MIAMI — The latest workout crazes promise to stimulate your brain and your muscles in new ways with barre plies in the air (think aerial ballet), dance cardio (think a night out) or a killer routine modeled after a popular cooking show.
"Everybody falls into fitness ruts," said fitness expert Jeff Halevy, owner of Halevy Life gym in New York. "It either means you are no longer getting results from your program or you're just sick and tired of doing the same old thing."
His advice? Change it up. That might mean adding yoga if you're a runner, trying Tabata or changing the number of reps or the grip on your dumbbells.
"You're going to naturally see new results that you haven't seen in a while," he said.
A look at a few of the latest fitness trends:
IF YOU LIKE P90X AND INSANITY
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) alternates between short, intense bursts of activity followed by rest or low-intensity moves. The durations vary, but the principal is the same — for example, a circuit of burpees, mountain climbers, and jumping jacks going all out for 60 seconds per move with a 10-second rest in between.
HIIT classes have popped up in multiple cities because the fast-paced routine means numerous combinations so muscles don't plateau and you're less likely to get bored. Plus, researchers say pushing yourself until you're ready to drop for shorter intervals burns more calories than steady cardio. Try Tabata classes at Equinox or a local YMCA where they follow a strict 20 seconds of super intense working out followed by a 10-second rest series.
If you're more competitive, try Crunch's Cutthroat Cardio class. Based on the T.V. show "Cutthroat Kitchen," the class offers three circuits of cardio, each with new challenges that escalate each week. One example: A set of grueling balancing, single leg deadlifts and just when you're ready to give up, the teacher throws in some knee -high jumps.
"People love the challenge of not knowing what you're getting plus the competitive edge," says Donna Cyrus, Crunch's senior vice president of programming.
IF YOU LIKE BARRE OR SUSPENDED YOGA
AIRbarre will have you doing lifts higher than Natalie Portman in "Black Swan." It uses hammock-like swings over the ballet barre to help maintain proper alignment and take the stress off joints. Don't be fooled, the hammock isn't a crutch. Since it's not a fixed barre, you have to use core strength to stabilize it. The hammock can help conquer moves you couldn't do before and you can rely on it as little or as much as you need, making it perfect for beginners and ballet buffs.
Classes are playful, too with dancer-style kick lines and short choreographed numbers, but most importantly "participants get these crazy inner thigh and butt workout without knowing it," says AntiGravity's Alex Schlempp.
AIRbarre is in about 30 locations across the U.S., including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
IF YOU LIKE HIGH INTENSITY CARDIO BUT END UP ON THE HEATING PAD
It's hard to get the results you want when you're constantly sidelined with injuries. The high-intensity cardio craze has spawned a new fitness regime of recovery and self-care workouts. Some classes start with a 30-minute traditional workout like spinning or strength training and then switch over to yoga or self-massage with foam rollers. The classes teach you to break up knots in the tissue surrounding your bones and muscles, increase range of motion and improve breathing. Trainer Jill Miller designed the RX series for Equinox.
Think you're too hard core for this? "Don't expect to achieve results without proper R&R," says Miller.
IF YOU LIKE ZUMBA
If you don't want your workout to feel like work, try a class that feels more like a night out on the town. Dress like you're hitting up a club for the night for the Vixen Workout, where up to a 100 women lunge and squat their way with strobe lights and foggy mirrors and a little diva music from Beyonce for inspiration. Classes sell out fast in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Or take your vinyasa to the next level with a yoga class at a Brooklyn's Verboten night club where lights, video and soothing deep house music from live DJs help transport you to a tranquil place. Back Bay Yoga Studio in Boston even uses black lights to cast a neon hue on your downward dog while they spin a little Jay-Z.
IF YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU LIKE
If you're a fitness novice or looking to shake up your routine, several new companies allow you to pay around $100 a month to try classes from different gyms and boutiques in your zip code. Sample everything from Pilates and boot camps to newer trends like underwater spinning and even trampoline classes without the commitment. ClassPass is available in most major cities or try FitReserve in New York or FitMob in San Francisco and several other locations. You can register for classes in advance and pay a reduced fee to put your membership on hold for a month. Be warned: popular classes and those at peak workout times may have limited availability.
"The variety (of workouts) is something that really shows people their body is capable of a lot more things," says ClassPass' Payal Kadakia.