By Patrick G. Cain
Supercharge your routine with these hybrid workouts that torch kilojoules, nix boredom and reshape your physique – stat.
Exercise is the ultimate over-achiever – it’ll give you a flat stomach, toned arms and a tight bum, plus a burst of endorphin-fuelled energy and a calmer, less-stressed mind. But it can be tricky to get that range of benefits from any one type of workout.
Enter fusion fitness – workouts that combine at least two different disciplines (boxing and pilates; running and strength training, or yoga and cardio, to give you a few examples). Go the combo!
“The theory is that these hybrids combine two effective workouts, giving you double the results,” says Women's Health fitness adviser, trainer Ray Klerck. The fresh mash-ups not only challenge your muscles in new ways, ramping up your kilojoule burn, but also keep you motivated by spicing up been-there-done-that routines.
Even if your gym doesn’t offer these combos, you can still multitask your way to a leaner body and happier mind on your own. Here’s how.
Your dream combo: Boxing, pilates and dance
Get it with: Piloxing
This on-fire hybrid class mixes the hardcore athleticism of boxing with the sculpting of pilates.
Participants wear weighted gloves or go bare-fisted through a series of high-intensity intervals that switch seamlessly between boxing, standing pilates and dance.
“It increases your stamina, flexibility and overall core strength,” says Linette Misa from Piloxing Melbourne. “People come back because it offers more than usual gym programs and the results speak for themselves.”
Try it Piloxing classes are slowly making their way around Australia but if you’re an eager fitness beaver, plenty of DVDs can be found online.
Some tips:' put power into your punches by using your whole body, not just your arm. Extend your arm fully (be careful not to lock your elbow), tighten your core and twist your hips with every rep. For more power, exhale as you throw each jab.
Your dream combo: Running and strength training
Get it with: Treadmill interval training
These fusion classes combine fast-paced treadmill intervals with muscle-building resistance training in a high-energy group environment. Because you’re alternating between the treadmill and strength moves every 10 minutes, your metabolism fires up and stays in high gear for an entire hour.
“It sends your kilojoule-burning capacity through the roof,” says fitness trainer Amelia Burton, who actually does the workout herself. “It also prevents injuries due to the functional training improving joint stability, and is one of most time-efficient classes out there.”
Try it You don’t need a class to master this workout. Go it solo on a treadmill. Complete this pyramid three times: jog comfortably for one minute, run faster for one minute, and then sprint all-out for one minute, (with no rest in between). After the third pyramid, reduce your speed to a slow walking pace and do 20 reps each of walking lunges and lateral side steps (on both sides). Do the entire sequence three times.
READ MORE: Workout without machines
Your dream combo: Pilates, cardio and core conditioning
Get it with: Cardiolates
When you combine pilates with rebounding on a mini tramp you get improved strength, endurance, balance and agility.
“Using small hand-held weights and a rebounder, it improves your core strength and posture,” she says. “Plus, rebounding burns more kilojoules than jogging.”
Try it Cardiolates sequences are easy to do at home. Try this combo: complete four star jumps with double bounces, moving your arms from over your head to out to your sides. Repeat four times. Complete four star jumps with single bounces. Repeat four times. Finish with eight star jumps with full arm movement. Repeat twice.
Your dream combo: Low-impact cardio and strength training
Get it with: Aqua boot camp
The pool isn’t just for Leisel Jones wannabes. “Aqua boot camp combines elements of swimming, water polo and land-based training,” says Vanessa Griffiths, an aqua boot camp trainer from Brisbane-based fitness group The Extra Mile.
“If you’re recovering from injury, the water reduces the impact on your joints so you can work out with minimal pain.”
Armed with foam weights and noodles that provide resistance, boot campers tone their upper body and core while raising their heart rate with sprints, abdominal crunches and lunge walks.
Try it You don’t need to have an instructor for this workout. Head into shoulder-deep water and run in place. Get your knees high and pump your arms (the resistance of the water will tone your upper body).
Warm up, then increase the pace and sprint for 30 seconds. Recover for 15 seconds, and repeat the sequence five times. Or try this 10-minute routine from Griffiths:
- Hold on to the side of the pool and kick hard for one minute, then get out of the pool and do one minute of ab crunches. Run to the deep end. Tread water for one minute, keeping your hands out of the water.
- Swim to the shallow end. Remain in the pool and jog on the spot with high knees for one minute.
- Complete 20 push-ups by the side of the pool followed by 20 bicycle crunches.