Fitness Trends: Hot or Not?

By Scott Weiss, D.P.T., A.T., CSCS

With summer just around the corner, many people are focusing their energy on getting back into shape. Unfortunately, what used to be a simple trip to the gym has now turned into a roundabout of trial and error, checking out each of the new classes and workouts that keep popping up. Variety is both fun and beneficial, but while choosing which activities best suit your needs, also remember to be wary of the trendy workouts topping the charts. Here are my recommendations:

Boutique spinning studios attract hundreds of thousands of women a year due to the high caloric burn and sweat that is induced in one 45 to 60 minute class. With high prices and sign-ups before each class, there is also a level of commitment and exclusivity, making the spin studio the place to be.
Why it’s HOT: With both high energy and high caloric burn, one spin class will make you feel like you can take over the world. Spin classes are a great way to get people interested in activities such as real cycling and biking, which are great functional sports that can be done anywhere in the world.
But might be NOT: If you replace all of your workouts with only spinning, you could potentially find yourself reaching a fitness plateau. Keeping your fitness routine the same day after day will only keep you working the same muscles, leading to muscle imbalances and a halt in your desired weight-loss. If cycling is your only form of exercise, you will develop a specific body type with calves and thighs dominating. Tight abdominals, short hip flexors and a hunched posture is not good if you have a history of Lower Back Pain (LBP). This is definitely something to keep in mind if you are thinking about trying a spinning class.

This method of working out has recently seen a huge surge in popularity. Based on short intervals of high intensity, high energy with a typical work/rest ratio of 2:1, HIIT workouts are known for getting your heart rate high and burning a massive amount of calories in a small amount of time. People are using HIIT not only for aerobic training but for weight training as well. HIIT for muscular training manipulates the time of both the positive and negative contractions on the muscle, elongating the negative portion.

Why it’s HOT: Touted as one of the top fitness trends of 2014, HIIT is praised for increasing your metabolism and being an accessible workout for all. HIIT workouts are one of the best ways to burn calories and are therefore a great program for weight-loss. When trying to lose weight, it is important to focus on the total calories burned in one session, and keeping to a regimen of burning 300 to 500 calories per session for the majority of the week – whch is definitely doable if you stick to a HIIT routine.