Step away from the sofa
There have never been more high-tech and unusual ways to work out. We review the new generation of fitness trends, classes and gadgets that will be keeping you in shape in 2011…
A barbell class that will strengthen your body. This strong workout challenges all your major muscle groups with the best weight-room exercises – such as squats, presses, lifts and curls – all in a group environment with funky music. What does it do? It will give you increased strength and endurance in your major muscle groups, improve overall fitness, and make you seriously buff. Because it is weight-bearing, it will also improve your bone density, helping ward off conditions like osteoporosis. Will I lose weight? Burn up to 400 calories per class so you’ll be trim in no time. Where can I do it? At most gyms. Visit www.lesmills.com/global/bodypump for more details.
In a nutshell, group sessions on exercise bikes.
What does it do? If you find it hard to motivate yourself and tend to just plod along on an exercise bike, this class is for you. You’ll be pushed to cycle ‘uphill’ and in fast spurts to go with the music. And because you’re in a group, you’re less likely to slack off. It’s great for your cardio fitness – and, of course, your legs and bum. Will I lose weight? For sure, expect to burn about 400 calories an hour. Where can I do it? At your local gym.
Pronounced ‘viper,’ it stands for vitality, performance and reconditioning. It’s basically an odd-looking, large tube that is available in seven weights (4-20kg), which can be lifted, flipped, carried, and tilted for an effective, and fun, whole-body workout.
What does it do? Works on muscles, respiratory and cardio functions. Michol Dalcourt, who devised the system based on Canadian farming methods (no, seriously), says: ‘The majority of traditional strength training programmes split the body into parts and train isolated muscles or muscle groups, but more and more research is indicating that training the whole body in one movement produces better results. The ViPR works all major muscle groups simultaneously. This produces fantastic muscle tone and strength.’ Will I lose weight? Expect to burn around 300 calories a session, and improve muscle definition. Where can I do it? David Lloyd leisure clubs (www.davidlloyd.co.uk); Virgin Active (www.virginactive.co.uk).
Already the fastest- growing, fitness-based dance craze in the USA, Zumba® combines steps from Latin dance. Fusing merengue, salsa, mambo, samba, bachata, reggaeton, cumbia and hip hop moves with an infectious Latin soundtrack, it’s sure to get temperatures rising.
What does it do? Zumba gives you a fun, full-body workout – and teaches you some Latin dance moves, too. ‘The classes are great fun. You’re taught easy-to-learn toning steps. Members leave the classes feeling energised and uplifted and over time, fitter and more toned,’ said Gillian Reeves, national group exercise manager at Virgin Active. Will I lose weight? Yes all that shimmying and shaking will help you burn up to 700 calories an hour. Where can I do it? Ask at your gym, or visit www.virginactive.co.uk, or www.zumba.com
A vibrating platform you stand on while you do exercises. Power Plate classes are fun-filled, short sharp workouts typically 30 minutes long. You do each exercise for only 30-60 seconds before you move on to the next. Some classes focus on strengthening and toning specific body parts; others incorporate cardio blasts to burn even more calories.
What does it do?? Vibration training will change your body shape by lifting, firming and toning. It also helps increase bone density and bloodflow, making it helpful for arthritis and joint pain. Will I lose weight? For sure – a 15- minute session gives you a whole body workout and burns up to 400 calories an hour. ‘Regular Power Plate training will strengthen your muscles and reduce body fat,’ says Power Plate master trainer, Caroline Pearce. ‘When you have a greater proportion of muscle to fat, your metabolism increases and you burn more calories while sat watching TV or working at your desk!’ Where can I do it? Most UK gyms.
This consists of classes that are based on dances from the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing including the Argentine tango, foxtrot, rumba and the American smooth. All of the exciting new moves are set to up-to-date music from popular artists, as well as movie classics. What does it do?? This gets you swirling round the dance floor like your fave Strictly celeb. It will help improve posture, boost confidence and improve your social life, too. ‘Most exercise, including dancing, involves meeting new people who can become your pals.’ says Strictly Fit instructor Cheryl Dunne, who was trained by the Strictly Come Dancing show’s head judge and dance expert, Len Goodman.
Will I lose weight?
The whole body gets a workout which can help with weight loss and boost stamina. It will help you to burn around 350 calories an hour
Where can I do it? Fitness First gyms – see www.fitnessfirst.co.uk/strictly
It’s pilates, but hardcore. Originating in LA, Beautcamp Pilates is a fitness regime using ‘reformer’ machines that produce great results in a short time.
What does it do? Favoured by the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Elizabeth Hurley, Beautcamp is the sure-fire way to get an A-list body. The regime of stretches, resistance work, weights, lunges, squats and sit-ups gives you a highly intense cardiovascular workout combined with specific strength, core and flexibility strengthening. This means you burn fat fast for a leaner silhouette. It also helps to improve posture and gives you a flat tum and leaner thighs – what’s not to love?
Will I lose weight? You’ll definitely shift pounds, and possibly transform your body in ten sessions. Expect to burn around 300 calories an hour. Where can I do it? Currently in the UK, Beautcamp is only London-based at the moment, but it’s soon set to roll out across the country – visit www.beautcamppilates.co.uk
New classes on the block
This is high-level interval training involving 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for four minutes (eight cycles). It’s a great way to burn off fat and increase stamina.
This class involves upper-body rotational exercise – or spinning with your arms, to you and me. Using the Kranking bike improves cardio fitness, core and upper body strength, and is great for people with reduced lower body mobility.
At David Lloyd leisure clubs, Jukari Fit to Flex™ classes are inspired by the incredible spirit, artistry and flexibility of Cirque du Soleil performers and Reebok’s expertise in women fitness. The classes use a lightweight elastic band and improve co-ordination, flexibility and muscle tone.
Virgin Active has introduced this hi-tech workout. It’s an exercise bike with a computer screen attached that brings gaming and exercise together. It gives a total-body workout and burns 50% more calories than a conventional exercise bike.