People became much more fitness-savvy in 2017. With the explosion of HIIT-style workouts, lifting heavy, and more boutique group fitness classes, there are dozens of ways people can get their sweat on and see serious results.
But with the emergence of fitness trends that are fun and functional, there were quite a few that made us scratch our heads and roll our eyes this year. From unnecessary barnyard animals to overpriced pieces of equipment, these are the biggest fitness fads that we need to kiss goodbye in 2018. Looking for some workouts that actually torch calories and tone up your muscles? Check out our list of The Quickest & Most Popular Workouts to Lose Weight.
Want to go to the gym but not actually work out? That's the premise behind Napercise, a group class available at U.K.-based gyms called David Lloyd Clubs, which offer a 60-minute nap class. That's right, instead of just going home to take a nap in the comfort of your own bed, you sleep in a group surrounded by strangers.
The class consists of 15 minutes of light stretching and 45 minutes of napping, and the gym provides everything for you: a bed, blanket, and eye mask. If getting dressed and leaving your house only to go to another location to take a snooze sounds like a giant hassle and waste of time, that's because it is. Let's stick to using gyms for actual exercise and leave the napping to your bed.
Yoga has been a popular form of fitness for decades—not to mention an ancient practice originating in India—but yoga studios have decided to take this fitness class up a notch by introducing cats to the class. A cat shelter and cafe called Meow Parlour in New York City offers yoga classes with cats. "Yoga is all about being in the moment," and cats are in the moment "all the time," Amy Apgar, one of the yoga instructors at Meow Parlour, told the New York Times.
Other cat yoga classes have popped up around the country, proving it is a trend that's growing in popularity. But with cats batting at ponytails, scurrying across the room and generally interrupting class at any given moment, is practicing your downward dog with a feline friend really necessary? It's not like the cats serve any other purpose than looking cute in the room. Talk about a distracting exercise.
The only thing more puzzling than yoga with cats is yoga with goats. A farm in Oregon started offering yoga where participants stretch and pose among half a dozen baby goats. Although adorable, the goats can be distracting—who wants to focus on Warrior 2 when there's a baby goat on your mat? You're better off sticking to a traditional yoga class and visiting the goats another time where you can dedicate your full attention to the cute animals.
Wine or Beer Yoga
Another popular form of yoga is a class that ends with—or combines—wine or beer with each class. Many of these classes are done at micro-breweries or wineries, which admittedly serve as nice locations for a yoga class. But it's a little problematic to mix alcohol and fitness. Alcohol is already such a major part of our society, from boozy brunches to company happy hours, that fitness should be the one place where people can focus on their health and body without the excess sugar and calories that come from alcohol.
Move over, moon shoes; Kangoo Jumps are the new footwear that propels your body upwards so you feel like you're anti-gravity. Some fitness studios are now offering fitness classes with Kangoo Jumps where people strap these contraptions to their feet and bounce around a studio for an hour. And while moving your body is always good for fitness, Kangoo Jumps add an unnecessary layer to an otherwise pretty standard aerobics class. At up to $300 a pair, they're a pricey investment with only limited use. Even if you are just renting them for a group fitness class, they don't add many more benefits that you can't already get with regular sneakers. We're ready to leave this trend back in 2017 where it belongs.
Electric Shock Suits
Electric shock belts have been a staple in late night infomercials promising rock-hard abs while you can just sit and watch TV. Now, fitness clubs are offering a souped-up version of these muscle-shocking devices with full-body electric muscle stimulation (EMS) machines. Patrons get hooked up to these suits and have their muscles stimulated while performing simple exercises such as lunges and squats. Personal trainer Mohamed Elzomor, who trains clients with an EMS machine in New York City, says the machine makes your muscles contract 85 times per second, according to the New York Post.
But the science behind it is iffy. Although the shock waves can cause contractions, your muscles also need resistance to get stronger and grow. And there's no real evidence that it helps them more than regular resistance training. At more than $100 a session to use these machines, you're better off saving your money and just hitting the weights instead.