Here’s how Londoners will be working out in 2019 and beyond

Has HIIT finally had its day? Or is high intensity here to stay? The future trends of fitness are on the horizon, and they’re sweatier than ever

By Charlie Allenby. Brought to you by Microsoft

Breaking a sweat in London has never been more popular. These days, one in seven of us regularly hit up parks, studios and gyms – and we’re getting more creative with our fitness routes, too. From yummy mummy yoga classes to bootcamps that are like a Sandhurst entry exam, there’s something for everyone. And thanks to platforms like ClassPass, which gives users access to some of the most bougie fitness sessions around, you’re no longer tied down to the same four-walled space. But what are the new ways you’ll be feeling the burn in 2019 and beyond? We asked four personal trainers for their predictions on the future of fitness.

Get ready to get LIIT

If the novelty of getting shouted at by an army officer gone AWOL is wearing thin, then you might be pleased to hear that the intensity is getting dialled down. FlyLDN’s Low Impact session is one of a whole host of classes across the capital focusing on LIIT (low impact interval training), where different styles of workouts – handstands, Turkish get-ups (unfortunately no relation of the sugar-based delight) and kettle bell swings to name a few – are blended together.

Don’t expect it to be a doss though. 'It’s really effective and will get you working up a real sweat, but you won’t be leaping around, endangering joints,' explains personal trainer and trainer George Pearse. 'If anything is the future of fitness, it’s [LIIT], rather than body fascism, which I think some of the HIIT stuff is all about – work as hard as you possibly can in the shortest amount of time and hopefully you’ll get some great results. LIIT is about using exercise to increase your performance in other areas of your life as well – like your yoga practice.'

No pain, no performance gain

'People generally go to the gym because they want to look good in a t-shirt, bikini or naked,' says Firas Iskandarani, who is a master trainer at Gymbox. 'But there are more people now who understand that if you focus on things like performance, you’ll get those other things as a by product.' He believes that this could be the future of fitness, with classes such as Gymbox’s Threshold shunning the burpees and skipping ropes in favour of self-powered cardio equipment (think a treadmill with the plug taken out), with the end goal increasing aerobic capacity.

'It looks and feels like a cardio class but I think it’s ahead of the curve,' he adds. 'It requires a lot more thought and education of the member base. But people are becoming smarter. Things like Classpass are getting much bigger because people are going to all these boutique gyms where they specialise in particular areas. People are being a lot more aware of what they want to do and getting a lot more out of their money.'

Swap boxsets for big sweats

Fitness is coming into the home in a big way in 2019, but this isn’t a case of millennials jumping on ‘90s nostalgia for naff VHS workout videos (sorry, Mr Motivator). On-demand platforms like the spin-focused Peloton are bringing studio-quality classes to your living room, giving you more opportunities to slot a fitness session (and less excuses not to) into your day.

'Peloton is so much more time efficient,' explains Leanne Hainsby, one of the American company’s two UK-based instructors. 'In the time it could take you to travel from your home to a studio, where you sometimes need to be there 15 minutes before the class, you’ve already done your workout.' She adds that, as well as a daily schedule of live classes, there are more than 10,000 different workouts available on demand, which can be tailored to your personal preferences, even down to the type of music being played in the background. 'I used to teach in a normal studio before I joined Peloton, and you will sign up for a 30- or 40-minute ride and not really know what you’re going to get – it may be a generic class or it might be way above your ability. But you can filter this and it’s really personalised to what’s working for you that day.'

Netflix and chill this ain’t.

Putting the fun in functional training

'Trying to explain a workout to somebody and saying ‘go and do ten bicep curls, five press ups, etc.’ just doesn’t sound fun,' explains Mike Chapman, owner of the Tottenham Court Road branch of F45. 'But if you’re throwing stuff around, running, jumping or playing with things like battle ropes, it lends an enjoyable and fun side to fitness.'

F45 classes employ functional training and last 45 minutes (hence the F and 45), with the focus on improving your overall fitness. 'I think more people are becoming aware of the benefits of fitness as a whole,' adds Chapman. 'The functional side of it is a gateway into it or at least makes it more relevant to everybody and makes it easier for them to get involved.'

Sessions are based on the HIIT protocol – short periods of work followed by short periods of rest –  and aim to get your heart pumping. But Chapman believes the social aspect is the reason why it could be the biggest fitness trend to hit London this year. 'You work throughout the circuits with small teams, all doing the same exercises at the same time. The social element means you push each other, and there’s that mental side where you push yourself to perform a little bit more than if you were by yourself in the gym.' Expect sore muscles and high fives all round.

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