People are now looking for a more rounded approach to fitness

YOU haven't yet stuffed yourself with turkey, cranberry sauce, sprouts and the rest of the trimmings, or drunk enough egg nog to make the BBC repeats palatable, but already, somewhere at the back of your festive mind, you know that you will have to pay for such indulgence.

The new craze for shedding those pounds now includes the zumba dance craze

Come January, the twangs of a guilty conscience will make themselves felt through the extra layers of seasonal fat and Christmas knitwear and thoughts will turn once again to getting fit and perhaps signing up for a gym membership.

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So what will the temples of physical fitness have in store for us as we lace up our trainers and squeeze into the lycra once again? What strange contortions and peculiar practices will the exercise gurus have us grimly repeating three times a week?

Well, according to the latest happenings in the States, it's time to pull the plug on Pilates and deflate the balance balls, as we're all going to boot camp, looking for quick-fix fitness, getting ourselves a "workout buddy" and demanding more for our membership fees. We could even be pounding the streets barefoot.


The traditional military-style exercise regime consists of a large group of people meeting at a ridiculously early time in the morning and getting extremely muddy as they're put through their paces outdoors.

But, according to Tom Robertson, a partner of Factory Gyms in Calton Road and a personal trainer, the concept is coming indoors for 2011 - and it will have a more rounded approach, with nutrition a major factor.

"We ran a pilot in November with six people, looking to offer a product that combines exercise with a weight-loss programme," says Tom. "A lot of programmes like WeightWatchers offer nutritional, dietary advice but no exercise, while many gyms offer just that and nothing on nutrition. Our boot camp will do both.

"During the pilot, the six people lost a combined total of 87lbs over the five weeks, with one girl losing almost two stone. As well as having an intensive workout, we also have an NHS dietician who draws up a specific diet for them as well to make sure they're getting all their nutritional requirements.

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"Many people, especially when they start to exercise again after the new year, tend to crash diet which is not always the best idea. This way they will get their exercise and nutritional needs met to ensure they're getting the most from their workouts.

"It needs commitment. It's training five days a week for the five weeks. After that you can scale down, and so far five out of the six are still coming to the gym."

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He adds: "I think people want a more rounded approach to health and fitness. We hope that the boot camps will have around eight to ten people at a time, and as it's all in the gym there's no weather problems to give you an excuse not to do it."


It was only a matter of time before our home-grown Olympian Sir Chris Hoy got us all on our bikes. Not content with just letting us cheer him on, he wants us all to get into Adidas Zone Cycling, which launches exclusively at David Lloyd Edinburgh in January.

The class involves cycling at three different speeds while an adidas miCoach (an electronic heart monitor worn on the wrist), lets the instructor gradually increase your heart rate. There's The Ride In (warm-up) to prepare you for the main workout block - The Velodrome. Then, in preparation for the Grand Final, the instructor uses music and verbal cues to raise adrenaline levels to make you feel the exhilaration of winning a "race". This is all further enhanced by "point of view" video footage to fully immerse you into the experience.

Drills can include track cycling events such as team pursuit, individual pursuit, points race and keirin.

Graeme Starkey, fitness coach at David Lloyd Leisure Edinburgh, says: "Adidas Zone Cycling has been developed by our experts alongside the very best names in British cycling, taking you through the exciting visualisation of a professional athlete competing at a major event. It is further enhanced by the inclusion of Adidas miCoach as part of the workout session. The benefit to the participant is that they know that they are in the right zone, ensuring they get the most out of their workout."

Other benefits though are the fact that it's non-load bearing on the joints but helps to strengthen the muscles around them and is a great cardiovascular workout.


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Remember Zola Budd, the track athlete who loved to run sans shoes? It's taken a few decades but the idea of running without specialist training shoes is beginning to catch on.

According to Gareth Cole, head of education at The Third Space, the new year will see us going au naturel when it comes to footwear. "The traditional way of running is with the heel striking the ground first and shoes have been built accordingly to absorb the impact," he says. "With barefoot running, or natural running, the emphasis is put on the forefoot or midfoot, allowing the natural arch of the foot to take the force.

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"The recent shift to mainstream running has seen professional athlete-endorsed footwear and a range of books and debates, so it may even change the way we think about running.

"Runners are reporting that the feeling of freedom and of returning to their natural state are just a few of the reasons the trend is growing."

But he adds: "It's essential that a full biomechanical assessment, along with a gait analysis, is completed before you start. Changing your style of running must be done slowly to condition the lower limbs and feet."


Going to the gym can be a singularly solitary experience, which is why many give it up by the end of January. However, all that could be about to change with a focus moving towards group training, or "workout buddies".

In fact, there's already a Facebook page entitled Workout Buddies, to encourage more people to stick with their exercise regimes. As Tom Robertson says: "Group training is a big thing with a lot of personal trainers now as it helps keep people motivated. It's just small groups, maybe about four, but that just keeps people focused and they encourage each other to keep at it. You're more likely to turn up at the gym knowing that there are people who'll be expecting you. It really can stop people dropping out."


The new year will see this dance craze taken to new levels, with Aqua Zumba, Zumba Toning and Zumbatomic - designed for children - all beginning to appear on fitness class schedules.

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The original Zumba fuses Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness regime which lets participants get a cardiovascular workout while being left exhilarated rather than exhausted. There are classes throughout Edinburgh.