12 Fitness Trends that Really Make Us Want to Work Out

By Ava Feuer, REDBOOK.

It's New Year's resolution season, which, let's be honest, usually means vowing to break a sweat five days a week, religiously lacing up our sneakers for a month (if we're lucky), and then calling it an exhausted, who-really-has-time-for-this day.

But not this year. 2014 is packing all kinds of fitness trends that are exciting enough to keep our motivation up into--gasp--February and beyond. Guys, this is our year!

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1. "Nicer" fitness instructors. Yes, it is possible to push yourself based on positive feedback. Make those classes kick our butts, but don't make us cower in fear or burst into tears, please.

2. Do absolutely no more than you have to. There's always a new scientific study, but the takeaway from the major ones of 2013 was that going hard for a short period of time reaped major results. RIP, hour-long elliptical sessions. We'll see you at CrossFit.

3. Sick vending machines. These actually won't make you feel sick. Gourmet salads with fresh, locally-sourced, organic ingredients are just the thing to keep us on track.

4. Even more rad dance classes. Let-your-hair-down dance cardio workouts are beloved for their combo of fun and fat-burn, but dancing to K-pop is a new one. Our karaoke, YouTube-watching dreams are coming to life.

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5. Overcoming obstacles. Maybe it's the approaching Winter Olympics, but functional fitness is on the rise, including classes that demand hanging from monkey bars and swinging from ropes. Those at New York City's Epic Hybrid Training are meant to help you prepare for the Spartan races that are sweeping the country.

6. Get-wet workouts. Bored with indoor cycling? Easy-on-the-joints aqua cycling is now a thing in New York City, while Aqua Zumba is available all over the country.

7. Luxe steam rooms. Aromatherapy eucalyptus rooms will change how you think of the gym locker room as somewhere to get out of ASAP (and with shower shoes) to a place to linger and lounge.

8. Who needs sightseeing when there's sightrunning?
Instead of walking--or, dare we say, Segway-ing--around a new city, see the local attractions at a bit of a faster pace. It's caught on in Madrid, Paris, and more than 40 other cities on six continents.

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9. Running with Mickey and Minnie. You've already got to take the kids there, and now, it seems like a mom rite of passage to do a Disney Princess or Tinkerbell half-marathon while you're there.

10. Leave the car at home. You know what makes absolutely no one's day better? Sitting in traffic. Hence why bike-share programs, after becoming hugely popular in Europe, have proved majorly successful in some U.S. cities. In 2014, expect commuting to work on two wheels to become a fitness-friendly reality in Austin, TX; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Portland, OR; San Diego; and Seattle.

11. From how hard to happy hour.
It's not just '80s music-lovers coming together for classes featuring their favorite tunes. Cyc, an indoor cycling chain that launched with three studios, bills itself as social experience, letting riders see who else has signed up for classes and challenge friends to virtual races. Meanwhile, companies are holding parties at studios instead of bars, and stores like Lululemon are hosting regular community yoga classes.

12. Smart training gear. As if you weren't already outraged enough by the price of workout clothes ($90 for leggings, seriously?), Silicon Valley start-up Anthos is launching shirts and shorts starting at $300. But these items actually have a purpose--their clothes incorporate the electrodes that doctors have long inserted into skin to monitor muscle activity, using them to monitor breathing and heart rate and highlight poor posture, over- and under-exerted muscles, and imbalances to help you optimize your workout reduce the risk of injury. All that and no needles.


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