The top fitness trends of 2014 – What’s what in the fitness world.
2014 has seen many new exercise trends take the health and fitness world by storm. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of CrossFit, Bikram Yoga, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and the like. In this article we will discuss some of these new fitness methods, along with a couple of other new and upcoming trends to be on the lookout for. With the constant influx of new different ways to keep fit, it can be a little overwhelming and difficult to know what exactly we should be doing. It is however, a fantastic time for all our KW fitness enthusiasts out there as well as those of you who may just be starting out. Health, fitness and exercise are becoming more main stream, widely promoted and most of all a lot more fun and interesting. Working out is no longer just about treadmills or lifting weights. It can now be fun, social and something we all look forward to. So far, 2014 really has been a big win for the fitness world (and for our waistlines!).
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):
HIIT is relatively new on the fitness scene and is one of the hottest exercise trends for 2014, for good reason! It is characterized by short bursts of cardio or strength exercises at your maximum intensity, followed by a brief rest period. This process is then repeated a set number of times, usually within the space of anywhere between 20 min to 1 hour.
Each short burst of activity will typically last for 45 sec to 1 minute, with rest intervals varying from 1 to 2 minutes. The benefit here lies in the short bursts of activity, rather than longer continuous activity, as having the rest interval allows your body to maintain a high level exertion for a longer period of time. A ‘single activity’ continuous exercise, i.e. 15 min cycling, is usually performed at moderate intensity as a high intensity level is difficult to maintain over this time period without rest. By being able to maintain this higher exertion level with HIIT it means your heart rate increase is higher and more consistent, there by achieving a more effective workout. Additionally, each new interval of high intensity will be a different activity i.e. the first burst may be burpees, the second may be chin ups and so on. This provides great variety and keeps things challenging and fun, allowing you to work on the whole body rather than just isolating one part! HIIT gets a big tick from Kutting Weight and is the perfect activity to do in your KW gear.
Founded in 2000, CrossFit is not exactly breaking news but continues to gain momentum in the fitness industry. In many ways CrossFit is a type of HIIT with its circuit/interval set up, although is slightly more focused on strength and conditioning. Essentially, CrossFit is a combination of HIIT, weightlifting, powerlifting and body weight resistance, each performed at maximum intensity and with maximum repetitions. CrossFit.com defines the workout as “That which optimizes fitness with constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity”. Each workout is quite short—30 minutes or less—and intense, requiring maximum physical exertion.
If you know a ‘CrossFitter’ or are one yourself, you will be familiar with the sense of community it creates. This is one of its biggest pros, as the CrossFit community is a fantastic source of motivation, encouragement, support and healthy competition. One of the cons of CrossFit is that, due to the intensity required, injuries are common. This can be due to incorrect technique and the focus on maximum repetitions at each station i.e. 100 to 300 reps. Muscle, tendon and even spinal disc injuries are frequent and can be very serious. If CrossFit is your workout of choice, then ensuring correct technique and not over exerting yourself is extremely important. Again, another great activity to incorporate your KW gear – but this one will be tough, so be prepared, stay hydrated and listen to your body.
This is perhaps the most recent and interesting trend of 2014 so far. A mix between conventional ballet and yoga/pilates, Barre is a low impact form of exercise focused on lengthening, toning and strengthening the muscles. The classes utilize the ballet ‘barre’, which is the wooden rail you will see ballerinas using during their rehearsals. It is therefore understandably more common among females, although slowly but surely men across the country are starting to dip their toes in too! If you have been looking for something a little different and interesting to incorporate into your workout regime, Barre could be the ideal addition. If you are a regular CrossFitter or HIIT participant, this type of workout is the antidote to sore, tight or tired muscles. We would however recommend continuing with your cardio based workouts in addition, to make sure you are still getting a regular heart rate increase and good sweat going!
Barre classes typically last 60 minutes and are set to upbeat music. Kutting Weight is the perfect attire to add extra intensity and maximize your heart rate during your Barre workout. If there is not yet a Barre studio near you, chances are there will be soon!
Again not exactly a new comer, but despite this Bikram remains one of the most popular fitness trends of 2014 to date. In fact, all types of Yoga are consistently gaining more and more attention, although it’s Bikram than seems to be the front runner. To intensify a traditional yoga session, the room is heated to a minimum of 105F before a sequence of yoga poses is performed. The purpose of the heat is to:
a) Get blood flowing to warm up the muscles and promote flexibility
b) Cause your body to sweat and heart rate to increase, there by burning additional calories.
At this temperature, Bikram can be uncomfortable and takes a couple of sessions to become accustomed to. It is not for everyone, although if you can hack it, Bikram is undoubtedly beneficial for all things from improved flexibility, water weight loss, strength, conditioning and, depending on intensity and frequency, permanent weight loss. With the already extreme heat, Bikram may not be Kutting Weight compatible. Although, if traditional yoga is more your thing try doing it in your Kutting Weight clothing for a similar, yet slightly more bearable, effect!
Hailing from NYC in 2006, Soul Cycle has become a huge hit this year, with 25 locations nationwide and is rapidly expanding (a shout out from Oprah has helped to give it a little extra boost). This indoor cycling phenomenon places a modern twist on the traditional stationary bike spin class. Each cycle class runs for 45 minutes and is no ordinary spin class - here you will find candles, mood lighting, high energy music and inspirational instructors encouraging and motivating you along the way. There is a spattering of studios across the country, so head to their website to see if there is one near you! The idea behind Soul Cycle is to sweat (so KW clothing is ideal) and get a great full body workout in a less conventional way, the perfect alternative to repetitive traditional workouts. Soul Cycle and other similar cycle studios/classes have definitely been on the rise in 2014, so watch this space.
So, if you are now left wondering what is for you, the answer is… whatever works! Each individual is different in their exercise preferences and abilities, so if something is working great for you then there is ‘no need to fix what is not broken’ just because a new exercise trend has surfaced. If what you’re currently doing is not working so well, you’re not seeing results or lacking motivation, perhaps one of these new workouts style could be the answer. It may help breathe new life into your regime and mix things up a little! Essentially, it doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, there is no right or wrong. The three most important factors are:
• Make sure you are sweating
• Your heart rate is up
• And you are having fun!
The best thing about each and every new exercise trend that emerges is that they are offering us more options to keep fit, creating fitness communities across the country and making work outs a little more inviting and enjoyable. So grab you KW gear, hit up your workout of choice and be sure to post some photos on our social media sites for evidence!