Maintaining a healthy, fit, and lean body will never go out of fashion. But just like clothing and furniture, fitness styles come and go. Some, like yoga, have been around for thousands of years and seem to be sticking it out for the long haul.
We can’t wait to see what fitness trends become popular in the year 2019, but first, let’s take a look at the fitness trends of 2018.
1. Functional Fitness
Forget focusing on specific muscle groups. Functional fitness is all about training the body to become stronger and more efficient at completing daily tasks and common movements.
The idea is that when specific muscle groups get all the focus, it can lead to bad posture and poor functioning of other muscle groups. The whole point of exercise is to improve your quality of life so that you can function better, not worse.
Functional fitness exercises incorporate many muscle groups at once in exercises that mimic common movements you would do at home. It also emphasizes core stability, which is vital for good balance and posture and a healthy back.
Some functional fitness exercises include lunges, squats, step-ups, agility drills, and plyometrics.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT was on trend in 2017, and it made its way into 2018’s top fitness trends as well. High-intensity interval training is a popular choice for a reason—it’s quick, it’s efficient, and it helps you to reach your goal fast.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, boost endurance, build muscle tone, or increase strength, HIIT workouts can get you there.
A HIIT workout includes short bursts of very high-intensity exercise followed by slower periods that include either less-intense activity or complete rest. During each burst of hard work, you need to push yourself as hard as you can for a short period of time—between 20 and 90 seconds.
Studies show that HIIT workouts are much more effective than steady-state cardio when it comes to both losing weight and building muscle. Three 20-minute HIIT workouts per week can help you reach your goal faster than three 30-minute steady-state cardio sessions per week.
For a really simple HIIT workout, next time you go for a run, try alternating between full-out, run-as-fast-as-you-can sprints for one minute followed by 2 minutes of power-walking. Alternate until you have completed 10 sets (30 minutes).
Boxing is not just for the pros anymore. Anyone can get a great workout in with some boxing gear, whether it’s at home, at the gym, or in a group fitness class.
This full-body workout covers all muscle groups and includes both cardio and resistance training for the full package. The result? A stronger, more toned body.
Since its comeback in the 90s, yoga just seems to be growing in popularity, and it isn’t stopping anytime soon. Many people have found their lives drastically improved with the addition of daily yoga practice.
Through a combination of mind and body work, yoga improves flexibility, strength, and posture, but it also relieves stress, increases energy levels, and makes you a happier person overall. With an endless amount of types and trends to choose from, you’re bound to find a yoga technique that will make you fall in love.
5. Active Recovery
If you’re a fitness fiend, you know how important recovery is as a regular part of your fitness regimen.
Instead of just taking a day off from working out—called passive recovery—you can engage your body with light and easy exercises that are designed to speed and facilitate the recovery process.
Some active recovery workout ideas include:
- Self-Myofascial Release (SMR). Use a foam roller to massage your muscles and increase your range of motion.
- Walking. Get moving and increase blood flow without pushing your body to the limit. This can help to bring more oxygen to muscles that need repairing.
- Light Weight Lifting. Did a certain weight-lifting workout make you sore? Perform the same workout with much lighter weights for a restorative exercise.
- Yoga. Practicing yoga is something that can and should be done every day. It incorporates many stretches and postures that are healing by nature.
- Swimming. Take the pressure off the joints by doing a low-impact activity, like swimming, for a full-body workout that won’t leave you sore.
6. Express Workouts
For the busy full-time workers in our fast-paced world, express workouts are the perfect fix when you’re looking for maximal results in a minimal time frame. They’re designed to burn fat in 20 minutes or less, so they really cut to the chase.
Express workouts will often focus on a specific body part or group of muscles, so it’s important to diversify throughout the week so that you get a full-body experience by the end of the week.
7. Body Weight Training
You don’t need fancy equipment or heavy weights to strengthen your muscles. Body weight training focuses on utilizing your own body weight to build muscle and burn fat.
Exercises include squats, lunges, planks, push-ups, leg lifts, bicycle crunches, and any other exercises that use the force of gravity as a tool to get in better shape.
8. Circuit Training
Circuit training is a style of workout in which you go through a series of exercises focused on different muscle groups with minimal rest in between. The exercises are usually high-intensity resistance training, and they often involve equipment and machinery.
You’ll typically spend anywhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes at a particular station, and the whole workout is 20–30 minutes.
9. Boot Camps
If you need to get super motivated and have someone kick your butt into shape, you may want to consider one of 2018’s biggest fitness trends, boot camp. Fitness boot camp is conducted in gyms with trainers that take you through weight training, interval training, and strength training exercises for a fat-burning, full-body workout.
These workouts are known to be challenging and will push you to the limit but will ultimately make you stronger, physically and mentally.
10. Group Fitness
Group fitness classes continue to gain popularity, as there’s truly something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in yoga, pilates, dance, boxing, cycling, barre, martial arts, or a combined discipline class, you can find it in group fitness.
In a class with other people and an instructor, you’re bound to push yourself further than you would work out at home alone.
With so many fitness trends out there, you’re bound to find a workout that you love. At home alone, with a buddy, or in a class, it doesn’t really matter which one you choose—just so you get your body moving every day so that you can stay fit, strong, and healthy.
While trends come and go, it doesn’t really matter whether you swim with the tide or against it—just that you keep swimming.