Hinckley Times - - HEALTH -

EX­ER­CISE used to be a kind of ar­du­ous tor­ture that plenty of us avoided at all costs, but thanks to in­flu­encers, bou­tique gym stu­dios and wear­able gad­gets, it’s had a to­tal re­brand - and more of us are spend­ing our hard-earned cash on fit­ness than ever be­fore.

Each year, shiny new work­out trends prom­ise to shake up the Ly­cra-clad land­scape, and there’s plenty to sink your teeth into over the com­ing months.

So while last year we gri­maced through strength train­ing and func­tional fit­ness, this year there’s a whole new way to sweat...

1. Contractless gym hopping The days of sign­ing up to a year of slog­ging it out at the same lo­cal leisure cen­tre are long gone. In­stead, we’ll be ac­cess­ing tap-and-go apps that al­low us to pick and choose from hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent spe­cial­ist stu­dios around the coun­try.

Lead­ing the charge is MoveGB (movegb. com), which has been dubbed the ‘Net­flix of the fit­ness in­dus­try’. It has over 6,000 fit­ness part­ners na­tion­wide in­clud­ing Vir­gin Ac­tive, Digme Fit­ness and Hot­pod Yoga, mean­ing you can tap up the very best in­struc­tors for what­ever type of work­out you fancy on the day.

Re­search from the com­pany shows that gym bun­nies who flit be­tween mul­ti­ple venues to ex­er­cise are four times more likely to stay ac­tive six months later, than those who stick to the same gym, prov­ing it pays to keep your op­tions open. Bal­ance Fes­ti­val (bal­ance-fes­ti­ also re­ports that gym loy­alty is wan­ing, with 40% of fit­ness fa­nat­ics say­ing they don’t own a gym mem­ber­ship, but 70% say­ing they take part in bou­tique fit­ness classes.

Esquared ( is an­other app­based plat­form that con­nects its users with dis­counted fit­ness classes and two-hour ses­sions at gyms across Lon­don, ex­cept there’s no mem­ber­ship fee - and it’s soon to launch out­side of the cap­i­tal. Mean­while, Manch­ester and Bris­tol dwellers should keep an eye out for monthly fit­ness mem­ber­ship, Class­Pass.

2. A re­turn to the tread­mill Niche fit­ness of­fer­ings are all well and good, but Class­Pass (class­ pre­dicts we’ll be strip­ping back our work­outs. Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany, tread­mills are back in vogue, with con­sumer in­tel­li­gence show­ing an 82% in­crease in bookings for classes in­volv­ing a run­ning ma­chine last year.

Rather than plug­ging in a slug­gish speed and jog­ging for 30 min­utes, we’ll be chas­ing an en­dor­phin-rush at ded­i­cated in­ter­val-based classes in­stead. That way, there’ll be no chance of slack­ing off on your speeds, what with an in­struc­tor push­ing you to pump up your in­cline and hit that sprint fin­ish.

There are al­ready en­tire stu­dios ded­i­cated to this type of work­out like Orangeth­e­ory (or­angeth­e­o­ry­fit­ and 1Rebel ( and most ma­jor gym chains al­ready have a riff on the trend like Vir­gin Ac­tive’s Run Tribe class (vir­gin­ac­ 3. Flex­i­ble bands That box of giant rub­ber bands you al­ways see parked next to the dumb­bells? It’s about to be come your best friend. If you haven’t tried work­ing out with a re­sis­tance band be­fore, 2019 is your year: They’re ideal for mak­ing floor work­outs more ef­fec­tive while fir­ing up your mus­cles dur­ing ba­sic stretches. In fact, Pin­ter­est re­ports a 1,913% in­crease in searches for these nifty pieces of kit.

Slip them over your thighs to add a burn to squat vari­a­tions and glute bridges, or use a longer looped band to make pull ups and rows more chal­leng­ing. Best of all? You can buy your own set and use them at home while you’re on a Net­flix binge. No gym nec­es­sary.

4. Boot­camp work­outs If you’re pre­dis­posed to pro­cras­ti­na­tion in the gym, some­times mil­i­tary-style train­ing is the only way to get the job done. Army-in­spired work­out classes can help you to burn 1,000 calo­ries in a sin­gle ses­sion, us­ing a mix­ture of run­ning and weights to tone mus­cle and max­imise fat loss.

Gyms like Fit­ness First (dw­fit­ness­first. com) and LA Fit­ness (lafit­ all of­fer vari­a­tions on the trend, while the orig­i­nal West Hol­ly­wood fit­ness phe­nom­e­non Barry’s Boot­camp (bar­rys­boot­camp. com) has just opened its doors in Manch­ester. Its work­outs are tough and sweaty, but the blow of crank­ing out hun­dreds of squats is soft­ened by lux­ury fa­cil­i­ties, a bang­ing sound-sys­tem and a slick pro­tein shake bar.

5. Com­pet­i­tive spirit 2019 is all about set­ting your­self a chal­lenge. Rather than just work­ing out for the sake of get­ting fit, now you’ll be ‘train­ing’ with an end goal in sight - whether it’s to run a marathon, take on an Iron­man chal­lenge (iron­ or get your squad to­gether for a day on the Tough Mud­der (tough­mud­ as­sault course.

If go­ing head-to-head is your sort of thing, you can get your com­pet­i­tive spirit fired up at Turf Games (tur­, a func­tional fit­ness and team-based com­pe­ti­tion, where guys and girls can lift, flip, press and jump to try and beat each other. The games will be hap­pen­ing across three yet-to-be an­nounced cities across the UK, with the chance to be named the Turf cham­pion in your area. Game on.

6. Bal­let for boys Bal­let in­spired fit­ness classes soared in pop­u­lar­ity a cou­ple of years ago, as gym­go­ers reaped the full-body ben­e­fits of train­ing like a prima bal­le­rina. This will fi­nally be the year, though, that we’ll shed the out­dated idea that barre is an ac­tiv­ity solely for women, with stu­dios be­com­ing a gen­der neu­tral zone.

Let’s face it, barre is no easy work­out and there are some pretty bril­liant rea­sons why guys should try it out. It’s non-im­pact, it im­proves flex­i­bil­ity, bol­sters core strength and chal­lenges your en­durance - mak­ing it a great choice for run­ners look­ing to sup­ple­ment their marathon train­ing with­out putting them­selves at risk of in­jury.

7. Vir­tual re­al­ity work­outs At this year’s Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show (CES), US com­pany Black Box VR (black­ de­buted the world’s first vir­tual re­al­ity fit­ness ma­chine.

De­signed to tackle the seden­tary el­e­ment of gam­ing, their VR chest press comes with a head­set that im­merses play­ers in a vir­tual world, where you need to per­form reps to fight your op­po­nent. The idea is you level up your fit­ness while gam­ing, us­ing speed, strength, and en­durance to help you win.

We’re pretty sure it won’t be long un­til VR head­sets land in bou­tique fit­ness stu­dios. Watch this space.

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