Fitness is constantly evolving due to a combination of consumer demands and increasing knowledge of biomechanics. While the "big pump" lives on, working out is no longer about getting huge, nor is it about leotards. People have shifted into making fitness simple, social and short. The top five fitness classes this year may be of no surprise to you, you sweat junkie. But if you haven't tried one of these, yet, sign up and show up!
SoulCycle: It's not just a bike ride. This spinning class takes cardio to a new level of enlightenment by giving riders a place to shake it out. Expect big music with choreographed speeds and exercises for a full body workout. The lighting is anything but fluorescent (try candlelight). Instructors have that extra spark that can't be taught. They lead cyclists through an emotional and physical 45-minute ride. One class is $34, and packages (like 50 for $3,500) come with perks if you decide to buy a package (think concierge services and priority on wait lists). It's more than a class; SoulCycle is also a brand, partnering with Apple, Lululemon and the high-end home furnishing line, Jonathan Adler. It's easy to see why these classes are only available in Big East Coast cities right now (with the exception of California). Many spinning studios are beginning to create affordable versions of this workout without illegally stepping on toes. If you're taking a trip to one of these cities, make it a point to grab a seat in a SoulCycle class and let us know what you think!
Bodyweight: Tried and true, the bodyweight workout is doing quite well in 2015. This workout is ideal for busy moms, people who can't or won't drop dough on equipment and for folks on vacation or traveling for business. You can literally work out anywhere at anytime. The definition ranges from pure bodyweight resistance and movement to using reinforcements like the TRX straps, resistance bands and pull-up rigs. It's a level playing field for all participants with the ability to modify and advance quickly and efficiently. It allows you to develop good form before you go stacking weight or speed. You can get by with a 10-minute bodyweight circuit; you can take it slow or speed it up with plyometrics; mix in strength training with bursts of cardio; try new and creative exercises, and more.
CrossFit: It just won't go away! Only kidding. This workout is a phenomenal example of the social aspect people want right now. Even if you aren't working out in a class, you still look at the whiteboard and size up the competition. CrossFit is a combination of gymnastics, track and field and Olympic weightlifting. With good coaches and programming, athletes can modify and push themselves in the same workout. It gives participants a clear goal and a push to get there. With a competitive personality, it will become addicting. It does get a reputation for being dangerous, but with common sense and a knowledgable coach, you'll be fine. Gym memberships cost between $100 and $200 per month with the idea that it's the only place you'll attend for workouts, dropping in four to five times a week. Partner and team workouts are common, so bring a friend.
>> Read more: CrossFit: How to Make This Workout Work for You
Small Team Training: Not only does this go under the "social" demands of trending workouts, but also cost-effective. Personal trainers can cost a couple hundo for a few sessions. Why not break down that cost by splitting it with two or three other people? Small team training creates an environment where people can feel like they're getting a lot of attention and still needing to step up their game to keep up with the others. Team training is quickly growing in popularity because participants feed off of the camaraderie. Les Mills GRIT Series is a profitable example of this workout. As one of 13 programs under the Les Mills umbrella, GRIT is a pre-choreographed 30-minute workout in three areas: cardio, strength and plyometrics. It offers challenges, tests, progress tracking and more.
HIIT: This workout was projected to rank in the top 10 for this year and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere. High intensity interval training is a quick workout, anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes. The idea is to get your heart rate up high enough that your body shifts into a different energy burning system. Steady cardio burns fat while HIIT, or anaerobic training, burns fat and carbs (find your fat-burning zone here). HIIT is not for the faint of heart or the beginner. One to two HIIT workouts a week is ideal for the athlete looking to get more out of their workouts and challenge themselves. It is often confused with Tabata, which traditionally is four minutes of 20-second work periods and 10-second rests. HIIT work periods and breaks vary greatly. They can be done with simple bodyweight exercises and you don't need to spend a lot of time doing it (just a lot of effort!).
>> Read more: HIIT or Tabata: Pick Your Poison