Maybe the gym isn’t your thing. That’s okay. Fitness is not one size fits all, and this year’s trends are all about customizing exercise to work for you and your budget. Whether you work out in your living room or the local gym, you can get fit on a dime in 2013.
Body-Weight Training: The latest fitness craze is absolutely free. It requires no gym or pricey equipment. Instead, this form of strength training uses your body weight as resistance. We’re talking the basics like push-ups and squats, and using everyday objects to create your own suspension systems like a kitchen chair, doorframe or stairway. If you are a gym rat, you will notice more classes based on these principles.
Virtual Experience: Travel the world for the price of your monthly membership. Now you can hike the Grand Canyon or run the Vegas strip on treadmills, ellipticals, cycles and steppers. Matrix Virtual Active technology utilizes video, ambient noises, and simulates the feel of terrain changes by adjusting incline or resistance. Try this trend on the cheap by downloading virtual workouts ($7.95) to your tablet computer and bringing it along to the gym.
Cardio Anything: Elevate any activity with a dose of cardio. Cardio Tennis utilizes group drills and interval-like training to burn more calories than your typical tennis game. We also like Piloxing, which transforms Pilates into a cardio workout by incorporating boxing and dance. Trampoline parks are turning play into cardio for the whole family with dodgeball games, basketball hoops and fitness classes.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): If time is money, then you’ll save with this trend, which cuts exercise time significantly (making it possible to squeeze a full workout in on your lunch break). HIIT alternates periods of intense exercise with rest like sprinting and walking, but can be more beneficial than a steady hour spent on the treadmill by accelerating weight loss and post-workout metabolism, meaning you burn more calories after your workout.
Self-Monitoring: Earlier this week we told you about the latest fitness apps, which segues to our next trend, self-monitoring. Pedometers have gotten a facelift recently and devices like the FitBit One and Jawbone UP not only track how many steps you take, but how well you sleep at night and other wellness stats. It sends the data to your computer and smartphone where you can see graphs and track progress towards your goals. The FitBit has a companion scale which tracks weight, body fat and BMI over time with graphs and online tools.
Final Word: When the budget’s tight, the costly personal trainer is the first to go—a trend that has led more trainers to offer small group sessions, which cuts costs significantly. Just make sure there are no more than four people in your group so you still get the personalized attention that makes these sessions worthwhile.