Every year the world’s fitness fiends are singing the praises of all-improved classes and new workout crazes. Five years ago, most people would have thought a kettlebell would be found in the kitchen, rather than in a gym. Back then few people knew what HIIT was, but now most classes have incorporated elements of high-intensity training. In the ever-evolving world of fitness obsessions, from Self Myofascial Release to Footgolf, here’s what to expect from the year ahead.
1 Barre-based workouts
Combining elements and principles of dance, ballet and Pilates, and mixing them with intervals of cardio, strength training and stretching, barre-based exercise classes have taken New York and LA by storm. The workouts are notoriously tough, but the results are huge, and we wouldn’t be surprised if we see these studios springing up very soon.
2 Wearable technology
Like them or loathe them, these are even more popular than last year. Lots of people talk daily about how many steps they have taken, calories burned and even the duration and quality of their sleep. This is all thanks to fitness technology including trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices. More and more gyms are also linking their equipment to these technologies – some even display results on big screens. While this level of detail (and sometimes competition) is not for all of us, it can be a great motivator, and this new industry will only get bigger.
3 App workouts
The quality of fitness apps has also increased, with the monumental rise in the popularity of portable training programmes you can download to any of your electronic devices. These workouts can go hand-in-hand with the rise in body weight exercises – and as many are free, they’ll keep the bank account healthy, too.
4 Body weight training
Though techie training is taking off in a big way, another big fitness trend is getting right back to the basics. Body weight training uses no or minimal equipment and relies on the resistance from your own body weight. It’s the “no excuses” workout that can be done anywhere from the gym floor, fitness classes, your home or even your office.
5 Fitness programmes for older adults
If you’re over a certain age, you’ve probably thought that gyms are a bit intimidating and only interested in helping 20-somethings. Not any more. Look out for more “age-appropriate” classes. Populations are ageing and the quality of life is growing for people in the 60-plus age range, who want to stay active and enjoy the social side of group exercise.
6 Stand-up paddleboarding
Standing on an oversized surf board while using a paddle to move across the water is fun and a great full-body workout. Look out for other classes on the boards, too, particularly yoga. The movement of the water under the board intensifies your exercises and works out your core, making it even tougher while you enjoy the fresh sea air.
7 Foam rolling and recovery
With the increased popularity of high-intensity training programmes, burn-out and injury rates are more common and with this a new trend of restorative workout recovery classes are coming to the rescue. Workouts like Restorative Yoga classes with massage balls and foam rollers are on the rise and a great addition to your regime.
8 Fusion sports
These are classes that are an unlikely mix of two disciplines to enhance skills like agility and precision, and to encourage participation in each sport. The most popular is ‘Footgolf’ where participants combine golf and football skills to improve the precision of kicks and correcting golf technique.
Ali Longmate is a group fitness trainer.
Set small goals
Do you want to lose weight? Sleep better? Run faster? Boost your energy? Start with simple and realistic targets, break down your goals and add a time frame. Print out your goal and post it on your PC and fridge, visualise being successful and focus on the end result.
Log your workouts
Record what you did in each session, how long for and how you felt afterwards, as well as keep track of what you do every day fitness-wise. You’ll monitor your progress and have a visual reminder that it’s time to get moving. A food diary to track meals is helpful, too.
Don’t give up
Instead of scrutinising yourself, be patient and stay positive. If you have a setback or lose track, don’t get stressed or give up – have a short rest and then get back on it as soon as you can. Remember: physical activity is for life. Don’t think of it as a short-term solution.