ruby’s tuesday | 10 trends that shaped fitness
posted: December 31, 2013
Staring down your 2014 fitness resolutions, will any of our all-time favourite workout trends inspire you to new levels of sweat in the year to come?
Barre (Burn / Fusion / Core / Fitness)
Blame Natalie Portman in Black Swan, blame Tracey Anderson, blame Madonna, but in as the first decade of the century drew to a close, the workout of choice for women in the market for a long, lean dancers physique was anything with the word “Barre” in the title—whether or not an actual barre, or ballet handrail, was being used. Popular with Type As petrified of developing huge calf muscles at SoulCycle.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
According to one report, Stand Up Paddle Boarding (affectionately “SUP”) was the outdoor sporting activity with the most first time participants in the US in 2013. Perhaps inspired by the abs of Cameron Diaz, we took to the water in droves to experience the workout that’s “really good for your core” (the first thing anybody ever has to say on the subject). See also: zen hybrid, Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga.
If anything defined fitness in the 2000s, it was the dance-tastic Zumba workout created by Colombian choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez, and credited with unleashing the hips of the masses. Today it’s estimated that around 14 million people take weekly Zumba classes in more than 150 countries around the world—many of them dudes—which is a whole lot of hair tossing, booty shakin’ sweating going on.
Do it in the office, do it in the car… do it while you’re watching the infomercial on TV! As advertised by actress Suzanne Somers, the Thighmaster was the workout you could take with you anywhere. Invented by one Joshua Reynolds, heir to the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company fortune (do it while you’re on a cigarette break!) in the 1990s, hardly a home in the Western hemisphere was without one. Did somebody say kegels?
Invented by Gin Miller in 1989, who was advised to step up and down on a milk crate to strengthen the muscles in her knee following an injury, by the early 1990s you could barely step into a studio without performing an Over-The-Top, a Straddle Down or a Repeater Knee. And hands up who didn’t have an at-home step gathering dust in the garage until you had to make space for your Balance Ball. Yep, that’s what we thought.
The Les Mills International take-over
It all began with Pump™, the group workout that Philip Mills, son of four-time New Zealand Olympian Les, licenced to gyms worldwide in 1990—soundtrack, moves, drill sergeant instructors and all. Then came Body Attack, Body Balance, a 2005 New Zealand Services Exporter of the Year award…and a freestyle backlash, as instructors everywhere tired of teaching to the Les Mills International script.
Named for inventor Callan Pinckney, this late 1980s craze saw women in living rooms across the US and Europe performing teeny-tiny, targeted toning moves in the hope, as the first video promised, of looking “10 Years Younger in 10 Hours.” Yes, our muscles regularly went into spasm, but even Jane Fonda couldn’t keep up; Pinckney soon pushed her into second place on the all-time best-selling fitness video list.
Inspiring cult-like devotion to the point that regulars have been known to re-mortgage their homes to feed their SoulCycle habit (um, kinda), the group cycling workout devised by Julie Rice, Elizabeth Cutler and Ruth Zukerman in 2007 is where the bold and the beautiful come to worship. Feel good affirmations + buckets of sweat = a gazillion very happy customers (and imminent world domination for the founders).
Hands-down winner of the best-named fitness fad ever, Prancercise was created by Joanna Rohrback while power walking one morning in Hollywood, Florida, in 1989. She’s been quoted as crediting “an exceptionally good song on my Walkman,” but before she knew it, she was “naturally rocking and twisting my whole body” and Prancercise – praise the Lord – was born.
Okay so who doesn’t want all the benefits of a full-on PT session in just four minutes? This is the promise of Total Agony But Also Totally Awesome Tabata workouts, the 20-seconds-on-ten-seconds-off method of high intensity training developed by a professor in Japan working with the Olympic speed skating squad. Perfectly suited for jam-packed modern lifestyles, this is one trend that feels like the future.
Speaking of the future, check out Outside magazine’s selection of fitness trends to watch for in the year to come.
Whether it’s interviewing Lady Gaga, unveiling the latest trends in fashion, or getting under the skin of our most neurotic social trends, Ruby Warrington is at the forefront of it all. She’s a British lifestyle writer and the celebrated creator of the blog The Numinous, but best of all is that Ruby is also a feature writer for the lululemon blog.