The Fitness Zone
With the explosion of social media and Internet marketing, combined with our continuous search for the ‘quickest and most effective way’, we have been bombarded with copious amounts of fitness trends and fads claiming the best results. If they all claim incredible results, how do you decide which one is right for you? Which one is safe? Which one will help you achieve your personal goals? It’s important to look at each activity individually and look at their benefits. From there, you can decide if those benefits gained from that type of activity is going to work well for you and your own personal fitness goals.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported body-weight training as the number one fitness trend of 2015. However, there is nothing new about body-weight exercises. In fact, the ancient Greeks were using movements like pushups and pull-ups, but the term was not coined until the 1890’s. Body-weight training is convenient and inexpensive. In fact, it can be done anywhere and at anytime because it requires hardly any equipment.
Training using the resistance of one’s own body weight is highly functional. That is, it mimics movements of everyday life, hence improving a person’s quality of living. Everyday activities and movements are made easier all while working out muscles and improving fitness levels. Body-weight training can also be the ultimate way to create a strength base strong enough to transfer to free-weights in a gym. It’s also a great option for those who aren’t too happy to go to a gym just yet and want to get started at home. It requires little to no equipment and will help you gain strength and basics before starting on weights. Don’t let it’s ease of use and accessibility fool you. Body-weight training can be hard and nasty, but tailored to absolutely any training level.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This training involves short spurts of high intensity activity, followed by a bout of low-intensity recovery time. This is repeated several times over a period of 20-40 minutes. HIIT has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, strength, power and boost metabolism and insulin resistance. Due to the energy needed to recover for the following 24 hours after HIIT, it is believed to be a more effective form of exercise for fat loss and improved cardiovascular fitness, compared to aerobic, steady state activity like jogging. However, HIIT does carry some risk. Due to the high impact of this type of training, HIIT can be a cause for injury. This kind of training is only suitable for people with a reasonable fitness base. The best way to enjoy HIIT is via a professional trainer or by joining a class at your local gym to ensure you don’t injure yourself and that you have the correct form whilst working out.
CrossFit aims to create well-rounded athletes by tailoring short workouts, which are designed to increase cardiovascular fitness, strength, power, agility and flexibility. CrossFit takes elements from Olympic lifting, gymnastics, plyometrics and endurance sports to deliver cross-training workouts (not for the faint-hearted,) and may be best suited for people with a reasonable fitness base. CrossFit works a wide range of muscle groups and one of the biggest benefits of it, is that it is ever changing. If you go to a few classes or group workouts, you’re likely to be doing a different workout each time. It’s a great option for those who get bored easily and like a variety to their workout. CrossFit challenges you and pushes you to work out harder than you thought you could achieve. It’s also a great option for runners looking for a change of pace as the exercises performed in CrossFit can help to strengthen muscles from head to toe, which can help you to become a better runner.
While not a new fitness trend, yoga still makes it to number seven on the list of top trends. Yoga aids in improving the body’s alignment, suppleness and strength. It can also increase mental clarity as it is often defined as an open-eyed, active meditation. However, yoga will have less impact on cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and fat loss, when compared to the other forms of exercise mentioned above. Yoga can help those looking to build on flexibility and core strength, as well. It is a great option for those who are recovering from injury, getting started with exercise, have limited movement or are looking for a class to supplement their other, more enduring workouts. It’s a great way to wind down from a workout session and can help to clear the mind before leaving the gym and taking on a new day.
The fitness industry is constantly evolving and trying new fitness trends can be a great way to keep physical activity fun and fresh. It’s all about finding what works for you and your goals. Be sure not to be lured in by the “next best thing” that will promise miraculous results, but rather look at it’s own benefits and see if it is right for you.