Looking to gain muscle? Lose weight? Find a stress-busting outlet? Or all of the above? Working out can be a great option for getting in shape and finding a way to boost endorphins (those feel-good hormones!) and stay sane throughout 2021. Yet, it can be hard to figure out which workout is best, based on your preferences, lifestyle and goals.
A tip? If you are looking to drop those lingering pounds, doing more intense workouts that focus on cardio could be super helpful, while if you want to gain more muscle, strength training will better develop a lean, strong physique and build definition.
And of course, integrating both throughout the week is your best bet, since you can get that cardio burst and still build muscle to promote a healthy heart and stronger bones. Here are the best workouts to try for 2021 to stay in tip-top shape and keep your fitness routine in check.
High intensity training is a good option for anyone who has a busy lifestyle, where they might need a quick workout that’s efficient and gets that heart rate up fast to torch calories and shock those muscles. You can take classes online or set up your own HIIT workout at home, integrating circuit exercises, AMRAPS, tabatas, and more. Think: burpees and squat jumps or a sprint on the treadmill to break up any weighted work (which is optional in a circuit but ideal!).
You can run anywhere, so if you need a workout for 2021 that doesn’t require a gym, running is a no-brainer. Lace up your sneakers and get outside, year-round. If it’s cold where you live, then pile on those layers or see if you can find access to a treadmill that’s inside a hotel, office building, or home. You can even run on the stairs as a last resort—run up and down a few flights and you’ll be out of breath in no time.
While you need cardio to keep your heart healthy, lose weight and to burn calories on the spot, you also need to resistance train, as the latter will keep your metabolism elevated at resting (so you burn more calories throughout the day when you’re not working out!) and create more defined muscle.
Plus, strength training improves bone density, so you have lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures later on in life, too. Work on lifting 2-4 times a week, with cardio 3-4 times a week. These numbers vary based on the individual so feel free to speak to a doctor or personal trainer for advice!
While yoga won’t get your heart rate up as well and be a great workout for weight loss, it is a good option for lowering chronic stress and working on flexibility. So, include it with the cardio and strength training for a complete, varied fitness routine into the New Year. You can try hot yoga if you like the heat or restorative to just unwind.
And of course, you can get a bit of cardio boost from a “sculpt” class, which sues some cardio moves and little hand weights to get that body moving at a faster pace and to burn more calories per session.