Life Fitness

Saturday 20 September 2014

Hottest New Workouts

Published 22/01/2013 | 06:00

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Ten or 15 minutes of intense kettlebells work might be all you need.
Ballet Barre is a workout incorporating ballet and Pilates.
TRX employs nylon straps to allow you to use your body weight to develop strength.

Fitness rookie Celina Murphy test drives five of Ireland's hottest exercise trends to find out if they will really make her feel happier and healthier in 2013

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In the world of fitness, 2013 will be a year just like any other; fad exercise classes will thrive on the back of faint celebrity endorsements, age-old art forms will be reworked into trendy workouts (enter Eirerobics, an Irish dancing-based training programme) and a flood of new fitness apps will continue to render the nation inescapably attached to their smart phones.



But, I am proud to confirm, there will be at least one minor change. In 2013, for the first time ever, I will be among the million or so Irish people hurling their bodies about in an attempt to get physically fit.



Why? Because some weeks ago, I took it upon myself to find the five most hyped exercise classes I and try them on for size.

And, to my absolute astonishment, I loved every minute of it. So, which of these workouts are actually worth the time, money and sweat?

It all depends on your interests, goals and fitness level.

So, which class is right for you?





Trampolining

Also known as rebounding, trampoline-based exercise offers a variety of health benefits for the body, improving balance, co-ordination, cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone.

It also has proven benefits for the body's lymphatic system, which fights bacterial and viral infections and transports waste products out of the body. In other words, a few minutes' work on the trampoline works like a natural detox, enhancing your body's ability to eliminate toxins.

Mixing activities from traditional workouts with moves that can only be done mid-air, Jumpzone's Rebounding Revolution class literally couldn't have been more fun. Plus, the superhuman feeling that followed me around for the rest of the day suggests all that bouncing releases a tiny army of endorphins.

Great if you want: a seriously fun way to work your body.

Difficulty rating: 2/5

Ouch factor: 2/5

The best part: feeling like you're at an eight-year-old's birthday party.

The worst part: some initial shakiness when finding your balance on the trampoline.

The cost: €10 per class, €80 for a 10-class pass or €140 for a 20-class pass.

The location: Jumpzone Indoor Trampoline Park, Stillorgan. See jumpzone.ie or contact 01 293 9356 or info@jumpzone.ie for details.

This is the only facility of its kind in Ireland, but I have a feeling they'll spring up nationwide.



Ballet Barre

Like most women, I've flirted with the idea of becoming a prima ballerina, but at 25 years old and nearly 6ft tall, I'm realistic about my chances of appearing on the Bolshoi stage.

Ballet Barre, a workout incorporating ballet and Pilates but geared toward muscle tone and body sculpting is a great way to indulge your inner dancer, and, if you work really, really hard, get a dancer's body to boot.

Against a soundtrack of Adele, Björk and N.E.R.D., instructor Orla Hannon took us through a series of elongated moves at lightning speed. A year of Pilates certainly gave me a leg up with this one (no pun intended), but 24 hours later, I was still feeling my efforts in brand new places.

Great if you want: a body like Mila Kunis or Miranda Kerr.

Difficulty rating: 2/5

Ouch factor: 2/5

The best part: gaining those oh-so-important qualities that other workouts can't help you with, i.e. grace, posture and poise.

The worst part: two words; pirouette envy.

The cost: €15 per class.

The locations: Platinum Pilates, Rathmines. See platinumpilates.ie or mail info@platinumpilates.ie for details.







KETTLEBELLS

Judging by the pained looks on my friends' faces when I told them I'd signed up for kettlebell training, this weight-based exercise carries the highest level of fear.

But don't worry. There's plenty of good news, too. For one, this no-nonsense workout was probably the most effective of the bunch. For two, a potent session doesn't need to be very long. Ten or 15 minutes of intense work, accompanied by warm up and cool down exercises, might be all you need. And for three, you'll feel the work, not just in your arms and legs, but in your tummy and bum.

Granted, the kettlebell itself looks a little intimidating, but Mark Bunce at D8 Fitness had me aping bodybuilder moves in no time.

Great if you want: toning and fat-burning.

Difficulty rating: 4/5

Ouch factor: 4/5

The best part: fast results.

The worst part: starting off with the littlest weight (it still feels great when you advance to something bigger).

The cost: €10 for an initial trial, €35 per month (one class per week).

The location: D8 Fitness, Dublin 8. See d8fitness.com or contact 01 4735847.

For classes nationwide see irishkettlebellinfo.com



COMBAT AEROBICS

An ass-kicking fusion of kickboxing and high-intensity cardio, Combat Aerobics finds its participants beating an imaginary foe to a bloody pulp. Jane Fonda didn't do it like this.

Here's what I found really remarkable about this workout; if I set out for a jog around the block, I generally cave within 10 minutes. With a very large and encouraging man named Lorcan yelling commands at me, I somehow managed an intensive, 50-minute cardiovascular workout, using more muscles than I would in any marathon. A Combat class at the City Of Dublin YMCA also gives you the chance to support a worthwhile social enterprise, with 100pc of the organisation's profits going to fund its many charity services.

Great if you want: a fierce way to burn calories.

Difficulty rating: 3/5

Ouch factor: 4/5

The best part: imagining your arch nemesis in front of you as you throw that last deadly punch.

The worst part: running into an ex on the way home, red-faced, sweaty and humming the theme tune from 'Rocky'.

The cost: €8 per class.

The location: The YMCA, Dublin 2. See ymca.ie or contact 01 4782607 or info@ymca.ie for details.



TRX

Developed by a US Navy SEAL, TRX is a unique suspension workout that employs nylon straps to allow you to use your body weight to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability. Popular with athletes across the globe, it can be tailored to suit all fitness levels, to help tone, sculpt and strengthen the body, as well as enhancing performance at golf, rugby, football and a dozen other sports.

That said, as someone with absolutely no intention of joining my local soccer team, I found TRX surprisingly rewarding. Owen Murray of Mint Fitness helped me conquer the trickier aspects the equipment, variety in the movements kept me interested and the suspension element made me feel like Demi Moore in G.I. Jane.

Great if you want: to take conventional exercise to the next level.

Difficulty rating: 4/5

Ouch factor: 5/5

The best part: getting to build on your fitness from sports or other classes.

The worst part: getting to grips with the equipment.

The cost: €80 for five weeks (two classes per week). Books of 10 vouchers, which entitle the bearer to 10 classes within a three-month period, are also available.

The location: Mint Fitness, Malahide, Sandymount and Terenure. See mintfitness.ie or contact 086 266 7248 for details.

TRX classes are available nationwide.

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