclusive domain of professional athletes and in-the-know amateurs (with expensive trainers).

What's HIIT? A series of very short, super-intense, cardio-strength intervals (think burpees or jump squats as fast as you can go), with short recovery periods in between.

Over the last year, workouts that incorporate HIIT (e.g. Barry’s Bootcamp, classes like Whipped, Tabata, MetCon, CrossFit, and more) have been packed to the gills because people are seeing major results without putting in too many hours. And NYC is getting its first-ever boutique fitness studio dedicated exclusively to HIIT this month.

And the no-pain, no-gain workouts are getting validation from the latest exercise science and Gretchen Reynolds’ bestselling book The First 20 Minutes.

Photo: Equinox


6. The Yoga Festival Movement—and Wanderlust is Leading the Way

The Yoga Journal Conference is the mother of them all. Now next-generation yoga festivals are happening in stunning destinations around the world, and they're mixing contemporary culture (e.g. music and TED-style lectures) with yoga practice for a booming demographic of savvy yogis.

Leading the way is the Wanderlust yoga-music festival, which hosts top yogis for back-to-back classes over several days. It's grown into six annual festivals—the newest being Oahu, Chile, and Whistler.

Three urban pop-up versions in 2012 are expected to multiply in 2013, and we're predicting the growth of regional festivals like Tadasana Festival, Pranafest, and even Burning Man, which has added yoga.

Photo: Wanderlust


7. Meal Delivery Plans Get Haute and Healthier

The Zone Diet is no longer the healthiest game in town. Slicing and dicing the way meal-delivery plans work are a slew of indie companies (most founded by smart, chic New York women).

Some are founded by nutritionists or foodies—or both. Most source, saute, and package locally, so your food is super-fresh—from soup to nuts.

And unlike the era of meal plans before them, these aren't maniacally focused on calories but on quality, nutrition customization (vegan, gluten-free, raw, etc.) and elegant food presentation. We expect even more healthy-food deliveries knocking on our door in 2013.

Photo: Urban Detox Club


8. A New Generation of Spiritual Gurus

Spirit junkie Gabrielle Bernstein, firestarter Danielle LaPorte, Mastin Kipp and his tweets of "Daily Love," and B-School's Marie Forleo want you to find divinity in yourself. And that's a message taking them from local thought leader to the Oprah talk show circuit.

They're not creepy cult leaders. They're not your parent's Buddhist retreat leader. These new gurus are way more like you. They're down to earth. They're consumers (e.g. the gorgeously outfitted Bernstein often asks what the universe would have her do—and wear), but they make clear that consumerism won’t make you happy.

As philosophical descendants of Marianne Williamson, the godmother of modern day miracles, the group is a powerful positivity clique that more people are turning to for self-awareness and inner life growth.

Photo: Gabrielle Bernstein


Dr. Mark Hyman9. Evangelist Physicians

Doctors Mark Hyman, Frank Lipman, Joel Fuhrman, William Davis, and Neal Barnard have gone from explaining the relationship of some foods to chronic diseases and advocating for GMO labeling to taking on Big Pharma.

These wellness evangelists are using their medical credentials to push the research on the role conventional diets (and foods like sugar, dairy, and Frankenwheat) play in making us sick, and share that education in their books and on the lecture circuit. Their prescription for health? Eat real, good food.

Photo: Dr. Mark Hyman at TED


10. Non-GMO is the New Organic 

Now, when you go to the grocery story, "non-GMO" is something we're scanning labels for along with the USDA sticker and the "BPA-free" icon. Recent proposed legislation in California helped raised awareness about the pervasiveness of genetically modified organisms. (Some affected crops include corn, soy, wheat, tomatoes, zucchini, and many ingredients that go into nutritional supplements.)

Brands like Kashi, which claimed to be "natural" but got caught GMO-handed, are wrestling with removing the GMO materials at consumers' request (and outrage). Will other mainstream brands follow Kashi, or will they throw more money at the $47 million effort to block labeling and the Non-GMO Project? We'll see in 2013.


11. Fitness Brands Want to Play Fashion Designer, Too

Fitness studios are no longer satisfied to sell you a lowly studio t-shirt. Now they want to outfit you in designer studio-branded apparel, so your fashion can tell the story of your fitness fandom.

And fitness fanatics are sweating allegiance with their clothing choices.

SoulCycle started the trend with its huge collection of constantly updated workout crops, tanks, sweatshirts, and anything else you can emblazon with a yellow wheel.

Barry’s Bootcamp just launched a more comprehensive partnership with Splits59 in which they co-designed the collection. Local players like Refine Method are elevating the studio tank to designer levels. And newcomer Revolve demonstrates, with their Alternative Apparel duds, just how required branded clothing is becoming.

Photo: Ryan Shell for Fashables


12. The Health Coach Revolution

Juice powerhouse Organic Avenue was founded by one. The wellness workshops at Whole Foods are led by them. New Yorkers attend their cooking classes and grocery shopping tours and buy their cleanses and gluten-free granola. In New York, suddenly, holistic health coaches are everywhere. And their unique approach to jump-starting the health of their clients—and the general population—is changing the ways people approach getting, and staying, healthy. Every year the Institute for Integrative Nutrition graduates hundreds of health advocates. It's possible this is just the beginning of what they're capable of and the effect they'll have on wellness.

Photo: Institute for Integrative Nutrition founder Joshua Rosenthal


13. Non-toxic is the New Nail Polish Standard

"Non-toxic" is becoming the new standard for all nail brands, not just the natural ones. That's a great thing, since polish has always been a chemically dependent beauty product. And, until recently, most contained confirmed carcinogens like formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, and a few more.

Now handfuls of polish purveyors, from New York City salon favorite TenOverTen to prestige brand Chanel, have kicked problematic chemicals to the curb in order to keep them off your fingers. Soon, polishes that are not free of these ingredients will be the exception (if not totally shunned).

Photo: RGB Cosmetics


14. Women are Finally Embracing Skin-care Oils

Despite decades of concern that oils will clog your pores and cause breakouts (that's just mineral and other synthetic oils), now you'd be hard pressed to find a radiant skin beauty not using one.

Facial oils have finally struck a cord with American women who are coming to realize their glow-giving, skin-balancing potential.

Leading the way are chic brands like Rodin and Kahina Giving Beauty, and they've been followed by dozens more.

As a result, argan oil (used in Kahina), other nut and seed oils (like Pili and Moringa), and plant oils (jojoba and seabuckthorn) have been elevated to marquee ingredient status.

And now that we're finding out how oil can balance blemishes and calm acne, “oil-free” may not be a selling point used on the front of scores of beauty products much longer.

Photo: Harpersbazaar.com


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