The idea of finding your niche in the fitness world can be overwhelming from a beginner’s perspective, but with so many options that range from high intensity interval training (HIIT) to gentle yoga stretches, there really is something for everyone. You'd think that after decades of exploring different routines that creativity in the fitness space would fall flat, but every year, the industry kicks things up a notch, and gurus catch on quickly. Though fitness fads come and go, there are a handful of 2017 workout trends worth keeping around in 2018, so if you still haven’t found your fitness happy place, there’s still time to give these exercises a try.
Overall, the fitness industry really stepped up its game in 2017, as more and more brands and trainers are launching at-home alternatives for busy people (ahem, millennials) who can't always make it to the gym. But studios are also getting more crafty, too, by taking their original programs and expanding upon them to be more challenging.
Even if you've already found what works for you in terms of workouts, your body will always benefit from the spontaneous switch-up. Plus, who knows? Maybe you're not only a CrossFit junkie, but a master at the barre, as well. As much as I'm personally looking forward to the new and improved exercises to come in 2018, the following workout trends of 2017 aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
There was definitely a strong sense of girl power in 2017, especially in the fitness space. Sure, working out in the privacy and comfort of your own home is great (not to mention super convenient these days), but if you can branch out of your comfort zone and take a class or two in a studio, I guarantee the sense of encouragement that radiates in a room of women coming together to get active and feel good about their bodies is worth getting out of the house for.
For example, Zumba challenged its dancers by taking their routines to the next level with Strong by Zumba, a series of classes that implement body weight, muscle, conditioning, cardio, and plyometric training into each track, syncing each movement to the beat. This gained popularity after its launch in 2016, cruising into 2017 as a must-try routine. I have no doubt that the beats (and health benefits) will only get better in the new year.
If you don't have the rhythm for Zumba, though, Les Mills also took their workouts to the next level in 2017 when they named former Vampire Diaries starlet Nina Dobrev as the face of the brand and partnered with athletic powerhouse Reebok on a line of sportswear that’s both functional and fashionable. This brand really does have something for everyone, from Body Flow classes — which are a combination of yoga and pilates — to GRIT workouts that mix body- and free-weight intervals that leave you drenched in sweat.
Lifting heavy was definitely a goal for women in 2016, and even though weight-training will never actually be off-trend, the fitness realm definitely saw a spike in HIIT body-weight exercise this year.
The idea that you need free weights or barbells to get strong is a myth, and things like plyometric movements and programs that ditch gym props for pure body strength are proving that point. These types of workouts are also a great alternative to routines that need equipment because they can easily be customized to your specific goals, and can be done virtually anywhere.
When I was younger, exercise seemed like a chore, and not so much because you had to move from the couch and get sweaty on purpose, but because working out was something that was done in a gym.
These days, you can work out anywhere, and any time that fits your hectic schedule, and we owe a lot of this newfound convenience to smartphone apps and programs you can download and/or stream on your computer. Programs like Crush Fitness and YogaGlo the Daily Burn are excellent examples of the variety available to anyone interested in a more structured workout that can be done at home.
I’ll be honest with you here: Foam rolling can hurt like hell, but it's worth every second. Trust me, I avoided it like the plague for a long time, but once celebrity trainer Ashley Borden let me in on the secret that foam rolling will not only enhance recovery and relieve tension in stiff muscles, but actually tone your body too, I was sold.
We can probably thank Gigi Hadid and every other Victoria’s Secret Angel for this 2017 workout trend. Boxing has become a hot commodity for women who love working up a sweat, probably because it’s one of the few workouts that makes you feel strong and sexy all at the same time.
A strategic combination of cardio and strength training, not to mention the chance to punch the hell out of a bag you’re most likely imagining as someone’s face, boxing is an invigorating, full-body experience that keeps you strong, and can also relieve built-up stress.
I’m convinced that the reason meditation became so popular in 2017 was because of the many overwhelming news stories we've encountered throughout the past year, and we all needed some kind of outlet to chill us out and cheer us up.
I know myself, and personally, I feel so much better about my day (and, TBH, life in general) when I take a few moments at any point to close my eyes, focus on my breathing, and let my thoughts do their thing. Physical fitness is important, but so is the mental aspect of our well-being. Apps like Headspace and Stop, Breathe & Think offer guided practices, but there's also a ton of videos on YouTube that can provide soothing background music to solo sequences as well.
No, friends, you don't have to be a prima ballerina to master the art of barre. Unlike Zumba classes that are fast-paced and kick your heart rate into high gear quickly, barre is a graceful, yet still very challenging flow that improves your posture, stamina, and body awareness.
Although there are plenty of at-home programs like the Bar Method, I'd definitely advise getting your bearings in a studio before trying the routines solo. This way, you can work with an instructor to perfect your form and become a little more educated in the practice.
Personally, I don't think yoga was ever not trendy, it just seemed like an exclusive club that not everyone fit into. These days, though, yoga has expanded from a relaxing practice, to a full-throttle fitness routine.
For instance, classes like hot yoga will leave you coming out of a studio drenched as though you were sitting in a sauna, and if you want to take your practice up a notch at home, Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown caters to three experience levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) and is incredibly challenging.
Online subscriptions are also popular, with outlets like Gaia Yoga Core Power Yoga that bring studio classes to your living room so you can take your practice to the next level with the professionals.