Every flip of the calendar year brings changes in trends, industries, technology, and scientific discoveries and research that influence our day-to-day lives. To stay ahead of the game, we asked experts from across the Life Time organization to share their predictions about what they see coming to the forefront in 2023.
Check out their top anticipated trends for the categories of health and wellness, fitness, nutrition, cooking and food culture, mental wellness, beauty, and decorating and home design.
1. Health and Wellness
LT Expert: Courtney Helgoe, features editor at Experience Life magazine
Trend: Shifts from body positivity to body neutrality
“The body positivity movement has been incredibly helpful for a lot of people,” says Helgoe. “Affirming one’s body — regardless of whether it fits within the narrow range of acceptability in U.S. culture — is a radical act. Still, sustaining body praise and affirmation over time can be hard, and it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. And sometimes a body is just difficult to live in.
“Enter the body neutrality movement, which advocates learning to accept one’s body exactly as it is right now, without loving or hating it. This approach is gaining traction among people of all ages, and I think it will continue to do so, mainly because it is a lot easier to focus on acceptance and neutrality with a body that is always changing — which is what we all have. I’m personally pleased about this shift because I think a body-neutral perspective can enable more of us to live in our bodies in peace.”
(Watch for Experience Life’s feature-length article on body neutrality in the June 2023 issue.)
Trend: A better understanding of long COVID
“By 2023, we’ll have three years of collective experience with the COVID-19 virus, and about two and a half years with long COVID. While most COVID cases resolve within weeks, when they don’t, someone may suffer at length from disabling fatigue and chronic pain,” says Helgoe. “Long COVID is a condition nobody wants, and the questions of how to treat it has stumped many medical professionals — just as treating acute COVID did, at first.
“The good news, however, is that long COVID research is abundant. There are now clinics at several major medical centers including the Cleveland Clinic and the University of California San Francisco, with well-funded research programs that also offer patients multi-pronged treatment programs. These typically include a combination of drugs, pulmonary rehabilitation, nutrition, and mind-body interventions, and they’ve been helping some ‘long-haulers’ regain traction when nothing else will. I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to see the understanding and treatment of long COVID get better and more focused in 2023.”
(To learn more about long COVID and how it relates to exercise recovery, check out this article by Experience Life contributing editor Mo Perry.)
Trend: The use of upcycled foods
“While the idea of ‘upcycling’ food might sound a little confusing at first, it’s something humans have done for most of history — we find ways to use food that will otherwise go to waste,” says Helgoe. “That doesn’t mean we always do it, though. Recent figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization at the United Nations show that between 30 and 40 percent of the world’s food supply gets thrown out every year.
“This amount of food waste isn’t sustainable. And to some, fixing it is actually a good business proposition. To wit: At the Natural Products Expo West in 2022, one of the main trends I noticed was the number of companies using upcycled ingredients in their products — from spent wine grapes in chocolate to protein powder made from spent beer grains. Some newly popular upcycled foods and beverages are traditional, such as piquette wines made from the second pressing of grapes, which have long been consumed by vineyard workers at lunch.
“Others are more modern,” Helgoe continues, “such as the vegan cheese made by a company called Grounded Foods, where the main ingredient is unsellable damaged cauliflower. What’s not to love about a trend that puts a dent in food waste and creates delicious snacks at the same time?”
LT Expert: Jessie Syfko, CSCS, Registered Yoga Teacher, Functional Movement Specialist, Doctor of Traditional Naturopathy, and director of MB360 at Life Time
Trend: The rise of holistic fusion fitness
“People today are more aware of the deeper impact of fitness than they were pre-pandemic,” says Syfko. “This trend will rise in 2023 as more people engage in movement for its profound benefits, and the conversation around the bigger ‘why’ of movement will continue to grow. Gen-Z is leading the charge in empowering the mind, body, and soul connection through all types of fun fusion workouts — combining different fitness types in one experience. Honoring all three of these pieces is equally important for delivering a personalized wellness-centered approach to fitness.
“With our world getting better at communicating the power of better breathing, pain-free movement, and stress-relieving recovery practices, we are experiencing a shift in what people think movement is and can do for them. This thrills me because these are the keys to unlocking vitality and longevity, and living the way that truly makes you happy.
“Also, living a movement-filled lifestyle strengthens more than our muscles,” Syfko stresses. “It strengthens our immune systems and mental health, and helps us create a relationship to self-care that can change our entire lives.”
Trend: The continued adoption of digital fitness and wearable technology
“Technology lives on and it’s not going away. It’s personal, it’s immediate, and it’s mobile,” says Syfko. “HIIT and yoga workouts, leg-day inspiration, and so on: We want it all at our fingertips. Consumers are seeking the best hybrid-offering fitness facilities so they can get the best of community in both places. Apps will continue to offer a growing number of highly personalized fitness plans, training schedules, gamification fun, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. Expect big growth and fun new additions in these areas.
“Consumers are also wanting to choose their favorite ways to track themselves with wearable technology. The market for wearable technology is expected to grow from $27 billion in 2022 to $195 billion by 2030. Expect more ways in 2023 to use wearable tech inside the clubs and out, as well as more ways to use the data. With wearable tech, fitness professionals can find their way into a user’s life anytime they’re connected to that device — and consumers can enhance their ability to train smarter, recover faster, and live better!”
Trend: A focus on mental health and performance
“Let’s be honest, no one’s life is a walk in the park. Whether you’re an athlete at the top of your game or a parent dealing with a screaming toddler, the mind and body are both being impacted on a regular basis,” says Syfko. “Over time, trauma-perceived stress and our environment contribute to nervous-system dysregulation. Depending on the severity and longevity of the disruption, the impact can affect our mental health in a variety of ways, including anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, overwhelm, hyperreactivity, fatigue, chronic pain, and insomnia.
“Movement is a healthy ‘vitamin’ for our nervous system. You can thank Millennials and Gen-Zers for seeking ways to elevate their lives with inspiring personal development during their physical workouts, as well as getting over their obstacles with breathwork. Linking the mind, body, and breath in fitness is an incredible tool to regulate the nervous system and teach people to feel their way through their triggers with intention.
“After almost 20 years in the fitness industry, this is my favorite trend and I have a feeling it’s here to stay. My passion for it is also behind the design for one of Life Time’s newest signature group training classes, MB360 (which stands for mind-body training program). This class combines mobility, strength, and cardio conditioning, and brings high-energy mindfulness. Keep an eye out for it in 2023.”
LT Expert: Paul Kriegler, RD, LD, CPT, director of nutritional product development at Life Time
Trend: The move toward individualized nutrition based on measurable biomarkers
“Consumers are hungrier than ever to monitor and quantify how their nutritional lifestyles empower or detract from their health pursuits,” says Kriegler. “With rising costs of food and sick care, it’s becoming increasingly important for people to take responsibility for their health trajectory. Direct-to-consumer options for measuring and monitoring various metrics are gaining traction.
“Options for this include traditional blood and saliva tests, which offer simple, straightforward signals that show nutrient levels and metabolic health. Another up-and-coming one is the continuous glucose monitor, which offers real-time feedback regarding how each food and lifestyle decision impacts your blood sugar and energy balance.
“Another option is checking nutrient status through urine test strips, which are relatively new to the market but sure to grab the attention of early adopters in the health space due to the useful information they provide. Measuring and monitoring health markers is a fun way to experiment with and understand the nutrition pattern that works best for each person.”
Trend: The acceptance of time-restricted eating
“A softer term for the recently popular ‘intermittent fasting,’ time-restricted eating can be beneficial on multiple fronts,” says Kriegler. “First, there are metabolic health and resilience benefits from giving your body time without food in every 24-hour period. Generally, 12 hours of fasting in each 24-hour period is helpful. This tactic can also eliminate unnecessary snacking and may help ease the impact of rising costs of food. In the block when you are eating, we encourage individuals to make nourishing meal choices.
“Time-restricted eating is a practical and healthy way to structure your nutrition strategy, and it can be adapted to any dietary pattern (i.e., omnivore, keto, vegetarian, etc.). It’s also simple and effective. It’s an interesting experiment to try if you’ve never done it before.”
Trend: The turn toward regenerative and sustainable food sourcing
“Where food comes from, how it’s cultivated, and how it impacts the ecosystem — whether we’re talking about plant or animal products — will continue to factor into food decisions in a bigger way,” says Kriegler. “It’s clear the environments we get our food from deserve more respect than many modern agricultural ‘advancements’ allow.
“Industrialized agriculture is finite: By some experts’ forecasts, we have roughly 60 harvests left unless the health of our topsoil improves significantly. Reegenerative agriculture offers a model that can produce nourishing food for decades and generations to come, in a more economical and environmentally respectful way.
“Regenerative and sustainable agriculture is exciting because it creates stronger and healthier connections between growers, producers, and consumers. It’s healthier for the environment around the end consumer’s community. And as many pioneers in this space have shown, it’s one of the few ways we can significantly pull carbon out of the atmosphere and make food production net-carbon negative. It’s also neat because those burping and farting cows that many think are the main problem are actually the main part of the solution.”
(To learn more about regenerative agriculture, check out this article by Minnesota-based writer and editor Elizabeth Millard, and this article by Bahram Akradi, founder, chairman, and CEO of Life Time.)
4. Cooking and Food Culture
LT Expert: Kaelyn Riley, senior editor at Experience Life magazine
Trend: The excitement to drink anything alcohol-free
“Experience Life covered the trend of sober curiosity back in early 2021, and at the time, I remember predicting that mocktails were about to experience a moment in the spotlight,” says Riley. “That certainly happened, but I didn’t expect to see the flood of non-alcoholic spirits that have come to the market over the last couple of years. There are alcohol-free versions of classics like gin and vodka, as well as lots of craft non-alcoholic beers.
“I’ve also been seeing quite a few CBD drinks on menus at bars and restaurants around the area I live in, and I expect that trend to continue — and, as more states continue to decriminalize or legalize marijuana, I think we’ll start seeing more THC infusions on menus in breweries and coffee shops.”
Trend: The prioritization of anything anti-inflammatory
“As the pandemic continues through another flu season, I think people will continue looking for natural ways to support their immune systems, including plant-based methods for lowering inflammation,” says Riley. “Fortunately for us, anti-inflammatory eating looks a lot like Experience Life’s food philosophy: Prioritizing plants, cutting back on sugar, and being choosy about fats are some of the top ways to augment your diet to soothe inflammation. I would love to see more people embracing these relatively simple principles for eating to support the life they want to live.”
Trend: The awareness of anything climate-conscious
“From plant-based meat alternatives to upcycled foods made from ingredients that would have otherwise been wasted, we’ve seen a lot of trends around food sustainability over the last couple of years,” says Riley. “It’s exciting to see that consumer interest in climate-conscious foods really can lead to meaningful change in the industry. I hope that more people will continue to discover that changing what’s on our plates can help heal the planet, and that our larger food system is able to trend toward innovations and solutions for creating a more sustainable food future for everyone.”
5. Mental Wellness
LT Expert: Brie Vortherms, MA, LMFT, and director of Life Time Mind
Trend: Welcoming warmer dialogues surrounding mental health and wellness
“We’ve all been living in a more difficult national and global climate since 2020, and we no longer have the luxury of ignoring or stigmatizing mental-health struggles,” says Vortherms. “It’s impossible to deny that if we are human, we will be and should be affected by what’s going on around us politically, socially, economically, and relationally.
“When we normalize having a human reaction to our reality, it keeps the conversation respectful and healing. If we can say ‘that makes sense’ when people explain how they are struggling, it gives them permission to feel, process, and get the support they need instead of potentially feeling shame about it.”
Trend: Companies adopting mental health and wellness programs
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression. When people are mentally strained or unwell, it can affect job performance, job retention, colleague relationships, and healthcare costs for the employer,” says Vortherms.
“Providing mental health and wellness programs can increase job satisfaction and motivation, but more importantly, honors employees from a true-person standpoint and helps them feel cared for and supported, and provides resources for them.”
Trend: An uprise in increasingly effective mental-health tools and interventions
“Everyone deserves a unique approach to their mental wellness, and we need more effective options for people to experiment with to see what moves the needle for them,” says Vortherms. “As the conversation around mental health and wellness becomes increasingly more relevant and less stigmatized, more energy is being put toward finding effective solutions.
“These include more technology, such as apps and games, that support brain health and mental wellness; more accessibility via virtual sessions and mental-health apps; and more innovations such as microdosing psilocybin or low-dose naltrexone.”
LT Experts: Emily Carey, LifeSpa hair stylist at Life Time in Green Valley, Nev., and Jen Snow, LifeSpa esthetician at Life Time in South Jordan, Utah
Trend: The return of big blowouts
“Blowouts are a style that has stayed on trend. They’re a smoothed-out look with lots of volume,” says Carey. “My favorite way to achieve that look at home is by using a one-and-a-half-inch curling iron and curling the ends of the hair completely, directing all the hair backwards. With the right cut, that style is showstopping!”
Trend: The style of warm hair colors and playful layers
“Warmth is in,” says Carey. “Coppers, reds, and warm blondes are very popular. I love having my guests go warmer; it also photographs beautifully and accents the skin well.
“I also see playful, shorter layers coming on as a trend. They can add the perfect touch to curled styles and can give your ponytail more life!”
Trend: The choice of lash lifts over lash extensions
“There’s a movement to enhance what’s natural as opposed to changing your appearance artificially,” says Snow. “This is an important movement because we want people to see their own beauty. A lash lift is a service that curls your lashes to bring out their full length and lasts for around six weeks or more. I’m excited to see women ditch the extensions.”
Trend: An application of french-style makeup
“French-style makeup is effortless and naturally beautiful — it comes from the approach many French women are known to take, starting with their skin health and using minimal makeup to enhance their natural features,” says Snow. “It’s a great trend because this technique of applying makeup is used to compliment your skin and natural characteristics. This may be through methods such as blotting lipstick on or practicing skincare that emphasizes creating a glow.”
Trend: The practice of skin cycling
“Skin cycling is going to take off in 2023,” says Snow. “It’s an easy-to-follow cycle of routine that allows days off for your skin to recover after using certain products like retinol, pigment correction, or chemical peels, with room for getting treatments in the salon at the beginning of the week or month.”
7. Decorating and Home Design
LT Expert: Jordan Adams, interior designer at Life Time
Trend: The phasing out of grey for more colors with rich, energized hues
“With Benjamin Moore’s 2023 color of the year being ‘raspberry blush,’ one can anticipate the gravitation toward more color within the next year,” says Adams. “This red-orange hue evokes a happy, energizing feeling and is a prime example of prioritizing color within design. This trend was underscored when Pantone released their color of the year, the vibrant ‘viva magenta.’ A wave of rich color palettes is on the rise for 2023.
“With the use of bold colors, we will begin to see the phasing out of more neutral palettes. From accessories such as unique rugs to more elevated and colorful kitchen designs, 2023 will surely be a year of color.”
Trend: The use of organic forms
“After the rise of sleek and minimalist designs over the past few years, something to note for the next year is the use of more organic forms,” says Adams. “The use of arches and curvilinear forms provide comfort and elicit a more enticing space as opposed to rectilinear shapes. We have seen this reliance on curved furnishings with the resurgence of ‘80s furniture, which prioritized curves over straight edges.
“While the sleek rectilinear forms provide continuity, they often lack character. These rounded forms offer harmonious flow and balance, often highlight asymmetrical balance, and are generally more inviting. Alongside more rounded elements, we can expect attention around imperfections that provide character.”
Trend: The focus on wellness
“Something that is not surprising at all will be our focus on well-being within the next year,” says Adams. “With the pandemic and climate crisis, humanity’s shift toward wellness and sustainability has already been prevalent. Greener homes and greener design consists of a multitude of factors, but something to note specifically is our utilization of natural elements.
“Society has been slowly steering away from synthetic materials through the design trends of wicker and rattan, and by focusing on the use of more sustainable materials such as cotton, bamboo, and cork. I foresee a dynamic shift within the next year of more people prioritizing eco-conscious homes and a reliance on biophilic elements.”
Trend: The prioritization of multi-functional spaces
“The shift of working from home and the inability to travel as frequently created a need for flexibility within design,” says Adams. “Something that has been increasingly popular is the sense of multi-functional spaces. Being able to retreat and feel comforted in our space is a testament to how our interiors can support us.
“Whether or not your kitchen is the place where you entertain and experiment with new recipes or your new new study or work spot — or both — having a space that can adapt with you is key. Even if it’s as simple as incorporating a ‘hideaway home office’ or finding new ways to provide privacy within your space, having areas that cater to all avenues of your life is becoming a priority.”