Fitness – New fitness trends
Want to switch up your gym routine? Try these exciting workouts.
A new season calls for a switch up, including the way we workout. It’s out with the old and in with new trend. Data from the American College of Sports Medicine reveals that wearable technology, bodyweight training, HIIT and strength training are still among people’s favourite workouts. But what’s new in 2017? “Plenty,” says Lee Matthews, from the Fitness First chain of health clubs. “There’s a boom in workouts that aid mobility and body shape, to complement lifting and musclebuilding efforts.”
Bootcamps, spinning and yoga studios, pop-up gyms and core training classes – these defined 2016, the year of the boutique class. It’s easy to see why – it’s a unique space specialising in a small set of innovative workouts with a sociable atmosphere and an exclusive feel. But with Instagram offering more and more workout inspiration, and fitness experts providing classes free of charge online – as long as you have enough data – we think boutique workouts may have reached their peak.
This is the year big-chain gyms fight back. With the expectation of the average gymgoer higher than ever before, large chains had to up their workout game. Highly stylised workouts appeared. “At Fitness First, we started to introduce boutiquestyle classes, such as SoulBody and Glow, at no extra cost to our members,” says Matthews. Barre classes offer a mix of Pilates, yoga, dance and strength-training, while Glow takes place in a dark spinning studio with unique Velobell weights and ultraviolet lights. It’s about a less bland gym studio and a more inspiring space.
The world went crazy for protein in 2016. More of us looked to a protein-rich diet – pioneered by celebrities like Rihanna. Protein became one of the top search terms on Google in the US. “Protein is not only needed for muscles, but also for building, healing and repairing most of the other tissues in our body, and a range of vital substances such as antibodies and hormones,” explains Shona Wilkinson, a nutritionist at superfooduk.com.
While protein-enhanced foods are sure to remain popular, there will be an increasing demand for plant-based protein powders. with the growing trend of veganism, plant powders already fly off the shelves. “A 60kg person needs about 50 to 60 grams of protein per day, which increases if they’re active or trying to build strength,” says Wilkinson. “Because the richest sources of protein are animal foods, vegetarians – and vegans especially – may struggle to get enough of it.” Sunflower, pumpkin and pea protein powders are likely to be sought after by fitness fans.
DNA fitness testing has taken the market by storm over the past two years. Through a simple cheek swab, DNA testing providers can tell you whether you’re sensitive to carbs, whether you’ll respond well to highintensity-but-short-duration exercise, or if you’re genetically built for longdistance exercise. Plus, some boutique gyms even offer DNA testing as part of a fitness package. It’s likely to continue to pick up popularity over the coming year.
In the USA, measurements that go beyond the normal weight and height protocols are driving exercise programming in exciting ways. A cluster of personal training spots are offering biomarker tracking – which includes blood tests, 3D body mapping, VO2 max (this is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption as measured during incremental exercise, typically on a motorised treadmill) and sleep quality assessments – to provide a more holistic perspective of a client’s overall fitness and health. In the UK, Fitness First has a BioAge offering – a programme that determines your ‘fitness age’ through a series of health, lifestyle and physical tests.
A high-energy atmosphere and a cool class format made buzzy boxing workouts big in 2016. Boxing ’s answer to a spin class set the fitness world alight with its highintensity jab-cross-punch intervals and rows of shiny boxing bags. But boxing is here to stay, so prepare to pack a punch.
While boxing stays, pool classes are set to eclipse the indoor class scene with a long-awaited makeover. Forget aqua classes aimed at older exercisers – water workouts use the popular HIIT method to appeal to younger gym-goers. Expect to get hooked on classes such as float fit, a 30-minute HIIT workout that involves doing burpees, lunges and squats on an aquabase board. “Swimming can be monotonous, but Hydro powered by Speedo is different,” explains Dan Bullock, Speedo swim fitness advisory coach. “It will not only increase your water efficiency and all-round fitness, but also make swimming more enjoyable.”
Everyone is looking for a fitness shortcut, and in 2016 we found it in the form of nutrient-packed smoothies. Made popular by the NutriBullet blender and sold by a growing number of shake bars at gyms, superfood smoothies were our go-to recovery shake for a fix of fruit, protein and good fats. Every hip healthfood café had superfood smoothies on the menu, and a clean-eating cookery bible wasn’t worth its weight in kale unless it had a shake recipe. Superfood smoothies were said to be everything our bodies needed to repair and recover after tough exercise. But by the end of 2016, we’d hit our smoothie peak – and we were ready for new workout drinks.
Happily, there were some on the horizon – enter performance-boosting juices. Nitrates, found in beetroot juice, have dominated the sports science headlines as a way of making us go faster for longer, without the hard work. But if it’s hydration you’re after, cold-pressed watermelon juice is being hailed as the best postworkout recovery drink for 2017. Packed with antioxidants, as well as potassium to ease muscle soreness and L-Citrulline for a faster recovery, watermelon juice could be your go-to drink.
Push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, mountain climbers – these are the moves you’ll find in a bodyweight HIIT session. Kit isn’t required, which makes it superaffordable. Plus, the short-duration but high-intensity efforts, normally performed in a circuit format, make it really time-friendly as well. Advocated by fitness influencers across the globe, these are the workouts you saw pop up on your Instagram feed in 2016. “The great thing about bodyweight training is you don’t need anything other than the willingness to work hard for a short period of time,” says personal trainer Josiah Hunte. “It burns fat, builds lean muscle, improves metabolism and is a great way to boost your mood.”
Heavy strength work and high-intensity interval training methods come together in the latest breed of HIIT – weighted interval workouts. Classes such as Virgin Active’s Iron ZUU workout combines old-school weight-lifting with heartrevving bodyweight moves. “Blending the muscle-building benefits of weight work with the time-efficient pros of HIIT training, these workouts will sculpt muscle mass fast and leave the body burning calories in the 24 hours after exercise,” says Hunte. “Look out for specific workouts, pop-up sessions and bootcamps. You can expect to burn a lot of fat doing these workouts!”.