Fitness Trends for 2014: Boot Camps Versus Customized Classes

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Image by: RogerAugdal Olsen
By Robert Spencer

There are a lot of fitness trends that are changing for 2014. Crossfit classes are dying down. Boot camps are also becoming less popular. In the place of these two classes are customized classes.

#1) Boot Camps on the Descent

Boot camps have been a big hit for the last decade or so (especially with women). We’ve had quite a few popular ones also. The biggest ones in my area have been “Warrior Boot Camp” and “Primal Boot Camp”.

Along with the rise of boot camps were programs that worked around the same principles, like Crossfit. They all emphasized exercise and becoming healthier and stronger versions of ourselves while promoting friendship. In fact, that has been the biggest benefit to going to boot camps: the camaraderie amongst participants.

#2) The Rise of Customizable Classes

However, one of the things that boot camps lacked was the personalization. Some people would thrive and get better during the beginning of the boot camp process, then about halfway through, they would plateau. They were no longer getting stronger or faster. The program wouldn’t improve as they did. Boot camps are mostly a one-size-fits-all type of program. That’s where customizable classes come in.

There has been a big surge in customizable exercise programs and classes lately because we’re looking for the group dynamic and camaraderie of a boot camp while getting the personalization that you get with a personal trainer. That’s what customizable classes offer.

So how do they work? For the most part, you join a class or program in your neighborhood. There, you will be placed with a group of men (of different skill levels) that you can work out with. The instructor will teach you new moves and then you’ll break up into groups. Newbies will work with other newbies and the more advances members can work amongst themselves.

Of course, people are allowed to mingle amongst themselves but the point is that you can advance as a small group or with a buddy. The key word is “advance”. That means no more plateauing.

#3) Martial Arts

Martial arts is a great example of this type of program. You go into the class, run warm-up exercises together. You are taught something new. Then you break up into groups. White belts work with other white belts. Brown belts work with other brown belts. Black belts work with…well, you get the point.

If you’ve never thought of taking up a martial art before, now is a great time to starting thinking about one. There are many different variations (not just karate). The main principles normally remain the same: you are taught a set of philosophies, you are taught the fundamentals, and you move up as you master them. Normally, people move up at their own pace. Some learn faster than others or are in different shapes after all.

If you’re not into the tradition karate, why not try one of these:

    Mixed Martial Arts (full contact with various focuses)

    Aikido (unarmed, based out of Japan)

    Kendo (semi-contact, weapons based, utilizing a shinai)

    Muay Lao (unarmed, resembles Indochinese kickboxing)

    Krav Maga (unarmed, developed for the military in Israel)

#4) Flywheel Indoor Cycling Classes

Flywheel Sports uses a custom engineered bike to help you achieve your own, personal fitness goals. They also offer trainers that suggest RPM’s and other workout tricks that could help you reach your potential (though you don’t have to take their advice). You ride with a class but you work at your own pace, with the advice of instructors.

They also have music playlists that are choreographed to each class. Music is a great way to keep you motivated and helps make the workout more enjoyable. They’ve got in-house DJ’s that create custom playlists for each class. They also offer free towels, bike shoes, lockers, and even more creature comforts in order to make your experience great.

They have classes in New York, Chicago, Florida, Atlanta, North Carolina, Seattle, Texas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, and Dubai. If you live in any of those places or somewhere nearby, I suggest that you give them a try by clicking on their link and checking out what they have to offer you.

If you’re interested in seeing how it works, check out Episode 1 of Physique TV’s Flywheel Indoor Cycling Feature:

As you can see, it’s not just an aerobic and lower body workout. They also work your upper body.

#5) Customized Online Training

This is a great option for you if you are a self-motivated exerciser that needs the flexibility of having a personal trainer who doesn’t have to meet with you face-to-face. Also, it helps if you don’t mind doing a workout on your own and you don’t seek camaraderie with a group of sweaty guys.

While it can be more motivating to have a trainer threaten to beat you over the head with his clipboard if you don’t make your minimum reps (I’m being facetious, of course – trainers shouldn’t do that).

This option is also a great deal cheaper than meeting with a trainer at a gym. While a great personal trainer may cost you around $300 per month, an online trainer will cost you less than half of that (per month).

If you are interested in checking out some online trainers, check out BodBot and GainFitness.