Getting #strongnotskinny is the new thing. We give you the lowdown on five big trends in 2017. By Estelle Low
1. Wearable technology
It's so easy to monitor your steps, distance, calories burned and sleep with a fitness tracker. Photo: maridav / 123rf.com
You would have used or at least seen an activity tracker by now. These immensely popular devices are made for logging your daily steps, distance, calories burned and sleep. Those stats are presented in simple graphs in your smartphone’s app, so you can easily chart your progress over a period of time. Anyone who owns one will tell you that they have been motivated to walk, exercise and sleep more after using it.
Shape says Those with fitness goals will appreciate trackers with additional features, like the Fitbit Charge 2 ($248) that offers 24/7 heart rate monitoring, the TomTom Touch ($239) that measures your percentage of body fat and muscle mass, as well as the Polar M200 GPS Running Watch ($219) that has an integrated GPS for outdoor runners. Nifty!
2. Body weight training
Bodyweight exercises include planks, squats and lunges. Photo: ammentorp / 123rf.com
Any form of exercise that involves using your body weight as resistance – such as push-ups, squats and lunges – can be considered body weight training. This concept is not new, but body weight training has picked up over the last few years due to its easy accessibility and effectiveness: You don’t need special equipment to do it, yet it produces quality results. For instance, just look at the number of waistlines (and happy faces) the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide has carved out. These days, almost every fitness influencer is a proud practitioner of body weight exercises, be it in yoga, pilates or a gym session.
3. High-intensity interval training
HIIT is short yet super-effective in sculpting your body. Photo: Andrei Zaripov / 123rf.com
As the name suggests, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves doing intense exercises for a set period of time with short breaks in between. The goal of a HIIT class is to exhaust you in a short period of time, because the more you tire your muscles, the stronger they’ll become. Research has consistently shown HIIT to be more effective than steady-state cardio. Plus, HIIT forces you to bust out of your comfort zone, training your mental focus too!
Shape says If you own a gym membership, join classes like HIIT, Tabata and circuit training. Any class with words like “hard”, “core” and “strength” probably means it’s going to test your limit. Even if your instructor doesn’t push you, go as hard as you can to reap maximum benefits!
4. Group training
Group fitness classes will motivate you to hit the gym. Photo: Antonio Balaguer Soler / 123rf.com
Group training, or group exercise classes, have been around for a while. Some say they are the premise of every gym. Without exciting classes like Zumba, barre and CardioLatino, people have much less incentive to sign up for a gym membership. These classes are multi-level, so anyone from a newbie to a pro can join without feeling awkward. For those in need of external motivation, group training is a godsend. Once you’ve committed to a class, you’ll be much less compelled to skip the session. Plus, fitness classes are where you will meet like-minded people. You just might find an exercise BFF – or two!
Shape says Whether you like spinning, dancing, pilates or bootcamps, it’s easy to find a class that appeals to you. Every other week, we hear of studios offering novel classes. Pound, Pulse and Piloxing are just some we’ve tried.
Yoga comes in so many forms, it's easy to find one that suits you. Photo: Aleksandr Davydov / 123rf.com
This mind-body practice needs little introduction. Besides toughening your mind and muscles, every asana (posture) has various health benefits, including improved sleep, mobility, posture, digestion and blood circulation. There are many types of yoga – hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar, yin et. Cetera – catering to different needs. It doesn’t hurt that the poses have quirky-sounding names like warrior, downward dog, cobra and half-moon to tease you.
Shape says Looking at the likability of #yoga on Instagram, and how strongly it’s embraced by the masses and fitness gurus alike, we are likely to see even more yogis in the coming months. The scene is heating up, with funky classes like yoga wheel, aroma yoga and standup paddleboard yoga constantly being introduced. You’ll be hooked!