When it comes to wellness, the new year is a chance to reflect, reset, and make resolutions. Whether or not our resolutions become full-blown habits is hit or miss. But there is one thing we can always count on, January will be buzzing with be on the lookout-style lists of health and fitness trends. And 2018 did not disappoint.
From far out predictions to pointing out the obvious, pretty much everyone shared their trends outlook. But as the onslaught of shareable lists circulated the interwebs, we decided to pump the breaks instead of hitting ‘publish’ on another health and fitness forecast. We wanted to let the dust settle. After all, it’s not what we think that matters; it’s what matters to you that actually counts.
In the hopes of making trends more digestible (a 2018 trend in itself), we cross-referenced the various sources and consulted some under-the-radar reports to create a list of trends that are actually relevant to your real life. There’s no hype, spin, or woo-woo advice — just a heads up on what’s happening in health and fitness this year.
Thanks to an endless supply of “good-for-you” beverage options, 2018 will be the year of drinking health in. What started with the explosion of popularity surrounding sparkling water drinks like LaCroix and Sparkling Ice has spilled over into “natural” everything. Even soda companies like Coke are trying to save face with fizzy, fruit-infused drinks.
And water isn’t the only category being redefined, they’re coming for your kombucha, too. Remember when this fermented beverage seemed exotic? No more. From the tap to the kitchen, even your mom will learn how to say it correctly. And with “drinking vinegar” like Suja’s gut-friendly apple cider and coconut vinegar bottles hitting the shelves, booch might prove to be a gateway drink. Don’t believe us? Expect a “told you so” when ingredients like activated charcoal, grass-fed butter, and Ashwagandha become part of the regular rotation.
When it comes to hot beverages, coffee and tea are fan favorites unto themselves. But in 2018 and beyond, they’ll simply be a base for the next evolution of hot elixirs. With the creation of Bulletproof cafes, the butter coffee craze has officially reached a boiling point. Now, this fat-filled concoction can easily be found in LA and NYC eateries, but it’s also available in smaller markets like Cleveland or Austin if you know where to look.
Hot on its heels, 2017 cool kid turmeric is coming for the top, stir-in spot. But mushrooms and maca aren’t willing to go down without a fight. Four Sigmatic, the emergent ’shroom leader, is on a mission to peddle their mushroom blends—like lion’s mane, reishi, chaga, and others—into the mainstream. Mood-boosting maca and its healthy fatty acids, amino acids, and vitamins is also becoming a favorite add-in for everyday wellness.
Last but certainly not least, count bone broth as yet another steaming, sippable snack. With all-in-one broth shops like NYC’s Springbone Kitchen popping-up, you’ll find more and more spots catering to the health-conscious broth, tea, and coffee crowds. And they’re just heating up…
2018 is the year we all get a gut-check. Effective for more than just a bad case of indigestion, self-care for your stomach is about to become even more accessible for a myriad of issues (even preventative). If we had to bet, we’d go all in on fermented foods (and drinks) being absolutely everywhere for the foreseeable future. Restaurants and innovators are pot-committed too, so expect to see “kimchi [this]” or “sauerkraut [that]” coming to a menu near you.
As cuisines shift to include and emulate other cultures (fermented food joke), have your phone ready under the table to look up words like jicama, chicory root, gum arabic, and Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunflower roots). At least you should recognize the words ‘onion’ and ‘garlic’. It’s all part of a popular prebiotics push—that’s fiber your gut bacteria loves—so you might want to carry breath mints to chase your healthy diet in 2018.
Collagen is coming on strong in 2018. This naturally-occurring protein is produced by our body for our skin, bones, and cartilage. Since supplementing with this super-clean protein is said to keep you looking fresh, you’ll find folks adding it to smoothies, coffee, protein bars, and power bowls. Of course, you could skip supplementing with collagen and send some of that aforementioned bone broth down the hatch — it packs the biggest punch of collagen protein around.
So, why does this matter if our body already makes it? The same reason nutritional supplement companies like Vital Proteins are making bank on a multitude of collagen-based products for convenient consumption: as we age, our collagen production decreases. As a result, you won’t just be eating collagen, you’ll also be wearing it. That’s right — Big Beauty is pounding powders into everything, claiming anti-aging, acne reduction, and improved wound healing as benefits.
Could collagen be the new whey, and, for that matter, where else will they put this stuff? We’ll let you know in 2019.
Mom was always adamant about eating your veggies, but it’s unlikely that she foresaw the far-reaching impact of plant-based eating. From personal nutrition to preserving the environment, the movement to kick our meat addiction has gained some serious momentum and wealthy investors willing to bankroll this experiment. Backers including Bill Gates, Twitter founders Biz Stone and Ev Williams, Kleiner Perkins, and the Humane Society have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into meatless wonders Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat.
In 2018, health-conscious foodies and regular folks will say goodbye to meat and hello to alternatives like jackfruit, tempeh, and seitan — just to name a few. Meat-free main courses and menus will become commonplace, and the vegan in your group won’t feel like an outsider. Don’t believe us? Some of your favorite burger joints are on board. Bareburger is launching an all-vegan spot, as TGI Friday’s offers Beyond Meat burgers at 450+ locations and the McVegan becomes a permanent menu item in Europe.
The takeaway? Meatless alternatives are going beyond vegans and vegetarians, offering sizzling and even bleeding veggies that just might win over members of the carnivore class.
The time has come: that overworked, sleep-deprived badge of honor is now a scarlet letter. First, meditation went from woo-woo to a who’s who of ultra-successful athletes, entrepreneurs, and executives championing the need for a mindfulness practice. Now, meditation studios are a thing and everyone’s getting serious about sleep. Chief among them, Arianna Huffington is calling for a full-blown sleep revolution. Her book, actually titled The Sleep Revolution, and her most recent venture, Thrive Global, are dedicated to reducing stress and advancing wellness.
Put simply, stress + rest = growth. You can thank Peak Performance, a book focused on improving health and human performance while avoiding burnout, for this growth equation. Expect rest to take many forms, including social media detoxes, spending more time in nature (“going off the grid”), mandatory bedtimes, and even recovery and wellness retreats.
Interestingly enough, while some people are banning devices from the bedroom, others are doubling down on tech as a solution to stress and sleeplessness. If you’re into sleep-tech, you could optimize your bedroom setup with smart alarms, lighting, mattresses, and monitors to track your sleep stats.
No matter which route your take—pro-tech or screen-free—there’s no way around the research linking a lack of sleep to burnout, anxiety, and weight gain. Important stuff, huh? There’s no denying that the sleep revolution is here to stay.
Eating well and exercising aren’t a fad. Thanks, in large part, to millennials who’d rather be healthy than wealthy, these lifestyle choices are becoming fully engrained in the mainstream.
Think about it: Whole Foods—the speciality market that got its start catering to the extra crunchy granola crowd—was acquired by Amazon, one of the largest marketplaces on the planet. It’s safe to stay that healthy eats just got a whole lot more approachable. And with prices coming down and competition heating up, expect it to become more accessible too.
The biggest players in the food game are taking notice too. From Kellogg’s and Conagra to Nestle and many others, Big Food is paying big bucks for health-focused brands. Putting the dollars and cents behind that claim, consider that Kellogg’s snatched up RXBar for $600 million, Conagra purchased BOOMCHICKAPOP for $250 million, and Nestlé spent billions (with a B) on vitamin-maker Atrium while dumping some of your favorite childhood candies (sorry, Baby Ruth).
Whereas healthy, natural, and sustainable products were once thought of as catering to a niche customer base, everyone from upstart brands to major corporations are catching on to the fact that healthy is here to stay. Looking ahead, expect to see more nutritious, convenient, and delicious food options.
Whether you’re a SoulCycler, in-home exerciser, Wanderlust event-goer, or run club member, it’s undeniable that breaking a sweat has become a social experience. In 2018, be prepared to field more invitations for workout groups, fitness-themed events, and social- or competition-based sweat sessions than ever before.
Much like healthy’s arrival on the mainstage, this trend has a lot to do with what millennials want. In this case, three in four millennials would rather spend money on an event or experience than on material things, explaining the popularity of fitness events, studios, and groups. But you don’t have to meet up IRL to find a socially-driven sweat session — all you need is an internet connection.
From Kayla Itsines and Tone It Up to services like Daily Burn and Strava, you don’t have to leave your house to find your fitness tribe. And thanks to Peloton, streaming a workout is just the start. Combining fitness equipment like a stationary bike and treadmill with top-of-the-line technology, an ever-growing library of classes, and a thriving network of exercisers, you can get a community vibe in the comfort of your own home.
If you prefer to schedule a workout with friends or work out on your own schedule, the benefits of belonging—the accountability, the fun factor, and competition—cannot be overstated. As a matter of fact, this community element of health and fitness drives the entire Fitt team everyday. It’s also part of our mission — to put a local, social, and fun spin on health and fitness. And we strongly believe 2018 will be the biggest year for our community yet. Join in; everyone’s doing it!
We’ll keep you up to date on all things health, fitness and local food in Pittsburgh.