Now that we’re two months into the new year, many of us have fallen off the fitness wagon.
Here are four easy-to-digest tips and trends – from manageable at-home workouts to activewear that doubles as everydaywear – to help you get back into the game.
Buy a gadget: The 2,000 health and fitness professionals surveyed for ACSM's Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends 2019 have spoken: wearable technology is the current number one fitness trend. It's what you're wearing on your wrist that's going to help you stick with that resolution to finally get into shape. Gone are the days of desperately grabbing at the bars of a treadmill to measure your heart rate. Look instead to trackers, smartwatches and monitoring belts to keep a check on just how impactful your workout has been, and how much more intense it needs to be to reach your specific goals (more on that below).
The survey nods to companies such as Misfit, Garmin and Apple for the best devices to track calories, heart rate and even your sitting time. If you haven’t quite figured out when you’re most on form, the discreet Garmin Vivosmart 4 band actually measures how much energy you have throughout the day, to tell you when it’s best for you to work out, so there’s no excuse not to exercise while you’re feeling on top of the world.
A routine that suits: Look not just for posterior-heavy Instagram posts eulogising the squat and the burpee ("generally, younger women are wanting bigger glutes," observes Dubai personal trainer Clare Kershaw), but for exercise that fits into a more modern way of life. Whether you use savvy equipment to target areas you feel need extra work, or workouts that slot into your specific working day, make exercising focused and short enough to slot into your lunch break.
Aaron Bickerstaff from Perform Better Middle East confirms that people are increasingly opting for shorter workouts to fit neatly into their day. “We are becoming busier in the UAE, and people are looking for a quick workout where they can burn calories, get a sweat on and feel like they have achieved something,” he says, suggesting that high-intensity interval training is a trend that’s here to stay. HIIT also ranks third on the list of fitness trends in the ACSM survey.
Find an app: Mobile exercise apps also made their way to the trends identified by the ACSM survey. These give you your own version of a personal trainer in your pocket. Runners might like MapMyRun or the Nike Run Club app for audio prompts and guidance as you hit the pavement, while Endomondo tracks your workouts as well as promises to "make fitness fun and help you stay motivated". Yoga bunnies can check out guided sessions on the Yoga with Janet Stone app, while FIIT has a free 30-day fitness plan.
The increase in demand for fitness apps suggests a growing need to slot exercise into our everyday lives in a more convenient way. Expect to see cool home workouts live-streamed, for example P-Volve (a virtual workout created by Stephen Pasterino, a personal trainer for Victoria’s Secret’s models), which simultaneously cuts down on your gym fees and travel time.
Meanwhile, at-home fitness providers Our Body Electric and Classpass Live offer hundreds of classes a week that you can tune into and enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Rather than choose from a timetable of 10 classes at one gym, live-streaming offers a huge breadth of choice and variation. It is also a saving grace for those who want to maximise their workout time yet keep up with other essential daily commitments.
Activewear alert: The same need for convenience can be expected of the clothing we'll choose to work out in this year. "We're seeing increases in sales in our core athleticwear, as well as our Office Travel Commute line across both women's and men's business," says Lululemon's Hillary Strath, indicating a demand for workout gear that doubles as everydaywear.
It seems there’s no end to fashion’s penchant for athleisure. Check out Nagnata for retro-inspired stretch activewear that you’ll want to wear beyond the confines of your next yoga class. The brand also focuses on sustainable fashion, crafting its colour-popping collections from organic materials using ethical methods of production.
“We wanted gear that could seamlessly take us from home to office to gym, and to pair an athleisure off-duty look with existing pieces in our wardrobe,” says Carol Aquino, co-founder of Audacia London. “We know women need multitasking clothing that works for them, not the other way around,” she adds.
Geared towards those who like high-impact workouts, Audacia London’s form-fitting collection, stamped with signature stars, is made for women who mean business and indicates a final fitness trend to consider this year: a move towards more women choosing high-intensity, weight-training exercise over yoga and cardio-based regimes.