MudRun - Michael Coon PhotograhyHere’s what’s hot in exercise today

Written by Erin Newman Photograph by Michael Coons

Staying fit is hard work. But, what if it could be fun hard work? We’ve uncovered 10 of the latest trends in fitness that are sure to shake up your workout routine.

CrossFit//

This extremely popular strength-building, calorie-burning workout serves a real-life purpose; the pulling, lifting and squatting trains you to engage your muscles properly even when you are simply lifting a box or cleaning your house. The workouts are intense (think high school gym class staples such as pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups) but are different each time, and the end result is strength and confidence.//

Mud Runs//

Combine “Survivor” with costumes and a lot of mud and you begin to understand mud runs. These 5 to 10 kilometer obstacle-course races—yes, in mud—unite teams of friends and family who often dress in matching outfits or costumes (not only matching T-shirts but also tutus, superheroes, or whatever else might strike their fancy). Fans of mud runs like the camaraderie they experience as they navigate obstacles such as tunnels, walls, rope climbs, slides and cargo netting. They also enjoy getting down and dirty.//

Hot Yoga//

Inspired by Bikram Yoga, this class will have you powering through yoga poses in a hot, humid yoga studio. All types of yoga provide flexibility, balance, stress reduction and management of chronic conditions, but proponents of hot yoga claim that because the muscles are warmer during the exercise, greater flexibility is safely achieved, plus the heat flushes the body of toxins. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a towel.//

Running//

Whether they are running a 5K or half marathon or just navigating the greenbelt, more and more folks are hooked on running. Linda Burrows of Westlake Village, who trains with fitness team Moms in Motion, discovered multiple benefits to the sport. “One reason I run is because it is so much fun to be with my teammates and it provides a time to process what’s on my mind.”//

Boot Camp//

Though it may sound like punishment, it’s anything but that, according to Boot Camp devotee Leilah Garcia of Simi Valley, who has done several six-week sessions in a row. Boot Camp utilizes cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and endurance drills and typically involves both indoor and outdoor exercises led by an enthusiastic instructor. “I love being outdoors, and Boot Camp is such a fun way to get that experience with an all-over body workout. I’ve met new people of all ages with the same goals,” Garcia says.//

Zumba//

It’s been said that this Latin fitness craze feels more like a dance party than a gym class, which explains its appeal. At Zumba, you will be performing routines to different types of upbeat music. The class includes warm-up and cool-down periods, similar to aerobics classes, but the lure of Latin rhythms keeps it lively. Zumba is for athletes of all ages and abilities—no need to worry about having two left feet.//

Mixed-Martial Arts//

MMA may call to mind the striking cage-fighting sport made popular by the UFC. In fact, MMA training is for anyone interested in muscle conditioning, flexibility, endurance and mental sharpness using kicks, punches, takedowns and throws. MMA gives you the rush of mastering the skills, but it’s done in a safe structured environment on a mat with professional instructors.//

R.I.P.P.E.D.//

This choreographed class combines many types of training, hence the acronym: Resistance, Intervals, Power, Plyometrics, Endurance, and Diet. Kristi Haar of Moorpark takes the class through her local parks and rec. “I am not a fan of group fitness classes, but RIPPED Fitness is perfect for me,” she says. “It not only incinerates a ton of calories, but it has strengthened my weak knee and shoulder and lowered my blood pressure. Even better, I feel so empowered after doing hardcore exercises! I may be 40-something, but my aging body no longer feels like my enemy.”//

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P90X &   Insanity//

P90X, a 90-day DVD-based workout, utilizes strength training, cardio, martial arts, yoga and calisthenics along with a diet plan. It’s best for those who are reasonably fit already, as the workouts are very intense, and six to seven days a week. Insanity, a cousin of P90X, is a hardcore DVD workout with more cardio and less weight training. If you enjoy running, cycling and other aerobic training and your goal is to lose weight quickly, this might be the right choice for you.//

Strongman Training//

Perhaps you’ve seen World’s Strongest Man competitions on TV. You don’t have to be a 400-pound goliath to give this a try. There’s a growing trend afoot for guys who want to flip tires, swing sledgehammers, toss sandbags and farmer-carry heavy items, and some training facilities are getting on board with this old-school trend.//