5 ways to get fit this year

Which new fitness trends and shiny gadgets are really worth the sweat? Mumsnetters sort the effective stuff from the fluff

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1. For rapid calorie burning: Spinning


What's the deal?

Unlike the tedium of a stationary gym bike, spinning bikes are equipped with a weighted front flywheel that picks up speed as you pedal. You can turn the tension up or down to simulate steep hills or flat roads, and you'll burn around 500 calories in a 45 minute class. Because the thighs are such a large muscle group, they respond quickly to activity, increasing the muscle to fat ratio within your body - this ups your metabolic rate, helping you burn more fat overall. If you're returning to exercise, spin's a great option: there are no difficult moves to mess up, and as everyone starts and finishes together, no one is left at the back. Just bring a big water bottle, because things are about to get sweaty.



What do Mumsnetters say?
"Concentrate on keeping the pedals going to start with; you don't have to turn up the resistance when told to do so! Your arse will get used to it!"

Chat with fellow spinners on Talk


2. To save time and £££: Online classes



What's the deal?
Virtual classes that you can call on via your smartphone are great for anyone on a tight or erratic schedule. Not having to rush for a specific class - or beat yourself up about missing it - is a definite boon - and with some of the world's best trainers reachable for little or no cost, you'll do away with the financial barrier of an expensive gym membership. If you've been out of the fitness game for a while, it can be easier to get up to speed in the comfort of your living room, and from ballet barre to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), there is something for everyone. 

What do Mumsnetters say?
"The Body Coach does loads of HIIT YouTube videos. You can sign up for a free taster fortnight on his website. I follow him on Facebook, and he posts loads of tips there, too."  

"At home I use FitnessBlender videos. These are free, fantastic for selecting how long you want to work, at what intensity, and with what equipment."

3. To tighten and tone: Bodypump

 

What's the deal?

In this strength-training class you squat, curl and press while holding a barbell (a long, steel pole with weight plates at the end). Your instructor will take you through 10 tracks to warm you up, target individual muscle groups, and then cool you down. The Les Mills class is franchised to multiple gyms, so the moves and pop soundtrack (hello Uptown Funk) will be the same, wherever you are. Put off by the weights? Bodypump doesn't bulk you up. Instead, doing lots of repetitions with a light to medium load (your instructor will advise on numbers) helps define arms, firm bottoms and tighten your core - and you'll burn around 590 calories per session. Even if you're not fussed about aesthetics, it's still worth a try: weight bearing exercise can help reduce your osteoporosis risk by counteracting the age-related loss of bone density.

What do Mumsnetters say?
"Pump elevates my heart rate significantly, and I sweat a lot! My shape has changed so much in the year that I've been doing it, and I love how much stronger I am. I had zero upper body strength before." 


4. For seasoned sweaters: Insanity


What's the deal?
A hybrid of bodyweight and cardio interval training, this DVD series is bloody tough. Fronted by Mr. Motivator, Shaun T, the hour-long sessions claim to torch up to 1,000 calories and increase your aerobic fitness. Unlike regular circuits (where you exercise within a 'comfortable' range and then up the intensity for a short period) Insanity works you as hard as possible for blocks of three minutes, with only 30 seconds rest in between. There are ten workouts in the program, and you'll do six per week, mixing it up as you go. Plyometric moves (like hopping and jumping) do a good job of toning your legs and bum, but they're very high-impact, so steer clear if you suffer from weak knees or arthritis. All you need is yourself, the DVDs (£99) and some steely determination.

What do Mumsnetters say?
"If you're already fit, then you'll be fine. I do shorter workouts because of time pressures (because I'm a wimp), but no matter what you do, you can always ramp it up or tone it down."

Game for the insane? Join the chat on Mumsnet Talk


5. For extra <smugface>: Fitness trackers



What's the deal?
Watches and clip-on activity monitors have gone from niche playthings of the data-mad fitness nut to one of the top Christmas presents of 2015. They measure motion - multiple sensors record your movement, rotation and altitude - and convert it into to steps, activity and calories burned (so you can pat yourself on the back for taking the stairs rather than getting the lift). To monitor your overall wellbeing, some even grade your ZZZ's using a process called actigraphy, which translates your movements into sleep patterns. Most trackers come with their own app, so you can check up on how you're doing - just make sure that both bits of tech are compatible for automatic synching.

What do Mumsnetters say:  
The FitBit is trending on Mumsnet Talk: "I've been marching up and down on the spot, watching the steps go up on my phone. Am sure the novelty will wear off, but for now, I love it!"

Getting dodgy readings when pushing a buggy? The FitBit monitors arm movements, so try this: "I take mine off my wrist and attach it at my hip. So it's either secured through the belt loop of my jeans, or through the side of my knickers and tucked inside leggings. The readings are very accurate that way."


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Disclaimer: All the advice here is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your GP if you are in any way concerned about your health.

Last updated: 5 months ago