The hottest fitness trends for 2015 are body-weight training and high-intensity interval (HIIT) training, according to the ninth annual survey of 3,400 health and fitness professionals worldwide by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Zumba, once the most popular fitness class…fell to 34 this year. Yoga is the most popular specialty class, with Bikram “hot” yoga (26 postures performed over 90 minutes in a hot room) especially in vogue.
Body-weight training is resistance training in which you use your own weight, rather than barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells or exercise machines, to build muscle and strength. The most familiar examples are pushups, pullups and burpees (squat thrusts to Army and Marine veterans).
High-intensity interval training…involves short bursts of intense activity, followed by brief periods of rest. You can burn more fat and build more muscle in the half hour or less it takes to perform a typical HIIT routine than you can in an hour or more of conventional aerobic or resistance training, studies have shown. You’re burning fat long after you’ve left the gym, because HIIT raises your metabolic rate and keeps it high for many hours. A popular HIIT workout is Crossfit.
Another is Tabata, a routine burns fat almost exclusively, not both fat and muscle, as conventional cardio exercises tend to do. A typical Tabata routine consists of a 5-minute warm-up, a 4-minute all-out cycle, 2 minutes of rest, followed by another 4-minute cycle with a different exercise, and a 5-minute cool down.
“It’s a 10,” Tricia Patsilevas, 27, a physical therapist, said of (her) Tabata class. “I get more benefit from 45 minutes…than from three hours or more of conventional cardio and weightlifting.” Psychotherapist Kevin Caridad, 38, said he’s lost 40 pounds since he began taking Tabata classes.
Boxing is a popular HIIT class: Students spar with the Boxmaster, an exercise machine that costs nearly $15,000, not with each other. Boxing stimulates all muscle groups, provides both aerobic and anaerobic training, can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour. “Boxing is empowering for women,” said Jackie Frederick, a fitness and wellness director who teaches it. “You feel better after you hit something.” Also popular is Piloxing, which combines boxing moves with Pilates…
Though HIIT is a demonstrably superior way to build muscle, burn fat and increase cardiovascular endurance, it’s hard to do and can be dangerous for those who are out of shape or have health problems. If that describes you, circuit training — 6 to 10 exercises performed with brief rests in between — is making a comeback…(rising to) 14th in the survey, up from 18th last year.