Let’s go! Your ultimate 2022 fitness guide

·8-min read
 (Bamboo Clothing)
(Bamboo Clothing)

Unwrap that new shiny smartwatch and dig out the leggings! Oh - wait - you’re already in them. The opening chapter of January 2022 might be dealing us a strange dose of déjà vu (working from home, Christmas in semi-isolation, cancelled pub trips...), but amid the new year Omi-gloom, some more positive news: at least we’re not in lockdown - and Covid cases are (hopefully) plateaueing in London, with hospital admissions falling in the capital since December 29.

Plus: we know how to get through it this time. The upside to 2021’s tumultuous year is it was our fittest yet - activity rates soared to new record levels last year, according to sport tracking platform Strava, which is now used by more than 17 per cent of the UK population - and 2022 brings even more reasons to lace up those new Christmas trainers.

BXR is opening the City’s highest gym next month, featuring a 125m-high climbing wall overlooking London’s skyline; a luxe new Covid-friendly studio, Elysium, opened in Seven Dials last week; and the new year brings a wave of high-tech new Peloton rivals: insiders say assault bike classes and ski-style VR workouts are the hot new at-home sweat-styles for 2022.

So what to look out for? From the new gym-wear brand every climate-conscious influencer is wearing to the recovery tech that’ll transform your workout routine, here’s how to make 2022 your fittest year yet.

Higher power

 (The Font)
(The Font)

You watched it, open-mouthed, at Tokyo and it quickly shot up to become the top trending Olympic sport in Google search results this summer. Now, climbing is quickly becoming one of the fitterati’s favourite forms of sweatwork.

Brie Larson, Zac Efron and Jason Mamoa are reportedly among the new climbing aficionados in Hollywood and here in the capital, studios are springing up, fast, to take your workout to new heights.

 (BXR)
(BXR)

The Font climbing gym opened in Wandsworth last summer, offering a functional fitness gym and yoga classes alongside 11,000 square-feet of competition-height bouldering walls; BlocFit in Brixton offers climbing sessions with a PT on its 18m bouldering wall, with fitness and weights areas next door for upping strength; and Anthony Joshua’s boxing gym BXR is jumping on the climbing bandwagon this winter, too.

Next month it’s launching Europe’s first “vertical village”: a shiny new high-spec studio 25 floors high. It’ll be the City’s highest fitness space and aims to feature a 6.5 metre climbing wall 125m above ground-level. Experts say you won’t just build strength, but trust and mental resilience. Could there be a more important 2022 skillset than that?

Pandemic-proof workouts

 (Elysium)
(Elysium)

Sweating through a living room Fiit class doesn’t have to be the only way to keep your workout Covid-safe. Alongside BXR’s luxe new studio, expect a new term to enter your fitness lexicon this year, if you haven’t heard it already: the microgym. It’s essentially a pay-per-hour private gym you book via Classpass or an app, unlock via your smartphone, and use for an hour - either on your own or with friends or a PT.

You might have spotted several springing up around the capital since summer and insiders are expecting a microgym boom in 2022. Aptly-named Solo60 has four locations in London so far (Shoreditch, Tower Bridge, Vauxhall and Spitalfields), with new studios in Central and Southbank coming soon. Meanwhile Elysium, which runs a similar gym concept in Aldgate, opened a second site last week in Seven Dials. It’s just £25 an hour so split it with your housemates and it’s essentially the same price as a coffee.

Sweat zero

 (Bamboo Clothing)
(Bamboo Clothing)

Rental ski kit and preloved wedding dresses are the fashion norm now - but will second-hand gym-wear really take off? It already is, according to GoodFit, which insists there isn’t a pair of worn-out leggings or a sweat-marked crop-top in sight on its preloved activewear site. Join the platform’s early access membership list and receive up to 60 per cent off the RRP on second-hand but like-new activewear from brands including lululemon, Girlfriend Collective, Nike and Sweaty Betty. Many even still have their tags on (collections often sell-out on release day, so you’ll need to move fast).

West Sussex-based Re Run Clothing - founded by Team GB ultra-runner Dan Lawson and his wife Charlotte - also sells high-quality second-hand running clothing (they clean, de-bobble, upcycle and repair garments before selling them on), while Bamboo Clothing says its t-shirts stay fresh for a week of workouts before needing a wash. It’s all thanks to the fact that they’re made from bamboo fibres, which its founders claim to be so effective at absorbing moisture that there’s none left sitting on your clothes causing odour. Be brave - Greta would.

 (Hylo)
(Hylo)

Vegan activewear is also set to be an even bigger hitter in 2022, according to Maya Jama’s personal trainer Bradley Simmonds. His fitness brand Get It Done sells a matte-black exercise mat made from natural rubber and vegan polyurethane and his go-to shoe brand is Hylo, whose planet-friendly trainers feature natural rubber outsoles, water-based glues and inks, organic cotton laces and algae bloom insoles.

Athletes wearing its corn runner trainers can expect a carbon footprint of just 7.82kg of CO - roughly half that of the 13.6kg produced by the average runner. That’s 300g of plastic kept out of global circulation per pair.

Watch out, Peloton

 (Fiit)
(Fiit)

If 2021 was the year of connected spinning (Peloton) and rowing (Hydrow), 2022 will be the year of connected skiing and assault-biking. The high-tech heroes promising to bring these sports to life from your home? First, connected fitness platform Fiit, which has teamed up with assault bike-manufacturer Assault Fitness to launch the world’s first interactive assault bike workouts, with your live stats tracked both on and off the AssaultBike on the big screen (you’ll need to own an Assault Bike already or have purchased Fiit’s limited-edition Assault Bike bundle).

Meanwhile if you’re staying at home and fancy getting in shape for snow season, Oxfordshire startup Playko launched the world’s first skiing VR game, Ski Fit 365, last month and professional world skiers are already saying it’s the next-best thing to actually being on the slopes.

 (Ski Fit 365)
(Ski Fit 365)

Just put the headset on and place the controller in your sock, fly (via VR) to one of 144 slopes in 12 locations across the world, select your ski outfit and the game’s clever technology will track your leg movements, mimicking skiing.

If you can’t afford a VR headset (Ski Fit 365 is free, then in-app purchases like outfits cost £17 on top), Apple has just brought out a new series of workouts to prepare for snow season on its Fitness+ platform.

 (Apple)
(Apple)

They’ve been designed by two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety alongside Fitness+ trainer Anja Garcia and promise to build strength, balance and endurance ahead of that late-season getaway to the Alps (let’s hope).

Cor(e), blimey

 (Core Master)
(Core Master)

The world’s fastest growing fitness trend? Weighted hula hooping, according to gym giant PureGym, which recently predicted a surge in hoop-based workouts as we move into 2022.

The hoop isn’t the only core-focused at-home workout tool set to take off in the next 12 months. German fitness company Erzi has just released the Core Bike, a push-up bar on wheels designed to strengthen up your core, shoulders, chest and arms, while the Core Master is a super-unstable balance board that’s been engineered to give users the most intense at-home core workout yet. Thanks to a ball in the middle, you can plank, roll, rotate and tilt through more than 100 exercises and classes available at thecoremaster.co.uk. You won’t just work all the different layers of your core, but every muscle in your body. Challenge yourself if you dare.

Smart recovery

 (Monk)
(Monk)

New year, new... Actually, let’s not. Ignore those weight loss memes and all that ‘new you’ January preaching: we need a year that’s all about kindness and that starts with being kind to our bodies. Latest Classpass data found sports recovery is on the rise and the most popular recovery sessions are a whole lot smarter than basic sports massages or sessions on the foam roller.

The new-era recovery tech? Salt caves, sound and light therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers and ice baths - but not the traditional low-tech ones. If you’re keen to see what all the the cold-water fuss is about, there’s now an app for that: Monk, specifically designed to help you find the optimum temperature from home.

The TRX Rocker (TRX)
The TRX Rocker (TRX)

The £2,999 smart ice bath and its corresponding app launch later this year and aim to bring cold water therapy to the masses by helping users ensure they’re at the perfect temperature for muscle recovery and meditation. It’ll guide you through a personalised programme dependent on your goals, with immersive experiences from cold therapy to breathwork.

Other high-tech recovery tools to look for in 2022 include TRX’s new-age foam roller, the rocker, which claims to achieve a more focused muscle release via rocking rather than rolling, and HigherDose’s Infrared Mat, which recharges your body using vibrations. Designers say a quick session can give you the same results as a whole hour of yoga or meditation. That’s smart.

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