Growing up in the surfing town of Ormond Beach, Fla., I frequently used words like "rad," "killer," and "dude." And I just read some news that has me uttering another throwback term--"Stoked!" The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently published its annual list of top fitness trends, and I couldn't be more excited about what's included on that list.
My four favorite forms of exercise rank first, second, fifth, and ninth, which I have been recommending to my clients and personally practicing for years. And of course I appreciate trends three and five as they recommend qualified fitness professionals. Heck, I just love the whole list. Like I said, I'm totally stoked!
Without further ado, here are ACSM's Top 20 Fitness Trends for 2015, based on survey responses from thousands of fitness professionals.
1. Body Weight Training: Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. These exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.
3. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals. Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
4. Strength Training. Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program for all physical activity levels and genders. (The other essential components are aerobic exercise and flexibility.)
5. Personal Training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.
6. Exercise and Weight Loss. In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss program. Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.
7. Yoga. Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. This includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others.
8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults. As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.
9. Functional Fitness. This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.
10. Group Personal Training. In challenging economic times, many personal trainers are offering more group training options. Training two or three people at a time makes economic sense for the trainer and the clients.
The remaining 10 trends include:
11. Worksite health promotion
12. Outdoor activities
13. Wellness coaching
14. Circuit training
15. Core training
16. Sport-specific training
17. Children and exercise for the treatment/prevention of obesity
18. Outcome measurements
19. Worker incentive programs
What fitness trends are OUT for 2015? Zumba, Pilates and indoor cycling. This doesn't mean that one can't or shouldn't engage in these activities. They just didn't weren't considered one of the top 20 trends by the more than 3,400 fitness professionals who participated in ACSM's survey.
For my clients in the over 50 crowd, I thought you'd like to know which of these trends best suit you. According to the online publication and global community, High50, the top five fitness trends for those 50+ are:
1. Body Weight Training
3. Ballet classes
4. Functional Fitness
5. Treadmill Training - Performing interval training on a treadmill, where you mix speed, duration, incline and recovery.
Now that you are armed with the leading fitness trends, pick one or two to try this week!
While browsing in one of my favorite home products stores for stuff I don't need, I came across this gem: Muffin Tops baking cups.
I couldn't help but chuckle and be inspired to feature these in a blog post.
By now, you may be well aware that muffins and similar carbs can cause belly fat. But considering that processed carbohydrates make up a significant portion of the American diet, and 66% of Americans older than 20 are overweight, clearly some of us are still missing (or ignoring!) the message.
If you've got a muffin top--that layer of fat around your midsection that hangs over the top of your waistband--and want to do something about it, I've got some suggestions.
First, drastically reduce your consumption of processed carbs. That includes whole grains (100% whole wheat breads, whole grain pasta, bran flakes or other wheat-based fiber cereals and whole wheat tortillas and wraps). Studies prove that overconsumption of whole grains, even those praised as being high in fiber, contribute to declining metabolic rates. And of course, white flour products are completely out.
I can speak testimonially that the longer you eliminate or reduce processed carbs from your diet, the less you'll crave (or even like) them. For example, I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A recently, and because I have eliminated most breads from my diet over the last few years, I didn't want any of the sandwich bun. Yes, it was whole wheat with some cute seeds on top, but breads just don't appeal to me much anymore. I prefer to get my carbs through vegetables and fruits.
The same goes for added sugar. Get rid of products with added sugars and sweeteners. They're everywhere, so read food labels.
What to eat more of instead? Protein.
"Protein is much more metabolically complex, boosting metabolism and burning up to 30% of the calories you eat just during the digestion process, not to mention the fat-burning hormonal benefits of eating less wheat and more protein," says Josh Bezoni, author, nutritionist and metabolism expert. "Simply put, by swapping out toxic wheat for fat-burning protein starting today, you’ll do wonders for your metabolism and your waistline to boot,"
Now that we've addressed nutrition to whittle your middle, let's talk muffin-top-targeting exercises.
I came across the following "Miracle Muffin Top Workout" by Marta Montenegro, a certified strength and conditioning coach who teaches exercise physiology at Florida International University. I love it because the exercises involve the entire body in an intense circuit, build balance, and don't include a single crunch or sit-up (both of which may injure the spine over time).
"It's important to note that the exercises you choose and the effort you put into them really matter," Montenegro says.
Just as I tell my clients, instead of boring steady-state treadmill or elliptical work or sit-ups, Montenegro also recommends high-intensity workouts that more effectively reduce belly fat (and fat elsewhere on the body, including "the visceral fat that pads internal organs and has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes").
THE MIRACLE MUFFIN TOP WORKOUT
By Corrie Pikul featuring Marta Montenegro: http://www.oprah.com/health/Get-Rid-Of-Muffin-Top-Best-Exercises-Muffin-Top/1
The Circuit - You will need 2 small towels and 2 dumbbells (3–5 pounds).
*Perform the exercises in the following order, one after another, without pausing in between.
*When you've completed all 6 exercises, rest for 90 seconds.
*Do the entire circuit 1–3 times.
Dumbbell Squat to Shoulder-Press Rotation
A new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that exercises that work both the legs and the upper body target the core more than traditional abdominal exercises (in fact, a study in the same journal shows that crunches don't do much for you—besides make you more efficient at doing crunches). This full-body calorie-burning move from Montenegro works not just the abs and obliques but also the glutes, hips and shoulders.
1. With dumbbells at your side, bend into a squat, pushing your hips backward as if you were sitting in a chair. Keep your back straight and your abs engaged.
2. As you raise your hips to come to standing, press the dumbbells over your head, rotating the torso toward the right, using the side of your abdominals. This should be one fluid movement.
3. Lower the dumbbells and bend into a squat again. Repeat the shoulder press to the left side.
4. Alternate sides for 12 total reps.
Compared with crunches and bent-knee sit-ups, non-traditional ab moves like these (and the Arm Roll-Outs) do a significantly better job of activating the upper and lower abdominals as well as the obliques, found a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Montenegro suggests doing this move on a smooth surface, like a wooden or tile floor (not a rug, where the towels won't slide).
1. Start in a high plank position with your palms on the ground underneath your shoulders, arms straight, core engaged, with a small towel under the toes of each foot. (If you have an exercise ball, you can use that instead of the towels.)
2. Use your abdominals to bring both knees in toward your chest. You should be in a crouch position with your knees between your elbows.
3. Hold for 1 count. Push from your abdominals to slide the towels under your feet back to starting plank position.
4. Do 12 reps.
Lunge to Overhead Press
This may not look like an ab move, but Montenegro says it will really feel like one—the abdominals will be working overtime to stabilize the body, especially as you press the weights overhead.
1. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height.
2. Start in a lunge position, with your right knee bent 90 degrees in front of you (be careful not to let the knee bend over your toes) and the left knee slightly bent behind you. Imagine a string pulling up from the top of your head, keeping the neck and back long.
3. As you straighten both legs to come to standing, engage the abs and press the dumbbells up over your head.
4. Bend the knees to come back to the lunge and lower the weights to shoulder level.
5. Do 6 reps, then switch legs. (To make this move harder, Montenegro suggests walking forward while doing the lunges.)
Towel One-Arm Rollout
This works the very deep abdominal muscles, says Montenegro, and conditions you to keep your abs tucked in (which creates a flatter profile).
1. Start in a high plank position (arms straight, core engaged) with a small towel under each hand. Try not to hunch your shoulders up to your ears.
2. With your hands on the towels and keeping both arms straight, slide your right arm forward as far as you can without moving the hips or torso.
3. Bring the right arm back to starting position.
4. Repeat with the left arm.
5. Alternate arms for 12 total reps.
Unilateral Dumbbell Dead-Lift
One study compared isometric exercises where you contract a muscle with no movement—similar to the standard plank—to strength exercises, like the deadlift. "The deadlift was the clear winner because it activated the trunk 60 percent more than the other exercises," Montenegro says. Here's her ab-tacular version of the classic weight move.
1. Stand with your feet together. Hold one dumbbell in your right hand and let it hang at your side.
2. Keeping the core pulled tight, lean forward, lifting your right leg behind you (same side of the body that's holding the weight) and lower the dumbbell toward the ground.
3. Bring the dumbbell down as low as you can while concentrating on keeping your back straight, core engaged, chest up and neck aligned with the spine. Keep the arm holding the dumbbell close to your body to avoid unnecessary pressure on the back.
4. Hold for 1 count.
5. Tighten your core even more, lower the right leg, and return to standing tall.
6. Do 6 reps, then hold the dumbbell in your left hand and repeat with your left leg, for a total of 12 reps
Towel Mountain Climbers
"The most common mistake people make with mountain climbers is to roll up their whole body," Montenegro says, meaning they lift their hips and throw their weight forward on to their arms. "They'll tell me they really feel it in their shoulders, when the abs should be doing all the work." She says that putting towels under your feet, as in this move, will isolate the ab muscles and keep your back flat to help you maintain proper form.
1. Start in a high plank position with your palms on the ground underneath your shoulders, arms straight, core engaged, with a small towel under the toes of each foot.
2. Use your abdominals to bring your left knee in toward your right elbow. This should be a fluid, controlled movement. You should feel the twist in your lower abs, not as much in your back or hips. Keep your shoulders squared.
3. Return to starting position, with both feet behind you.
4. Repeat by bringing the right knee to the left elbow.
5. Alternate sides for 12 total reps.
Now, go blast that muffin top (and leave its edible namesake on your plate)!
My 8-year-old son, Magnus, regularly asks me, "What's your favorite?" questions. Recently, he queried, "Mom, what's your favorite sport?" My response: "I like a lot of sports, but my favorite is probably football, followed closely by basketball."
When we watch television at home, it's usually on a sports channel. The thing that bugs me about a lot of televised games is how late they're aired on the east coast. Take the NCAA national football championship, for example. The game starts at 8:30p, and likely won't end until past midnight. If the game is a blowout, I won't mind turning if off early. But if it's a tight game, I'll want to watch til the end, sacrificing much-needed beauty rest.
Beyond that, staying up past my regular bedtime might give me the munchies. While I'm expecting my substantial dinner of grass-fed beef burgers, sweet potato fries and organic green beans to tide me over until the morning, you fellow sports fans out there who ate a lesser meal might want to consider these late-night snack suggestions, offered by the co-founders of BioTrust Nutrition.
But isn't it bad to eat late at night, you may ask? Firstly, a calorie isn't worth more when the sun goes down. Secondly, "the right night-time meal can often positively affect your results and recovery from exercise by feeding your muscles with quality nutrition as you sleep," say Joel Marion and Josh Bezoni from BioTrust (The key here is the assumption that you exercised today! You did, right?!). "The trick, as always, is choosing the RIGHT foods before bed, and knowing which foods those are."
Here are the BioTrust guys' general "rules" to creating the ultimate pre-bed meal:
1. Avoid carbs and insulin. Because consuming carbohydrates will result in a significant insulin release (which will in turn put the breaks on fat-burning), carbs are ill-advised for a pre-bed meal. Carbs are also much more easily stored as fat in the evening hours when metabolism is naturally slowing in preparation for sleep. Besides, you have very little opportunity to burn off that energy when consuming carbs at night -- sleep isn't a very calorically expensive activity!
In addition to carbs, certain animal proteins have been shown to yield a significant insulin response as well, such as red meat and certain fish. While these protein foods are OK for a pre-bed meal, there are better choices, like those mentioned below.
2. Choose slow digesting proteins. Slow digesting proteins, like white meat proteins such as turkey and chicken, are great night-time meal choices as they digest slowly and fail to produce a significant insulin response.
Another great choice is the milk protein casein, found in many protein blends and also in cottage cheese. Casein coats the stomach, digests slowly, and provides quality nutrition to your muscles over several hours...very ideal as a pre-bedtime protein source!
3. Add fat. Quality, healthy fats such as nuts, oils, and nut butters are great additions to a pre-bedtime meal as they will help to further slow gastric emptying and digestion while increasing fullness and satiety so you don't wind up snacking all night long.
The guys add, "Just follow these 3 simple rules for night-time snacking (slow digesting protein, low carb, add fat) and you'll be in great shape...give it a try with an evening snack tonight!"
And finally, GO BUCKEYES!
After seeing his results on my new body measurement scale, one of my neighbors expressed his renewed interest to lose weight. He had done it before, he said, and he knew how to do it again.
"How will you lose the weight?" I asked. "By cutting out all carbs," he said. "All carbs?" I repeated? "Yes, all. I did that before a few years ago and lost 15 pounds," he stated.
Folks, if someone told me that to lose weight I'd have to eliminate all carbohydrates from my diet, I likely wouldn't bother rising in the morning. Not only would that depress me, but without carbs, I wouldn't have the energy to move anyway. My neighbor's family was quick to point out that on this protein-only diet, he was grumpy and intolerable. Besides that, it wasn't sustainable, and he put the weight back on.
Despite carbs getting a bad rap, they aren't all evil. In fact, they're an essential component of a balanced diet. Consider these points by the National Academy of Sports Medicine:
The body needs carbohydrates because:
So, what might be the best carbs you can choose that also blast belly fat, according to the experts at BioTrust Nutrition? These four:
#4 - Berries & Cherries
Berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and cherries (although not technically a berry) are some of the BEST carbs you can eat. They are high in fiber, packed with antioxidants, and score extremely low on the glycemic index, especially cherries which come with a GI of just 22.
#3 - Sprouted Grain Bread
Sprouted grain breads, like Ezekiel 4:9 bread (one of the most popular brands of sprouted grain bread) is a great way to include bread in your diet on occassion without all the issues associated with white breads and even 100% whole wheat breads.
Instead, Ezekiel bread is organic, sprouted, 100% whole grain flourless bread. A 2-slice serving even contains 8 grams of complete protein and 6 grams of fiber, so don't give up the bread, just choose the right kind!
#2 - Quinoa
While brown rice is thought to be the healthy grain, there’s one even better, and that’s quinoa.
Quinoa is a gluten free grain that contains double the protein of brown rice along with greater fiber content and a lower glycemic load.
Not only that, but quinoa is the ONLY grain to contain complete protein and the full spectrum of amino acids. It comes in several varieties, including “oatmeal-like” flakes and it’s wholegrain rice-like form.
Enjoy it as an oatmeal substitute for breakfast, in salads or casseroles, or as a wholesome whole-grain, high protein side item to any lunch or dinner meal.
#1 - Beans, Lentils, and other Legumes
Beans and Lentils, part of the "legume" family, are packed with loads of fiber and protein. These guys come in so many different varieties that you'll never get bored: lentils, chickpeas, black eyed peas, black beans, red beans, kidney beans, navy beans, butter beans, lima beans, pinto beans...and the list goes on.
You may now officially make peace with carbs, keep them in your diet, and add those top four carbs to your grocery list!
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I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.