In the UK we seem to have to wait for fitness trends – unless of course you live in London, everything gets there first! Once London has digested and spat it out, the trend slowly meanders its way around the country until it hits your hometown and everything feels new again.
The following are a selection of worldwide trends that seem to be sticking in the UK – Fitness fads come and go but these seem to be here to stay. In the name of research I have also tried and tested the below – now that was fun!
Outdoors, short of time & high intensity seem to be the influential buzzwords for fitness in 2016.
1. HIIT (High intensity interval training). Short bursts of high intensity movements, using bodyweight and various different muscles to achieve maximum output.
If your a sports scientist, the HIIT workout theory is not new to you, during research into bouts of high intensity 30 second cycling, American scientists found short bursts of extreme energy is actually just as beneficial to heart health & weight loss as other longer workouts.
Why HIIT – Due to the high intensity HIIT can train your body to use oxygen more effectively and speeds up your metabolism. This workout has the ability to keep burning fat & calories up to 48 hours after the workout.
My verdict – I attended a local HIIT class, the class was 35 minutes. As with most exercise you get back what you put in and I certainly left the class feeling exhausted. It was 35 minutes of short 1 minute burst of high intensity; running on spot as fast as your can, skipping, jumping jacks – followed by squats, press ups, mountain climbers and other weight bearing exercises.
2. Bodyweight Training – Basically what it says on the tin!
Using your own bodyweight to achieve maximum calorie burn and a bit of cardio thrown in for good measure. Weight training often places images of ‘buff’ men in the gym puffing their sweaty bodies around the equipment, BUT the beauty of bodyweight training is its FREE, you do not need any equipment and it can have HUGE health benefits in a relatively short amount of time. As with most weight training, the short bursts of output encourages fat burning, improve balance, build core strength, can be challenging at any degree of fitness and as you can mix up your routines it can be
No more looking at sweaty men, unless of course you like to then feel free!
My Verdict – I followed a simple bodyweight routine I found online, it was a variance between push ups, squats, press ups, lunges & ab work. All carried out in the comfort of my own home. I found the exercises really effective and you really do get out what you put in. You do have to be determined and self motivated but I can definitely see the benefits of doing these exercises over a longer period of time. Honestly – I would happily build this into my workout routine a couple of times a week.
3. Barre-based Ballerina classes – Phew I know what a mouthful!
A low impact, high intensity workout to boost all over body strength and conditioning. The classes are usually small in size with focus on very small movements repeated to slowly strengthen and tone the muscle. The low impact means the class is suitable for most people of all fitness levels, but be warned the movements themselves can be intense and if you perform them correctly highly effective.
My Verdict – I finally found a version of this class close to where I live and went along without very high hopes of finding it at all difficult. Oh how wrong was I? The class was full of a certain type of lady and at £10/class it was a little pricey too. There were ballerina bars and mirrors around the very small room and so the class commenced. Its all about small repetitive movements and I can tell you if you perform them correctly, they cause great pain – my muscles felt extremely worked in such a different way and I woke up the next morning with a few aches and pains from the class. If the class becomes more mainstream, then I would definitely recommend giving it ago, otherwise save your £10 and try the above classes first. Be warned you will ache the next day – no matter how fit you are!
4. Kettle Bells – OK so not a new concept but they still need to hit the mainstream!
Believed to have been used by Spartans no less, the russians brought them to life and the mainstream again in the 1800’s! The emphasis is on flowing with the weight and the ability to use the weight to perform strength based exercises. Due to the flow of the movements, the workout will be a little easier on your body but packs a punch of cardio as the movements can instantly raise your heart rate. The weights themselves tone your entire body, the fluid movements make it feel less like a weight training session, although equally as tough!
My Verdict – I have a confession!!! I have been using kettle bells for a year or so and I love them. You can choose the size of your kettle bell, there are loads of online routines and it can be carried out in the privacy of your own home. They tone and strengthen your body in a very efficient way and I noticed results after about 3 weeks. They are fun too, some of the movements can be intense and you really feel like you have had a good strength training workout. The kettle bells themselves are also cheap to buy. Have a look in your local area for a class just to get a feel for a few movements or ask your instructor at the gym (if you go) to show you a few moves. Definitely a thumbs up from me.
There are another 6 trends to come, but I am still trying out the next few!