THE BIGGEST FITNESS TRENDS OF 2018
FROM TRAMPOLINING AND YOGA WHEELING TO CRYOTHERAPY AND BOXING, 2018 PROMISES TO BE ONE OF THE MOST HIGH-INTENSITY, REHABILITATION-FOCUSSED AND EXPERIMENTAL YEARS OF FITNESS YET.HERE'S EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO TURN YOUR WORKOUTS UP AN NOTCH.
BY KATIE O'MALLEY Elle
Working out the recommended three times a week isn't as hard as it sounds, right?
After all, a quick visit to the gym, a jog around the park and an hour's yoga session at the weekend isn't exactly the most taxing of lifestyles.
But just one scroll through Instagram and you'll undoubtedly be inundated with personal trainers, celebrities and gyms raving about the latest equipment, high-intensity workouts and protein shake you need to improve your fitness regime.
In the end, is it any wonder a glass of merlot and a tub of M&S chocolate bites seems like a much easier, stress-free, and relaxing alternative?
That's why we've done the hard work so that you don't have to. We've compiled a thorough list of the only new fitness trends you need to pay attention to this year.
From yoga wheeling in the comfort of your own home to pulsing your thighs at one of London's newest Versaclimber classes, here's everything you need to know about getting fit this year:
1) Ditch the repetition
a) The 'WOD'
We all know that a repeated and sustained number of high-intensity reps and sets are the basics to 'Metabolic Conditioning.' In other words, repeating a number of fairly strenuous sets, at speed, without a break, will help your metabolism speed up and fat to be burnt.
But, as many of us are aware, the same old HIIT training classes can get a bit repetitive and boring.
That's why Third Space gym has newly launched 'The WOD' (The workout of the day') for 2018.
Having noticed a rise in demand for MetCon inspired training experiences over the years, the gym's trainers learned how repetitious training can undermine the commitment of even the most resolute gym enthusiast (#guilty).
So what is a 'WOD'?
Two drills that remain at the forefront of Third Space's 'The Wod' include AMRAPs (As Many Rounds As Possible) and EMOMs (Every Minute On The Minute). Each 55-minute class involves just three pieces of equipment (12kg or 16kg Kettlebells, Dumbbells and a skipping rope) in order to improve form to deliver a lean and stronger body.
Class results will be posted on 'The Wod' leader board each week to help encourage personal bests and goals so, the competition is on.
b) Mash-up cross-training
Mixing up your exercise regimes is key to enjoying working out. Doing a spin class one week and a barre class the next, might be the best way to keep yourself keen.
London-based gym Another_Space thrives on the idea that we all like to change it up regularly, which is why they are now offering mash-up cross-training experiences.
The goal? Help gym bunnies reach their goals quicker with less chance of injury.
Bridging two disciplines together for a 90-minute workout, Another Space's new mash-up cross-training sessions include HIIT x Yoga, Cycle x Yoga, and HIIT x Cycle so you can forget having to choose between two workouts after a hard day at work.
Chris Magee, head of yoga at Another Space, explains: 'Cross training is hugely important to maximise the potential of your body. HIIT, for example, provides the perfect compliment to your yoga practice without too much crossover or exhaustion while yoga practice increases your isometric strength and joint stability.
'Mash-ups provide a challenging but effective workout which supports any short or long-term goals, but it helps in building up your stamina, endurance and cardiovascular health.'
2) Get height
If you've ever been on a Versaclimber, you'll know what we mean when we say there's no other gym machine quite like it.
Engaging all major muscle groups – arms, chest, shoulders, back, glutes, hips and legs – in a single natural climbing motion, the Versaclimber is a low-impact cardio training option which is perfect for anyone with problems working out on a treadmill or bike.
Think of it as a static climbing wall that really, really hurts.
Following the launch of Europe's first Versaclimber group training class in March 2017, London boutique gym, BXR London became the first in the UK to launch a range of Versaclimber training classes.
Alex Nicholl, Co-Founder & MD at Sweat By BXR, says: 'Since the launch earlier this year, the demand for each session has been astounding, with the majority spaces being reserved well ahead of each session.'
With high-energy music, the Sweat classes range from a 'Climb to the BEAT' session, providing a gentle introduction to the machine up, to its 'HIIT Climb', where participants wear heart rate monitors to track results.
James Pisano, fitness director at Sweat by BXR, adds: 'The Versaclimber is scaling the trends chart because it does everything we need it to and more. It allows users to make the workout even more intense as you can focus on your development rather than the body trying to keep itself secure.
'From beginners to athletes this machine is the one thing you really can train, educate and enjoy working out on - especially in our "Climb To The Beat" class at Sweat by BXR as we've designed it around these fundamental pillars for this very reason.'
In the words of Kriss Kross, the only thing you should do in 2018 is 'jump, jump'.
Studies by NASA scientists have recently shown that bouncing on a trampoline is 68 per cent more effective than jogging and requires less effort, and that's exactly why we're obsessed with trampolining this year (not to mention, it's really fun).
'With an increasing number of trampoline parks popping up across the UK, the sport is becoming more popular as a fitness trend as well as a great day out for the family,' said a fitness expert at Jump 360.
Developing upper and lower body strength, improving balance and coordination, muscular strength and endurance, lung and cardio capacity, and releasing endorphins, Jump 360's new Jump Fit class is a high energy class that burns calories and builds muscles in just one class.
Meanwhile, Manchester has just welcomed the Inflata Nation, described to be the 'country's first inflatable theme park', offering hour-long 'bunch' classes.
Instructors claim just one high-intensity session can burn off as many as 700 calories.
3) Rehabilitation and recovery based training
a) Yoga wheeling
With Pinterest recently touting the yoga wheel to be one of the 2018's hottest workout props (with pins of the circular piece of kit having increased by a huge 72 per cent), the piece of equipment is set to be the go-to new addition featured in all yoga classes this year.
Personal trainer and Locket Loves designer Lucy Arnold explains: 'The yoga wheel is designed to help you stretch and improve flexibility. It's a low impact exercise, that is suitable for everyone but provides great results.
'It's also great for people who have muscle pain, or who are recovering from muscle injury as it allows deep stretching. It's also amazing for building stamina and increasing fitness.'
Made of plastic and matting, the wheel can be adapted to any level of yoga practice, offering a deep stretch, release tension in hard to reach areas of the body and provide support in difficult yoga poses.
Arnold suggests the following three exercises to try with the yoga wheel:
Spinal Stretch - Place the yoga wheel centred at your middle back and lay over it. Bring your arms out to the side and then let your head hang back. A great stretch after a hard day at the office.
Forward Fold - In a seated position place the wheel under your calf muscles. Forward fold and place your hands on the wheel which will pull you deeper.
Childs Pose - Get into child's pose with your knees wide and place both hands on the wheel at the front of your mat.
Triyoga and Xtend Barre will both feature at the Balance Festival later this year, aiming to offer classes to improve mobility, flexibility and strength.
b) Cryotherapy and infrared saunas
While passive recovery experiences aren't exactly a new phenomenon, they're certainly picking up traction in 2018.
HIIT, cross-training and Versaclimbers are all incredible ways to get lean and build muscle strength, but near impossible to do without care, recovery and rehabilitation.
Cryotherapy will become an even bigger trend in 2018 which works by surrounding the body with a cold -150°C mist for 1-3 minutes and favoured by Victoria's Secret models and Olympic athletes around the world.
The technology decreases cell growth (cellular metabolism), inflammation and pain and increases cell survival, with spas popping up at London's first pay-as-you go fitness concept, KXU, LondonCryo and The Wellness Clinic in Harrods in recent months.
Meanwhile, infrared saunas - used by the likes of Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow - are now a mainstay at the likes of KXU and PUR Wellness, whereby steam produces infrared heat which is then absorbed by the surface of the skin.
The infrared rays are believed to penetrate skin tissue and heat up the body from the inside out, contrary to normal saunas. In 40 minutes you can burn up to 600 calories without moving a muscle.
c) LIIT: low-intensity exercise training
Every gym bunny with profess to the heart-pumping, sweat-inducing benefits of a HIIT class but what id we told you such high-throttle training can often do more harm than good.
Flipping HIIT classes - involving endless reps of burpees, tuck jumps and mountain climbers - on it's head, LIIT (an acronym for low-intensity exercise training) involves similar exercises but at a far slower pace, with longer rest periods (approximately two minutes) between circuits. Reducing cortisol levels and continuing to burn fat during resting state, LIIT may be the perfect antidote to those who struggle to hack a HIIT session.
Research by fitness brand Les Mills, published last week, has also found that working for any more than 30-40 minutes at above 90 per cent of your maximum heart rate per week may be counterintuitive to your fitness.
Jinger Gottschall, associate professor of kinesiology at Penn State University who researched the effects of HIIT for the study, said: 'If you want to get the best possible results from HIIT, our recommendation, based on these findings, is to balance your weekly HIIT sessions with other, less intense cardiovascular and strength workouts.'
To get your LIIT hit, head to London-based gym Blok’s BLOKstretch class which uses foam rollers, bands, and stretching to relive the body of any aches, pains, or tightness. Alternatively, book yourself in for a 55-minute 'Stretch' class at Core Collective to work through both upper and lower body muscle groups to aid mobility, recovery and prevent injury.
4) Combat sports
We don't know if it's the popularity of boxing heavyweights such as Anthony Joshua, or the stealthy techniques of Nicola Adams, but it appears Brits can't get enough of combat sports this year.
As a result, several of the country's top gyms have launched specialised martial arts, kickboxing and Muay Thai classes, focusing on whole-body workouts to improve cardiovascular health, stamina and build lean muscle mass.
This year, Another_Space will be hosting a series of Box HIIT classes following its Combat Skills launch success, while Kobox continues to lead the gyms in boxing with its HIIT/boxing workouts.
Kobox trainer Miranda says: 'Women are starting to pull away from the booty-building-Kim-Kardashian-craze and look towards a more athletic ideal.
'A mix of functional training and boxing is the best way to achieve this. My advice? Leave the squat rack behind and put your time into learning a sport that will challenge you, change you and will build your confidence, endlessly.'
If donning the gloves sounds right up your street, check out Anthony Joshua's gym, BXR, or try Kensington gym Equinox's new 30-minute Jump Rope class which launched in October.
Virgin Active Barbican has also recently launched a new PUNCH class comprising of a full body boxing workout consisting of 12 rounds, punch bags and on the studio floor.
Jamie Ray, personal trainer and Balance Festival Ambassador, says of the sport: 'Combat exercises are a hugely exciting development in the fitness sphere. Not only are they a brilliant way to increase stamina, build muscle and improve agility, but by occupying the mind they provide a total release from the stresses of our everyday, chaotic lives.'
If 12 rounds of workouts sounds a bit too much, why not try Frame's new body-toning class, Box Train?
Designed to make your body strong, lean and toned through building lean muscle mass, the class includes just three stations - body weight, treadmill and punching bags - ensuring a full-body workout.
An hour's session will see gym bunnies do several sprint intervals to burn calories and strip fat as we'll as punch away on punchbags to release stress, build strength and heighten hand-eye coordination.
Frame (which just opened a Hammersmith location on 27 January) also continues to boast its much-loved music themed classes to their timetables, kicking the adrenaline into overdrive.
5) Digital fitness
a) At-home workouts
Dubbed the 'Netflix for workouts', Fiit is a new form of connected fitness set to revolutionise the fitness world.
Fiit is an interactive online platform offering consumers nationwide exclusive access to train with the UK's top personal trainers.
The platform enables exercise-goers to choose from a variety of specialist classes — from HIIT to Hatha — taught by fitness instructors, via a mobile application that connects to the TV.
As a new form of connective fitness, a strap worn across the chest tracks performance and allows clients to compete against themselves and others around the world.
Richie Norton, a Fiit personal trainer says of the new technology: 'With a variety of camera angles and real-time step by step sessions, Fiit helps you master all the movements that create your own flow, while holding your hand through the whole process.'
b) On-demand fitness
Meanwhile, hotels and airports are responding to consumers' increasing need for on-demand fitness options by integrating workouts into their offers for travellers.
Startups ROAM Fitness and FlyFit Global offer workout facilities behind several airport securities, with the latter announcing its launch in Heathrow airport last year. Meanwhile, Sanctifly, offers a members' club that allows travellers to book airport hotel gyms and other wellness facilities.
New York-based cycling studio Peloton has also recently launched spin bike services to be dropped off to guest rooms in Westin hotel, while Hilton's 'Five Feet to Fitness' programme offers in-room gyms for hotel guests.
c) Wearable tech
Garmin's newest model (the Forerunner 645 Music) betters its predecessors, now offering 500 songs worth of local music storage meaning you don't have to trudge along with your phone in hand anymore. It also has a wrist-based heart rate monitor attached which analyses exercise history and performance indicators to help you figure out how best to perform and reach your goals.
Showcased at the CES 2018, the Coros Omni bike helmet not only provides protection from bumps and bruises but bone-conducting audio, too. Not sure what that means? Neither did we until we learned that it means users can listen to music via audio speakers integrated into the helmet straps, meaning your ears are free to listen out for traffic noises on the road.
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Techradar also notes the helmet also features two strips of light on the rear to help other road users more easily spot you and a built-in crash sensor which will alert designated friends and family of what's happened, sending an alert through your phone.
d) Nutritionist apps
We're not sure about you, but it's near impossible to keep track of what supplements, multivitamins and protein shakes we're meant to be taking on a daily basis, given the fact we hear contradicting advice from health specialists, colleagues and fellow gym-goers all the time.
Fortunately, a new app has come on the market that promises to identify exactly what nutrition you need during the day, doing all the hard work of monitoring your food and drink intake so you don't have to.
Healthspan is an app that takes the temperature of your diet and delivers personalised recommendations about what supplements you should take.
Similar to MyFitnessPal and Lose It, users need simply to input their diet into the app so it can track their activity. However, this isn't about counting calories, rather the bigger picture of monitoring your nutrition.
Linking up with a FitBit or activity tracker (for example Strava and the Apple Health app), users fill in data about themselves, input what they're eating, press a button and the app will formulate a bespoke supplement report.
Whether you need more calcium, protein, electrolytes or thiamine in your diet, the app will deliver recommendations and how much to take depending on how active your lifestyle is.
You can also order water-soluble supplements through the app which arrive a couple of days later.
New openings in 2018
A-list trainer Tracy Anderson will open her first UK studio at Grosvenor's London Estate in Mayfair in late Spring 2018, featuring the star's patented Iso-Kinetic Band System and The Super G Floor as well as the Tracy Anderson Method.
Now with four sites (Soho, Marylebone, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf), London's premier gym group is about to make another addition to its ever-growing portfolio. This summer (June/July), Third Space is launching its fifth club in London located in the Bank/Fenchurch St area, offering a Hypoxic Chamber, swimming pool, incredibly fitness studios and top of the range equipment. The group is also launching its new Pulse class which will use Ballet and Pilates inspired isometric strength training techniques, to build and strengthen long, lean muscles in time for the summer season.
From 2 July, Another_Space is hosting its own run club which will take place every Monday from their Bank Studio. Join the team as they hit the streets of the capital for a 5k run with 2 HIIT circuit stations and a killer sprint. Find out more here.
1 Rebel are topping its competition when it comes to expansion this year by opening four new studios in the first half of 2018, with its Southbank venue opening in February. Whether it's the Ride, Rumble or Reshape session you're after, it's sure 1 Rebel will have at least one exercise for you. At its new branch 1Rebel Victoria, cycle-lovers will also be welcomed to the world's first spin amphitheatre for Ride classes.
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