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Workout trends, must-have kit and no more calorie counting!

Why we'll all be trying outdoor workouts, boxing and restorative yoga: your ultimate guide to fitness in 2021 from the Sussex experts.

As soon as lockdown was announced last year, out came the kettlebell and the intention to get fit. Somehow or other despite Joe Wicks’ best efforts I didn’t quite manage it. Sound familiar? Eat Out to Help Out, another lockdown in November and a rather prolonged festive season hasn’t helped matters either.

It’s enough to send a gal screaming for the Slim-Fast, but we all know silly crash diets are best left back in the 1990s from whence they came. Luckily I’ve got a secret weapon in the form of Hadley Elliott-Smith, PT extraordinaire and general manager at Linear Health & Fitness in the gorgeous Borde Hill Gardens in Haywards Heath to answer all those burning fitness questions and give us all the lowdown on new trends, workouts and ways of staying fit in 2021.

It’s vile out there – how can I motivate myself to work out? 

It has been a tough year but it isn’t all bad! With many of us working from home fitting in some exercise has never been easier. Motivation can still be hard, particularly if you haven’t booked an in-person class or you’re working out alone. We recommend setting small weekly targets and finding an exercise partner for socially-distanced outside exercise. Our clients have been booking online classes to keep themselves motivated and in a routine even when stuck at home.

I’m dreadful for starting a routine, overdoing it in the first three days then giving up because I’m sore and knackered. What’s the best way to get the right balance of pushing myself, and recovery? 

We see it every year. January comes along and everyone is out the blocks far too quickly, this is when injuries and fatigue occur. Start slowly and be realistic with your health and fitness goals. We tell all our clients to vary their weekly classes and exercise, include some cardio and a recovery session such as restorative yoga. Keeping it varied will keep you engaged, healthy and motivated.

What are three achievable changes I can make to my routine to improve my fitness?

  1. Drink more water. It is the easiest thing, but many of us don’t drink nearly enough. Buy yourself a 1ltr bottle and get sipping. Try to drink little and often, it will improve your energy levels, digestion, brain function and can aid weight loss.
  2. Veggies. Don’t calorie count, but one good rule for nutrition is to ensure every meal you eat has a portion of vegetables.
  3. Join a gym! I know we are biased but the structure and commitment that it gives is invaluable. Gym membership doesn’t have to be lifting weights in a space crammed full of people. There are plenty of smaller class-based gyms that offer a range of exercise in a more sociable setting. If you’re based in mid-Sussex check us out at or come visit us in-person!

Last year was definitely the year of wild swimming and Joe Wicks, but what workouts are we all going to be doing this year?

This year Covid-19 restrictions have forced people to eat, drink, socialise and exercise outside. One of our most popular classes is bootcamp which we run outside, rain or shine. Online exercise has obviously rocketed in popularity and this will surely continue to be a feature of 2021.

Three must-have kit items

  1. Resistance Band – Online workouts have become so popular and you can run a really tough class with just a resistance band. It has become essential kit for us and our clients.
  2. Yoga/Exercise Mat – New health and hygiene concerns mean most gyms don’t let you use theirs – and you shouldn’t want to! Get yourself a good exercise mat; it will be your best friend.
  3. The Maaree Bra -Founded by a sports product tester this bra has won ‘Women’s Running – Best in Test Bra’ twice. Pricey but worth it.

What changes have you noticed in the way we approach fitness?

We have already mentioned online workouts. Otherwise, at our gym we have seen a surge in popularity for boxing classes – I think everyone has a bit of frustration to get off their chests! On the opposite side of the spectrum our restorative yoga has been busy, it’s a stressful time for everyone. In general I think we have all embraced exercise this year, we all know it can be really important for our mental health but I think people are also just enjoying it which is great.

What about food – do I need to count calories? 

Fundamentally if you want to lose weight you will need a calorie deficit. We don’t recommend calorie counting as such. Cook proper meals, treat yourself now and then and be realistic with your targets.

Working out outside vs inside – which is best?

Outside exercise has definitely become more popular this year, it is easier to socially distance. We are very lucky at Linear as we have the beautiful grounds within the gardens of Borde Hill to run classes, and plenty of outdoor equipment to ensure a challenging and varied workout.  I much prefer to run outside than on a treadmill but obviously certain classes lend themselves to the indoors and I don’t think our Pilates clients would enjoy the winter weather if we took the class outdoors!

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