Mixing up your exercise routine is the best way to avoid weight loss plateaus and achieve great results. One of these fitness trends is sure to fire up your metabolism, keep you motivated, and help you accomplish your goals.

Exergaming (Active Gaming)
Now you can exercise from the comfort of your own home while playing video games. Wii Fit, PlayStation and Kinect for Xbox 360 offer a variety of exercise games. Wii Fit Plus allows you to customize your own workouts (aerobics, yoga, strength training, and balance games). Players create a profile/virtual caricature of themselves and stand on a Wii Balance Board to play. The board can measure your center of balance, body control, BMI (body mass index), and your performance age allowing gamers to track their progress. The PlayStation Move uses The Move Controller (a hand-held microphone looking motion-sensing device) and an eye camera to record your movements. Several sports, fitness, and dance games are available. The Kinect for Xbox 360 is a controller free gaming device that responds to how you move. The simple wave of your hand activates the sensor and your Avatar. The Kinect offers everything from sports and adventure games to Dance Central, Zumba, and The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout. Exergaming is a great way to have fun and stay fit with family and friends.

Phone apps
Today’s high tech phones are now fitness friendly. Get access to hundreds of exercises/workouts, train for an event, monitor your activity (track distance, speed, calories burned). Find anything you would need for weight management (calorie counters, nutritional analysis, recipes, etc.). Track you own progress (body measurements, BMI, and eating habits). “Yes, there’s and app for that!”

If you love to dance, shake and shimmy, then Zumba is for you! Zumba is an aerobic fitness program created by Miami-based dancer and choreographer Beto Perez. It mixes Latin and international music with dance moves to create a “fitness party” atmosphere and make exercise fun. “The Zumba program borrows Latin flavor from the following dance styles: Cumbia, salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, cha-cha-cha, Reggaeton, samba, belly dancing, Bhangra, hip-hop, and tango.” (Wikepedia). Each song has a specific choreographed dance, but instructors are given creative license to add their own style. Instructional techniques can differ greatly. So, if your first experience isn’t a good one, another teacher’s style might suit your fancy. Find Zumba at local gyms, pilates or yoga studios, community education centers, apartment complexes, church groups, or at select dance studios. If you’re too shy to shake it in public you can purchase the DVD or the video game.

Boot Camp, H.I.I.T. Training, Tabata Training
If you’re up for more of a challenge and want to push yourself to the max, boot camp and high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.) is for you! Boot Camps offer a combination of high intensity cardio moves and strength training. They can be done indoors or outdoors and are inspired by a military style of training. Participants usually work in teams or with a partner either going through a circuit routine or switching back and forth with your partner between cardio stations and strength stations. H.I.I.T. training is a cardio-focused program where bursts of high intensity exercises are the key to success. An example would be to sprint for 1-minute (run like someone is chasing you) then take it to a moderate pace for 1-minute. Repeat this cycle until your desired cardio time is achieved. Because of H.I.I.T.’s intense nature, studies have shown that shorter bouts (no more than 20-minutes) are more effective than slow/steady cardio sessions (45-60 minutes). If you’re practicing H.I.I.T. correctly, you should not be able to complete more than 20-minutes. If you can, you are not working hard enough. This is definitely something that you build up to achieving. If you are new to exercise, don’t try to complete 20-minutes on your first try. Start with 5-minutes and gradually work up to being able to do 20-minutes. Tabata is another form of interval training where you exercise intensely for 20-seconds and rest for 10-seconds. This 20:10 ratio is performed for 8 sets per exercise or cardio interval taking 4-minutes to complete that segment. An example would be to jump rope (fast) for 20-seconds, rest for 10-seconds and repeat this exercise 7 more times. Rest 1 – 2 minutes then, pick another exercise (push-up, squat, crunch, etc.) and repeat another 8 set cycle. Beginners should start with (2) 4-minute sessions with 2-minutes of rest in between exercises. Intermediate levels do the same as above but reduce their rest time to 1-minute between exercises. Advanced Tabata exercisers can do (4) 4-minute sessions with 1-minute of rest in between exercises. Find Tabata and H.I.I.T. at local gyms, personal training studios, or practice it yourself. Find Boot Camps at local gyms, community education centers, or search online for various Boot Camps offered in your area.

TRX Suspension Training ® (TRX = Total Resistance Exercise)
“Suspension training is an approach to fitness training that uses a system of ropes and webbing called a ‘suspension trainer’ to allow the user to work against their own body weight” (Wikepedia). This type of resistance training focuses on developing strength, balance, flexibility, and joint stability. Participants either hold the strap handles or hook them onto their feet to complete a full body routine. An example would be to hook the straps on your feet and do some push-ups. There are over 300 exercises that can be performed on this equipment. Find it at select gyms, personal training studios, pilates or yoga studios, or order your own system for at-home use.

Other Trends
Hiring a personal trainer (individual or group sessions), attending a workout retreat, competing in a company weight loss challenge, or going on detox vacations are other trends expected to be on the rise this year. Whatever you decide to do remember to have fun with it and be proud of yourself for doing something good for your overall health!

Author's Bio: 

Wendy Stoll is a certified personal trainer with over 19 years of experience specializing in exercise program development for women. She travels to your home/office to make exercise as convenient as possible. Wendy can be reached at (517) 327-1992, wstoll@comcast.net, www.wendystoll.com.