Fitness, like plenty of things in life, is affected by trends. Sure, there are certain classics that never go out of fashion. Exercises such as the sit-up, press-up and a lap of a track are the black suit or simple jeans and T-shirt of the workout scene: perennial favourites that never go away.
But each year, new styles, classes and ab fads come along to change the way we train. We look ahead to some of the more interesting workout ideas to try this year.
Virtual Reality Training
This could be the year VR headsets tip towards the mainstream. Expect the idea of donning a headset to become big news in the cinema (with Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One), in the world of gaming (console VR headsets will enter homes in a big way) and everything from education and healthcare to the workplace.
The gym will be no different, while at home, VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift and Samsung VR Gear have activity based games that immerse you in a physical activity in a virtual world. Think of them as a more hi-tech version of the fitness games on a Nintendo Wii.
More advanced, however, is an immersive VR exercise experience such as Zwift. This exercise bike of the future is fast becoming a global phenomenon. As a virtual cycling programme, it translates real-world effort into on-screen performance. In other words, the faster you pedal on an indoor bike, the faster a virtual cyclist moves on screen. The avatar can race against other users all around the world and there are many famous rides installed on the software meaning you can get an authentic workout. It is heralded as a social and addictive way to work out and you can have a free test ride right here in Abu Dhabi at Yas Cycles.
Daily. 11am-8pm. Yas Cycles, Al Raha Beach area, www.yascycles.com (02 634 1084).
HIIT It Hard
High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is not new for this year. It is, however, the buzzword that refuses to go away. Expect it to be the talk of gyms and health clubs in the city for the rest of 2018 with personal trainers nodding their heads in approval every time it is mentioned. The idea is that workouts are shorter, but the effort is more intense. A typical HIIT session may be less than 30 minutes (ideal for time-pressed Dhabians), but require you to go flat out for the duration. Bursts of sprinting for 30 seconds and then jogging to recover can be more beneficial than longer jogs at a slower place. Look out for classes and sessions at most gyms this year.
It is time to embrace your social side in the gym. One-on-one sessions can be pricey, but finding a trainer who is willing to tailor a programme for three or four friends is a way to spread the cost and increase the motivation. As well as speaking to trainers about small-group sessions, let this be the year you step back into organised classes. Zumba, body combat, spinning – it doesn’t matter what. Group classes and team efforts will be huge this year as gyms look to make training more sociable. As classes become more popular, look out for creative off-shoots and niche interest groups to appear. CEO Yoga? Reiki for rugby players? Game of Thrones fans body combat? This is the year to find a class that perfectly suits your personality and interests and put pressure on your gym to try something new.
That all sound like too much effort? Then maybe the Modius headset is for you. This gadget was one of the most-talked-about technologies at the recent CES exhibition in Las Vegas. Widely regarded as one of the most important gadget shows in the world, CES showed visitors how to pop it on their heads, with the futuristic-looking tiara stimulating their vestibular nerves. This, the boffins behind the device reckon, will zap the part of your brain that controls appetite. Let’s say we’re cynical at this point, but we’re eyeing reviews of the Dhs1,850 gadget closely.
See www.modiushealth.com for more details.