Every year, you try your best to work your butt off in the gym, but it just doesn’t feel that satisfying after awhile. You may be getting gains and seeing progress, but working out bored isn’t the best way to do pursue your fitness goals.
“Boring or miserable workouts can produce physical results,” says Men’s Health training advisor David Jack. “But if they aren’t personally satisfying, those gains won’t last long, and neither will your consistent fitness lifestyle.”
If this sounds like you, there’s no better time to try something new when the year has just begun. If you need a little inspiration, these trends will certainly add a little more flavour to your fitness routine.
Fitness Trend: Men in Barre
SPH MAGAZINES / MEN’S HEALTH SINGAPORE
Don’t be fooled, this class isn’t just for women. If you haven’t heard of barre workouts, prepare to get acquainted with them.
Barre makes use of a ballet barre and is inspired by ballet movements that will will surely give you a newfound respect for ballerinas everywhere. But don’t you worry – even though some of the movements you’re performing takes cues from ballet, you won’t have to have any dance skills to participate in this intense fitness class.
Anabel Chew, Co-Founder of WeBarre, says that you can expect to get stronger, have more stamina, and be more flexible, despite the deceptively simpler movements involved.
“We work on lots of isometric movements in Barre, which is a form of endurance training, by performing targeted movements with high number of reps to fatigue the muscles,” Anabel says.
“Many men will claim to not be ‘coordinated’, and while Barre is not a dance, class, it’s your first step to try build on your coordination and motor skills too, so you are nimble and agile,” she adds. “For men who typically do a mean weights session at the gym, Barre is the perfect complement they will need.”
Not only can you expect to get stronger, and get a better mind-muscle connection, you’ll be well on your way to dropping that excess weight you’ve been trying to get rid of.
Monica Lam-Feist, ACE certified personal trainer and fitness lead at AlgaeCal, also believes that this unique workout class will be one to look out for in the coming year. “Barre will start trending for all ages, genders and fitness levels.”
From SGD$49 for a 7-day trial. For more info, visit https://www.webarre.com
Fitness Trend: Streaming cardio/Fitness apps
Forget getting a real personal trainer. The rise of personal training live streams and apps will be something to look out for in 2019.
Exercise apps like Aaptiv are getting increasingly popular due to the ease of use and hassle-free experience of working out with minimal planning. Touted as the number one audio fitness app you can get now, Aaptiv gets you premium, unlimited access to over 2,500 classes for every exercise you can think of. It’s basically having a personal trainer in your ear.
“The Aaptiv experience is better than any other out there. We have the best trainers, the best music, and because we have so many different types of workouts in one place you don’t need to have multiple subscriptions,” says Founder and CEO Ethan Agarwal.
“On-demand fitness is already becoming a daily part of people’s lives – just like on-demand music and TV streaming has already done,” he adds. “And within that, audio is becoming the preferred format to consume digital fitness content due to its convenience and the freedom of movement it provides.
Other companies like ClassPass also have their ClassPass Live service which functions similarly. Users can cast the workout from their phones to their screens and move along with the trainer. The future of exercise fitness is arriving sooner than you think, right in the comfort of your homes.
Although Aaptiv has no plans to go the video route, you can be sure that these workout apps will only get better as time goes on.
Frank Benedetto, DPT and board certified in sports and orthopaedics, also believes that more people will start shopping around to see what works for them in order to get a more customised experience.
“With new fitness streaming options coming to market each week and each offering 15–30-day free trials, I predict that people will experiment with a multitude of streaming fitness services before they find the right match.”
USD$14.99 (SGD$20.33) a month, or USD$99.99 (SGD$135.63) a year. For more info, visit https://aaptiv.com
Fitness Trend: Obstacle Course Gyms
If you’ve ever seen Ninja Warrior, Wipeout, Ultimate Beastmaster, The Rock’s latest TV show The Titan Games, or any other variation of an obstacle course race (OCR), you’ll know how popular this type of activity has become.
Around the world, more and more OCRs have also popped up, Singapore included. From Tough Mudder to Spartan Race, 2019 could see an influx of OCR-focused gyms. In fact, many gyms nowadays already offer boot camps and gym classes that incorporate some of these elements into their training routines.
But why should people try these classes instead of regular fitness classes to prepare for them?
“The main difference would be the specificity of the workout itself. For most regular fitness classes, the focus is on general fitness as a whole, and the participants just want to sweat it out and feel good,” say Faliq Abdul Rahman, a certified Spartan SGX Coach. “As for OCR classes, we’re focusing on the key elements which will help you overcome obstacles, by focusing on grip, strength, endurance, technique, and more. “
But it’s also about getting familiarised with the different types of obstacles you’ll potentially face in the actual race. Sure, you can go in blind, but if you want to minimise your failure rate, trying one of these classes is essential.
“You will know what to expect, and you will discover that it’s not all strength and endurance with this sport. You’ll get to prepare yourself better, both physically and mentally, and boost your confidence to actually run the race,” Faliq adds. “Most importantly, it’s for your own safety, as this sport can be dangerous if you don’t have the knowledge on how to execute the obstacles laid out for you.”
If you’re planning to check an OCR off your bucket list, you can look forward seeing more of such training facilities in the coming year.
For more info on obstacle course training, visit https://www.spartanrace.sg
Fitness Trend: Recovery
Hitting the gym hard and getting home sore is the mark of a good training session to many. But that’s only part of what gets you fitter and stronger isn’t it?
Apart from training and eating, proper recovery is essential when it comes to your gains. This is why recovery training is a key component in maximising your potential growth from all that hard work.
With professional athletes like LeBron James and Floyd Mayweather, and stars like Mark Wahlberg swearing by advanced recovery methods like cryotherapy, should regular guys bother trying it or should they just leave it to the pros?
“Cryotherapy is beneficial for everyone, whether you’re a world-class athlete or a regular person,” says Jason Petlueng, General Manager of Cryo Fit. “Many people suffer from aches and pains caused by inflammation, whether that inflammation came from sports or exercise or just sitting with bad posture at work.”
“So no matter how your body has been worn down or has become inflamed, cryotherapy can help relieve pain and speed up recovery,” he adds.
We won’t be surprised if we see more advanced recovery methods and tools in the coming year.
For more info, visit https://cryo-fit.com
Fitness Trend: HIIT Fusion
Taking part in a HIIT class, but what about combining HIIT with something else?
HIIT fusion takes your workout to the next level. By mixing HIIT with another workout, whether it’s yoga, Pilates, cycling, or rock climbing. You’ll get an even more intense training session than before.
Just take it from Vera Soh, teacher and programs manager at Yoga Movement: “Yoga works mainly on flexibility, muscular endurance and muscular strength, while HIIT training focuses more on cardiovascular endurance and body composition,” she says. “[These] classes combine yoga and HIIT training to offer a well rounded exercise regime within a one-hour class, making sure that all aspects of fitness are touched on.”
“Yoga has been a trend for many years. However, people do want to see an evolution in yoga, especially with HIIT becoming back on trend,” she adds. “So mixing things up to keep the fitness industry fresh is always a good idea!”
Chris Magee, head of yoga at Another Space, also believes that such training is beneficial, as it “is hugely important to maximise the potential of your body. HIIT, for example, provides the perfect compliment to your yoga practice without too much crossover or exhaustion while yoga practice increases your isometric strength and joint stability.”
“Mash-ups provide a challenging but effective workout which supports any short or long-term goals, but it helps in building up your stamina, endurance and cardiovascular health,” he adds.
For more info on HIIT Yoga, visit http://www.yogamovement.com/classes
Fitness Trend: Mobile Gyms/Micro Gyms
THE GYM POD
We get it – sometimes, a regular gym membership can be way too expensive. Plus you’ll be working out with a whole bunch of people that look really intimidating. So, what are your options?
Mobile and micro gyms could be the next big thing to tackle your gym and fitness woes. Instead of paying a long-term subscription to your usual gym chains, you have the option of paying per entry to workout at your convenience with no strings attached.
Places like The Gym Pod feature an exclusive and private exercise area for you to workout in without worrying about time, space, and comfort.
“Gym Podders will be able to achieve a wide variety of fitness goals, from losing weight to gaining muscle mass, regardless of whether they are a beginner or an advanced user,” says Damian Chow, Co-founder of The Gym Pod.
While some may still value the size and variety of equipment from typical commercial gyms, these smaller gym alternatives may be the next big thing to look out for, especially if you don’t feel like paying more for all the bells and whistles of larger gyms that you won’t even bother about.
From as low as SGD$2.09 per session. For more info, visit https://www.thegympod.com
Fitness Trend: Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)
Everyone has heard of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) training by now. We all know the benefits of these workouts – they’re short, they help you torch fat, and there’s a huge range of different workouts you can try.
But what if there is something on the opposite end of the spectrum that could be just as useful?
LIIT sounds counterintuitive, but it could be your next big workout in 2019. It uses similar concepts from HIIT except you’ll be performing movements that won’t be so taxing on you. Think of it as a slow burn instead of a quick blaze.
“[The] benefits to LIIT is its focus on recovery, mobility, mobilisation and the use of low impact exercises, machines and body weight,” says David Norman, Virgin Active’s Head of Fitness for South East Asia. “In our fast paced world, people’s urgency and demand for immediate results mean that it is increasingly important to balance both yin and yang for ultimate performance gains and we expect LIIT to be as popular as HIIT in 2019.”
“There are plans for Virgin Active to introduce LIIT classes into its group exercise schedule across all of its clubs in 2019, of which one such class will be designed in-house,” adds Norman. “Virgin Active sees the need for people to balance the intensity of their trainings at both ends of the spectrum, and this can be achieved by educating them of the importance of quality movement sessions and that recovery is vital for better performance in the long run.”
Apart from that, research by fitness brand Les Mills found that getting your heart rate above 90 per cent of your max for more than 30 to 40 minutes per week might be less beneficial to your fitness than you think. Plus, as its name implies, it’ll be a lot easier on your body when you perform these exercises.
If you’re doubtful, there has been research backing up its effectiveness. Studies in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine in 2015, and the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, published in 2013, concluded that LIIT is much easier to consistently do. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2015 also found that people who did HIIT and LIIT lost similar amounts of weight.
Looks like it’s time to take it slow.
Visit https://www.virginactive.com.sg to stay up-to-date with their class offerings.
Fitness Trend: DNA Training
People have been training and getting fit for years, so what can be done to improve your training style? Can more effective exercise be tailored to your specific body type?
Just like certain bodies respond differently to different foods, some argue that each body also requires different types of exercise to truly unlock its genetic potential. This is where ELXR comes in. ELXR is a fitness mobile application which functions as a DNA-based training programme taking fitness and sports-based apps to a whole different level.
“𝛼– actinin-3 (ACTN-3) is one of the most researched genes pivotal to training response, recovery and injury risk,” says ELXR Founder Steffan Fung. “Analysis of the user’s ACTN-3 gene using the ELXR DNA test kit allows the user to identify the type of sports he/she may be best suited for: power, endurance or hybrid.”
“By providing this information based on a genetic analysis of one’s muscle fibre type, we believe this to be the way to unlock an individual’s fitness potential, which is already a predisposition of your body,” Steffan adds.
So, why should you be more interested in this type of specialised, bespoke training?
“Each individual’s trainability is different, as well as start state fitness and goal. With these various data points, we can then provide a more personalised training program for each and everyone.”
Once you’ve taken your DNA test to identify your body type (Power/Balance/Endurance), and undergone the physical fitness assessment designed by the ELXR team, the app will then be able to use your genetic and fitness profile to generate customised training programmes that fit you specifically. Looks like the future of fitness and health is arriving sooner than you think.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer