5 Top Body Trends of 2015

Take a look at the hottest trends of the year.

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Fitness is as fickle as fashion, TV audiences, and the next diet-of-the-month that often comes right alongside. This year continues to be a year of growth (this list could extend well beyond five items), but here's a quick glance at some of the most refreshing trends that have come along since the Bowflex and chia seeds.

1. Indoor Surfing

Getting a little scared of the big winter swells? There are dozens of gyms and dedicated studios now open across the country (even in the landlocked Midwest!) that give wannabe riders a full surfing sensation and workout like Laird Hamilton. A session on one of these mechanical boards rips you from routine and engages the entire body, top to bottom, in a series of core and stabilization maneuvers; it's the polar opposite of a static gym workout. You might need some tape after a few weeks on one of these, though, because you'll be looking pretty cut. Added bonus: no sharks. 

2. High P/Cal Powder Blends

The expanding market for training supplements and a deeper understanding of the science behind it all has given rise to a cleaner type of blend for protein shakes. Since most lifters don't actually follow the cookie-cutter 2,000 calorie RDA on present-day nutrition labels, it's time to think a little harder about the value of protein powders (don't worry, we're just talking about basic division and multiplication). If you're counting calories and protein grams, adopt this new rubric for your standard: P/Cal, which is the percentage of calories that come from protein (protein grams multiplied by 4, then divided by total calories). If you're searching for the purest powder on the shelf, look for a high P/Cal blend of isolates (not concentrates). Quest Nutrition's powders fit the bill with a great nutritional profile and unique flavors like Peanut Butter and Salted Caramel.

3. Gamification of Fitness

A huge appeal of modern video games is that raw sensory overload you get from playing hot new titles on next-gen consoles, but some people were just as rabid for Pac-Man 30 years ago as they are today for Madden and Call of Duty. The copmetitive nature in gaming of all kinds is what brings everyone together, a concept not lost in the weight room (however respectively subdued it may be). From tracking apps to video-driven indoor cycling, a horde of new apps in 2015 has been released for the sole purpose of giving points to your pecs (or whatever else you're working on). By framing training as a game, you can lighten the tone, give yourself cheap thrills and victories from "leveling up," even work away at some of the inevitable stress that comes with working toward a goal. 

4. Taking Back Fat

Fat is finally having its moment. This isn't to say bodyfat (no need to lose your summer leanness), but rather the densely caloric macronutrient. It's been demonized by food companies for years, but recent research strongly suggests that ingesting the right kinds of fats can offer a whole host of health benefits. Even saturated fats like butter and coconut oil are getting attention for their profound positive impacts on health, energy, and mental clarity (bulletproof coffee, anyone?). And now, just like every other important macronutrient, fat comes in powdered form. Options like MCT Oil Powder and a Coconut Oil Powder make it easy to add good-for-you fats to your shakes, coffee and, baked goods.

5. Body Weight Training

Whether it’s the recession, some hot new home workout program, or just a packed gym every time you go, more and more people are putting down their dumbbells and picking up… themselves. By turning to nothing more than your own mass (a firm, muscular mass at that), the benefits are almost obvious: immediately modifying moves as necessary, relief on your joints, a stronger emphasis on the core, and the luxury of taking your workout ANYWHERE you go. The American College of Sports Medicine ranked this at the top of their 2015’s top fitness trends list, and after banging out 50 jump-knee tucks or handstand push-ups yourself, you’ll understand why.