With any luck, you’re still going strong on your New Year’s resolution to get fit in 2017. Oh, you fell off that wagon? You aren’t alone. That’s okay, because the best thing about setting goals year-round is that you can always get back up, dust yourself off, and get right back to it. The same goes for working out, even if you haven’t yet figured out your go-to workout or got bored of your routine and are looking to shake things up.
If there is one constant in the fitness industry, it’s that things are always evolving. As a certified personal trainer, I often feel like I’ve tried or heard about every new fitness trend imaginable. Then the next day I hear about some new trend from a client or a fellow trainer. While some trends stick around for the long haul and become the new norm in fitness, other trends fade away quickly (Shake Weight, anyone?). To get a sense of the hottest workouts of 2017, I reached out to some of the top fitness professionals in the industry to get their take. These are the workouts that everyone will be talking about this year.
Another big trend that continues in 2017 is doing workouts that actually help you function in your everyday life. This type of training, known as functional training, works with everyone from fitness beginner to athlete. “For the regular person, it’s important to do functional training to help bring that strength into everyday life, and functional training uses exercises that use the most muscle at one time,” said personal trainer Jamie Logie of Regained Wellness. “A bicep curl can strengthen your bicep, but we don’t do many movements like that in everyday life (though it’s still helpful), compared to doing a lunge which strengthens pretty much every muscle in the lower body and will make it easier for you to climb stairs.” Functional training applies to athletes as well. “It makes more sense to have [athletes] perform workouts with exercises similar to what they do in their sport such as basketball players doing jump squats,” Logie told me, explaining why you probably won’t see the top NBA pros doing something like leg presses.
When thinking about functional training, I have clients think about the things you do every day and how they can be mimicked in the gym, like squatting down to reach things (air squats), lifting items overhead (shoulder press), climbing stairs (lunges), bending over (deadlifts), and pushing doors open (push-ups). If you can’t think of a way it might help you in your everyday life, functional fitness enthusiasts would argue there’s probably something better you could be doing.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) combines exercises that require near-maximum effort with lower intensity exercises that bring you back to periods of recovery in between. The idea behind HIIT is that you’ll be more efficient at burning fat and building muscle than with other types of workouts. Sure, HIIT is nothing new, but many experts see this as a continuing trend in 2017. Amanda Dale, an ACE-certified personal trainer, AFAA-certified exercise instructor, wellness coach, and sports nutritionist with master’s degrees in medical sociology and education, said she was happy to see the continued upswing in HIIT-style circuit training at places like OrangeTheory and F45. “I think (especially veteran) exercisers are looking for a challenging yet motivating group exercise environment that isn’t a Crossfit gym but offers the same type of competitive intensity and attentive coaching,” she told me. These types of classes combine uptempo music with a fat-burning interval program, helpful video instruction, and in-person coaching and correction. According to Dale, this “creates a fun, effective, and addictive workout environment.”
With all of today’s latest technology, it’s no wonder that one of the predicted workout trends this year is to start live-streaming your at-home workouts. “From at-home cycling to yoga to HIIT, streaming classes give everyone access to the most elite trainers and studios from the comfort of their own home,” NASM certified trainer and founder of fitlosophy, inc. Angela Mader told me. She said live-streaming is different than following moves found on Pinterest. “Live-streaming brings more energy and dedication to an at-home workout.”
It’s no wonder then that so many different companies are getting in on the action. From gyms like Crunch Fitness starting Crunch Live to dedicated live-streaming fitness companies like Live Exercise and everything in between, there are plenty of ways to do your workouts at home while still feeling like you’re part of a group.
You may have noticed that there’s a trend in general towards making exercise more pleasurable, to break free of the gym, and include more natural activities in life. Certified group exercise instructor, personal trainer, author, and physical activity specialist in public health Nancy Bruning anticipates that outdoor workouts will be a rising trend in 2017. “Complete health includes getting outdoors in natural light and air, engaging all the senses, feeling the wind on our skin, seeing the antics and beauty of the animals — even if only a squirrel! — inhaling the freshness of living plants,” Bruning said. She went on to explain that a lot of families, couples, and friends are looking for things they can experience together, and being active in a local park is one of them.
But what can you do for an outdoor workout? “You can adapt almost any bodyweight exercise to the outdoors, by looking around and creatively using benches, walls, railings, steps — even trees and boulders to do push-ups, sit-ups, jump-ups, stretches, and so on,” Bruning told me, but you aren’t just limited to this. “I love other activities like hiking, kayaking, bike riding, skating, scooting, and of course swimming,” she said. So throw on some good shoes and comfortable clothes, grab a friend, and head outside in 2017!
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