Fitness Professionals Adapt to Make Physical Activity More Accessible to All Canadians

Fitness industry evolves to deliver physical and mental health expertise and content during pandemic

Fitness industry evolves to deliver physical and mental health expertise and content during pandemic

canfitpro Fitness Trends Survey

It’s been a rough year for the fitness industry, but a recent survey found the pandemic has fed demand for online and virtual content, renewed enthusiasm for bodyweight and functional exercises, and prompted fitness professionals to offer a broader range of services and expertise. These are the key findings from the 2021 canfitpro Fitness Trends survey that reflects fitness professionals’ opinions about changes in the industry and predictions for the year to come.


“Right now, the priority for all Canadians is good health, and it’s no surprise that fitness professionals play a huge role in helping achieve that. With gyms temporarily closed and pandemic restrictions in place, many Canadians are turning to workouts that require little to no equipment and can be done from home or outdoors. The important thing is that the fitness industry adapts to make fitness accessible and to keep Canadians active during this critical time.” Maureen (Mo) Hagan, chief operating officer, canfitpro.


Fitness professionals also expressed how important it is to make the fitness field more diverse and inclusive to people of all cultures, religions, genders and abilities.


“Fitness is essential for all Canadians. canfitpro is taking steps to remove barriers for people in minority groups in order to make fitness more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. We’re leading initiatives to hire more qualified professionals from the BIPOC community and other minority groups to better reflect the diversity of the general population.”


Some key trends fitness professionals expect to continue into 2021 include:


Work outs with limited equipment

With gyms temporarily closed or restricted in some provinces, people are looking for workout options that require minimal equipment. Body weight training and functional fitness were among the top 4 trends for 2021. Fitness lovers are looking to get back to basics this year with exercises that use body weight for resistance and more exercises that simulate and reinforce real-life movements.



More online personal training and group fitness

More fitness professionals are adapting to deliver personal training and group fitness classes online, supplementing their in-person sessions as the waves of the pandemic move across the country. In 2021, there will be more digital fitness options than ever to keep fitness lovers connected with their favourite classes and experts.


For people who can’t make it to the gym for their favourite group fitness class, there’s a huge range of online fitness classes including everything from cardio kickboxing to core moves to dance-inspired fitness classes. With online group fitness, participants have access to an instructor and other class participants in real time – the next best thing to an in-club experience.


Also, many personal trainers are supplementing their in-person sessions with online training customized to the clients’ home environment. Online personal training offers convenience, accountability and convenience to keep many Canadians on track during lockdown. 


Outdoor fitness options

Move it outside. That has been the common refrain for many activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the numbers of new runners and outdoor boot camps recently, fitness is no exception. Canadian fitness professionals are looking at the year ahead and developing programs that can be delivered outdoors, offering more flexibility to keep their clients moving.


Focus on overall health

Fitness in 2021 promises to play a greater role in overall wellbeing. Canadians have become more sedentary during the pandemic, which aggravates chronic diseases, mental health issues, substance use, and injuries over time. Canadian fitness professionals are expanding their training into areas such as healthy eating and weight loss, meditation and mindfulness, stress resiliency, pre- and post-natal fitness, fascial stretch therapy and post-rehab exercise. New credentials will enable them to be part of a more comprehensive approach to healthcare. 


“Canadians are feeling the effects of this crisis when it comes to their mental health. Many people are more sedentary, anxious and tired, and fitness professionals are seeing demand for fitness options along with meditation and mindfulness coaching,” said Hagan.


About the canfitpro 2021 Fitness Trends survey

canfitpro reached out to 150,000+ fitness professionals across Canada to encourage them to vote on the top fitness trends for 2021. The annual survey features predictions for what Canadians will see in the fitness space for the upcoming year. More information can be found at



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