#10 Bootcamp from The Best Ways to Workout in 2014

The Best Ways to Workout in 2014

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#10 Bootcamp

If you’re picturing a drill sergeant yelling his or her head off at a group of wimpy-looking plebes, well then you’re idea of a boot camp style fitness class isn’t too far off. For the average exerciser, it should be a little less harsh, though.  So yes, boot camp workouts are mimicked after military-style training. That means they’re tough, intense, and structured. This kind of workout will typically consist of cardio, strength, endurance, and flexibility training all in one session, so just like HIIT and circuit training, it’s an effective all-encompassing workout style, only it might require a little bit more of your time.

Best For: Athletes, Experienced gym-goers, People with weight-loss goals 

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#9 Circuit Training

Circuit training is defined as a workout consisting of six to ten exercises, performed in predetermined sequence one right after the other. For example, one “circuit” might consist of 20 jumping jacks, 10 push-ups, 20 squats, 15 dumbbell bicep curls, and 20 Burpees. The entire workout would entail completing that circuit three to five times through. It’s similar to high intensity interval training (but usually a little less intense) and commonly incorporates strength and bodyweight components, which makes it a highly effective and efficient training method. Circuit training first appeared in the number 18 spot on ACSM’s list last year and crept its way up to number 15 this year, indicating that it could certainly be an up and coming training trend that might be worth a try, especially for exercisers in search of new ways to ramp up the intensity.

Best For: Athletes, Experienced gym-goers, People with weight-loss goals

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#8 Outdoor Activities

Similar to the essence of strength training, outdoor activities will forever be a classic and timeless form of exercise. It’s what The Active Times is all about, because the world and its wilderness make for a perfect playground. This trend has been steadily moving up ACSM’s list over the years so it seems as though more and more people are catching onto the idea. Some popular activities identified by the survey include hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and various games or sports. "High adventures" and camping were also mentioned too. So, in the New Year keep an eye out for new ways to workout outside. The options are endless and fun is guaranteed. 

Best For: Anyone and everyone

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#7 Core Training

Let’s face it, deep down, everyone one of us wants sexy six-pack abs. (Even if it’s just a little, tiny bit.) Unfortunately, not everyone is willing enough to commit to the strict regimen it takes to achieve a really ripped core. That’s OK, though, because life is probably better without that anyway. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your midsection strong, though.  Time and time again the benefits of a tough tummy will continue to be touted. Everyone from elite athletes to the average exerciser will find a payoff in core training, which is why since the beginning of this survey its continued to rank within in the top 20.

Best For: Athletes, Anyone who wants to improve overall health, Older-adults

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Yoga

Yoga has the ability to reduce your stress levels, which means practicing a few relaxing poses before bed may be just what you need to help ease your mind and body into a restful night’s sleep.

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#5 Group Training

Group personal training (sometimes referred to as small group training) is great for a few reasons, but the biggest benefit for many (aside from the actual exercise) is its affordability. Group sessions typically include two to four trainees, so splitting the session fee between a few friends minimizes the hefty price of employing a personal trainer. Plus, working out with friends is more fun than walking on the treadmill like a zombie for 40 minutes and it adds some competition to the mix, too.

Best For: Exercisers on a budget, Gym newbies

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#4 Functional Fitness

Functional Fitness is all about enhancing everyday life. Exercise programs with a focus on functional fitness use strength training to improve coordination and balance and incorporate exercises meant to mimic routine movements like sitting down and standing up (squat) and reaching for overhead items (shoulder press). The goal is to make daily activities easier. This type of training is especially popular among baby boomers— older adults interested in improving and maintaining their fitness levels and overall health. “Our generation (boomer) is aging differently from our parents'. In 2014 & beyond, we want to stay active, engaged, busy & as independent from the medical system as possible. In other words, we don't want to change; we just want to modify as our bodies age,” explains Alexandra Williams, MA, a fitness blogger and veteran of the health and exercise industry for over 30 years.

Best For: Older adults, Anyone who wants to improve overall health, Athletes

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#3 Strength Training

Come on, it doesn’t get much more classic than strength training. In fact you could even consider HIIT to fall under this category and body weight training is most definitely a simplified form of this industry stalwart, too. ACSM specifically classifies this category (which landed in the number two spot the past two years) as exercises performed using weights. The best thing about it is, no matter what your goals are, including some kind of strength training in your routine can probably help you reach them. This exercise mode touts a long list of benefits including the ability to decrease body fat percentage, increase muscle mass, improve metabolic function, and enhance athletic performance.     

Best For: Athletes, People with weight-loss goals, Anyone who wants to improve overall health

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#2 Body Weight Training

Body weight training goes beyond conventional exercises like pushups and pull-ups. Think squats, planks, lunges, triceps dips, and TRX exercises; basically any exercise you can do that requires little to no equipment and uses the weight of your own body as the resistance. The two biggest advantages are a do-it-yourself nature and the ability to build a pretty significant amount of strength when minimal resources and equipment are available. Bodyweight training made its first appearance on ACSM’s list last year at number three. The fact that it’s taken another top spot for a second year in a row indicates it could have the potential to prove its staying power as a fitness trend, rather than a fad that will eventually fade. 

Best For: Athletes, People with weight-loss goals

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High Intensity Intervals

Almost every expert we spoke with recommended high intensity interval training for those who want to get fit fast. Why? Because HIIT workouts produce a big calorie burn in a short amount of time. Just because it’s short doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. Interval training will save you time, but it also requires that you put in three or four times the effort during the short 20- to 30-second bursts of movement that the workouts are made up of. “Do shorter HIIT sessions for 15-20 minutes,” says ACSM certified personal trainer Aileene Palm. “Combine cardio moves like jumping jacks and jumping rope with compound resistance training exercises that target more than one muscle, like squats and push-ups.” Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist Lisa Reed, M.S. recommends four-minute long Tabata style workouts which she says incorporate high intensity interval training to improve cardio and strength fitness. Try one of her workouts here.

The Best Ways to Workout in 2014