Best and Top of Everything : Top 10 Fitness Fads of 2012

Friday, January 4, 2013

Top 10 Fitness Fads of 2012

10. Exercising Harder Is Better than Exercising Longer


If spending hours at the gym isn’t your thing, take heart. Recent studies report that shorter bouts of exercise at a higher intensity can improve fitness more than working out at a moderate pace for longer periods of time. In one study involving over 10,000 adults, people who walked slowly — even for up to an hour — saw no preventative benefits, while those who walked briskly or jogged cut their risk of metabolic syndrome (which includes hypertension, high blood sugar and extra weight) by nearly half. The same trend held for weight loss; people who exercised at a moderate level for 30 minutes a day lost more weight than those who slogged through hour-long sessions. So even if you don’t have time, rev up the intensity of your workouts to still reap the benefits of physical activity.

9. Exercise Can Change Your DNA

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Physical activity can certainly change your physique, but the latest research shows it can change your DNA as well, even after a single workout. Scientists monitoring volunteers who exercised to their maximum activity levels on a stationary bike reported that working out muscle triggers genes that prime muscle cells to soak up nutrients and enzymes in order to burn calories and generate energy. Each bout of exercise can make the entire process more efficient, which means getting off the couch really does a body good.

8. Drum Your Way to Fitness

image: Fitness instructor Cristina Peerenboom, bottom center, as she uses drumsticks while teaching a fitness class called "Pound: Rockout. Workout" at Crunch Fitness in West Hollywood, California May 20, 2011.

You don’t have to be in a band to take advantage of this fitness trend, which lets you release your inner rock star. Pound, a workout created by California-based drummers Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom, involves hitting the ground over 1,000 times during cardio workouts with lightly weighted drumsticks called Ripstix. The session mixes conditioning and interval training, and is available at studios and gyms nationwide, including Crunch. Drums Alive is another drum-based workout; it incorporates aerobic dancing and jamming on exercise balls.


7. Fitness Programs for Children

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With obesity rates continuing to rise, gyms are turning to the newest population of would-be exercisers: children. The programs are a welcome substitute for school-based physical-education classes, which are among the first to be sacrificed when budgets shrink. Thanks in part to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, which encourages youngsters to become more physically active, child-focused gyms and wellness centers are hoping to build good exercise habits in kids so that they’ll become part of a lifetime routine. Teaching children about the importance of exercise early on can help make them fitter adults, which in turn might finally lead to a drop in chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

6. Workout Tracker

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If you’re going to exercise, you might as well make it count. Literally. Uber-tracking devices like Fitbit and BodyMedia products record every move you make (or don’t make when you’re snoozing). The data on body heat, perspiration and sleep quality are sent to an outline profile so users can keep a tally of daily totals. And runners can take advantage of RunKeeper and Nike+, with apps that monitor distances and use verbal cues for interval training. RunKeeper syncs up with smart-phone GPS apps to track runners’ time, distance, pace and calories burned. And what’s all that sweat worth if you can’t share it? Both apps allow runners to share their logs with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

5. Strong Is the New Skinny

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Heavy strength training and high-intensity boot camps are having a moment. According to the American Academy of Sports Medicine, strength training and body-weight training are expected to be the top fitness trends in 2013. Women are particularly attracted to the trend, since cultural ideals of femininity are gradually focusing on strength over slimness, with fitness becoming a priority.

4. Working Out for God

image: Pastor Rick Warren, creator of the Daniel Plan.

According to Pastor Rick Warren, author of the best seller The Purpose Driven Life and leader of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., Scripture not only urges followers to live a better life but also can motivate them to lose weight too. Warren created the Daniel Plan for his congregation, a wellness program inspired by the Book of Daniel in which Daniel refuses the decadent royal feast offered to him by King Nebuchadnezzar and instead asks for vegetables and water. The Daniel Plan consists of eating programs, workout classes and small-group meetings designed to help people make changes in their lifestyle in order to improve their health. More than 15,000 members of Warren’s congregation have signed up, collectively losing 260,000 lb.

3. Hate to Exercise? Make It a Party

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Forget three-martini lunches and steak dinners. Spin classes are the new place to schmooze clients. Powering through a workout is a good way to break the ice, say fitness experts who see more business meetings in their studios, and commiserating over a punishing session can quickly establish a common bond. Even bachelorette bashes are moving from the bars and into the gym with bride-to-be customized yoga sessions. Plus, it’s the ultimate in multitasking: you take care of business and get your workout in too.

2. P90X

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Nothing makes a workout trendier than a political endorsement. Special thanks to vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan for popularizing the killer P90X workout series, which he credits for his 6%–8% body fat. Ryan — sometimes joined by P90X creator Tony Horton — even leads P90X sweat sessions with fellow Hill staffers. For those without passes to the Capitol, the home-fitness package by Beach Body includes 12 workout DVDs and nutritional guides. The workout, which doesn’t require any equipment but relies on using the body’s own weight as a tool, stretches over 90 days of plyometric exercises, weight training and even yoga. The mash-up of different ways to work muscles is intentional and meant to keep users from falling into fitness ruts. If followed religiously, Horton claims, the program can transform bodies from flabby to fabulous.


1. Bespoke Fitness

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It’s harder to skip a workout if the fitness regimen is customized for you. That’s the idea behind fitness concierge services like FITiST and SIN Workouts, which build personalized workouts around people’s fitness goals and busy schedules. Most of the sessions are scheduled at boutique fitness studios or with coveted trainers in cities of the clients’ own choosing. High-paying gym junkies can mix up their workouts with different goal-oriented sessions at multiple gyms while tapping into the industry knowledge of fitness concierges who will sign them up for the sweatiest boot camp or trendiest yoga instructor. It’s taking off with frequent travelers, who never have to take a week off Pilates. Like any good hotel concierge, a fitness concierge can provide workout options in unfamiliar cities. But the services are pricey, with triple-digit monthly consulting fees on top of individual studio fees.