The Shape of Fitness in the UK

words Alexa Wang

Fitness UK 2023

The fitness industry in the UK is on the rise again, showing growth comparable to previous years despite a blip in 2021. However, the exciting part of this is not the industry but the trending fashions and physical fitness aesthetics and how they change the shape of the next generation of Gym goers. Is this good or bad, and what can we learn from these trends? 

Womems Health reported that Crossfit grew +173.21% (Jul-Sep 2021 vs Jul-Sep 2022), and in the same period, Twerking classes were up +125%.  – These two stats show the power and demand in the market for fitness, and much of this is driven by the female audience. 

What do we mean?

More men and women than ever before are using the gym to sculpt their physical attributes. With women significantly, the trend of super skinny, lean bodies has evolved into plump, full bottoms and muscular thighs. Undoubtedly, this was not the typical gym aesthetic, but it is now. However, is this healthy? Yes, it is generally healthier, according to experts. Women are choosing fitness and health over being thin. However, this is not true for all, and we do see some trends attributing Body Dysmorphia in the UK. 

What are the potential negative impacts of the current aesthetic trends in the fitness industry on body image and mental health?

Body Dysmorphia

The main negative impact is Body ​​Dysmorphia, which is a growing trend, but it has been for years, and it is widely considered that this has been exacerbated by social media and the trends seen in the US making their way here to the UK. 

According to  

“Whilst there is still more research needed into the development of BDD, symptoms and treatment, this page outlines what we know so far. It is estimated that 2% of the adult population is living with BDD. This is around 1 in 50, so 1,075,980 in the UK.”

Female-only Gyms

Another negative trend is the belief that the move to female-only gyms has been solely driven by harassment. This is not the case; it has been driven by a surge of female gymgoers who simply want to train without judgement and, with others like them, with equipment better suited to their training. 

Fitness in UK

What are the primary Aesthetic Trends?


  • 1990s: Marginalisation of chubby women
  • 2013: The thigh gap trend 
  • 2015: A backlash against the ‘skinny’ fad gained momentum
  • 2019: The ‘slim thick’ body
  • 2020: Acceptance of larger bodies
  • 2021: Bigger Booty workouts

Other trends

Here are some examples of trends we’ve seen in the industry in 2023. 

A rise in functional fitness is a significant trend. Functional fitness is an exercise that strengthens your common day-to-day movements, and it is a positive trend that is good for everyone. It is especially valuable to older people and maintaining good health. 

Small Group Personal Training. Gyms are changing their approaches to SGPT classes; this is better for the client and helps them be more profitable as they can charge more, get better results and make sessions more exclusive.  

Home Gym Revolution – This continues to be a big trend in the UK because of the convenience, increasing memberships and prices, and even the weather. It is much more convenient to train at home. 

Getting Gym Social – Gyms are becoming social spaces more than ever before. This is because many work from home now and, as such, need to get out and be around others. It is a brilliant way to meet like-minded people, share tips, and discuss your week. If you’re single, why not consider a gym membership?

Outdoor fitness – If the pandemic did anything, it was to help us focus on family time and enjoying nature. Many looked at outdoor activities for safety but have continued these now. Activities like Paddle Boards and Kayaking have been trending UK-wide following the mass introduction post-lockdown. 

Female-only Gyms – This is a fantastic trend for the ladies who like to train with other ladies. Female-only Gyms are increasing in cities around the UK. This is creating positive spaces for female-only workouts. 

How are women working out to achieve booty goals?

Exercises include Glute bridges, Hip Thrusts, Curtsy Lunges, Squats, Deadlifts, Bulgarian Split Squats, and Glute Activation. These are the exercises that are making noise in the gyms. The results can be seen in high streets, pubs and on social media. Girls with larger rounded bottoms can be seen deadlifting for results in Gyms around the country, and more than ever, this trend has taken hold. Trends in leggings to enhance shape can also be seen on the high street and online, with leggings that use a guide to bunch up the fabric through the centre line and provide a deepened crease to the rear, enhancing the shape of the wearer. 

What now

Your next move is to consider how you embrace fitness in your life. Of course, the basis of all fitness is generally aesthetics, but stay focused on changing and developing critical areas to the detriment of your health. Trends will come and go; be safe and train well. For specific training tips and ideas, consider Mirafit’s expert fitness blogs. Remember to train with health in mind and, by all means, measure your performance and improve your goals. Do it within some safe parameters to avoid injury, or follow blogs like those above to ensure you get the best tips and advice from qualified Physical Trainers.


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