WORKOUTS TO UP YOUR GAME IN 2018 These Will Kick Your A**
Sweat, baby, sweat.
You’re bored of the same old weight circuits at the gym and, let’s be honest, could trim a few holiday cookies from your dad-bod paunch. No problem: try a new workout.
Experts say you need four types of workouts to remain healthy as an ox. Those are aerobic, strength, balance, and flexibility. We’ve gathered a list that comprises them all, with workouts you never knew existed like Lumberjacking and some you need to just friggin’ try already (yep, yoga is one of them.)
If you ask fitness experts, which the American College of Sports Medicine did for its Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends For 2018, the popular training modalities for the coming year will be High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which topped the list at #1, followed by group fitness. New to the top 20 trends are licensure for fitness professionals, core training, and sport-specific training, and bumped from the lead compared to last year are worksite health promotion and smartphone exercise apps.
Follow the herd or do something completely different…like no-water surf classes (we’ll explain below).
Surf Fitness Training
You don’t need an ocean, river, or lake to shred the gnar and get that chiseled surfer bod you’ve always secretly wanted (sweat enough and you’ll get salty hair too). A major boutique fitness craze over 2017, indoor surf fitness studios have opened up throughout the country, using SurfSet boards that challenge your rotational core training and isometric stability. These boards, funded on Shark Tank, are quite literally a surfboard affixed to a base that simulate the physical demands of surfing…only without the waves. The board is portable and weighs about 35 lbs. if you want to purchase your own for in-home shredding. The result: fun and much harder than it looks.
Ahh, an oldie but a goodie. Yoga isn’t a new workout; in fact, it’s been around for about 5,000 years. If that’s not a sign of its success, I don’t know what is. This year, we particularly want you to try Hot Yoga, offered by national favorites like Pure Yoga, Yogafit, Exhale, CorePower, Prizm, and locally owned studios. Expect to sweat your ass off and gain tremendous flexibility and muscular definition. If you’re worried about stupid trifles like what kind of shorts to wear so your berries don’t hang, look to the men’s yoga apparel brand Kozm for athletic threads. Bonus: not only will you feel stronger overall (yoga works the miniscule muscles you’d never think or know how to work in a gym) but your overall demeanor toward daily life can change for the better.
Founded a little over a decade ago, Orangetheory Fitness has taught us the true meaning of sore. These group fitness classes pack treadmill intervals with rowing, free weights and suspension unit systems for non-stop, hour-long circuit training that will have you begging for your mommy. You’ll find all levels of fitness buff in the class (normally no larger than 25 people) and a measurable way to measure just how hard you pushed. Most Orangetheory participants wear a heart-rate monitor that is hooked into the studio’s system to display your personal stats on a screen in the workout room. This concept is based on the science of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption and designed to help you target certain “zones” that stimulate metabolism boosts and increase afterburn. One workout can burn between 500-1,000 calories and keep going for up to 36 hours after you’ve wiped your sweat stains off the floor.
Aka splitting wood, wood chopping…but not to complicate things: this workout consists of chopping wood outside for an hour. Perfect for the guy who cringes at Fitbits and fresh Nikes, the lumberjack workout blends both cardio and core (you’d be surprised how much core). But you’ll also feel fire in your shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, and entire back. Just make sure you’re executing each chop with correct form to boost gains and prevent injury. Double score, this workout should cut down your heating bill while eliminating the withdrawal of a gym membership. If you really get good, test your skills at one of the many Lumberjack Competitions.
Oh, shush. Dance classes, whether ballet (you don’t have to wear tights), ballroom, samba, or contemporary, is the manliest workout you’ll ever do. Learning partner combinations or twirling a fine woman during the tango (or women—these classes tend to be largely female) will not only get your cardio up but work your brain. Studies reported by Harvard’s Mahoney Neuroscience Institute show that, “dance helps reduce stress, increases levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, and helps develop new neural connections, especially in regions involved in executive function, long-term memory, and spatial recognition.” This workout simultaneously increases balance and coordination, plus adult classes average far less dinero than a CrossFit or group fitness punch card. Google local adult classes, pick a time, and do a drop-in class. The first is usually free so you have no excuse.
To be clear: boxing at a local gym…NOT a franchise. Make sure the gym is owned by former fighters so you’re getting legitimate training and find a Saturday a.m. class that will teach you how to punch correctly without breaking your thumb. Not only does boxing equip you with a real-world skill, but you’ll find an amazing sense of community within the ring; I’d say more than any other group workout setting or training. Another perk of boxing is it never gets boring since there are so many offshoots, from kickboxing to Muay Thai, MMA, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and old school Ali boxing. You may become engulfed in the training and develop a new level of discipline that will seep through the rest of your life. Plus, when a workout includes traditional sit ups and push-ups, you gotta appreciate the no-fluff approach. One six-pack coming right up.
Swedish outdoor gear and apparel brand Fjallraven created a long-distance backpacking trek called The Fjallraven Classic that will test your physical limits and give you an excuse to train for the distance. Pick you poison between 30 and 70 miles non-stop on trails around the globe (The Classic has traditionally been held in Sweden where the longest distance remains, but only a few years ago the brand began offering “shorter” 34-ish-mile trip in the U.S.). And this ain’t an easy day on the trails. You’ll be carrying a pack with all the food, drink, shelter, and aid you’ll need for more than three days. By the end, you’ll be exhausted but also elated at the new level of physicality you’ve pushed your body to. The President of Fjallraven and most of their executive staff does the trek every year, so you may run into them on the trail. Sign up for the 2018 U.S. edition or use this “workout” as an excuse to travel. Begin training immediately with the stair-climber. “Properly walk in your hiking boots and get used to carrying a heavy backpack. Start with easy walks in your local area and build up to over-night trips in more challenging terrain. We recommend that you have at least 200 hiking kilometres under your belt before your hit the Classic Sweden trail,” the brand advises.
You know those black-and-yellow TRX straps you might have seen dangling on the functional fitness rack in the gym? Well those simple straps can turn a 5x5 corner into a workout from hell. That’s all thanks to TRX’s creator, Randy Hetrick—a former U.S. Navy Seal Troop Commander who came up with the band concept hold up on a mission in a room no bigger than your closet. The Suspension Trainer straps alone can turn you into a beast, but more exciting is that TRX came out with a new line of functional workout tools including slam balls, kettlebells, battle rope, and straps. Many gyms offer TRX classes so if you’re not convinced, try it out before you invest in personal equipment. Find the pain almost enjoyable? Keep it up and become a certified TRX trainer.
So, you’re literally and physically pumped from all the new workouts. Keep the habit rolling and mark these workout modalities on your list for the second half of 2018: joining a local running club, Pilates, mountain biking, and cryotherapy and infrared recovery…because your body will need the boost in healing power.