Recently Reader’s Digest writer Liz Kennedy tested and reviewed her favorite fitness trends…we were so excited to see her top two trends — Zumba and TRX — are two of the favorites at Total Woman as well! We invite you to read her reviews and then come try Zumba and TRX for yourself!
If you’re like me, 45 minutes on the treadmill sounds like pure torture. But give me the latest fitness craze, and I’m raring to go. To help you navigate your gym’s exercise classes, I tested and reviewed five of the latest gym trends so you don’t have to.
If you like to dance, you’ll love Zumba! The class feels more like a party than it does a workout. Set to Latin music, Zumba will take you through both fast and slow dance moves that will burn fat and tone problem areas.
Not only was I hooked on the beats and dance moves after my first class, but I was also drenched in sweat. If the elliptical is getting too boring for you, Zumba is a great cardio alternative. If you like the bench press, however, this may not be the class for you.
From afar, TRX looks like some sort of torture device, but once you figure out all the straps, you’ll be suspending your body weight in no time. Designed by a Navy SEAL, the TRX program will tone your whole body without you having to pick up a single weight. The nylon straps create two forms of resistance during your exercises — your own body weight and gravity.
I could feel TRX literally working every muscle. Because many of the moves require you to use your core to balance, my abs were sore for 4 days after doing the workout — a new record for me! If you are a very unbalanced person, you might want to avoid TRX, but for me, I will definitely be adding this to my gym routine.
If you are looking for a cardio and weight lifting workout in one, kettlebells are the way to go. Invented by Russians in the 1700s, these cast iron weights are used by the Russian Secret Forces and U.S. Military. Through different variations of swings and lifts, kettlebells are meant to be an all-inclusive exercise regime.
Kettlebells are hardcore. Your heart rate will sky rocket and your muscles will burn. This may be one of my new favorite workouts because I feel like I am doing cardio and weightlifting in one. Thirty minutes of kettlebells and you are done.
4. The Bar Method
Using isometrics, The Bar Method creates long, lean sculpted muscles. By simply using a ballet bar, the class takes you through interval training that focuses on one major muscle group at a time. By contracting and stretching muscles, The Bar Method targets those hard to reach places like buns, thighs, triceps, and abs, with zero impact.
It looks easy, but let me tell you, it’s not. I was shaking. Literally. The Bar Method is a fun alternative to a ballet class and I can see how it would get your glutes in shape if done routinely. The same movements are done every single class, however, and that gets plain old boring to me.
5. Hot Yoga
Turn the heat up on your regular yoga practice with hot yoga. With temperatures around 105 degrees and humidity between 30-40 percent, hot yoga is meant to add intensity to your normal practice. Because of the heat, your body will work harder and therefore get stronger. Toxins in your body will also be released as you drip sweat.
If you can’t take the heat, get out of the yoga studio. Hot yoga is definitely not for everyone, especially if you don’t like to profusely sweat. I personally love a good sweat, so I really enjoyed the class. It took me a few sessions before I felt fully comfortable in the hot room, but after awhile I saw the added flexibility benefit. Though you are sweating and your heart rate is elevated, if you are looking for cardio or strength training, this isn’t the class for you.
Originally published by Shine from the Reader’s Digest blog, written by Liz Kennedy