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2014 health preview: Fitness, food trends to keep your eye on
With the New Year comes resolutions. Now, you can either shy away from those pesky resolutions, claiming they will only make you feel bad if you don't achieve them, or you can embrace them. The key, of course, is to make the goals achievable. Almost everyone's goal is to get in shape or to get healthy.
We spoke with a nutritionist and a fitness guru on what the big trends in health and wellness will be in 2014.
Donna Cyrus, senior vice president of programming at Crunch Fitness, says high-intensity interval workouts will continue to be popular in 2014.
"The interval trend has been a trend for awhile," Cyrus said.
A high-intensity interval training session consists of alternating periods of short intense exercises, ranging from squats to lunges to burpees, with less-intense recovery periods. The rundown is first a warm-up period, followed by three to 10 repetitions of high-intensity exercise, with medium intensity exercises for recovery in between.
Cyrus says people love high-intensity workouts, especially after the holidays, because they can pay off quicker.
"You're moving and pushing your cardiovascular level to a maximum in a short amount of time," she said. "People see results faster and quicker because your heart rate elevation helps burn calories."
Another trend Cyrus said would continue to go strong in 2014 is spinning, and specifically spin classes with a party atmosphere and social interaction. Crunch's Total Request Ride lets members request music, and SoulCycle is known for its fun classes, which place an emphasis on music and atmosphere.
The future of fitness can also be found in connectivity, and using social networks to inspire yourself and your friends. Anita Mirchandani is the founder of SweatSync, a social tool intended to motivate people. She says fitness as a social activity is a trend to watch.
Fitness seekers want to "connect with fellow fitness enthusiasts to share fitness struggles, achievements, accomplishments and possibly train together," she said.
The trend of healthy eating - eating organic and local - has been on the rise for some time, and that trend is only going to continue in 2014.
New York City-based nutritionist Sharon Richter says next up is non-GMO (genetically modified) foods.
"That's definitely going to be a lot bigger in the New Year. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are trying to use it as a marketing tool," she said, adding "there's a lot of government changes even in the regulation of it."
Skipping packaged foods in favor of cooking food yourself yourself is also gaining steam.
Consumption of nuts is also likely to rise in 2014. An article in The New York Times recently reported on a study that found that nuts are not only good for your health, but may potentially help people lose weight.
Nuts are high in fats, but they are the good, monounsaturated fats.
Richter says nuts, in addition to being a good source of protein and fiber, are also very appealing as a food.
"I like the crunch, and they are very satiating," she said.
Richter said she was also expecting the surge in popularity of alternative sweeteners to be big. In addition to Stevia and Agave there is a new one on the market called Yacon. A root plant native to Colombia and Argentina is similar to jicama yet sweeter. A syrup is made from the plant and is used by diabetics and dieters.