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Interval, Body-Weight Training Hot Trends for '14, Say Fitness Pros

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USA TODAY
October 24, 2013 Thursday
First EDITION
LIFE; Pg. 4D
566 words
Interval training has muscle for 2014;
Also among workout trends: Calisthenics
Nanci Hellmich, @nancihellmich, USA TODAY

Workout wimps, watch out: The top two fitness trends for 2014 are high-intensity interval training, such as P90X and CrossFit, and body-weight training such as push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and planks, according to an annual fitness trends survey out today.

Previous hot trends that didn't make the new top 20 list: Zumba (Latin-inspired dance workouts), Pilates, spinning, kickboxing, barefoot walking and running, and stability-ball workouts.

The American College of Sports Medicine surveyed more than 3,800 fitness professionals who work in commercial, clinical, community and corporate gyms and health clubs to identify the top 20 fitness trends worldwide for next year. They selected those trends from 38 choices.

The top trends don't take into account fitness activities people do on their own, and walking is the most popular physical activity in the USA.

High-intensity interval training involves working out as hard as you can for a short period of time, followed by a short, less-intense period, says Walt Thompson, lead researcher on the trends report and a regents' professor of kinesiology and health at Georgia State University in Atlanta. "These are really high-intensity, almost maximum-intensity, workouts such as P90X and CrossFit."

These workouts, which use a combination of exercises such as plyometrics (jumping), strength training, yoga, cardiovascular exercise and stretching, are aimed at people who are already accustomed to exercise and are looking for something different and challenging, he says.

Some like this kind of exercise because they can get fit in a short amount of time, but they are also at increased risk of injury, he says. "It could result in orthopedic injuries or cardiovascular complications for people who aren't accustomed to this kind of exercise. That's the danger of them, which is why I was surprised this came in as No. 1."

Several of the top 10 trends, including body-weight training and group personal training, may reflect the tight economy, Thompson says. "We are seeing people going back to basics and using relatively low-cost ways to get in shape."

Registered dietitian Nancy Clark of Boston, who wrote Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, says that for some, high-intensity interval training "is a way to relieve stress and work out frustrations."

But she isn't convinced this trend will last. "If Zumba has moved off the charts -- and that is fun -- how long will high-intensity exercise hang on? Likely longer among type-A, time-pressed people who are dedicated to maintaining their health."

Clinton Brawner, an exercise physiologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, says, "Almost everybody can start an exercise program like walking, but when we're talking about doing high-intensity interval training programs, then people with chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis or diabetes should consult with their physicians before they begin."

The key to any exercise program is sticking with it, Brawner says.

Clark agrees: "The 'e' in exercise should stand for 'enjoyment,' and not for 'excruciating.' We all need to exercise for health reasons, so finding a sustainable program is key. I build it into my daily life and social life. I ride my bike to work, walk with my neighbors and run with my dog and/or my running buddies. I also have converted my exer-cycle into a desker-cycle. I can now answer e-mails while gently pedaling."

October 24, 2013

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