fitness 2

Fitness trends tend to fluctuate about as much as the latest diet craze.  Each year, a new “it” workout hits the scene, and fit fanatics everywhere jump on to see what the hype is all about.  If you are bored with your current fitness routine and are looking for ways to mix it up, check out this list of the top five fitness trends for 2014.  Are they hype or will they stick around for years to come?  Are they effective, calorie burning, muscle toning workouts?  Read on for a description of each, including an example of a typical workout, the target group the trend is aimed at, and the total number of calories you can burn when performing the workout for a 60 minute period.


1.   Crossfit

Crossfit began to gain popularity in 2006, and has been growing exponentially ever since.  As of now, there are more than 5,000 CrossFit affiliated gyms worldwide, and CrossFit is sure to continue to be one of the top fitness trends well into 2014.  One of the draws to CrossFit is that it provides a challenging whole body workout in as little as 15 to 20 minutes per day.  It can also be done anywhere, sometimes with little to no equipment required.  CrossFit is definitely not just hype.  It has been adopted by major sports teams across the globe as their preferred training method, and many athletes swear by its many benefits.


A typical CrossFit workout consists of a variety of exercises performed with your own body weight and/or other equipment such as free weights, ropes, tires and bars.  CrossFit workouts are referred to as WODs (Workout of the Day), and they require you to either complete a certain amount of repetitions for each exercise or complete the exercises in a specified amount of time.  The purpose behind a CrossFit workout is to work as hard as you can for the duration of the WOD so that it is completed as quickly as possible.


CrossFit is also popular because it can essentially be done by anyone, young or old, in good shape or not.  There are CrossFit workout modifications for those who are overweight, pregnant or considered elderly as well.  There is no specific target group, so anyone can do a CrossFit workout and reap the benefits.  On a 1 to 5 rating based on training effectiveness with one being the lowest, CrossFit is easily a 5.  Through regular CrossFit workouts, one can improve overall health, balance, agility, endurance, strength and coordination.


2.  High Intensity Interval Training

High Intensity Interval Training, otherwise known as HITT, hit the fitness world courtesy of workout videos such as Insanity and P90X.  High Intensity Interval Training is a cardiovascular workout that includes short, intense bouts of anaerobic exercise combined with short recovery periods that are still strenuous enough to keep the heart rate up.  HIIT differs from the basic interval training workout because the rest periods still require you to keep moving.


A typical HIIT workout lasts between 15-30 minutes.  It begins with a warm up, includes a period of high intensity bouts mixed with mid to low intensity intervals, and is completed with a short cool down.  Most HIIT workouts combine both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.  Typical exercises included in HIIT workouts are burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, push ups, kettlebell squats and dips.  Most HIIT workouts include a time limit in which to perform each exercise, and factor in a short 15-30 second break in between.


Since there is no specific formula when doing a High Intensity Interval Training workout, one can tailor it to his or her own fitness level.  This makes a HIIT workout one that virtually anyone can do and adapt to.  The fact that it can be modified to anyone’s fitness level and be done at home or outdoors makes it an appealing workout to many.  When considering how effective HIIT is when it comes to training effectiveness, HIIT would be considered a 5.  It incorporates exercises that work the entire body, and provides an anaerobic and aerobic workout as well.  It also improves endurance, athletic conditioning and the body’s fat burning capabilities.   Because of the many benefits, this fitness trend is most definitely not just hype.  It delivers an incredible workout, often times from the comfort of your own living room.


3.  Body Weight Training

Body weight training has been around for centuries, but it was not defined as a trend until recently.  It has recently become popular because gyms are promoting body weight training programs as a method to exercise without the necessity for much equipment.
Body weight training workouts can be done at home or at a gym since little to no equipment is needed. You use your own body weight for resistance instead of lifting weights or using machines.  A typical workout includes push-ups, pull ups, lunges, dips, box jumps, rope climbs and any other activity which require you to use your own body weight for resistance.  Most body weight training workouts last anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes and consist mostly of anaerobic exercise.   This fitness trend seems to have a lot of hype, but it is likely to remain in the top ten for a considerable period of time.  It is an attractive form of exercise to many because it can be done anywhere with little to no equipment necessary and anyone can do it.  Based on the fact that is does not include any cardiovascular activity, this trend rates a 2 on a training effectiveness scale.


4.  Home Fitness Programs

Home fitness programs are attractive because they eliminate the need for a gym membership and allow you to get a workout any time, day or night.  Beachbody has brought home exercise programs back to the forefront of the fitness world with popular workout videos such as P90X, Insanity and T25.  These workouts have helped millions shed weight and shred their bodies from the comfort of their own home.


Typical home fitness programs last between 25 and 60 minutes long, and incorporate both cardio and strengthening moves.  Many of these exercise programs do not require a lot of equipment, and provide a full body workout as well.  They typically include a warm up, interval exercise period and culminate with a cool down and stretch.  Many home fitness programs are geared towards the general public, without a target audience in mind. They are designed so that anyone can benefit from them and do them according to their own fitness levels with modifications if necessary.  When considering some of the more popular Beachbody workouts, it would be fair to say they range between a 4 and a 5 on a training effectiveness scale.


5.  Tabata 

The idea behind a Tabata workout is to alternate short periods of intense activity with short periods of rest.  It is considered a type of interval training that was created in order to help Japanese Olympic speed skaters improve their endurance, stamina and build muscle.


A Tabata workout can use used with any exercise, such as running, boxing, speed skating, dancing or jumping rope.  The idea is to alternate 20 seconds of intense effort with 10 seconds of rest.  A typical Tabata workout lasts approximately four minutes and includes one move such as squats, box jumps, jabs, punches, jumping jacks or running in place.  It can be repeated several times to make the workout last longer and, each time it is repeated, it can incorporate different moves for a whole body workout.  A Tabata workout burns plenty of calories as long as maximum effort is exerted during the 20 second high intensity period.   Since a single Tabata workout lasts only four minutes, it rates a 1 on a training effectiveness scale.  It is a challenging workout that will burn calories but, in comparison to other fitness trends, it does not match up.  You would need to repeat a Tabata workout at least 10 times to get a sufficient cardiovascular workout for the day.