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Monday 22 September 2014

Three new fitness trends to try this summer

Katy Young, Telegraph.co.uk

Published 24/07/2014 | 14:52

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Fitness has its fashion cycles, and we've just moved into a new one if Virgin Active's announcement of the latest training trends for summer is anything to go by.

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The nationwide fitness chain says that fusion, functional and fascial training will be making its way to a gym, park or class schedule near you - and by all expert accounts we should be joining in. Allow us to explain a little about why.

FUSION TRAINING isn't new, and chances are you've already tried an exercise class or PT session with a little thrown in without even realising it. Virgin Active describes fusion training as "taking the best of two things, and bringing them together to create something very special indeed," and probably a special name too - heard of 'yogalates' and 'piloxing' yet? Names and newness aside, Virgin Active say there's actually a "huge number of benefits to combining different styles of exercise. Most notably, two disciplines in one will burn more calories," - why? Because muscles get a combination of challenges, "which means that your body works harder to maintain the pace, thus speeding up your metabolism." The split personality of a fusion class will also maximise movement too, which as Virgin Active says, "encourages agility making you less prone to injury."

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FUNCTIONAL EXERCISE is, says Virgin Active, the buzz fitness phrase for summer 2014. In short, functional training strips back the bad body movement habits we've picked up as adults, while both reminding and empowering our muscles to move the way we did as children - which is exactly how we should all be moving now. The way you threw, caught, climbed, ran and jumped as a kid, that's functional training, aka 'primal movement', which engages the core and encourages a more natural range of movement. Back in the gym, functional training includes movements like lunging, jumping, walking, twisting, pulling and pushing to power up the body to move more freely, burn body fat and build lean muscle.

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A focus on the FASCIA makes sense. 'Fascia' is the term used to describe the fibrous layers of connective tissue surrounding muscles. How tight or free your fascia is will determine both how well you train, and how long and lean your limbs look too. Running all the way from our heads to our toes, and linking different parts of our body ("the fascia that runs through your hamstrings in the backs of your legs is connected to your cheeks," explains Virgin Active), a tight fascia will restrict movement and even "cause dysfunction and pain.". Stretched correctly, "muscles naturally have more room to move and function better, which in turn helps you to have a better workout as your range of motion will be bigger, resulting in greater calorie burn," which is exactly why this type of conditioning will be working its way into summer workouts throughout the UK. And if working out isn't your thing (why not?) then perhaps a fascia stretching massage might be an alternative, try Twenty Two Training's Upper Back, Neck & Jaw Rebalancing Therapy for starters.

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Burning more fat, creating longer, stronger limbs while encouraging a freedom of movement never goes out of favour, so dedicated follower of fitness fashion or not, it'll pay the calorie bank to get involved with the three 'f's' this summer.

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