four fitness trends with the biggest payoff


Mary-Beth Folger FITNESS, TRAINER, WELLNESS Leave a Comment

There are a multitude of posts about the hottest fitness trends that you absolutely must try right now! Truth be told, while it’s great to be aware of new exercise trends, it’s more beneficial to find a fitness program that is most effective for you. For this post, we have selected a well-rounded group of current fitness trends that payoff in different ways: HIIT, Group Training, Certified Personal Trainers, and Strength Training. The choices are purposeful because we know that nurturing and maintaining a fitness lifestyle can be a monumental task. Let’s explore these trends and their benefits.

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT is great because it can be applied in a variety of ways and pays off in big dividends. The premise is very simple: Continued alternation of high-intensity exercise and periods of recovery per exercise session. High-intensity exercise is defined by your heart rate, typically 80-95% of a person’s maximum heart rate, during a period lasting between 5 seconds to 8 minutes. During recovery periods, your heart rate will be between 40-50% of a person’s maximum heart rate (below is a handy guide for calculating yours using your age.) For optimal results, the total exercise session should last between 20-60 minutes, at least three days a week.

target heart rate for HIIT

HIIT is so beneficial because high-intensity exercise burns fat and calories faster, and also activates both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, which increases endurance. It has also been proven to lower cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure and cardiovascular health, and burn body fat while building muscle mass. HIIT can be applied to most exercises that you already enjoy, like walking, running, biking, swimming, and elliptical. You can also modify it for your individual fitness level and stair-step your way up to higher intensity exercise for longer periods of time. A good gauge for identifying your intensity levels is the talk test. If you find it difficult to carry on a conversation during high-intensity exercise, you’re probably at the right level. For periods of recovery, carrying on a conversation should be no problem at all. (Don’t worry, no one will judge if you talk to yourself at the gym!)

Group Training

Group Training is exactly what it sounds like: Organized exercises performed in a group. Examples of group training include spin class, yoga, Zumba, etc., led by an instructor or personal trainer or a professional team (like Fit Farm’s). While group training can cover a wide variety of exercises, it is the group mentality that brings you the greatest benefit. We are social, cultural beings. When we participate in anything as a group there is a feeling of belonging that comes with it. Of course, we are naturally competitive within groups as well. Is the person next to you getting their knees up higher? Maybe moving a bit faster than you? Do they seem less out of breath? Just like that, our minds hack our bodies to outperform the others in our group. You can push yourself just a little bit harder when someone is watching, right? That is the beauty of group training and it works like a charm. Plus, at the end of the workout, that competitive edge is replaced with the feeling of camaraderie for what you just accomplished together. If you’re just getting into a fitness lifestyle, group training is a great way to become familiar with common movements and learn new exercises. The accountability factor is also a huge win, regardless of your current fitness level.


Certified Personal Trainers

Let’s get real. There are a lot of people who have tons of experience working out or can give great advice, but they aren’t a certified personal trainer. CPTs must pass certifications (and re-certifications), administered by an accredited organization that assesses their applied knowledge of health and fitness. This is not a fly-by-night profession. A number of factors go into selecting the right fitness and/or weight loss camp / program for an individual. CPTs assess your fitness test results, current health condition, body type, nutrition, mentality, and lifestyle to tailor an exercise and wellness program specifically for you. Everyone has different fitness needs, especially when they are starting out, which is why it is important to start your journey on the right path. A certified personal trainer provides the consistency you need to adhere to your fitness goals while also ensuring that your program continually evolves with your fitness level. When it comes to your health, leave it to the professionals to guide you.

Strength Training

For the longest time, fitness fads revolved around cardio. Especially fitness advice geared towards women. “If you want to lose weight, cardio is all you need”—except that it isn’t. Not even close! If you want to get lean and mean you’ve got to add a little weight in your routine (and a little more, and then a little more. You get the picture.) As you age, you gradually lose lean muscle mass. When you don’t work to maintain those muscles they are replaced with body fat. Thankfully, men and women of any age can benefit from strength training. You can use your own body weight, resistance bands, weight machines, or free weights. The best part, you can do it anywhere. If you’re uncomfortable with the gym setting, pick up some weights at your local Wal-Mart or Target (check here for guidance on selecting the right weights for you.) Of course, you want to warm up a bit first with an aerobic exercise for 5-10 minutes, as cold muscles are more prone to injury. You should see results with roughly 2-3 weight sessions per week, for about 20-30 minutes per session. As the weights become easier to lift, graduate yourself up to the next heaviest set then tag us in a pic of your best flex. Let’s see what you’ve got!