Wellness Trends

As we round out an incredible year for wellness and embark on the future of health & fitness, I’ve rounded up the trends I’d love to see continue to grow, and those that gotta go.

  1. Wellness Communities. Whether social or IRL, I am thrilled at the growth of engagement in wellness communities in the last year. Hashtags, handles, and group-oriented fitness classes are connecting health & fitness enthusiasts across the globe with like-minded individuals who inspire, uplift, and motivate. In 2018, I hope that these communities only continue to evolve in vulnerability, authenticity, diversity, and positivity.
  2. Function over Aesthetics. Let’s be honest, a lot of people (myself included!) seek out a fitness journey as a means to alter their appearance, whether that comes in the form of weight loss, weight gain, or a shifting body composition. As I like to say: we lift, and we learn 😉 With time (and crossfit), my approach to fitness became less about the size of my waist or the definition in my abs, and more about function – where function is defined as strength, speed, agility, and endurance. I’m focused on measurable goals that are founded on technical skill and strength, not the scale. I credit this mindset, free of comparison and completely self-motivated, with my ability to sustain a consistently healthy lifestyle for almost two years. In 2018, I hope to see fitness marketing that emphasizes the functional benefits of an active lifestyle, and takes the spotlight away from unrealistic, one-size-fits all physical expectations. Take the sample workouts below, for example. How would our relationship with exercise change if we renamed these to “Powerful Thighs” and “Stable Core?”
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  3. Craving Compromises. 2017 was the year of vegetables disguised as other foods. Haters gonna hate (sweet taters gonna tate 😉 ), but I love me some dietary swaps that make healthy(er) eating fun and accessible to the masses. Spiralized veggies of any kind? Bring. Em. On. Creating crust with cauliflower? I’m here for it. If food marketers and conscious shoppers can make the connection that the goal of what I like to call Craving Compromises are not to label certain foods as “bad” and “better,”  (just because we can make noodles out of zucchini and chickpeas doesn’t mean we have to blacklist traditional pasta, and just because we can make a pint of ice-cream 260 calories doesn’t necessarily mean we should rely on this as a food group) I believe that offering these substitutions could continue change the negative perceptions people have of healthy meals (tasteless, boring, time consuming), and hopefully make healthy(er) packaged goods a cart staple.
  4. Tarnish the Health Halo. With every fiber in my being and muscle in my booty, I wish that food shoppers across the world, of all backgrounds, had access to a level of nutritional education that helped them see through the health halo affect sweeping our shelves. Blinding buzzwords like organic, gluten free, low fat, and no sugar added are leading uninformed consumers to purchase nutritionally lacking foods in health products clothing. Due to strategic, and frankly manipulative, food marketing known as the “health halo,” the average consumer’s relationship with healthy eating is more confusing and frustrating than ever. What can you do to help raise awareness in household decision-makers and future generations of shoppers? Get involved with a nutritional education organization. I’ll be working with my local foundation, The Food Trust, in the new year to act on this personal passion project.
  5. #PrettyStrong. Strong, weightlifting women have the spotlight, and I hope it continues to shine brighter on them in the new year and beyond. Now more than ever, online influencers and global wellness brands are putting athletic females at the forefront of their messaging, and encouraging girls everywhere to embrace power, strength, and yes, muscles! In today’s fitness landscape, strong is desirable. We’ve got girls confidently navigating the gym with their hands on (and backs under) some heavily weighted barbells, and they’re proving what we’ve know from the beginning of time: Females Are Strong As Hell. Read my Open Letter to Girls Missing from the Weight Room here.
  6. Nix The Quick Fix. I’m asking you to say a final farewell to a pesty wellness trends that just won’t seem to die. I’m talking about the elusive (shall I say, imaginary?) Quick Fix, and it comes in many forms such as (1) radical diet plans, often posed as cleanses or detoxes, that promise body-altering results in microscopic timeframes (2) mystical dietary additions that promise body-altering results, no lifestyle-adjustment required (*cough* tea *cough*) and (3) wearables such as waist trainers. In general, I take a “to each their own” approach to health and fitness – who am I to judge, but when it comes to the Quick Fix I gotta put my laced-up foot down. I like to think that underneath all motives and catalysts, the universal goal of wellness enthusiasts is to sustain and maintain an accessible, achievable healthy lifestyle and, spoiler alert, it does not come from a Quick Fix. But I’ll let you in on a secret, there is such thing as a magic pill, and it’s filled with hard work, consistency, and determination 😉
  7. Athleisure. Can I get a moment of silence in respect for Gigi Hadid, and her flawless execution of athletic wear that launched athleisure to the forefront of fashion? May it’s presence only continue to rise so that my ever-growing wardrobe of leggings and sneakers and over-use of dry shampoo is socially acceptable in any setting imaginable.
  8. Self-Care. Wellness enthusiasts undoubtedly run the gamut of personal profiles, but one universal principle connects them no matter how they choose to engage with wellness: prioritizing the self. Our culture is recognizing that self-care is far from indulgent and frivolous; in fact, it’s an integral part of a holistically healthy lifestyle. I’m a firm believer in the notion that putting yourself first allows you to be the best version of you in each and every role you play – friend, spouse, colleague, student, parent, etc – and thus acts of self-care do not require justification. If influential community leaders continue to vocalize the importance of self-care, I hope the practice continues to develop as both an expectation and reality.
  9. Mental Health. From its presence in pop culture TV and music, to published personal accounts, 2017 has been a catalyst year for the perception of mental health. As someone who is open about my personal experience with anxiety, I’m proud to see influential vehicles acknowledging and discussing mental health in an honest, validating, and stigma-free environment. I encourage our communities to continue on this path, so that navigating society can be safe and accessible for those affected by mental health at any level.
  10. Total Wellness. I’m calling for a revolution. No longer can we identify health through the sole output of physical markers. Our society is making strides in defining total wellness, where health is measured by individual’s cumulative satisfaction in the emotional, mental, social, environmental, and physical spheres. It’s my hope that this holistic approach reduces comparative and restrictive relationships with health rooted in fear and guilt, and instead promotes balanced, attainable, and sustainable lifestyles founded on self-love.

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