Fitness Trends

Fitness Trends and Their Names: Making sense of the exercise alphabet soup

Fitness Trends Have Some Weird Names

Lately you can’t scroll through Pinterest without seeing pins about fitness trends like “TRX” and “PiYo” and HIIT.  Do you find yourself thinking “I don’t even know what that means” – then figure it’s not for you?  When your friends who workout say how awesome “Tabata” was this morning, do you just nod along smiling, as if you know what on God’s green earth they’re talking about?  I confess, I have had those reactions.  I come to you today to translate and explain a little bit about them.  This way you can decide if you want to try any of them – and  actually mean it when you nod along with your friends.

If you’ve been inactive, before you try any of these, definitely check with your physician.  The American College of Sports Medicine has also developed a questionnaire to help you determine your readiness for physical activity that you can share with your doctor.

Here are some of the fitness trends I’ve seen the most over the last several years.  It’s by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a good sense of what’s out there.

It’s not just a bunch of letters

HIIT – Stands for High Intensity Interval Training.  It consists of short bursts of really intense training (sprinting, fast cycling) followed by less intense periods (jogging, less intense cycling).  The intensity is based on your target maximum heart rate.  It’s usually done in groups, and depending on the protocol, intervals can range from about 20-30 seconds intense training alternating with 15-20 seconds recovery training.  Workouts typically last no more than 30 minutes, about three times a week.  Research has shown that people who start out as inactive improve heart health and mood after ten weeks of training.  Since it’s based on your heart rate, you start out working as hard as you need to reach your target.  No two people will do the exact same intensity, so it really is for any fitness level.

fitness trend trx

Airmen from the 18th Force Support Squadron perform a Total Body Resistance Exercise (TRX)

TRX – Stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise.  This uses body weight for resistance and a suspension trainer (TRX is the name of the brand of these) for stabilizing your body so you can focus on the muscles you want.  For an idea of what it looks like in action, this video  is helpful.  Studies have shown it can improve body composition and reduce cardiovascular risk, but the American Council on Exercise cautions against it if you don’t have sufficient core strength to start with.

PiYo – Stands for Pilates and Yoga Squished into one.  Some people call it “cardio yoga”.  It’s not a workout you can just go and do, it’s actually part of the Beachbody brand and consists of videos you purchase through them.  The workout has you moving continuously for cardio endurance, plus has you doing strengthening exercises using your own body weight.  They combine it with yoga moves to increase flexibility.  It’s marketed as great for beginners, but this review says it’s a little advanced if you’re just getting moving.

P90X – Stands for Power 90 Extreme.  It’s not a workout per se, it’s actually a 90-day plan  including really intense workouts and diet.  It’s marketed as a program that will whip you into shape and targets people who want to be a workout beast.  It claims to use something called muscle confusion, changing the muscles you use often, but this reviewer says that’s hogwash.  If you’re reading my blog, you may be looking for something  less intense for now.  You can always strive for something this hard-core, though!

Come back later for my explanation of the ones you can pronounce but don’t know what they mean!


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