With every new year comes new resolutions to get fitter and get healthier. But gone are the days where this meant just going to gym, doing some weights and then jumping on the treadmill for your stock standard cardio. Instead, how you get fit these days is more varied than ever and fitness trends are changing so fast, it can be hard to keep up. Whether you’re just starting to get into the world of fitness and exercise or an active lifestyle is already heavily featured in your weekly schedule, it’s always helpful to stay ahead of the trends and movements in the fitness world. After all, one of the keys to continually experience good results is to shake things up and keep your body guessing. Here are 5 things to keep in mind that will make 2016 your best year yet when it comes to fitness and health.
1. Get Yourself Fitness Wearables
Wearable technology has only been around for a couple of years, but has already made some serious strides in terms of their functionality, quality and variety. While FitBits are now household names, there are plenty of other excellent options including Garmin, Jawbone, Misfit, Nike, Moov and even Microsoft are getting in on the action. Fitness functionality and tracking technology can also be found in other wearables such as smart watches. Wearable technology also extends further into smart fabrics, where there are now clothes which can adjust to cool you down, warm you up, get rid of bacteria and even conduct electricity and measure heart rate. With the wearable technology market set to hit $6 billion dollars in 2016, this figure will surely be increasing.
Fitness wearables aren’t just for decoration though. Being able to track your activity, sleep patterns and response to exercise can really help you more easily meet health goals and also keep you motivated. Here are three ways to make your gadgets work for you:
- Keep a track of your heart rate during your workout to see if you might need to ramp up the intensity.
- Track your steps, run a competition between friends or co-workers for more motivation.
- Set notifications every 3 hours to get you moving and avoid prolonged periods of inactivity.
2. The Rise & Rise of Body Weight Training
In the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual survey on fitness and exercise trends, body weight training rests at the number 2 position after dropping from the top spot in the previous year. However, body weight training is still as popular as ever. A reaction to the bodybuilding, weights, dumbbells and barbells mentality of the 80s and 90s, body weight training has really taken off in the past 4-5 years, although many would argue its roots began much earlier than that. Following the gymnastics and calisthenics approach to exercise, body weight training is often done with limited equipment, usually pull up bars, gymnastics rings or anywhere outdoors. You can also see plenty of evidence of body weight training activities in CrossFit, functional and plyometric training.
As images of ripped, lean and muscular physiques dominate the social media accounts of body weight trainers rise, so too will the popularity of the exercise modality. Here are 3 tips to help you incorporate body weight training into your routine this year:
- Find yourself a set of 3-5 body weight exercises and perform them everyday or every second day for 3 months. Make sure some of those exercises can be adjusted for difficulty.
- Plyometric exercises, running and balance exercises are all essentially body weight activities. Mix up the different types (strength, power, endurance, flexibility and balance exercises) for more comprehensive results.
- Add in isometrics – isometric activities are those which are static, but done correctly still help by engaging the muscle. Common isometric exercises for example are planks and wall sits, however you can turn almost any exercise into an isometric one. For example, you can pause your push up halfway to really hit the chest.
3. Social Media Personal trainers & Actual Personal Trainers
Just as with food, everybody these days seems to have some comment or opinion about exercise and fitness. A lot of these opinions will probably fall under “broscience”, anecdotal ideas and stories from friends of friends or the internet, which are either not true or behind the times. These days though, anybody on social media with a great set of abs, bulging biceps or toned glutes can be seen as purveyors of excellent training and diet advice. Many certainly do, but it’s always prudent to take advice with a grain of salt and there’s always room for actual professionals. Because everyone is so genetically different, expecting the same routine to garner the same results as somebody else can be setting yourself up for disappointment. Having said that, it’s always good to have resources handy and you can definitely use the inspiration and motivations of personal trainers (social media or qualified) to your benefit. Here are three ways to make the most out of PT’s and other professionals.
- Ask questions and ask many. Know more about what worked, what didn’t work, how to better perform the exercises and other tips and tricks. Engagement is more than just pressing like, share or nodding your head as they tell you what to do. Ask questions, be informed and then get a second opinion or a third or a fourth.
- Test out your personal trainers. Personal trainers are people and as with all people, you get along with some and not with others. It never hurts to ask for a free or reduced cost session just to see what their style is like and whether it matches your personality and training ethic. Don’t always settle for the least challenging though.
- Just do it. The problem with many people who use trainers is that they perform a half arsed version of what their trainer wants them to do, and then blame them for lack of results. To make the most out of your PT or other fitness professional, make sure to put in all your effort into their demands. If it doesn’t work, a good PT or professional will help you find out why and not point fingers of blame.
4. Make Everything High Intensity
High intensity interval training or HIIT has been popular for a couple of years now and should continue to remain popular for a few more years yet. Characterised by short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by a longer period of rest or recovery, HIIT is one of the best methods of training to boost fat loss and get your fitness up. The high impact nature of it though tends to cause concern with many trainers due to the potential for increased injury rates. However, as with all exercise, precautions should always be taken and you should monitor yourself closely for any niggling pains and strains. You can see plenty of examples of HIIT in training programs such Tabata, F45 and CrossFit, but you can easily structure your own HIIT program quite easily. Here’s three tips on incorporating HIIT this year into your routine:
- HIIT workouts are physically taxing, so keep the entire training session short. Under an hour is ideal, but 20-30 minutes is much more manageable. Aim for 2-3 sessions a week with plenty of rest and recovery between sessions.
- Keep it simple with a changing rotation of 8-10 exercises performed over 2-3 months. Don’t forget to alter the interval times for best effect.
- One of the most common comments about HIIT is that it’s fun for awhile, but interest wanes fast. To help combat this, train with others and set goals of performance to really test out how your fitness has changed.
5. Simple & Achievable
Training programs have become increasingly complicated in recent years, but just as food and nutrition have reverted to a back to basics approach, so will fitness this year. Whatever goals you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s weight and fat loss, strength, power or endurance, training for these goals don’t need to be complicated. For 2016, make sure your program is simple and achievable by ensuring these few things:
- Keep exercise selection minimal, but challenging and changing every couple of months.
- Don’t just do what you think you should do. Play sports, do some gardening, exercise and physical activity should be fun and varied for long term compliance.
- Schedule and Monitor – Setting time aside in your diary or phone will help you to stick to your training program better and it’s important to also schedule rest days. Make sure you continually monitor yourself to see progress as it can be very motivating seeing results. If results aren’t happening, spend your time finding out why and changing your program rather than dwelling on it.
Training & Fitness Trends for 2016
The fitness and training world isn’t going to change dramatically this year, but the trend will rather focus on three main things; simple, varied and enhanced by technology. Whatever your goals are for this year, make sure you try something new, something you enjoy and use tools to help you stay on track.