For many people, the New Year is about losing weight and getting in shape. The guilt of the holiday indulgence looms and the reality that before you know it, summer will be here and you will want to don your best bikini at North Avenue Beach sets in.
If getting shape in 2012 is one of your resolutions, check out Equinox Fitness instructor Tonya Dugger's key fitness trends for 2012 in Chicago -- see Dugger's list below.
(Tip: I have known Tonya for quite sometime even before she joined Equinox when she was a trainer for Bulldog Bootcamp in Chicago. If you have a chance to visit Equinox in January, or are considering joining the club, which has four locations in the Chicagoland area, it is well worth it to check out one of Tonya's classes. Her high energy and positive attitude will keep you motivated. She also always incorporates really innovative fitness techniques into each class. I recently tried a new class for Equinox called MetCon3 that focuses on using heavier weights to rev up your metabolism. The class consists of 10 exercises each done for a minute alternating between upper and lower body and cardio. Rest for 90 seconds and then repeat. It is a great workout that truly gets your metabolism going helping to burn fat and create muscle. As one participate noted: "This class is like getting two classes for one - cardio and toning." Check out Equinox's Web site to see where Tonya will be teaching MetCon3 in Chicago in 2012.)
Suggested Reading: New Year's Eve Guide for Chicago l New Year's Day and Beyond in Chicago l Top New Year's Resolutions
1. Strength Training"Strength training improves your cardiovascular system, balance, and overall muscular strength and benefits your heart, improves your balance, strengthens your bones, as well as helps you lose weight,” says Dugger. “The old saying muscle burns more than fat still holds great credibility. Equinox offers an array of classes like Definitions, Whipped! And ViPR that focuses on muscle conditioning and strength training."
2. Core Training“To begin building a strong core you need to condition as many muscles starting at the top of the shoulders to the base of your spine,” says Dugger. “Most people think of the core as a nice six-pack, or strong, visually toned abs. The truth is that the abdominals are only one muscle group that helps build a strong core. Classes like Pilates and yoga can help with core conditioning."
3. Zumba and Other Dance Workouts"Zumba involves dance and aerobic elements. Zumba's choreography incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, mambo, belly dance moves and martial arts. This heart-racing class features aerobic/fitness interval training with a combination of fast and slow rhythms that tone and sculpt the body with easy to follow dance steps. It is the perfect class for those looking for a great workout but want to have some serious fun while doing it," says Dugger.
4. Boot Camps and Interval Workouts
I was glad to see this on Duggers's list as I have come to love boot camp-style workouts like Tabata at Equinox, which I have been demoing. Tabata, like MetCon3, moves through various exercises working on your core, upper and lower body strangth and cardio. You do each exercise for 20 second, rest for 10 seconds, repeat eight times. Bootcamps will only gain popularity in 2012. These military style-workouts burn almost 10 calories a minute and build muscle faster. And in April 2012, Equinox will launch ETC (Equinox Training Camp), a boot camp-type workout. As Dugger explains, "This is not your ordinary boot camp. Be prepare.: We bring it the Equinox way, with the very best in research driven programming, form, function and technique coaching, state of the art equipment." (Tip: Getting in shape and losing weight is more than just about exercise. Good nutrition is also fundamental to success. Check out Whole Foods Market Lincoln Park's new Wellness Club that offers daily nutrition and healthy cooking classes
5. TRX Suspension Workout“One of our most popular classes at our Highland Park location is the TRX Suspension Workout that features an innovative exercise tool to help you build lean muscle, boost your metabolism, tighten your core and increase endurance,” says Dugger. "This truly has been one of the best fitness tools for our members to experience. I've seen a 25 year old next to an 85 year old in a TRX class. Turn your workout upside down and change your body without lifting a single weight. This workout makes use of a simple strap with handles whose suspension design uses body weight and the laws of physics to create hundreds of exercise progressions with virtually unlimited levels of resistance. The program includes 250+ highly functional exercises to develop lean and powerful muscle throughout the entire body."
6. Yoga“Yoga increases flexibility and lubrication of joints and ligaments, as well as massages the organs of the body,” says Dugger. “Yoga also helps to tone a person’s muscles and flushes out toxins in the body.” (Tip: One of the country's best yoga teachers, Allison English, can be found at Equinox in Chicago. Like Dugger's classes, English's classes are incredibly popular. From a personal experience, what I like most about English's classes is that she pays attention to each and every participant, walking around to adjust their poses or to give them a little pep talk to strength a little deeper. She also focuses on breath work, which after a long and stressful day is one of the few things I find that calms me down. As English professes, breath work is so beneficial helping to calm the central nervous system and bring peace and quiet to the mind. Equinox has no shortage of yoga classes on their class schedules. Some popular yoga classes included: Power Yoga, Hip Hop Yoga, Forrest Yoga Flow and Yogilates.