Fitness: What's hot and what's not in 2014

By Rob Virtue on December 6, 2013 12:41 PM |

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By Laura Williams

It's no longer enough just to get out of breath a couple of times a week - what's hot and what's not matters when it comes to fitness.

The American College of Sports Medicine, the biggest science organisation dedicated to exercise and health in the world, has just produced its eighth annual report on fitness trends - what's out, what's in and what's on its way back in. Here are four of their big ones for 2014.

High-Intensity Interval Training

Already popular in gyms the world over, high intensity sessions - usually of around 30 minutes or less - continue to grow in popularity despite concerns about injury risk.

Suitable if:

■ You're keen to get an effective workout in a short space of time.

■ You're looking to boost fitness levels without spending hours on aerobic exercise.

Not suitable if:

■ You're not already pretty fit.

■ You're not a fan of chasing the pain.

Body Weight Training

Using your own body weight to get in shape isn't new but it's something that's growing in popularity all the time.

Whether your chosen moves are push-ups, pull-ups and squats or the dreaded burpees, your own body weight really can give you a tough workout.

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Suitable if:

■ You don't like being restricted by weights and weight machines.

■ You know your stuff - you need a half decent repertoire of exercises to cobble together a 100 per cent body weight workout.

Not suitable if:

■ You have a history of injury or are plagued by back pain or other problems. That's not to say you won't ever be able to enjoy a 100 per cent body weight workout, but for the injured or unfit, machines are often a better starting point.

■ You want to make big strength gains. OK, so you can turn the modest push-up into a tough planche push-up, but on the whole, it's not as easy to ramp up the intensity with body weight exercises as it is to load up a barbell or grab a heavier kettlebell.

Group Personal Training

Although the economic climate is improving, cost is still an issue for many.

Group Personal Training's rising up the list of fitness trends continuing to grow in popularity. If sessions are led correctly, you should still benefit from the personal touch but without the hit to your wallet.

Suitable if:

■ You want to be pushed but can't stretch to a personal trainer on your own.

■ You prefer working out with other people but find classes too big.

Not suitable if:

■ You need the motivation, guidance and attention of a personal training session 100 per cent focused on you and you alone.

■ You're overly competitive and outdoing your PT buddy will come before good technique or knowing when to stop.

Yoga

New trend? Old trend more like, I hear you cry. But yoga's actually been dwindling in popularity over the last few years and seems to be making a comeback now, thanks to the popularity of Yogalates, Power Yoga and Bikram yoga.

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Suitable if:

■ You want a more holistic addition to your existing regime, and to improve your flexibility.

■ You don't feel the need to go for the burn in every exercise session you participate in (although Bikram devotees might beg to differ).

Not suitable if:

■ You have chronic back pain and think umpteen Downward Dogs are going to fix it (Pilates and a physio are probably more suitable).

■ You like to go hard and fast. Yoga involves a certain amount of mental discipline, which is less about getting hot and sweaty and more about learning new breathing techniques to enable you to adopt a variety of different poses.

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