New Year, New Exercises!
By Rachel Naud
It’s a new year and, once again, “getting fit” or “staying in shape” is at the top of your resolution list. But if the thought of spending hours on the treadmill or doing a zillion sit-ups leaves you feeling totally unmotivated, you’re in luck.
The latest workout trends will help you avoid the same old routine and have you hitting your goals in no time. Try these suggestions from fitness expert Kim Lyons, former trainer on NBC’s hit show The Biggest Loser and Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge.
Small Group Fitness Classes
Whether it happens in a park, a school gym or a staircase in a hotel, structured classes with a limited size are a hot workout in 2014. The small class size allows instructors to spend more time focusing on each participant to help correct form and maximize outcomes. Plus, classes are a fun way to stay in shape.
“It's a great way to keep each other motivated,” says Lyons. “This is going to be popular because people are supporting each other instead of paying big money to a gym.”
Between long hours at work and responsibilities at home, finding time to go to a gym or class can be tough. That’s one of the reasons Lyons says that this year, people are going to kick it old school -- by exercising at home. “Jump ropes, medicine balls, kettlebells -- these can all be stored easily in your home and taken with you should you need to travel,” says Lyons. “These exercises are also the most effective when you only have a short amount of time to work out.”
No money for equipment? No problem! Lyons suggests using your own body weight and furniture to make one of the best exercise circuits. “The couch is great for tricep dips and incline pushups, while a chair can be used for one-legged squats,” says Lyons. “There are so many things you can do at home.”
If you get easily bored with the same old workouts, mixing it up is the perfect remedy. This year will find exercisers heading to fusion classes that combine different disciplines. The result: an interesting mix of cardio and resistance, training such as Piloxing -- a combo of boxing with Pilates. “The best part -- if you don't like one aspect of the class, you won't be scared away from it because you know it'll change quickly,” adds Lyons. “It's the best of both worlds.”
Instead of hopping on an elliptical machine for 30 minutes or doing a seated bicep curl on a weight-lifting machine, 2014 will be more about exercising using movements that combine functional strength while shaping and training the body for performing life's daily activities with ease. Functional fitness includes exercises such as walking lunges, bicep curls with light weights, and doing half-squats on a BOSU ball to improve balance, coordination, force, power and endurance to make performing daily living activities easy. Many gyms offer functional fitness classes, or look for an independent class near you.
Zumba is so 2013. This year, the heart-pumping hot trend will have you POUND away the, well, pounds! POUND, the hottest group fitness jam session, is designed to capture the exhilarating feeling of rocking out. It’s the only workout that fuses the most challenging series of core, leg and upper-body conditioning moves with cardio interval training and, most importantly, the fun (and distraction) of drumming. Through continual upper body motion using lightly weighted drumsticks, you'll be a calorie-torching drummer in a beat.
Photo: Corbis Images