May 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm EDT | by Bucky Mitchell
HIIT me with your best shot
HIIT, gay news, Washington Blade

Not every fitness fad is worthwhile, but some can be effective ways of mixing up your fitness routine.

A big way the fitness industry evolves and changes is through its trends and fads. Here are some of the latest to keep you in tip-top shape as beach season quickly approaches.

Our time is precious and over the past few years there has been an ever-increasing trend to have better, more efficient workouts in less time. As a result, you will continue to see an increase in circuit-style classes, the Tabata method and HIIT (high intensity interval training) offerings increase at your gym. If you aren’t familiar with these types of methods, let me break them down for you.

Circuit style classes generally involve different stations where you move from one exercise to the next within a certain time, generally 30 to 45 seconds per exercise with limited breaks between rounds.

Much like circuit training, the Tabata method uses shorted intervals in which you’re working in short burst of energy and pushing as hard as you can for 20 seconds, then breaking for 10 seconds.

Lasting about 25 to 30 minutes, HIIT generally follows a two-to-one ratio for exercises, meaning your recovery time is twice as long as the time it takes to do the exercise itself. For example, if you did burpees for 30 seconds, you then would recover for 60 seconds.

Although we often go to the gym to relieve stress and tension, we also go to improve brain function. Therefore, you will also start to see trends that incorporate and require cognitive building skills.

So what do those exercises and trends look like? One of the easiest ways to achieve this trend is by doing exercises that have unstable surfaces, such as the bozu ball, swiss ball or even yoga, that require you to balance and stabilize while completing a particular exercise. For instance, doing squats on two bozu balls is significantly more challenging then doing them on the floor because the brain has to think harder to both stabilize your position and then complete the motion of the squat.

In addition to using unstable surfaces, you will also start to see group classes that use multi-planar movements. Instead of doing one exercise in place for a period of time, you will do two exercises in two different planes of motion. For instance, doing walking lunges with bicep curls simultaneously.

And who doesn’t love a good game? If you haven’t already, you’ll soon start seeing classes that pair you with a partner to do physical obstacles that also involve strategy and answering certain questions to move on to the next challenge. Think of it like “The Amazing Race.”

Striking the perfect balance between the dynamics of a large group fitness class and the one-on-one attention you would get from a personal trainer, small group training is now in. Not only is small group training cheaper per session then one-on-one personal training, it also has the distinct advantage of being small enough to get really great, personalized instruction from the instructor or the personal trainer to ensure that you are doing the exercises correctly, something that is often missed in the larger group class setting.

In addition, small group training tends to build a sense of community and belonging, which in turn increases your accountability with sticking to a small group training regimen. And of course any time you build a community and a relationship with the people you work out with, it will be considerably more fun and you will work harder knowing that others are doing it and push themselves right along with you.

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