What's hot in fitness for 2013
Do your know your Ugi from your CXWORX? Is Aqua Zumba going to make a splash? Gillian Orr discovers the latest trends to help take the graft out of getting in shape
One of the biggest excuses for not keeping fit is that we're time-poor. But gyms are responding to clients' concerns by introducing a number of shorter classes, focusing on achievable results in 30 minutes with what they are dubbing HIIT (high intensity interval training). Fitness First has introduced the GRIT training class, incorporating two components: strength and plyometrics (a type of exercise designed to develop muscular performance and endurance through short and powerful movements). Be warned, your muscles will be working at a maximum level for the shortest amount of time.
CXWORX, billed by Virgin Active as "combining the best of personal training with the energy of a group exercise class," is similarly not for the faint-hearted. The 30-minute workout promises to tighten and tone your core muscles and strengthen the body for mobility and injury prevention. Expect to burn around 230 calories. Meanwhile, with books such as Gretchen Reynolds's The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer selling well, the shorter, intense workout has never been so popular.
Almost all of the major health-trend predictors are anticipating the rise of the juice bar this year. Previously seen as the preserve of time-poor New Yorkers, and health-nut Californians, juice bars have been popping up all over the UK and many more are predicted to open in 2013. Last year, even Starbucks opened its first fresh juice bar in the US, with their CEO, Howard Shultz, vowing to sell juice "in the same tonality that we have reinvented, over the past 40 years, the basic commodity of coffee". Will they arrive in the UK this year?
Ugi is a short-duration, high-intensity class straight from Canada that will be debuting exclusively in the UK at Virgin Active. The barefoot 30-minute workout uses a 15cm diameter exercise ball available in various weights to suit individual needs. The workout builds strength, endurance, and core stability to help people become functionally fit (another buzz term). "Ugi is happiness training," says creator Sarah Shears. "There are 1,440 minutes in every day, and if you use 30 of them for physical activity, the other 1,410 feel better." virginactive.co.uk
If you're bored with former reality television stars hawking fitness videos but still like the idea of working out in the comfort of your own home, then why not try the Fitness-FX range of exercise DVDs. Led by leading health and fitness experts, it has come up with a range of DVDs suitable for any persuasion, including Jump, Fight, Stomp, Groove, Pump and Blast with not a Big Brother contestant in sight. fitness-fx.com
After Andy Murray's triumphant 2012, the public's interest in tennis is at an all-time high. Virgin Active has introduced Cardio Tennis, a group class complete with drills, which gives players of all abilities a high- energy workout. Purists will no doubt baulk at the use of a "pumping soundtrack", but this a fun take on the traditional sport.
Tennis is one of the best all-round work-outs there is. It's particularly good for core strength, as it's the abs and lower back that do the most of the work.
Group personal training
For those really serious about getting fit, having a personal trainer is often the dream. But with many of us still being forced to penny-pinch, it is often unrealistic. One way to overcome this is by doing group personal training sessions. Getting together with one, two, or three like-minded friends, of a similar fitness level, will allow you to receive a much more tailored session than a normal gym class allows. And you get to split the cost. It's hardly groundbreaking but many have predicted a huge rise in 2013, as clients and trainers work together to make a package that suits all.
Whether you think it is a healthy approach to eating, or a load of old nonsense, the gluten-free diet is set to grow even bigger in 2013. Despite very few people actually having coeliac disease, which involves an inability to digest gluten, a protein found in wheat and grains, a vast celebrity following has ensured plenty of people are eschewing wheat, rye and barley.
Adherents say that eating gluten causes a range of symptoms ranging from headaches and stomach aches to lethargy and "brain fog". They may be right to connect this with their diets: latest research from the Center for Celiac Research in the USA suggests gluten intolerance might exist on a continuum, with those testing negative for coeliac experiencing similar symtoms to varying degrees. The best advice is to eat a varied diet, with all things in moderation.
A US survey by Pollock Communications, found that 51 per cent of registered dieticians predicted that we would see a huge rise in the number of people following a gluten-free eating plan. However, think long and hard about whether it is the most suitable diet for you and it never hurts to seek professional advice.
Zumba has really taken the world by storm over the past couple of years and now the Colombian dance fitness programme has moved into the swimming pool. Known as the "Zumba pool party", it takes everything that people loved about the original – the world music and high-energy fun – and turns it into something that one company has described as creating "an atmosphere more reminiscent of a Miami pool party". While it might not be for everyone, it does promise to be cardio- conditioning and body-toning.
Self-monitoring – the act of keeping track of what you eat, how much you move, and how well you sleep – is destined to really go mainstream this year, thanks to a number of apps and devices. The Nike FuelBand will track your activity based on "oxygenkinetics" (the movement of your wrist). LarkLife is compatible with iPhones and will advise on exercise, sleep, eating and energising. And swimmers can use Swimtag, a new device that tracks their activity, including lengths, splits and strokes.Perhaps that personal trainer isn't needed after all.
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