Jan 27, 2023 - News

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 surge of 2022.

I spoke with Charlotte fitness trainer, marathoner and owner of Cross Conditioning training, Jen Dufresne, on which 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 stay fit — whether it’s at a large trendy gym, at a boutique studio or with a big group of people outdoors.

The growth of locally-owned boutique fitness studios.

A lot of local gyms didn’t make it through the pandemic, Dufresne told me. Now that many gyms have reopened without restrictions, Dufresne expects we’ll see the return, and expansion, of many boutique studios.

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

  • “Charlotte really supports local — people like knowing who their owner is, and they like supporting [owners] who are vested 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 resurgence of run clubs.

Running got hit hard by the pandemic, too. “People weren’t signing 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 — a lot them, notably at breweries, like the Barn Burners at Trolley Barn on Mondays or Divine Barrel’s run club on Thursdays. Mad Miles, a fast-growing Black-led run club, meets twice a week.

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

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

A push towards lifting heavy.

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

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

It seems like there’s less fear around lifting heavy, too. 2023 may bring the end of the misconception, especially among women, that lifting makes you bulky.

Less of a focus on HIIT.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) may 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 getting our heart rate up, but we’re not jumping around to do it.”

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

Fewer fad diets and more individualized nutrition.

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

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

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

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


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