Even though the cornerstones of health and fitness are fairly concrete (consume fewer calories than you burn—and make sure those calories are derived from nutritious, whole foods), we like to shake up our methods. We’ve seen trends change over the decades from fat-burning DVDs to sport-specific training. Don’t deny it: You’ve probably searched for workouts that’ll turn you into Tom Brady.
Wolters Kluwer Health just released its 13th annual Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2019, comprising intel from more than 2,000 health and fitness professionals.
“The survey was designed to confirm or to introduce new trends (not fads) that have a perceived positive impact on the industry according to the international respondent,” Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, of Georgia State University, Atlanta, and Immediate Past-President of ACSM says in a press release.How Whoop Became the Fitness Tracker for the Athletic Elite
The top 20 include workplace health and fitness promotions (No. 15), as well as a boom in employment of certified fitness professionals (No. 6). However, trends that have fallen from the list include circuit weight training, sport-specific training, and core training.
Check out the top five fitness trends of 2019 below.Want a Tracker That Goes Beyond Just Tracking? These 3 Wearables Coach, Teach, and Help Prevent Setbacks.
Shedding fat and gaining muscle takes some dedication—and not just when it comes to training. While of course strength training, cardio, and yoga can help shape your body and mind, you also need solid sleep and a healthy, sustainable meal plan. That’s especially true if you’re aiming to drop fat fast.
To find out how to get lean in less time, we asked top trainers to share the methods they turn to. Follow their tips, and watch yourself get sculpted.
Just keep in mind: Lowering your body-fat percentage and losing weight takes times, so give yourself a few weeks (or more) to see results.The 5 Best Diets for Losing Weight and Burning Fat
1. Savor Single Servings and Strength Workouts
“Learning what a serving size is can be extremely important for someone trying to get lean or cut,” says Adrian Williams, C.P.T., training manager at Tone House. The goal is to keep your portions small. Williams does aim for a bigger breakfast, though, often including four whole eggs, one piece of whole-wheat toast, and one avocado. He’ll have a medium-size lunch, like baked salmon with half a sweet potato and a salad. Then he’ll end the day with a small dinner, such as grilled chicken with steamed Brussels sprouts. “Consume a lot of water and avoid white starches, like bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes,” Williams says. “Nutrient-dense foods will be the key factor in providing your body what it needs while consuming fewer calories.”
As for your workouts, stick to strength training, but mix in a little heart-pumping activity, too. “I usually increase the cardio aspect of my strength training if I’m preparing for a competition,” Williams says. “Less rest, timed intervals, medium weight, and a higher rep range”—those are key to getting chiseled.
2. Do Fasted Cardio
“Having just trained for a physique competition, [I know] one of the changes you can make to lean out is steady-state cardio in the morning,” says Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., founder and coach at TS Fitness. Do it on a completely empty stomach or after taking some branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which come in powdered form, just like protein. Depending on your size, goals and fitness level, aim for about 30 to 60 minutes at a walk or light jog, Tamir says. “You want the intensity to be moderate—about 60% of your VO2max—and not for a long duration,” Tamir says. This will help your body utilize fat for fuel more so than carbs. You’ll see the weight melt off faster.Fasted Workouts: the New Thinking and Latest Science
3. Keep it Simple
“Honestly, you’re never going to beat the basics: reduce calories, get sufficient protein, increase your vegetable and water intake, and get extra sleep,” says Dan Trink, C.S.C.S., founder and co-owner of Fortitude Strength Club. For Trink, that protein comes from foods like eggs and grilled chicken. As for water intake, he ups how much he drinks, consuming four to five liters of H2O per day. “Oh, and make sure you’re tan,” he jokes. “Everyone looks more ripped with a tan.”
4. Focus on Nutrition
Shaun Jenkins, C.P.T., senior training manager at Tone House takes a shot (sans alcohol) every morning. He mixes one ounce of apple cider vinegar with water, lemon and Cayenne pepper, and throws it back at 6 a.m. “It’s a great reset for the PH levels,” he says. As for the rest of his slim-down plan, he keeps his protein sources as lean as possible (fish, chicken, and red meat once a week max), eats lots of healthy fats (mostly avocados, at almost every meal), and consumes plenty of fibrous veggies, like sweet potatoes, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts. “Trial-and-error is the best practice in your weight-loss journey,” he says. “And shredding effectively takes time.”100 Ways to Burn Fat Fast
5. Track Your Food and Up Your Intensity
If you don’t write down what you eat in a day—especially when you’re trying to get cut—then that’s your first mistake, says Jared P. Smith, CrossFit Level 2 coach and creator of B.A.M! at NEO U. “Otherwise you may think you’re making changes but you’re really not,” he says. “Personally, if I’m focused on getting leaner, I’ll make sure I’m cutting out sugar as much as possible, as that’s a primary cause of inflammation.” He also ups his hydration.
Smith focuses on muscular endurance (low weights, high reps) during his workouts when he’s trying to lose weight, rather than going for low reps and high weights (the typical approach to building strength). He’ll also combine that lifting technique with CrossFit and HIIT classes. “I’ll do more interval-based endurance workouts consisting of both sprints and longer distances,” says Smith. So if you’re hoping to slim down, try swapping heavy lifting days for conditioning workouts, involving things like the assault bike, ski erg, burpees, or jump rope.7 Reasons You Should Add HIIT to Your Workout
6. Make Small Tweaks
About two to three months before a big event you’re trying to get ripped for, increase the amount of cardio you’re doing—and try to do it in a fasted state, so 20 to 30 minutes right when you wake up, says Marco Paul, CrossFit coach at Brick New York. Try a cardio machine to get it done or do 45 seconds of work, followed by 15 seconds of rest for moves like burpees or jumping jacks.
Also, try to cut back (or stop altogether) on processed sugar, drink more water, and cut sodium to 500 milligrams per week. To round it out, really make sure you hit that sleep goal of seven to eight hours.
7. Go for a Lifestyle Approach
“Training has to be full circle, including structured strength lifts, interval training, long structural sessions, and recovery with mindful practice and yoga,” says Mike Ramirez, CrossFit Level 2 Coach at ICE NYC/CrossFit Below Zero. That also includes sleep and recovery. Ramirez’s favorite longer cardio sessions involve running and a rower. “Slow and steady with some intervals and intensity changes throughout is what I go for,” Ramirez says.
Also, “balance your meals with a handful of protein, two handfuls of veggies, and a quarter palm size of fat,” Ramirez says. You’ll know you’re getting just enough food if your energy stays up, along with your cognitive function and libido.25 Ways to Lose Fat Faster
For all you non-morning people—which means a lot of you—nighttime might be your only chance to break a sweat, especially if you work longer hours. If your eyes aren’t sagging and your body’s ready, then go for it, right? Well, not if it means impairing your sleeping ability or hindering your performance in the weight room. We had some experts weigh in on those nightly workouts so you can do them right and get the results you’re looking for.The Rock’s ‘Brutal’ Late-Night Weekend Workout Proves There’s No Bad Time to Lift
Does the timing matter?
This is tricky. Stan Dutton, C.P.T. and coach for personal training platform Ladder, explains that it really depends on the individual. Some people may need to cut off exercise three or four hours prior to bed because it makes them too alert to sleep; others can go out like a light shortly after exercising.
While choosing a specific time of night won’t greatly impact your workout, if you’ve been awake for over 17 hours, your performance will be impaired similar to if you were under the influence. The most important factors are your total sleep and wake time.
“Exercising will increase core temperature, boost adrenaline, and increase your heart rate,” Dutton said, but “research shows that exercising at any time of day will actually improve your sleep quality.”
Adam Perlman, MD. MPH, FACP, an Integrative Health and Wellbeing expert at Duke University, agrees. “In general, exercise is good for helping people to sleep better,” he said.
“Many people find that exercise too close to bed time, often within an hour or two, can make it difficult to fall asleep due to its stimulating nature and effect on body temperature,” he said, “so become an expert on you and experiment with exercising at different times of day (and night) and see how that effects your sleep.”
Does the type of workout matter?
If you’re doing a lot of cardio, you may be more stimulated and need extra time to wind down, explains Amir Khastoo PT, DPT at Providence Saint John’s Health Center’s Performance Therapy in Santa Monica, CA.
“If you’re planning a heavy cardio-based workout, you may need to allot some extra time afterwards because an increased level of endorphins may make it difficult to fall asleep,” he said. “In this case, try to give yourself a cushion of two hours from the end of the cardio-heavy workout to when your head hits the pillow.”
You can slash a bit of that time if you’re doing resistance work. “On the other hand, when performing strength or weight training, you’ll need less time, because increased muscle fatigue will have you feeling more tired and ready to fall asleep within an hour of your workout,” he added.10 Healthy Late-night Snacks
What should you eat late at night?
If you’re exercising during the late hours, you’ll need a pre- and post-workout snack or meal, even if it’s super dark out. “In general, I tell my clients to eat exactly what they’d normally eat after a workout, unless they haven’t had dinner yet,” said Dutton. Every meal should have protein, carbohydrates, and good fat from whole foods.
But keep it light. “I wouldn’t recommend anything heavy at night, but a piece of salmon and broccoli or a plant protein bowl works. Or yogurt with fresh fruit,” said Perlman. The exact amount and ratio varies based on the individual and their workout, but many experts recommend a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein.
Eat within 30 minutes following exercise in order to regain nutrients, replenish energy stores, and initiate muscle recovery. “Following a meal, allow yourself at least 45-60 minutes for proper digestion prior to sleep. If you know you won’t be able to stay awake for 60 minutes after you eat, reduce your portion size in order to avoid empty calories,” Khastoo said.
Will you gain weight?
“To be honest, one of my favorite myths to bust is the one about ‘eating at night will make you fat.’ In fact, there are even studies that show people who eat at night weigh less,” said Dutton.
Perlman agrees. “There is a concern that eating too close to bedtime will increase the risk for weight gain,” he said. “These recommendations are based on little scientific evidence.”
Eat what you’d normally eat for a post-workout meal, no matter the hour. That means plenty of protein, carbs, and some fat. “Time and time again, science will show that the overall quality and quantity of food is far more important than timing,” Dutton explained.4 Expert-approved Devices That’ll Help You Fall Sleep
Can you skimp on sleep?
Definitely not, says Dutton. That’s where night workouts might be a problem. Compromising your sleep will negatively affect your health, muscle repair, and performance. When Dutton works with clients, sleep always comes first.
“My only rule is that if they’re physically exhausted and feel like they’re too tired to exercise safely, it’s more important to skip the gym and get some rest,” he said.
A good rule of thumb? Only work out at night if you can get a minimum of six to seven hours of sleep afterward.