Fitness trends mix up our workouts”which is great”but how do we know which ones are worth trying?
Studies show that the best workout is the one you’ll stick with. For me, that changes regularly, partly because I get older, but mostly because I get bored. Currently, my weekly routine includes yoga classes, aerobic workouts on an elliptical machine, weight machines, daily dog walks of varying lengths, a long walk with a friend, core work and stretches throughout the workday, and, if weather permits, some gardening.
At various ages and stages, I’ve also jogged, swum, biked, lifted free weights, played basketball, worked out at a women’s gym, played tennis and racquetball, rowed and done hot yoga, aerobics and various forms of dance.
For me, the important part of a successful exercise routine is figuring out what works at my current stage of my life. When I had kids at home, time was of the essence. My workouts often consisted of walking around the fields or neighborhoods while they practiced soccer, with some early morning gym visits for muscle strengthening and socializing.
Scott Weiss, DPT, a licensed physical therapist and board-certified athletic trainer in New York with more than 25 years of experience, offers some insights into what’s hot”and what’s not so hot”about fitness trends:
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
These workouts are based on short intervals of high energy. They are known for getting your heart rate high and burning massive amounts of calories in a short time.
Why it’s HOT: HIIT increases metabolism. Weiss says it’s a great way to burn calories. For weight loss, he suggests you aim to burn 300 to 500 calories per workout session, which is “definitely doable if you stick to a HIIT routine.”
Might NOT be so hot: To get the best outcome from HIIT, you need to maintain proper form and keep your work-to-rest ratios consistent. If not, certain muscles may feel too much strain, while others may be ignored. Without an instructor, you may not hit all areas of your body. Weiss suggests mixing up your routines with some functional weight training and balance and flexibility exercises.
Spinning classes promise high caloric burn and lots of sweat in a 45- to 60-minute class.A The sometimes steep prices and required sign-ups can translate to a greater commitment level.
Why it’s HOT: Spinning provides both high energy and high caloric burn. Weiss adds, “Spin classes are a great way to get people interested in activities such as real cycling and biking, which are great functional sports that can be done anywhere in the world.”
Might NOT be so hot: If you only spin, you could develop muscle imbalances or reach a fitness plateau, leading to a halt in weight-loss. “If cycling is your only form of exercise, you will develop a specific body type with calves and thighs dominating,” Weiss says. “Tight abdominals, short hip flexors and a hunched posture is not good if you have a history of lower back pain.”
This full-body workout may bring back memories of those calisthenics and sprints you did in gym classes. The “prehistoric” approach to fitness combines body weight exercises with cardio and weights to put your body to the test.
Why it’s HOT: CrossFit offers a small-gym culture and the promise that anyone can do it. “CrossFit combines Olympic lifting, acrobatic training, gymnastics, martial arts and functional movements, creating some of the best physical workouts in the world,” Weiss says. However, it’s crucial to have a good trainer to teach the technique for each movement.
Might NOT be so hot: There are many reports of injuries from CrossFit training because of its high intensity. Most are minor sprains and strains, but there are reports of dislocations and even spinal cord injury. “I usually see one person every few months injured specifically from CrossFit,” Weiss says. “In contrast, others I work with have changed their life with CrossFit.”
Yoga has long been a mainstay in the fitness world, but hot yoga adds a room heated to 100 degrees or more. Participants sweat heavily throughout the class, which often lasts 90 minutes.
Why it’s HOT: The room“literally. The increased heat allows muscles, tendons and ligaments to elongate more, so you can assume the postures more easily. Weiss says the sweat allows you to release toxins, which explains the amazing feeling you’ll have once it’s over.
If you’ve put on a few pounds over Christmas then well done, it sounds like you had a good time.
However, if like the rest of the world, you’re starting to think about shifting a bit of weight and getting into shape, then this one’s for you.
The problem is, what was hot in 2016 might not float your boat in 2017. And if you want to get fit the way the cool people do, you might need to change your exercise regime.
A new year means a whole new host of fitness trends to get to grip with, so to make you lives that little bit easier we thought we’d check them out for you.
With a little help from our fit friends at Virgin Active , we’ve rounded up 6 of the hottest new fitness trends you need to know about in 2017.
Develop a deep connection between mind and body through mindful exercise
You’re going to be hearing this phrase a lot in 2017. Mindfulness is all about gaining a greater awareness of the deep connection between mind and body, and it’s going to be playing a big part in peoples lives in 2017.
2016 taught us that regular high-quality yoga practice improves physical performance by increasing core strength, flexibility and body control but in 2017 the increased emphasis will be on how it can also help to reduce stress and increase the focus of the mind. Sounds good right?
According to Virgin Active global yoga ambassador Patrick Beach, “2017 is going to be the year when people become truly aware of the power of Mindful Exercise – the positive effect of exercise on mental as well as physical wellbeing. In 2017 I think we’ll see people beginning to have a deeper understanding of the connection between their mind and their body, and appreciate the importance of taking care of both.”
Water work outs
Hit the pool for a serious work out
Forget the water aerobics class you sniggered at last year whilst on your hols last summer. This is a serious HIIT work out in water that will appeal to anyone looking for a work out that delivers results.
Virgin Active offers Hydro ( virginactive.co.uk/classes/hydro ), a circuit class in the pool that involves timed sprints, lengths that isolate your top or bottom half and aquajogging. All finished off with, yes you guess it, a plank by the side of the pool.
James Guy, Speedo ambassador Rio 2016 and two-tme Olympic Silver medallist predicts that the all-round benefits of swimming mean that ‘Water Workouts’ will continue to be big in 2017.
“As a full-time swimmer I know full well the incredible physical benefits that come from working out in the water. Swimming dramatically improves cardiovascular fitness and increases overall endurance, but it also helps build muscle strength and definition. What’s more, it’s a workout that can be enjoyed by people of any age and ability, the ultimate fitness staple. In 2017 I think that an increasing number of people will turn to water workouts for their all-round physical benefits, and that Virgin Active’s Hydro powered by Speedo is the industry leading and first-choice for anyone looking for a fun, full body workout.”
Try your hand at a floating yoga class
Sandbox Fitness is huge in LA, and involves reps of lunges and squats while balanced on a surfboard, in turn balanced in a sandbox. 2017 sees the launch of the UK’s version, Sup Yoga London , a floating yoga class that uses dynamic stretches on a board on the waters of London’s Paddington Basin. Land ahoy.
If you’ve just got your head around reformer pilates, prepare to have your mind well and truly blown.
This complicated new-gen reformer pilates bed, which is rigged up with various levers, pulleys and weights, is popular in L.A and is a favourite of Kim Kardashian.
Kim K is a fan of the new-gen reformer pilates
The magaformer is like a high-octane Reformer Pilates machine, and is at the centre of workouts by Studio Lagree, an LA studio that opened up in the central London last year.
In 2017 Studio Lagree they will be opening at least two more studios in the U.K and the trend looks set to be huge.
Not for the light hearted exercises include the ‘wheelbarrow’ (hands are on the front of the machine and knees on the moveable back carriage, then sliding the back part away) and the ‘French twist’ (pulling cables to work on your obliques).
This is how to tone up, Hollywood style.
H.E.A.T (High Energy Athletic Training)
Shed the Christmas bulge with some high- performance training
In 2016, inspired by a summer of outstanding sport, the trend to train like an athlete and focus on improving performance through an educated and specialised approach to fitness is growing.
This demand has paved the way for a new highly innovative athletic training programme; Virgin Active have developed H.E.A.T (High Energy Athletic Training) that is set to be the big workout for 2017. High- performance training that uses sports-focused theory to increase cardiovascular endurance and all round strength.
H.E.A.T. gets participants training like athletes at various levels of intensity and resistance to build stamina, strength and power and also incorporates drills on the state-of-the-art SKILLMILL. These hour-long classes use athletic training periodisation, with three distinct phases. The intensity increases throughout the class, meaning mental toughness is key.
These three periodised phases are:
- Base conditioning – the first 20 minutes of aerobic exercise (base conditioning) will work muscles to their end ranges and flood the body with oxygen
- Strength – the second 20 minutes is all about increasing your body’s ability to lift, push, pull, squat, lunge, throw, climb etc., increasing the body’s neural drive
- Power – the last 20 minutes tests your body’s ability to perform explosively with sprints and speed work now that muscles are fatigued .
A holistic approach can transform your health and fitness levels
The one area people are increasingly interested in is how to improve fitness from the inside out. Whether it’s around training for a marathon, group-exercise, or generally getting into fitness, there’s an increased desire for knowledge on how to optimise performance through pre-and post-workout activities.
This holistic approach and taking a knowledge based approach to fitness will no longer be something on athletes can access. Aimed at everyone this will help to minimise injury and maximise performance, as well as improving everyday health and wellbeing. Virgin are launching ‘Beyond Movement’ – a new suite of therapeutic treatment rooms that will focus on three vital components for preventative recovery and a 360 approach to wellbeing – Reformer Pilates, Physiotherapy and Sports Massage.
Boxing was 2016’s zeitgeist workout, and for 2017, it’s getting an update and going digital. Perfect for anyone that’s time starved and needs a work out they can fit in around a busy schedule and do at home.
The Boxx Method is the world’s fist virtual boxing experience, in the form of an online workout programme.
For 2017 boxing is going virtual
The program is comprised of a series of 30-minute videos of choreographed sequences that you can do at home. Simply run through five shadow-boxing rounds, alternated with high-intensity intervals, and culminating in a ‘knockout round’ at the end.
A monthly or annual subscription grants access to the online library and each intense class reputedly burns 600 calories, improves strength, speed and co-ordination, and continues to burn calories for 12 hours after you’ve finished.
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