Every year, the ever-growing and evolving fitness industry produces new ideas, classes, formats and challenges to try to help us stay motivated to reach our fitness goals.
We’ve come a long way since Jazzercise and the thigh master — thank goodness! — and in 2016, there are some seriously fun and adventurous options out there to get your blood pumping and your muscles swole.
The American College of Sports Medicine released their Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2016 and it included some pretty exciting results.
New to the list this year is the number 1 trend, Wearable Fitness Trackers. With dozens of options to choose from and some seriously cool monitoring software and apps, we love this addition.
Also included on the list are favorites like Body Weight Training, HIIT Training and Strength Training. Check out the list in it’s entirety here.
So what do these trends mean for you? In short, lots of new class formats, technology options and boutique studios opening every day with new and different opportunities to help you find your fitness.
Take an OrangeTheory Fitness Class
OrangeTheory Fitness is a boutique fitness studio that is taking the nation by storm. With over 300 locations nationally, and a projected growth to over 500 locations by the end of 2016 (that’s almost as many as Gold’s Gym, who’s been around for 50 years), it’s safe to say their method is catching on.
And with good reason. The one hour class combines a fun cardio segment on the treadmill with full-body functional strength training movements, all while monitoring your heart rate with your own personal fitness tracker to help you maximize your workout.
I had the chance to take an OrangeTheory class, and absolutely loved it. As a tech geek, the data really appealed to me. You can read all about my experience here.
Sign Up for a Wellness Challenge
No matter how motivated you are, everyone can benefit from more accountability. Gyms, training clubs, and online communities (like FitnessHQ) offer various fitness, nutrition and wellness challenges year-round to give you an extra boost.
Every challenge is different, but most will feature special plans, a community and a level of accountability to help you achieve your goals over the challenge period.
Some challenges even offer prizes for top finishers, giving you an extra reason to stick to your commitment and reach your goals.
Register for a Race
Picking a race as a goal for the year and signing up and paying your registration fee is a great way to commit to something fun and exciting, and give yourself an extra layer of accountably. With so many exciting new formats to choose from, there is something for everyone out there.
Bored easily? Try a triathlon. The swim, bike and run training is bound to get you into killer shape and keep you from tiring of doing the same thing constantly.
Like adventure? Try a run like a Tough Mudder or a Spartan race. Different races offer distances from 5Ks all the way to half-marathons. Each of these type of races offers a variety of fun but difficult obstacles and varying levels of mud.
Want to go the distance? Marathons and Ultra-marathons are becoming increasingly popular. If you’re a runner looking to step up your game, check out 50K or 50-mile races to really earn some bragging rights.
No matter what race you choose to register for, be sure to give yourself enough time to train and prepare to show up on race day and be successful!
Boxing/MMA Style Workouts
If you haven’t heard of Ronda Rousey, chances are you were living under a rock in 2015. The MMA phenomenon has swept pop culture, and really brought focus to fighting for fitness. Boxing and MMA gyms are opening across the country, allowing beginners like you and I to punch, kick and grunt our way to better fitness.
Okay, so maybe the grunting doesn’t build abs, but it feels good!
Functional fitness is on the top of the list for trends this year, and TRX Classes are a great way to get there. Using the TRX Suspension Trainer, an instructor will take you though a full-body workout that is guaranteed to have you sweating and feeling the burn by the time it’s over. I recently took one myself and I can tell you these classes are unlike anything I’ve ever done, and are a great way to target your core in a challenging small group environment.
Mind/Body Fitness Classes
Fitness and wellness go hand in hand, and in 2016 you’ll continue to see classes that emphasize the mind/body connection. Formats like Yoga, Pilates or even the more recently popular Barre classes incorporate mobility and flexibility into a format that also helps athletes to focus inward and become more in tune with their bodies.
I don’t know a single gym beast or athlete who wouldn’t benefit from more flexibility training, and with the stress and pace of daily life, we could all use 30 to 90 minutes to find our zen.
Tabata or Interval Classes
High intensity interval training fell a few spots this year in ACSM’s survey, though not because it’s not effective. The truth is HIIT training is HARD. As an athlete, doing it on your own is even more challenging.
It’s difficult to find the mojo to push yourself to near to 100 percent of your max for a number of intervals when it’s just you and your timer. However, in a class setting, athletes of all abilities have better focus, and less of a risk of injury with a certified instructor keeping an eye on our form. Check out classes with a tabata or interval format, or plug into one of my favorite sites — Bodyrock.tv — for daily videos where you can follow along with their killer sessions on your own.
Rowing has always been a killer workout, but with the evolution of CrossFit over the past several years, it’s now even more well-known and widely done than before.
In fact, some fitness centers have invested in high-quality rowers and are offering classes teaching form and going through great interval workouts.
If you want something to train for, Concept 2 is hosting their Global Marathon Challenge again this year, challenging participants to complete either a super difficult 13.1 or 26.2 mile row during the first two weeks of May.
And possibly one of the best parts about indoor rowing? The technique and timing can translate to ACTUAL outdoor rowing as well! So if you’ve ever wanted to try out your sea legs, look into local rowing clubs in your area for a fun outdoor workout where you can build your biceps and make new friends.
Take a Dance Class
Dancing with the Stars has just been renewed for it’s 22nd season and So You Think You Can Dance has been running for 12. Don’t worry — if you had a holy cow moment there, you’re in good company!
While shaking your booty in a group setting isn’t for everyone, there’s no doubt that America has dance fever. Admittedly, I have two left feet. While I have rhythm and can count to eight, I also frequently run into walls for no apparent reason.
That said, there’s something liberating about dancing, and whether it’s a Zumba class at your local Y, a hip hop class at a rec center, or a more structured Salsa class at a ballroom dancing studio, put on your dancing shoes and free your spirit at least once in 2016.
It’s no secret that here at FitnessHQ, we kind of love CrossFit. One thing we REALLY love about it is that it’s bringing olympic lifting back into the limelight and has a whole new generation of athletes interested in the sport.
With the Summer Olympics in Rio this year, there are bound to be some seriously impressive displays of strength on the weightlifting podium. The best part is, you can partake in the fun!
You don’t need to be an Olympic-level athlete to execute the clean and jerk or a snatch, nor do you need to be elite to see the huge benefits of adding these movements into your lifting routine.
If you’re unsure where to start, check out USA Weightlifting’s website to find a club with a certified coach near you, or visit your local CrossFit box and see if you like the vibe there. Level 1 coaches are equipped with the basics to get you on the platform and lifting with good form.
Is there something new you want to try in 2016? Did your idea make our list? Be sure to share what you’re up to in the comments!