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Top 9 Fitness Trends for 2014: Out with some old and in with some new

Posted at 6:00 AM, Jan 01, 2014
and last updated 2016-08-24 13:03:49-04

It's only human nature to want the most out of something you work hard to achieve. The Top 9 Fitness Trends for 2014 reflect that your hard work should indeed pay off, especially with our busy lifestyles and desire for transformation.

Fitness experts say 2014 will be a year when workouts become shorter, getting stronger is done the smart way and individual goals are the biggest target.

GALLERY: Fitness photos from the world, and you

1. Fusion fitness

Fusion fitness will take 2014 by storm as people work to burn as many calories as possible in a short amount of time. If you only have an hour to work out, fusion fitness is for you.

“Women and men with busy schedules only have an hour out of their day to get in strength training, cardio and flexibility,” local trainer Melanie Vollmer said. “That’s what everyone wants."

Vollmer is a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor in Cincinnati. She leads group classes at LA Fitness, Yoga Alive and the Cincinnati Sports Club.

The key to results, Vollmer said, is to combine all three areas into one workout, increasing reps with low weight to keep your heart rate up during your entire session.

“It’s not about heavy weight. I don’t recommend lifting more than eight pounds over your head,” she said.

2. Core Fusion, Barre

Core Fusion was co-founded by Fred DeVito, and is practiced at Exhale Spa. Within the walls of Exhale, its members are burning fat and toning with highly demanded barre workouts. It’s Exhale’s signature full-body program, and DeVito said success comes from their boutique fitness model and passion for mind-body.

“More people are moving away from the membership-based gym club option and instead using class packs at solo studios,” DeVito said.

According to Exhale Spa, an hour of barre on a regular basis gives you chiseled abs, toned legs, cut arms and a lifted butt. The class is inspired by ballet and focuses on isolated core fitness exercises, alignment, flexibility and posture.

The Core Fusion program, DeVito said, “is intended to give our students a holistic experience that embraces what Exhale stands for: transformation.”

During barre and other Core Fusion classes, you’ll spend an hour focusing on internal concentration and purpose, while using your breath to inform and guide your movements that have a profound impact on your workout and sensations, DeVito said of the mind-body concept.

While there are no Exhale Spa locations in the Tri-State, visit Exhale online to find a studio for your next trip.


High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) will be the cool kid in school in 2014. Life is spent on the go these days, meaning less time can be spent on a treadmill and on a weight bench. Short workouts at maximum intensity have set the stage for staying fit with a lot on your daily plate.

“Workouts like Tabata and Les Mills GRIT are hot buttons right now,” Beth Underhill, owner of Bella Forza Fitness, said.

The traditional mindset of a long workout has changed.

“You can get more out of your workout if only going for 35 minutes with max intensity,” Underhill said.

Compressing time, she feels, can help incorporate exercise onto a full plate. According to the Les Mills GRIT series website, short explosions of effort allow you to reach your maximum training zone. Students will use their own body weight, barbells and weight plates in each 30-minute class.

The Tabata training website explains Tabata workouts as HIIT sessions that have more spice than traditional cardio. A study by Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata showed athletes who trained with short, high intensity drills improved in their athletic abilities and anaerobic systems more than athletes who trained with a traditional model.

“It can really make a difference in your overall well-being both physically and emotionally if incorporated into your lifestyle,” Underhill said.

4. Stability Training

It’s all about becoming strong while being smart in 2014.

Stability builds strength throughout the body while helping to prevent injury. Concentrating on your form throughout each exercise can help you become stronger by using your body’s current state of resistance, according to Men’s Health.

Work stability training into your weekly fitness regime with balances (the ability to maintain equilibrium), exercises that use your own body weight, and holding postures in place of multiple reps. As Vollmer puts it, practice stabilization before flexion and extension.

When is the last time you held a plank without breaking a sweat?

DeVito once told me, “If you roll out of bed, hold a 2-minute forearm plank and do 30 push-ups, you’ll start your day with a buzz!”

5. Body Weight Training

Drop the dumbbells in 2014.

Body weight training uses your own (often fluctuating) body weight to build strong muscles, push endurance and burn calories, similar to stability training.

“It’s effective and you can maintain the best form throughout,” Underhill said. “Too often, people will have too heavy of weights and bad form – a recipe for injury and not getting what you want out of the workout.”

According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal (ACSM), body weight training has picked up in popularity only in the last couple of years. The exercise uses little to no equipment, keeping the cost down.

“Most people think of body weight training as being limited to push-ups and pull-ups, but it can be much more than that,” ACSM reported.

Try squats standing in a wide second position, side planks with oblique abductor raises, jumping lunges, holding push-ups at a low hover and reverse crunches.

6. Functional Fitness

Work fitness into the activities you do daily in 2014.

Functional fitness, according to the ACSM, means you use strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power and endurance to replicate actual activities you do as a function of your daily living.

At Cincinnati Functional Fitness, you can find fitness programs to enhance your lifestyle, strength and conditioning for active seniors and youth, athletic development and one-on-one training and consulting.

The team uses body weight, resistance bands, sandbags, medicine balls and other equipment to create a modified workout depending on your training level.

“It is training your body for everyday tasks by training muscles to work together instead of isolating them,” trainer Blake Bramer said of functional fitness and its benefits.

7. Customized Personal Training

In 2014, part ways with your expensive personal trainers. Studies show online customized training is on the rise, as you can get a one-on-one training session without the financial investment of a personal trainer.

“Talented trainers from all over the world are bringing their workout programs to the digital universe,” Men’s Fitness reported. “You can get access to training (and nutrition) that’s real-guy tested as well as research approved just by going to their websites.”

Men’s Fitness researchers came up with the skinny on workout apps, letting you know which ones are worth the download. Do you want to train for your first marathon in 2014, or just tone up before spring? There’s an app (and online trainer) for that.

8. Customized Skill Classes

Are boot camps becoming the new Starbucks?

“We’re already seeing the death of the fitness boot camp on every corner,” Pat Rigsby, CEO of Kentucky-basedFitness Consulting Group, told Men’s Fitness.

Rigsby said a boot camp hour takes a one-size-fits-all approach, so individual weaknesses don’t get the attention needed to generate results.

If you want to reach your individual fitness goals, your body will likely need different exercise than what the next guy needs.

Jonathan Fass, physical therapist and strength coach told Men’s Fitness that group boot camps “will be replaced by blending a more thoughtful and specific evaluations and programming while still taking advantage of the group format.”

Each student will work on their own punches, kicks and holds, while beginners train with beginners and the advanced folks train with advanced drills. Basically, there’s no keeping up with the boot camp Joneses in 2014.

9. Yoga

It’s here to stay, through 2014 and beyond. Yogis all over can’t get enough Adho Mukha Svanasana and Surya Namaskara.

Adho, what?

To keep it simple, downward-facing dog and Sun Salutation. It’s a basic pose and series found in yoga practices across the world, including your Vinyasa and Ashtanga flows.

The medical staff at the Mayo Clinic reported quite the list of yoga benefits including stress reduction, improved balance and flexibility, increased strength and reduced risk of chronic disease and conditions of depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.

Brianna Norton, certified yoga teacher and manager of Exhale Spa in Atlanta, said, “Yoga is important to stretch and strengthen your body and your mind, to keep your spine and mind flexible and young, and to find peace within uncertainty.”

See for yourself what all the yoga fuss is about – visit any of your local yoga studios.