It seems that every few years a new crop of workouts, exercises and regimes appear, all promising to help you get fitter than you’ve ever been in no time at all.
More often than not the end results don’t justify the hype, and the fact is a lot of these new gym fads are no different to the equally hyped but often forgotten crazes that preceded them. Anyone up for a spot of Prancercise?
However, every now and again a new, exciting, and useful fitness regime comes along that is actually worth your time and effort. If you’re looking for a new way to get fit, we’ve put together 5 of the most recent gym crazes that might actually be worth the hype.
For a while now, grown adults around the UK have been skipping the traditional gym workout in lieu of something a little different. However, it’s only this year that trampolining has gained real widespread appeal, with more people than ever booking themselves into dedicated classes.
But is the trampoline just a passing fad, destined for a sudden flop? Apparently not, and there seems to be a real reason behind its bounce in popularity as an exercise tool. According to fitness experts, trampolining is an ideal alternative for those who want the benefits of a high intensity jog, but can’t quite face pulling on the running shoes. Indeed, when trialled against running, trampolining had the same cardio benefits, but actually burned more calories. It’s also friendlier to the joints than running, with reduced risk of injury and strain through impact.
So, if you’ve not quite got the hang of running but still want the benefits, perhaps give the trampoline a try. With the rise in dedicated “arenas”, where trampolines blanket a room wall to wall, there’s no need to worry about unexpected tumbling either.
For many of us, the average day is fast paced and time short, often with a struggle to fit everything in let alone slow down and reflect. It’s perhaps no great surprise then that HIIT – or High Intensity Interval Training – has become so popular.
With HIIT, workouts are quick, intense, efficient, and can easily be snuck into the day wherever there’s a half hour free. HIIT also offers up flexibility and choice, as you can incorporate whatever exercises you feel like, whether you’re into weights, cardio, or strength building; the only requirement is that exercises are intense.
Typically, HIIT involves carrying out two intense, short bursts of exercise, followed by an interval. Whilst it might seem counterproductive, it’s this interval where most of the benefits are reaped. Slowing down and resting for a few minutes allows the body to recover, meaning that you can carry on with the same amount of effort. What’s more, with each interval your recovery abilities will increase, meaning you’ll gradually need less and less time to recover.
3) Ballet Barre
Whether you’re an up and coming Baryshnikov or as nimble as a baby elephant, one of 2015’s top gym crazes wants everyone to embrace their inner ballerina.
Although it’s backed by Hollywood hype, ballet inspired fitness shouldn’t be viewed as a flash in the pan fad. Ballet barre takes the elegant poses and postures of the ballerina and uses them to provide a real core workout. In contrast to workouts like HIIT, the movements in ballet barre are small and delicate, tensing the muscles without changing length. This is called “isometric contraction”, and is perfect for those wanting to maintain strength, get toned, and do a little cardio, rather than bulk up muscle.
It’s also a great option for those who don’t want to invest in tonnes of equipment, as all you’ll need to take to a class is yourself and some suitable footwear. If the sweaty and often stressful atmosphere of the gym isn’t your thing, and you’d like a workout with a little added elegance, ballet barre might be right for you.
4) Functional Fitness
Not interested in how many kgs you can lift, how many miles you can run, or just the frequently competitive atmosphere of the modern day fitness full stop? Then functional fitness might be for you.
Rather than focus on the superficial aspects of fitness and exercise, functional fitness training – as the name suggests – focuses on getting the body fit and ready for the everyday. So, instead of working out like you’re prepping for the Olympics, you’re instead focusing on actions like running, lifting, standing, getting up from a prone position; actions that it’s likely you’ll perform at some points in everyday life.
Functional fitness aims to mirror exercises that have been made less common by our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. A typical workout focuses on as much of the body at once as possible, rather than just one area at a time, so expect multi-directional lunges, step ups with weights, and squats with bicep curls. A lot of the time, these exercises are easy to perform at home, so you might not even have to step in a gym.
If you’ve been out of practice for a while, or want an easy way to start incorporating exercise into your daily routine, the low intensity and utilitarian nature of functional fitness is perfect.
5) Group Training
For many years, personal trainers were seen as something only professional athletes and sports stars had. Whilst personal trainers are far more commonplace these days, hiring someone to tailor you a workout routine is still something that’s out of reach for most of us.
If you’ve always dreamt of having a personal trainer, but a lack of time, motivation, or money has stopped you, then you might find a solution in group training. With group training, you can reap all the benefits of personal fitness guidance – like exercise plans, nutritional programmes, and expert advice – but for a much reduced price. All you’ll need is a friend (or a couple of friends), and you’ll be set to go.
Group training isn’t just a great way to split the cost, it’s also good for those who are perhaps a little less motivated in getting fit than they’d like to be. If it’s not the personal trainer that’ll get you out there exercising, it’s more than likely that a friend will step in to keep you on track.
As group training is fast growing in popularity, most gyms offering a personal service will be happy to take on groups; all you’ll need to do is convince your friends to take on the trainer!
If you’re looking to switch up your routine, or just get started on the road to fitness, one of these crazes might just be the trick. Or if you think something might be getting in the way of you and the gym, why not take a look at our Food&DrinkScan test, and see if a food intolerance could be the problem.