Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fitness Trends for 2013

Many of 2013's fitness trends began last year and are building steam. Although fitness fads can come and go, new exercise routines are a great way to invigorate your workout. As a long-term exerciser, I can tell you that it's totally normal to get bored with doing the same-old work out all the time. Like anything new, a new workout is exciting! But after so many repetitions, that once-fun routine kind of loses its spark. When you get bored, it becomes easier to slack off. That said, it's essential to be flexible! Don't get stuck in a rut of "only liking" to do one thing. Try new exercises. Join a class. Do something different so that exercise remains fun. Exercise isn't just for burning calories after all (although a fantastic bonus)--it helps keep your heart healthy, your blood pressure and blood sugars controlled and is an excellent release. Exercise is my "me time." I read, daydream, sort through my thoughts or just let my mind wander. I can definitely feel a difference in my energy level and demeanor on a day that I've exercised.

Whether you're a long-term exerciser or someone who's just starting in light of the New Year, here are some trendy (plus fun and effective) fitness ideas to get you started:

Circuit training/interval training. 
The idea here is more results in less time. In our fast-paced world, who doesn't love that concept? Some research shows that instead of "steady state" exercise, like jogging at the same pace throughout your routine, using different muscle groups and varying the intensity of your exercise, burns more calories and helps build muscle. If you're looking for something new or have hit the "plateau," try it on your own or enlist the help of a trainer or class instructor to guide you. As with any new exercise, it's a good idea to start slowly to avoid injury. If it has been a while since you were active, it's also wise to double-check with your doctor.
  • Circuit training is rotating between different types of equipment or exercises to utilize different muscle groups. An  example would be rotating between the treadmill, bike, elliptical and/or weights for 10 to 15 minutes each.
  • Interval training is changing the intensity of your workout throughout your routine. For example, running for one minute, then walking for two. Repeat. 

Barre classes 
I'm going to go off on this one because it is my newest personal favorite exercise! Many different barre studios are popping up around the nation. These classes, that utilize a ballet barre or the back of a chair and are a spin-off of ballet combined with Pilates (in my perspective), are butt and thigh KILLERS! I grew up dancing and am also a big fan of Pilates, so I really love this trend. And I can tell you firsthand--it works! Look for a barre studio near you. The classes are a great way to get committed. If you prefer the comfort of your own home (or a cheaper price tag), you can purchase the Bar Method videos to use at home. All you need is a chair, a mat and some light hand weights. Get ready for a workout, though. It may be based on ballet, but it's not easy! Although tough at first, you will get stronger quickly, so don't give up either. I've always said that dancing is exercise and this workout proves that it is. Get ready to rock those skinny jeans--at least while they're still trending!

Back-to-basics strength training.
Body-weight training to build muscle is making a come-back. Think pushups, planks, pull-ups and squats instead of hitting the gym to use all the weights. Why? It's free, you can do it anywhere regardless of the weather or if you're out of town, and it's a proven way to get fit and stay fit.

Functional Fitness.
It's the newest fitness buzzword centered around doing strength-training for real-world activities. Look for workouts like "bootcamps" or those that include body-weight training, tire flipping, rope swinging and kettlebells. The goal is to help you build strength that will help you perform your daily activities better.

Group personal training.
This is the newest spin on group fitness classes. It's just like attending your own personal training session, except with a friend or small group. Why do people like it?
  1. The schedule keeps you accountable to fulfilling your exercise goal.
  2. Having others participating with you can be motivating.
  3. As personal training can be a costly endeavor, group training will save you some dough ($$).

Wellness coaching
These coaches are professionals with a background in wellness who meet with you routinely, face-to-face or on the phone, to support you in your healthy lifestyle. They can provide information, help you set lifestyle and behavioral goals, and provide motivation and support through barriers you might face as you make changes. Some employers are facilitating wellness coach interactions or you can seek out your own.

Workplace wellness.

You might have seen or heard about this at your workplace. As health costs continue to rise, employers are starting to realize that they have a unique opportunity to help their employees make positive health changes while saving on healthcare costs for us all. Look for:
  • Incentives to participate in wellness activities
  • Lunch n' learn health programs
  • Group classes for diabetes, heart health and/or weight loss
  • Health screenings
  • Health Educators or Registered Dietitians
  • Nutritional modifications of foodservice menus and vending machines
  • On-site fitness centers
Take advantage of workplace wellness! You can usually get great tips and resources for free. It's an excellent foundation to build upon as you progress towards your long-term goals.

Are you looking for something new to incorporate into your workout? Which fitness trend will you embrace?

Just FYI: I was not compensated for any products or services mentioned in this post.