Let’s face it: the Elliptical is just a glorified hamster wheel. Anyone who works out regularly will tell you the importance of keeping things loose, trying new exercises, and generally making your physical-fitness undertakings as varied and interesting as possible. After all, the last thing you want is to get so bored with your routine that you give up working out altogether, hit the Häagen-Dazs with a vengeance, and grow out of your skinny jeans. (Perhaps that’s a bit of a worst-case scenario.) But variety is the spice of life, and that’s true for more than just ice-cream flavors. If you’re looking to mix up your workout a little, try one of these interesting new ways to both keep your butt in shape and keep yourself out of a workout rut.
Pilates is a great way to get a long, lean look, and the merits of your average boxing workout are undeniable (plus, punching things is fun). Enter Piloxing, “the latest Hollywood celebrity fitness craze sweeping the nation” (according to the website). Piloxing was developed by Viveca Jensen—dancer, Swede, and fitness trainer to the stars—and it “blends the power, speed, and agility of boxing with the beautiful sculpting and flexibility of Pilates.”
Piloxing classes aren’t yet widely available, but you can visit the website at Piloxing.com to find out where classes are offered. Despite this new get-fit fad’s fledgling status, there’s an impressive array of merch to be found on the website, including weighted Piloxing gloves, which keep the upper body engaged throughout the workout. The Piloxing Instructor Association offers an eight-hour workshop that will verse you in its methodology and principles so that you may go forth and help others look great naked. The benefit promise? “Sleek. Sexy. Powerful.”—the cornerstone of all workout fads. Besides, if Hilary Duff does it, what’s stopping you?
TRX Suspension Training
Making your body weight work for you is the best kind of exercise there is. TRX Suspension Training is based on that very simple principle and is refreshingly free of gimmicks, which might be the second reason it is increasingly popular. The first reason is its proven effectiveness, as evidenced by its fan base of pro athletes, professional trainers, and the U.S. Military.
Developed by a former Navy SEAL, the TRX system is sleek and simple, consisting of a Y-shape device that includes straps with handles and loops for your feet. You suspend it from any elevated point and use your body weight as leverage while you perform any number of toning, strengthening, and sculpting exercises. Its other big draw is its portability. Said straps ball up into a little bundle and weigh about two pounds, so you can bring this simple piece of equipment with you wherever you happen to go. The catch? This little package of beautiful simplicity retails for around $190. Sure, it’s less expensive than an Elliptical machine, but it still seems a lot for something made of stuff you could get for $20 at your local hardware store. But no investment is too great when it comes to health, fitness, and rock-hard glutes, right?
The Insanity Workout
The makers of P90X, which combines plyometrics, interval, and cross-training to its own insane levels for the purpose of über-fitness, have kicked it up a notch with the Insanity Workout. While the intensive P90X promises a beach-ready bod in ninety days, the Insanity Workout promises the same in sixty days, and without all of that cumbersome equipment like dumbbells, yoga mats, and chin-up bars. All you need is a TV, a DVD player, and from the looks of it, an intravenous line to the espresso machine. The energetic, punishing workout comes in the form of ten discs that take you through a series of activities that vary in length from thirty minutes to eighty-six minutes and seem to include a lot of those slightly sadistic cardio exercises your drill sergeant of a gym teacher made you do in high school. If the “before” and “after” photos and testimonials on the Insanity website are to be believed, this is one fad that is not full of false promises. For $120, it had better deliver; the set includes ten discs, a nutritional program, a fitness guide, and a sixty-day calendar.
Pilates has proven to be an incredibly flexible undertaking in this age of hybrid fitness franchises. Spinlates is one of Pilates’ latest and greatest spin-offs; it’s a circuit-training program that combines the cardio workout of spinning with the toning and strengthening exercises of Pilates. It’s pretty self-explanatory: the workout consists of a twenty-five-minute spin class to burn calories, followed by thirty minutes on a Pilates Reformer to stretch and strengthen. It’s a simple idea, but helpful in keeping the rote boredom of doing the same thing for too long at bay and keeping your body moving in a variety of energetic ways.
If it’s any inspiration, Jennifer Aniston is embracing this “new” version of yoga. Using classic Vinyasa-style poses combined with repetitions for tone and espousing yoga’s meditative affirmations, Yogalosophy seems little more than a vigorously branded version of the many styles of yoga that have been proliferating in America for the past fifteen years. While it’s not unusual to find a yoga teacher who hits that sweet spot between a true physical workout and a calming, meditative practice, Mandy Ingber, creator of Yogalosophy, seems to have had the presence of mind to brand it and capitalize on it with more rigor than others. But since it’s only $20 for a DVD set of practices, why not get friendly with your Shiva and Shakti?