The 5 biggest fitness trends to watch in Charlotte in 2023

The 5 biggest fitness trends to watch in Charlotte in 2023

Jen Dufresne is the owner of Cross Conditioning Training in Cotswold. Photo: Courtesy of Sweatnet

From the emergence of new equipment to updates in nutritional research, fitness is always evolving. There’s a new fitness craze (or two) in Charlotte every year. Case in point: The Hot Girl Walks and Pickle Ball boom of 2022.

I spoke with Charlotte fitness trainer, marathon runner and owner of Cross Conditioning training, Jen Dufresne, on what fitness trends we can expect to see in 2023.

Why it matters: Charlotte is an active city. People here are always looking for engaging ways to keep fit – whether it’s at a big trendy gym, at a boutique studio or with a large group of people outdoors.

The growth of locally owned boutique fitness studios.

Many local gyms have not made it through the pandemic, Dufresne told me. Now that many gyms have reopened without restrictions, Dufresne expects to see the return and expansion of many boutique studios.

Zoom in: For example, Charlotte FIT opened a second location in south Charlotte this month. West Kept Secret opened in the fall of 2020 and has since grown in popularity, even attracting big-name clients like Olivia Culpo, according to the Observer.

  • “Charlotte really supports local people – people like to know who their owner is, and they like to support [owners] that are established in their success,” Dufresne said, adding she plans to expand her gym to a second location in the near future.

[Go deeper: How Charlotte’s fitness industry evolves amid the pandemic]

The revival of running clubs.

Running has also been hit hard by the pandemic. “People didn’t sign up for races,” Dufresne said. “They didn’t feel safe being around large groups of people.”

Now, it seems there’s a running club every night of the week – lots of them, especially at breweries, like the Barn Burners at Trolley Barn on Mondays or Divine Barrel’s running club on Thursdays. Mad Miles, a rapidly growing black-led running club, meets twice a week.

  • “Charlotte is a running community,” Dufresne said.

[Go deeper: I hate running but I’ll exercise with Mad Miles Run Club]

A pressure to do heavy lifting.

Dufresne says she’s seen strength training become much more popular, especially among older demographics.

  • “I think people of all age groups now recognize the benefits of lifting heavier weights,” she said.

There also seems to be less fear around heavy lifting. 2023 could bring an end to the misconception, especially among women, that lifting makes you bulky.

Less of a focus on HIIT.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can take a back seat in favor of strength training and lower impact workouts.

  • “At our gym, we do a lot less HIIT and a lot more strength training,” Dufresne said. “It’s lower impact in the sense that we’re still lifting heavier weights and raising our heart rate, but we’re not jumping around doing it.”

She added that one of the most popular workouts at her gym is a strength and mobility day, “which is wild because basically the opposite of all the HIIT stuff that’s out there right now.”

Less fad diets and more individualized nutrition.

I asked Dufresne what she thought about the ever-evolving nutritional advice out there.

She acknowledged that the restrictive and low-calorie diets that were popular in the early 2000s appear to be on the way out.

  • “There has to be a middle ground on everything,” Dufresne said. “Nutrition is going to look different for everyone.”

Instead, she says the new wave of thinking about nutrition is telling yourself, “I have to figure out what to do based on what’s going on with my body.” She also added that consulting a registered dietitian is worth the investment.

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