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8 Hottest NYC Fitness Trends in 2020!

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

Fitness is a very popular pastime in New York City. It’s not uncommon for people to unwind from a busy work day at a nearby NYC gym or fitness class. Many of these popular fitness activities can be done alone, but is also beneficial to receive guidance from experts like certified personal trainers. There are numerous in the city, especially near the Upper West Side, to consider. The right personal trainer can take these NYC fitness trends and personalize them for you. Explore personal training near you.


We checked out much of the available fitness data to find the most current trends in the world of New York City fitness. With the American College of Sports Medicine annual fitness survey in combination with ClassPass fitness data and other sources for NYC, we now have the layout for 2020's workout trends in New York City!

Trends are not to be confused with fads though. Fads come and go at the drop of a dime while fitness trends are generally the ones with real value that rose to the top for good reason. Trends can stick around for decades while fads tend to run their course much more quickly.

1. High Intensity Interval Training

Also known as HIIT, this fitness trend suddenly burst into the fitness world, and has stayed at the top of the trends list. This type of workout usually entails short, extreme periods of exercise followed by rest.

It’s known as being incredibly effective for burning fat while shaping and toning the body, and with the right playlist your workout can pass in seemingly minutes, rather than a full hour. Just be sure to workout with a highly experienced trainer, as injury is possible in the hands of the wrong trainer.

2. Body Weight Training (no equipment)

Since 2013 Body Weight Training has been a major trend in the fitness scene, and with good reason. By using your own weight, there’s no reason to rely on bulky, expensive equipment, giving you a safer, quicker, and equally effective workout. We’re not talking about old school body weight training, like push-ups, but rather, the new and innovative methods that fitness experts have developed and refined since it became a trend.

Innovative workout classes, like the new Primal Movement class developed by expert trainers Jeff Bell and Carlos Leon, are prime examples of how you can take your workout to the next level using nothing but your own body. Primal Movement is inspired by the animals in the wild (imagine a lion preparing to pounce) and engages over 600 muscles focusing on flexibility, mobility and balance. If you’re looking to burn fat, strengthen, and tone your body, this is definitely the solution.

3. Corrective Exercises and Functional Training

One of the drawbacks with some of today's fitness trends in NYC and other parts of the country are that they come with high risks, especially if a personal has had previous injuries, tries to do too much too fast, is not in great shape or has postural imbalances. Whether it's from bootcamp-style classes with 40 people in them and only 1 instructor or whether it's a complicated and advanced cross-fit exercise or repetitive use in runners, injuries from exercise are not uncommon. This is especially true in baby-boomer populations and in people who sit for countless hours at desks all day.

The fitness industry's response to this problem has been the growth of functional training, corrective exercise specialist certifications and post-injury rehabilitation. Correcting postural imbalances and restoring symmetry, mobility, flexibility and stability in the body are vital for safe and effective fitness training in NYC and beyond, especially if one wants to do bootcamp classes and high-intensity interval training.

There is a spectrum of beginner to advanced when it comes to functional training. If you're recovering from an injury or just getting back into fitness training, you'll want to clean up the fundamentals. If you already have a solid base of fitness and want to utilize that to become better at a sport, at work tasks and less injury-prone when playing with your kids, then it's time to kick it up a notch or two.

4. Wearable Tech

Of course it’s technology that makes it into the top spot for this year’s major trends in fitness. These apps now do so much more than just count your steps. Phone apps allow you to regulate your diet and count calories while giving you the extra reminder and push to workout.

The coolest part about wearable fitness tech though, are the new “smart clothes”! Smart Apparel measures your body’s entire biometric output during your workout, so you can check just how hard those muscles are working and receive new objectives. In conjunction with actual fitness classes, you’ll be fit and toned in no time.

Athos, Ralph Lauren Polo, OMsignal, and even Victoria’s Secret all produce some of the finest high tech fitness clothing on the market, but keep your eyes peeled as this trend is poised to explode onto the fitness scene, and the competition is going to be fierce.

5. Group Training

Group exercise instructors teach, lead, and motivate you through larger group exercise classes. Group programs are designed to be motivational and effective for people at different fitness levels, with instructors using leadership techniques that help individuals in their classes achieve fitness goals. There are many types of classes and equipment, from aerobics and bicycles to dance classes one of the most popular group exercises for both men and women, boxing and kickboxing.

Group exercise training programs have been around for a long time, but have only recently made it into the top ten fitness trends, largely because fads like Zumba have been giving these classes a bad name. With the Zumba fad finally dying out, real group workout classes designed by industry experts are taking over and are expected to stay in the top five fitness trends going into 2019 as well.

6. Circuit Training

Circuit Training is when a set of specific exercises are set up and participants rotate between them. This sort of training has been around for a long time in the weightlifting world, but wasn’t a major form of cardio aerobic exercise until 2015. Since then, it has seen much needed innovation with exciting and effective workouts that involve equipment like battle ropes and kettlebells.

Depending on the class, some circuit training workouts are also High Intensity Interval Training, giving you one seriously great workout with lasting effects. Because weights are often involved, be sure the class you take is led by seasoned professionals.

7. Boutique Fitness Studios

Small boutique-style fitness studios have exploded in popularity all over New York City. The draw for people is the intimacy and community feel that these gyms offer which many of the large gym chains such as Equinox can't. In a big and busy city like NYC, finding a friendly, like-minded home to pursue your fitness aspirations can be very appealing, empowering and rewarding.

8. Indoors Outdoor Activities (like cycling)

Taking outdoor activities into an indoors setting is a trend that started around 2010 and inched its way to the to before taking the top spot last year. You’re likely to see spin, cycling, and row classes all over the place this year as well. New Yorkers are all about the new, but we’re glad these workouts didn’t just become a fad; they’re here to stay.

The great part of taking these classes indoors, is the ability to take them all year round in a safe environment, and indoors, there’s so much more you can do. Trainers often have participants doing pushups off the handlebars, or getting out of the saddle altogether. A few even make an adventure of it, guiding you on an around the world trip that’s so thrilling, you don’t even notice the time fly by.

The best trainers in New York City and in the world are the ones that can take the current trends and evolve them into something better. However you work out, be sure you know who you’re training with. The fitness industry is so large in New York City that you literally can take your pick.

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