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1. Functional fitness
It doesn't get more practical than this real-life-inspired workout style that leads the trend list for 2016. Functional fitness is all about exercise that mimics movements you need to perform in everyday life. Forget lifting weights or using machines to work individual muscles; this workout will have you practising movement patterns that aren't all that different from the ones you would use to climb stairs or load groceries into your car. When you're well-practised in functional fitness, daily tasks are easier and you're less likely to injure yourself when doing heavy lifting or odd jobs around the house. Hagan says the functional fitness trend is being driven by the baby boomers. "They're looking for ways to stay in shape to have quality independent living." But the aging population isn't the only demographic who's jumping on to this trend. Hagan explains that since many millennials didn't participate in the same kind of fitness activities their parents did growing up, they lack body awareness and strength in key muscle groups. "Functional fitness is a good way for them to build that foundational strength."
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2. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
It's no surprise that this workout trend is sticking around for 2016. One of the primary excuses for anyone who doesn't exercise is that they don't have time, but with HIIT, you can get the results of a 60-minute workout in just 30 minutes. As the name suggests, this fitness style involves working at a high-intensity, but for short intervals of time (think running or cycling as fast as you can for 45 seconds, then walking or slowing down for 60 seconds). Repeat for 20 to 30 minutes and you can call it a day. You can even do high-intensity moves like burpees and pushups interspersed with periods of active rest in high-intensity workouts like Tabata or Crossfit. It might seem counterintuitive that less time spent exercising is good for you, but the key is the intensity level, says Hagan. When you work out this way, you work aerobic and anaerobic systems at the same time, challenging your heart to pick up the pace then recover quickly. "You can combust a lot of calories going shorter but working harder," says Hagan. That's why this is a trend that's here to stay.
Learn more about HIIT.
3. Life/wellness coaching
If this January, you're looking to not just lose weight but also gain energy, quit smoking and better manage stress, you might find help from a fitness trainer and life coach. Though life coaching may not sound like a standard part of a workout plan, Hagan says an increasing number of fitness professionals are getting training and certification in life coaching. "These experts have a more rounded approach, so they can help you check more boxes," she says. "Consumers are taking a multi-disciplinary approach to their health. They're looking for ways to balance their lifestyles." To get started with a life coach, you'll usually fill out an extended questionnaire about your health history, diet, quality of sleep, happiness and exercise. One of the most important things a life coach can help you with is goal setting and focusing on why your goals are important to you. "If somebody doesn't have a deep, emotional ‘why' that they can really connect to, they typically will have trouble staying on target with their goals. That's why we see so many people fall off their diets or exercise programs," says Hagan.
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4. Nutrition and healthy eating programs
Healthy eating on its own may not be a trend (we've been trying it for years!), but today and in 2016 more than ever, we're seeing more fitness professionals taking their nutrition training to the next level, so they can advise clients about their eating habits. If you've got questions about what you should be eating to lose weight, build lean muscle or feel more energetic, there's a good chance your trainer or fitness instructor has had the training she needs to help you. When it comes to weight loss, we've been told that diet is even more important than exercise, and when you try to get active, fuelling your body properly is important, so this new trend is a great way to help you see results from your efforts, no matter what your fitness goal is.
Find out what to eat to fuel your workout.
5. Express workouts
Today, it seems we're all complaining of having less time than we used to. "The average person is really time starved," says Hagan. "Express workouts encourage people to work at a faster pace, to generate more results and to do it in less time." HIIT is actually an example of an express workout, but others include weight circuits at the gym, 30-minute bootcamps and other 30-minutes-or-less workouts. Personal trainers have begun offering packages for shorter session times because they realize that not everyone is willing to spend an hour exercising. The good news is that when we look at exercise as something on a sliding time scale and not something that requires an hour-long commitment, anyone can find time to do it. Getting some exercise—no matter how long—is always better than getting none.
Have a few minutes you can spare? Fit our 5-minute workout into your morning routine.