Bored of bootcamp and fed up of fitness DVDs? A new survey has found that we'd rather do anything OTHER than exercise, and this includes filling out tax returns, doing house work and even going to a Justin Bieber concert.
Here we reveal 10 new ways to take the weariness out of your workout – and personal trainer Darragh Hayes gives his expert verdict on each.
1 ONLINE TRAINING:
From broadband to waistband, virtual fitness could soon replace fitness DVDs for those looking to shape up at home. Dodging Storm Darwin while doing an exercise class with a real instructor anywhere in the world is just one of the advantages. But the Skype's the limit.
EXPERT VIEW: "I do online training with clients, but I would only do it with those who already know what they're doing. If you're just starting out, it's better to have somebody standing over you telling you exactly what to do."
TRY IT: Natalie Portman's trainer Mary Helen Bowers offers online ballet classes at www.balletbeautiful.com
2 RAVE FITNESS:
Dust down your Scooter CD and dig out those glow-sticks. Nineties-style aerobic raves – but with no booze or boys – are back. Clubbers burn up to 600 calories by dancing non-stop for an hour. Best of all, you wake up feeling perky not pukey the next morning.
EXPERT VIEW: "Jumping around like a maniac for an hour will certainly burn calories, but I'm not convinced it will actually burn fat or make you stronger. Be sure to drink lots of water."
TRY IT: Women-only freestyle dance session 'Dance Dance Party Party' (see dancedancepartyparty.com for upcoming Irish dates)
3 OBSTACLE COURSES:
Beanbags are for babies. Today's toughest obstacle courses for adults include crawling through mud, plunging into ice-cold water and scrambling over 12-foot walls.
Among the extreme outdoor challenges taking place here are Hell & Back, Tough Mudder and Runamuck. Less marathon than mad-athon.
EXPERT VIEW: "In terms of motivation, setting a goal to complete an outdoor challenge is a great idea. Just remember to get into the gym and start lifting to build strength as well!"
TRY IT: Tough Mudder Ireland 2014 takes place on October 4-5 at Punchestown Racecourse, Naas, Co. Kildare (see tough mudder.co.uk)
4 HYBRID EXERCISE:
First Brangelina and now 'Piloxing'. That's just one of the hybrid exercise classes springing up all over the country. As well as the fusion of Pilates and boxing, designed to offer the best of both, there's 'yogilates' (yoga and Pilates), 'zennis' (zen and tennis) and 'YAS' (yoga and spinning). Perfect for indecisive exercisers – or is it?
EXPERT VIEW: "If you want to do Pilates, just do pilates; if you want to box, then box. Any good personal trainer should be able to integrate the strength and conditioning offered by both into your regular fitness regime."
TRY IT: For a full list of Piloxing instructors in Ireland see www.piloxing.com
5 BODY-WEIGHT TRAINING:
Feel the burn using nothing but your own body. Forget the fancy gym equipment and go back to basics with press-ups, sit-ups, squat and lunges. It helps prevent osteoporosis, especially for women, by building stronger bones, costs nothing and you don't even have to change out of your jammies. Triple whammy.
EXPERT VIEW: "Since injuring my back last year, body-weight training has helped recover my strength. I see people coming into the gym who can't even hold a side plank for 10 seconds. It's vital to get the basics right before so much as picking up a dumbbell."
TRY IT: "When it comes to squatting, it's a myth that you have to go 'ass to grass'," says Darragh. "Keeping your knees in front of your toes, squat until you're parallel with the floor."
6 ACTIVE SITTING:
Now you can shape up by literally sitting on your backside. Sedentary workers are increasingly throwing away their chairs in a bid to burn calories as they work. Instead, you balance on an inflatable exercise ball, which engages tummy muscles and improves your posture – not to mention your balance.
EXPERT VIEW: "Sitting on an exercise ball intermittently is fine, but for eight hours a day it could cause your core muscles to become fatigued. Doing bodyweight core exercises like the plank or side plank will have the same effect."
TRY IT: Pro Fitness 65cm Gym Ball, €8.95, available from Argos.ie
7 GET-FIT GADGETS:
Fitness gadgets have come a long way since the humble pedometer. From smart scales that gauge your body-fat percentage to sweat-resistant headphones, losing weight has gone all hi-tech. Nike's FuelBand activity tracker even reminds you to move if you've been watching telly for too long. Big blubber is watching you!
EXPERT VIEW: "No gadget is going to get your body fat down or build muscle, so don't expect them to. If you're hungry, eat. If you're not, don't. It's as simple as that. Unless you're training for a competition, I think fitness gadgets are a waste of time."
TRY IT: Nike+ Fuelband SE, €139, available from store.nike.com
If you're time poor, and not so flush with cash either, this year's hottest trend for 'High-Intensity Interval Training' could be just the trick. Torching around 15 calories per minute, studies show that a 10-minute HIIT – including push-ups and burpees – burns more calories than half an hour on the treadmill. And, as it's over in mere minutes, the boredom excuse is invalid.
EXPERT VIEW: "High-intensity interval training blows training on a treadmill or cross trainer out of the water. It's great for losing fat and building muscle. Do it using your own body weight, or add weights for a tougher workout."
TRY IT: The Fit Factory, Kells, Co Meath offers HIIT classes (see facebook.com/ fitfactorymeath)
9 ANTI-GRAVITY YOGA:
Super-toned singer Pink wowed with her aerial performance at the Grammys last month. And now more and more people here are hanging out at the gym too. The Cirque de Soleil-style classes involve practising yoga moves in a hammock for maximum flexibility.
EXPERT VIEW: "I have Olympic rings and TRX equipment in my gym that I use as part of any session. But I wouldn't base a whole session around suspension training as there's only so much you can do with it."
TRY IT: For details of anti-gravity yoga classes available in Ireland, see www.antigravityyoga.ie
10 GROUP TRAINING:
You don't have to be a celeb to afford a personal trainer – any more. Tighten your belt in more ways than one by simply sharing a trainer with one or more gym buddy. Mind you, even counting our Facebook friends, we probably still can't afford trainer to the stars Tracy Anderson.
EXPERT VIEW: "I'm a stickler for technique. When you've got 25 or 30 people in a class, like some bootcamps, there's no way you can ensure everyone is exercising correctly. For those who can't afford one-to-one training, sharing a trainer is a great idea."
TRY IT: The Cover Model Body Gym offers ladies-only group training (limited to six per class), €300 for 12 sessions (see covermodelbodypersonal training.com)