2011 has come and gone, along with some interesting workout fads. It was the year that people believed shoes could help them lose weight and the year that video games went from being a couch potato sport to a legitimate way to trim the waistline. Some of these workout fads are going the way of the thigh master, while others look like they are here to stay – at least until the next fad. No matter the fad, everyone should be taking the time to do some type of weight training. After all, the fad of not being fit didn’t make the list.
Shape-Ups, Easy Tones, FitFlops, MBTs. While it sounds like a dream come true to get better muscle definition by doing nothing more than walking, every scientific study performed on these shoes has only proved that muscle definition comes from the exercise and not the shoes. Despite Oprah’s endorsement, Reebok was ordered to pay $25 million back to consumers for promoting their Easy Tone line as a way to greatly increase the effects of exercise simply by walking. Many other brands are facing similar lawsuits, but many of the shoes are still for sale.
#2. Barefoot Running
On the other foot (pun intended), of fitness shoes is barefoot running. For a few weeks in early 2011, it seemed every magazine had an article on how bad shoes are human feet. The answer? To run barefoot or in toe shoes of course. While there are no published studies on the benefits of running barefoot yet, a number of exercise gurus offer anecdotal evidence and cite the fact that our ancestors did not have fancy shoes when they were running away from predators. Toe shoes offer an alternative for people that do not relish the idea of running over rocks in their bare feet without losing the supposed benefits of being barefoot – for people willing to pay close to $100 a pair.
Everybody dance now – using a mix of Latin inspired moves to rocking music. By no means the only dance workout available, it was one of the most popular workouts of 2011 and appealed to seemingly everyone. A dance class that works for people in any fitness range, it claims to have 12 million followers and offers group classes as well as DVDs. It also boasts a number of different variations, including aqua Zumba and kids classes that make it easily accessible for a wide audience and there is no sign of it losing popularity or following Jazzercise into the background.
#4. Boot Camps
Some people want to have fun when they workout and some people want the discipline and structure of joining the Marine Corps. Those who are not inclined to run out and enlist simply to get in shape can take advantage of the numerous boot camp workouts that sprung up in 2011. These classes are not designed to be fun but to work people as hard as possible and utilize circuit training and the basics of exercise to shed fat and increase muscle mass. Group classes are a very popular method since it builds a sense of camaraderie, but there are home options and many trainers are willing to work with individual clients. Check out our Official Boot Camp Workout Plan and start getting fit today!
The name says it all – Insanity. P90X and Insanity are sold by the same company and boast similar claims. Marketed as extreme workouts, both of these are home workouts that require large amounts of dedication and willpower. Insanity claims to burn 1,000 calories in one hour and P90X claims to be the #1 home workout. Both are aimed at people that want to slim down and bulk up in their homes and take exercising very seriously. These programs have been tremendously popular, but their severity may scare people off and it is unknown how well they will survive as more and more home workouts become available. Once you get the P90x workout schedule down, you should be on your way to becoming the ultimate fitness champ!
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Kettlebells look about as primal as possible – like a cannonball with a handle. Still, kettlebell workout plans were showing up during 2011. These alternatives to dumbbells can be used to weight train and increase flexibility and get a cardiovascular workout at the same time, depending on how they are used. Generally, they are only used one at a time, unlike dumbbells, but their shape is incredibly versatile, allowing some people to even “juggle” them. While they come in a variety of weights, the standard is 36 pounds, referred to as a pood. Yes, pood – it’s Russian. Since there is evidence that the kettlebell has been around for over 300 years, they are probably here to stay.
While a yoga workout is hardly a new workout, some of the different variations of yoga are certainly modern. Bikram Yoga, sometimes known as Hot Yoga, and aerial yoga are just the tip of the iceberg. Plain old yoga is not enough anymore apparently – there is naked yoga for the confident and even dog yoga for animal lovers and yoga for couples. The health benefits of yoga are not in question, but the ever-changing demands of the public mean that some of the classes will stand the test of time and others will sink into savasana never to be heard from again.
Pilates is so two years ago, and Piloxing is so last year. Pilates was a more complicated version of yoga sometimes requiring fancy machines, while Piloxing combines the basics of Pilates with boxing. These classes are advertised as a whole-body workout and strengthening program that can help promote weight loss. The designers of this workout seem to be aware that it is a fad since they call it the “latest Hollywood celebrity fitness craze.” No doubt it provides some great workouts, but it does not seem to differ very much from TaeBo or kickboxing at its core.
#9. Video Games
Video games used to be associated with overweight couch potatoes, but in 2011 they came to be synonymous with fitness…sort of. The Nintendo Wii kickstarted it and the Xbox Kinect is trying to top it by promoting it’s Your Shape video game. The games cover anything from dance to boxing to martial arts and even snowball fights while allowing people to work out in their home and have fun. They may sound like a joke, but these games are a great resource for people that are in questionable shape or that need to avoid high-impact workouts.
Phones used to be used to talk to people – now they are used to track miles run as well as calories consumed and burned and provide support and workout tips. The sheer number of apps available for smartphones is overwhelming, but they are one of the most popular types of apps available. These are handy ways for people to track what they eat or how much they workout as well giving them access to online workouts. Even casual users can use phones for support by posting on Facebook or tweeting how much they exercised for all the friends and followers to see.
There is no way of predicting which workouts will stay popular and which will quietly disappear from sight. The ones that seem to stand the test of time are rooted in basics and not gimmicks or gadgets that only make the promoters money. It is probably a safe bet that yoga and Zumba and video games and boot camps will be around for 2012 and beyond – unless the Mayans are right and the world ends in December.
Then all bets are off and hopefully that Piloxing class will have at least been fun. Either way, save money by staying away from fads like the Shake Weight and toning shoes and focus on good old-fashioned sweat to see results in 2012.
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