Why not take a fresh look at your 2019 fitness regime

Ready to mix up your gym schedule? Here are the workout crazes you can look forward to trying in the new year, says Liz Connor.

Exercise used to be a kind of arduous torture that plenty of us avoided at all costs, but thanks to influencers, boutique gym studios and wearable gadgets, it’s had a total rebrand — and more of us are spending our hard-earned cash on fitness than ever before.

Each year, shiny new workout trends promise to shake up the Lycra-clad landscape, and there’s plenty to sink your teeth into over the coming months.

So while last year we grimaced through strength training and functional fitness, this year there’s a whole new way to sweat..

1. Contractless gym hopping

The days of signing up to a year of slogging it out at the same local leisure centre are long gone. Instead, we’ll be accessing tap-and-go apps that allow us to pick and choose from hundreds of different specialist studios around the country.

Leading the charge is MoveGB (movegb.com), which has been dubbed the ‘Netflix of the fitness industry’.

Research from the company shows that gym bunnies who flit between multiple venues are four times more likely to stay active six months later than those who stick to the same gym, proving it pays to keep your options open.

Balance Festival (balance-festival.com) also reports that gym loyalty is waning, with 40% of fitness fans saying they don’t own a gym membership, but 70% saying they enjoy boutique fitness classes.

2. A return to the treadmill

Niche fitness offerings are all well and good, but according to ClassPass (classpass.com), we’ll be stripping back our workouts.

The company says that treadmills are back in vogue, with consumer intelligence showing an 82% increase in bookings for classes involving a running machine last year.

Rather than plugging in a sluggish speed and jogging for 30 minutes, we’ll be chasing an endorphin-rush at dedicated interval-based classes instead.

That way, there’ll be no chance of slacking off on your speeds, what with an instructor pushing you to pump up your incline and hit that sprint finish. There are already entire studios dedicated to this type of workout and most major gym chains already have a riff on the trend.

3. Flexible bands

That box of giant rubber bands you always see parked next to the dumbbells? It’s about to become your best friend.

If you haven’t tried working out with a resistance band before, 2019 is your year:

They’re ideal for making floor workouts more effective while firing up your muscles during basic stretches. In fact, Pinterest reports a 1,913% increase in searches for these nifty pieces of kit.

Slip them over your thighs to add a burn to squat variations and glute bridges, or use a longer looped band to make pull-ups and rows more challenging. Best of all? You can buy your own set and use them at home while you’re on a Netflix binge.

No gym necessary.

4. Bootcamp workouts

If you’re predisposed to procrastination in the gym, sometimes military-style training is the only way to get the job done. Army-inspired workout classes can help you to burn 1,000 calories in a single session, using a mixture of running and weights to tone muscle and maximize fat loss.

Look out for gyms offering variations on the trend. Expect workouts that are tough and sweaty, but you can always treat yourself to a slick protein shake afterward.

5. Competitive spirit

2019 is all about setting yourself a challenge. Rather than just working out for the sake of getting fit, now you’ll be ‘training’ with an end goal in sight - whether it’s to run a marathon, take on an Ironman challenge (ironman.com) or get your squad together for a day on the Tough Mudder (toughmudder.ie) assault course.

If going head-to-head is your sort of thing, and you fancy a trip to the UK, you can get your competitive spirit fired up at Turf Games (turfgames.com), a functional fitness and team-based competition, where guys and girls can lift, flip, press and jump to try and beat each other.

The games will be happening across three yet-to-be announced cities across the UK, with the chance to be named the Turf champion in your area.

Game on.

6. Ballet for boys

Ballet-inspired fitness classes soared in popularity a couple of years ago.

This will finally be the year, though, that we’ll shed the outdated idea that barre is an activity solely for women, with studios becoming a gender-neutral zone.

Let’s face it, barre is no easy workout and there are some pretty brilliant reasons why guys should try it out. It’s non-impact, it improves flexibility, bolsters core strength and challenges your endurance — making it a great choice for runners looking to supplement their marathon training without putting themselves at risk of injury.

7. Virtual reality workouts

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), US company Black Box VR (blackbox-vr.com) debuted the world’s first virtual reality fitness machine.

Designed to tackle the sedentary element of gaming, their VR chest press comes with a headset that puts players in a virtual world, where you perform reps to fight your opponent.

You can level up your fitness while gaming, using speed, strength, and endurance to help you win.

We’re pretty sure it won’t be long until VR headsets land in boutique fitness studios. Watch this space.

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