Here are the newest workouts focused on community, technology, and restoration that are motivating more people to exercise.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) still rules the number one spot on the American College of Sport’s Medicine’s list of the most popular fitness trends for 2018.
hat’s not surprising, as everyone wants to walk into a class and get the maximum results for their efforts, says Burn 60 master trainer, Andrew Schuth.
Classes at California-based Burn 60 follow a format that alternates between bouts on the treadmill and functional training intervals on the floor all under the watchful eye of the trainer.
While one group is burning it up on the treadmills, the other is on the floor performing exercises, such as one-minute of burpees, and using various types of equipment.
“We do different moves to create muscle confusion and we try to keep you moving so your heart rate is elevated and you burn more calories,” says Schuth.
Participants can expect to burn anywhere from 500 to 900 calories during the one-hour class and see results within the first two weeks
When it comes to aquatics there has been little innovation—it’s either laps or water aerobics, says Rob Glick, senior director of programming and innovation at US-based Life Time Fitness and co-creator of WTRX (Water Xtreme).
A collaboration between Speedo and Life Time Fitness and taught by certified instructors, the classes use newly developed Speedo aquatic training aids, such as the Push Plate, to add resistance in the water and increase the intensity of the workouts.
“We worked with Speedo and came up with an ultimate boot camp that takes place in and out of the pool,” says Glick.
About 75 percent of the class is spent in the pool performing high intensity moves while the rest of the time is spent on deck performing traditional exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and triceps dips.
“High intensity moves done in the water are less stressful on the body, and water classes aid the body in recovery,” he says.
Yoga in both its traditional and alternative forms remains a popular fitness trend for 2018. One of the most popular classes at Life Time Fitness, Warrior Sculpt, keeps in step with the demand for alternative yoga classes by offering a fusion of yoga and strength training using light weights.
Most yoga classes already have a significant amount of resistance training – lunges in warrior pose and push-ups through chaturanga – but they are not recognized as such, Glick explains.
“Warrior Sculpt complements your typical yoga practice while increasing your strength and flexibility and boosting your metabolism. The movements are intuitive, intentional, focused, and purposeful,” he says.
Created with the mission to change minds before bodies, Pound aims to make its participants stronger both physically and emotionally.
Founded in Los Angeles in 2010, there are now more than 13,000 instructors teaching Pound worldwide.
The 45-minute class uses lightly weighted drumsticks (called Ripstix®) to deliver a full-body workout that mixes cardio, conditioning, and strength training with yoga and Pilates-inspired moves.
“You’ll find comfort in familiar moves and excitement in the empowering, uplifting, music-based environment,” says Kirsten Potenza, co-creator and CEO of Pound.
“Our lightly weighted drumsticks are engineered specifically for exercising, they act as an extension of your arm and literally turn you into an instrument.”
While participants can expect to burn anywhere from 400 to 900 calories in one class, depending on their age and body type,
Potenza says the focus is on how the body feels, instead of how it looks.
The class caters to all fitness levels, including those who fear they lack rhythm and coordination.
“If you can clap your hand to the beat, you can Pound,” says Potenza.
As the world becomes increasingly connected, it’s important to find ways to channel energy, says Reginald Zephyrin, a 12th-degree black belt martial artist and instructor of the Mind-Body-Spirit class at the W New York Downtown.
The two-part class entails focusing on the physical aspects of Kung Fu, punching, kicking, self-defense, and awareness, followed by a segment that focuses on breathing techniques and meditation.
Kung Fu is both a learning of wellness and a workout that incorporates internal and external energy, he explains.
“The class offers a holistic experience of Kung Fu from the winding up to the winding down,” says Zephyrin.
“It’s different, but it’s applicable to daily life as it helps you learn how to center yourself, meditate, and breathe properly, which can help manage stress.”
The popularity of shows such as Ninja Warrior where people use their own bodies to complete challenging obstacles has really struck a cord and fueled the popularity of races such as Spartan, a series of obstacle course races held throughout the world.
The introduction of the Spartan Strong class is intended to capture the spirit of a Spartan race in a group class setting.
“Each of us are handed obstacles over our lifetime,” says Glick. “Our ability to overcome obstacles will help us improve our quality of life.”
The Spartan Strong class is broken into five phases: Readiness, stamina, accountability, tenacity, and resilience.
The first part is more than a warm-up, it prepares you for what will happen in the class, says Glick.
The stamina section involves 12 minutes of alternating strength and cardiovascular challenges with the goal of keeping your heart rate at a moderate level.
Accountability involves working as a team and performing exercises with weighted sandbags (called pancakes).
“We toss the pancake back and forth or form a line of people where we move the sandbag from one end of the line to the other doing Russian twists,” he says.
“We also play mind games in the accountability phase to help you to be alert and ready to respond.”
The tenacity portion of the class uses HIIT to drive participants to a higher level of intensity followed by resilience, a dynamic cool down.
“The class is good for those who are already connected to the Spartan brand, but you don’t have to be a Spartan racer to do the class.
“Our goal is to inspire people to move more and maybe that will inspire them to do a race.”
As a result, many gyms are offering classes that focus on restoration, everything from stretching to meditation to foam rolling.
Equinox offers a menu of regeneration classes that focus on self-massage, controlled breathing techniques, stretching, and flexibility while other gyms such as Hackensack University Medical Center Fitness and Wellness offer classes dedicated to meditation.
Meditation is an important part of restoration, says Glick and you don’t need to dedicate a lot of time to see positive results.
“Our minds are like a snow globe shaken up – we need to take a moment and be still, let the snow sink to the bottom, and then we will be able to see clearly.”
Whether training for a marathon, a 5K, or just to keep in shape, running remains one of the most popular and practiced sports worldwide.
While running doesn’t require a gym membership or a coach, the idea of running with a group or as part of a team adds a social aspect to the sport that can be beneficial.
“One of the biggest advantages of running with a group is having people to push you to new limits,” says Greg Laraia, ATC Certified Running Coach at US-based Custom Performance.
“Keeping pace is one of the harder things to do when doing solo workouts,” explains Laraia.
“During shorter runs, having teammates assist with pacing is beneficial, while for longer runs it allows you to keep each other company.” Laraia recently founded Streets 101, a New York-based running team that caters to runners of all levels and abilities.
The purpose of Streets 101 is to create a community, to extend the bond that running creates to everyone,” he says.
While Laraia says that some solo runners may be intimidated by the premise of joining a team, the goal of Streets 101 is to be as inclusive as possible.
“Adding a social element encourages a strong bond between teammates, and we know team support can be incredibly motivating – when you have a friend pushing you to work harder, you can achieve more.”
Additional support is provided by certified running coaches experienced in performance and physical therapy for runners.
“They know when it is appropriate to push members or to have them recover.”