It’s 2019 and that means it’s time to branch out. Whether you’re setting fitness goals or renewing your commitment to the gym, this year is yours. The best part about turning over the calendar is the fresh start it gives you on any routine — especially around fitness. Yes, the gym will be more crowded throughout this month and next, but we have faith that you’ll stick to it. To help you crush whatever goals you’re putting on your list for the next 365 days, we took a look ahead at what’s going to be big, and what you should definitely try at least once. After all, mixing it up is the key to healthy workout longevity.
We chatted with the teams at ClassPass and Aaptiv, as well as a longtime veteran of the fitness industry Amanda Freeman and newcomer on the scene, Nathan Forster of NEOU. Here are five classes they recommend you try this year.
To look ahead, we must look back, and the treadmill is what’s still working. “Barry’s and Orangetheory are the OGs and still reigning brands in the treadmill workout world, but this year they’re going to have a lot of competition,” Amanda Freeman, Founder/CEO of SLT and Stretch*d says. We saw the launch of the Peloton Tread, which is now shipping to homes across the nation and with it, a plethora of live and streaming classes in the corresponding app. “There are treadmill-only studios, at-home offerings and new entrants to the treadmill/interval training hybrid game,” Freeman says. When you combine cardio and strength training in one class, it’s a quick and easy way to win. “Sweat and soreness? Check!” Freeman says.
To test: Barry’s Bootcamp, Mile High Run Club, Orangetheory and Peloton Tread classes.
Angela Leigh, Director of Talent at Aaptiv, saw a 14 percent increase in stretching classes taken year over year. “Members are experiencing the benefits that stretching provides, and it’s becoming more of a habit vs. a chore,” Leigh says.
If you have a warm up and cool down built into your workouts, you might already have some sort of stretching routine, but it’s worth taking another look at it. And if you don’t have any current practice, this is a good place to start. When you think of stretching, think beyond static stretching. “We offer sports specific, active and dynamic, proper warm-up and warm-down classes per category, stress reduction, FRC (functional range conditioning), commuter and workplace stretches, chronic pain stretch classes and much more,” Leigh says. “We want this category to be a universal healing category for everyone.” There are many different ways to make stretching a part of your everyday fitness routine.
To Test: Look at your local YMCA for yoga, stretching and mobility classes. Boutique gyms will likely offer an extended stretching program, or look at recovery-specific classes and studios, like ReCover, Mile High Run Clubs’ recovery room, and Tone House’s ice bath in the locker rooms. If you’re in New York, look up Stretch*d, the one-on-one assisted stretching studio. It’s basically like paying for a physical therapist to fix you without there having to be anything broken or a doctors note.
Weights and Strength Training
Once your body is feeling more mobile, it’s time to add some weight. The easiest way to do that is to start with bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups and squats, but if you find yourself getting bored easily, check out NEOU. “Guys should take more bodyweight boot camp classes this year, such as Christi Marraccini’s boot camp GO on the NEOU app,” Nathan Forster, co-founder of NEOU says. “Body weight workouts do so much for you and you never have an excuse for not having gym equipment. You can always be active and moving to achieve more.”
If you’re ready for more of a challenge and don’t want to work out at home or in your home gym, consider a gym membership. These days, you don’t even need to buy one for the whole year. ClassPass, the app that lets you book boutique studio classes (like yoga, boxing, cycling and more), also allows app users to schedule time at local gyms without a membership. In 2018, there was a serious uptick in gym access and strength training for men, according to the app’s data. There was a 159 percent increase in reservations among males that were booking gym access.
To Test: While a monthly gym membership might be out of reach for some, there are cost-effective gyms like Blink, New York Sports Club, Snap Fitness or Anytime Fitness.
As far as types of workouts go, there’s a lot of re-inventing the wheel to make fitness fun and exciting. The one thing that never changes is the effectiveness of a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout and the success of classes that focus on that. A HIIT workout takes the basic moves: squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, wall-sits and more, mixes them up for an intense period of time followed by rest. One of the workouts that we’ve seen succeed in the past year is ConBody, the prison-based workout developed by Coss Marte. He opened up a gym location in NYC, was one of the first to have a spot on Saks Fifth Avenue’s wellness floor and is now expanding nationwide thanks to NEOU, an app that offers live and streaming workouts. NEOU will add classes from ConBody at the end of January, further solidifying its success in the new year. There’s no need to mess with what works.
To Test: Download the NEOU app to try out a variety of HIIT workouts, or check out most boot camp classes. Places like the Fhitting Room feature a variety of stations and rotations, Life Time Fitness offers many HIIT classes and F45 is still going strong (The Australian 45-minute workout class where you never stop moving).
If you haven’t tried boxing yet, 2019 is the year to do it. “Once relegated to one-on-one format, 2019 will be the year where boxing takes its place near the top of the group fitness world,” Amanda Freeman, founder/CEO of SLT and Stretch*d says. There’s not a muscle group this workout doesn’t touch. You punch constantly throughout class working on your shoulders, upper back, arms and abs. Intermixed in there are ducks, squats and other protective moves, which force you to be light on your feet (working your agility) as well as feel some burn in your glutes and legs as you pivot, turn and try to stay grounded. Finally, most boxing classes end with a heavy amount of ab work. Seeing as your core will increase the power of each and every punch, it pays to have strong abs. Throughout the entire class, you’re sweating due to the quick nature of each move. After just one class, you’ll understand how boxers are in such top-notch shape.
To Test: As with most trends that start in New York or Los Angeles and then spread its fingers throughout the entire U.S., Freeman believes boxing is next. Leaders like Rumble and Shadowbox provide punishing cross-training in a beautiful space. You can also look to UFC, Title Boxing, Sobekick and 9 Round.
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