The New Year is the perfect time to finally make good on promises to yourself. Promises like starting—and sticking with—a fitness routine.
So which workouts are the surest bets to get (and keep) you pumped? Here are five tried and true ways to sweat it out and see big results.
Get on your boxing gloves: According to data from MINDBODY (an app you can use to schedule your favorite workout classes), kickboxing is one of the top workouts Americans are looking to try in 2020.
Kickboxing classes are intense, making them a great way to dabble in the ever-popular high-intensity interval training (HIIT). They build overall fitness, strength, and coordination, and support fat loss, says Kate Ligler, C.P.T., trainer and wellness specialist for MINDBODY.
To break up all those kicks and punches, many studios incorporate exercises like lunges, squats, shadow boxing, jumping jacks, and ab moves into the workouts.
If you’ve never thrown a kick or a punch in your life, don’t worry; many studios offer classes appropriate for all levels.
Typically, kickboxing classes are non-contact. In other words, you’ll only be kicking and punching the air and/or a heavy bag. Check with your local studio to make sure, though.
Though far from a new workout concept, yoga also topped MINDBODY’s list of workout trends people want to try in 2020.
One of the greatest things about yoga: There are so many different types to choose from, which means it can appeal to anyone and everyone. “Yoga befriends who you are already,” Ligler says. There’s hot yoga and power yoga for those who like to move around a lot and sweat; yin and restorative yoga for those who need a gentler, recovery-focused practice; and trendy hybrid classes like hip-hop yoga and paddle board yoga for people looking for something different.
Yoga is also pretty accessible: Typically requiring little equipment, you can do it in a studio or right in your living room.
Consider what type of yoga appeals to you and look for options in your area. In addition to national brands like CorePower Yoga and YogaWorks (both of which offer in-person and online classes), you’ll likely find a few smaller, local studios nearby. And, of course, there are tons of free yoga videos on YouTube.
Part ballet, part yoga, and part Pilates, barre utilizes low-impact, high-intensity movements (like pulsing in bodyweight squat and rep after rep of lifting tiny weights) to build strength, endurance, and balance. “Barre workouts have been around for a while, but have become extremely popular because they’re a relatively low-intensity way to get results,” says Pete McCall, M.S., C.S.C.S., host of the All About Fitness podcast. (Chances are, you’ll see more and more barre studios popping up in 2020.)
This isn’t to say the workouts are easy, though. (In fact, you’ll likely feel your muscles literally shake during barre class—and feel sore in tiny muscles you didn’t even know you had the next day.) Picture all sorts of bodyweight moves—or moves using light dumbbells, resistance bands, and small inflatable balls. Barre classes also incorporate stretching to improve overall flexibility.
“[Barre is] perfect for people who want to focus on improving muscle definition without increasing muscle size,” McCall says.
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4. Martial Arts
If you’re looking for a fitness transformation that will also give you serious fighting chops (with practice, of course), check out martial arts. (It’s another one that’s trending on MINDBODY.)
“It’s such a great workout and offers practical life skills,” Ligler says. “It empowers you take care of yourself and allows you to become more focused on how your body moves.”
From karate to kung-fu to jiu-jitsu to krav maga, there are many different styles of martial arts out there to choose from. Unfortunately, this also means it’s hard to predict what your class will be like. Thankfully, though, martial arts is much more accessible today than it has been in the past. Not only is it easier to find a studio, but they are typically more welcoming, Ligler says.
Search for studios near you and ask the owner about the martial arts style(s) offered. If you’re not interested in sparring with a partner, you may want to look for a fitness boxing or kickboxing class instead.
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The ever-trending CrossFit® practically screams fitness transformation. These high-intensity workouts are ideal for people who like playing around with different equipment (medicine balls, barbells, and battle ropes appear often) and friendly competition.
Classes often follow a structured format, though the exact format may vary from gym to gym. One popular class format: a community welcome for new members, a warm-up, skill practice (like squats or deadlifts), a constantly changing ‘workout of the day’ or ‘WOD’ (which might be a 2,000-meter row one day and 200 push-ups the next), and stretching.
“It’s a highly effective way to get a great workout,” Ligler says.
CrossFit® may not appeal to people new to strength training or who hate competition. That said, many gyms (known as “boxes”) try to create a friendly, community-focused, and welcoming environment. Some boxes are better at creating a beginner-friendly community than others, though, so if you strike-out at one box, try another. CrossFit® boxes keep popping up all over the country, so you’re sure to find a few options in your area.