Fitness trends for 2013

By Liz Montes

The fitness industry, like many industries, goes through cycles; what was popular is sometimes no longer.  New trends come along and sometimes old trends come back working better than ever.  Some trends like pole-dancing thankfully just plain die out.  That is a good thing… it shows that there is always the need and desire for improvement in this ever-changing industry.

However, strength training and body weight training still lead the way in fitness trends.  They are old and tried trends that produce results, thus their longevity, according to the American College of Sports Training (ACSM).  Spinning for example is one of the “fad” exercises that is practiced by fewer people and “spinning” down in popularity.  This is after the ACSM seventh year survey of 3,346 health and professional experts.  Their votes make way for the trends and fads in the fitness industry.  And according to us we know what people like and what works!

Strength training for several years now always makes the top of the list because of the real benefits that pay off like never before.  If you aren’t strength training you are really missing out, and more importantly at a huge disadvantage as you age.   It increases lean muscle mass which in turn burns more calories because it increases your metabolism.  It aids in sleep, wards off back pain, protects you from disease.  The benefits are so numerous I don’t have room to go on.  Anyway, if you aren’t doing it, you are so missing out!  If you decide to weight train please have a plan, stay consistent, break a sweat, breathe properly and think of working the whole body.  Working the large muscle groups increases your metabolism considerably more than just working the arms.

A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that women who lifted challenging weights burned double the calories and sculpted the body more effectively than lifting lighter weights for 15 repetitions.  Your workouts have to be challenging to get the maximum benefit.  Because muscle is more compact than fat, your clothes will fit better and you will become more defined.  Who doesn’t want to look firmer?

General guidelines to begin your workout program should include the following.  Choose eight to ten exercises that target the major muscle groups.  Begin with chest, back, core, lower body, shoulders and arms.  If you are a beginner begin slowly.  Set your goals to train two to three non-consecutive days a week.  Use good form and train through a full range of motion.  You would not believe the number of people I see in gyms that weight train in bad form and in short choppy motions.  This can lead to injuries and short inflexible muscles.   In order to continue to improve your strength and overall fitness it is important to progressively increase the intensity of your exercise program.  The easiest way to stimulate your body is to try something new; just make sure to do it correctly.  Change is good and you should change your workout programs every four to six weeks. This will have the continued training effect needed to achieve your fitness goals.

If you are like most, you will begin 2013 with your special New Year resolutions.  And on that list, add an exercise program and or diet that will get you the body you want.  Make it simple and you will reach your goals.

Have realistic expectations for 2013 and don’t expect results after your first session.  Have patience and give it the time and attention it requires.  It took some time for you to get unfit and/or fat, so have the patience to take care of yourself.  Having motivation and a positive attitude is also key.  Getting to your exercise program may be a challenge but once you do you will feel better.  It is something you have to make happen each and every day.  Try to do something, take a walk in this beautiful city of ours.  We are fortunate to be here and the weather can’t be beat!

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