Explore while you exercise: six ways to travel and stay fit in 2020

From New York to Bangkok, six personal trainers in cities across the globe share the trends that are hot right now — and the ones to look out for in 2020.

By Samantha Lewis
Published 15 Jan 2020, 08:00 GMT
Opportunities to exercise outdoors are wide and varied in Barcelona, and boxing is proving to be ...
Opportunities to exercise outdoors are wide and varied in Barcelona, and boxing is proving to be the latest trend to take over the city.
Photograph by Getty Images

The fitness industry is booming worldwide and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. From New York to Sydney, more people are adopting a wellness-orientated lifestyle and with that, we’ve seen big changes in the approach to exercise. Old-fashioned training techniques are being revamped, group exercise classes are on the rise and technology is revolutionising the way we stay fit. Here, we take a look at what’s trending around the world, from cortisol-conscious workouts in Barcelona to new-age indoor cycling in Zurich. We also ask fitness trainers for their predictions on how we’ll be breaking a sweat in 2020.

1. Boxing in Barcelona

Opportunities to exercise outdoors are wide and varied in Barcelona: Carretera de les Aigües is a popular path for runners and cyclists alike, while urban sports parks, like Mar Bella, are a great place for skateboarding and BMX riding. The boutique fitness scene is still in its infancy here, but will no doubt mature in the coming years. That said, if you’re looking to burn off the tapas and churros in luxury surroundings, there are some brilliant studios, such as AKAfit Box and TRIB3.

What the professionals recommend: “Boxing is very popular here right now as people are much more into de-stressing in a controlled way. As for 2020, I see an increasing number of clients and professionals heading towards a more mindful approach to fitness. Trainers are treating their clients as individuals with needs that go beyond building muscle or losing weight.” Holly Barber is a personal trainer and plant-based nutritionist in Barcelona.
Where to try it: Claris Jambox, Barcelona.

2. Hybrid HIIT workouts in New York

New York is a city where people are always on the go and time is precious, so it’s easy to see why high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is proving so popular. HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise with minimal rest periods, which means you can torch calories in a fraction of the time. New Yorkers can’t get enough of these killer cardio classes, usually held in a dimly lit nightclub-like environment, and there’s certainly no shortage of them. Walk a few blocks in the Big Apple and you’ll find plenty of places to sweat — but be prepared to pay $25 (£19) to $40 (£30) for a class. 

What the professionals recommend: “Hybrid high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes have had a resurgence in New York. Barry’s Bootcamp is still going strong and we’ve seen lots of other studios come onto the scene, such as Rumble, Row House, Peloton Tread and Grit Boxing. They’re popular because you train on multiple pieces of equipment and combine cardio and strength training. Looking ahead, I predict that we’ll see a rise in technology and home workouts. Cycling sensation Peloton led the way and now almost all boutique studios in NYC offer workouts online.” Ianthe Mellors is a fitness instructor and dancer in New York.
Where to try it: Barry’s Bootcamp, various New York locations. 

3. Strength training in London

In London there’s been a real growth in strength training, especially among women. Gone are the days when weightlifting was predominantly populated by men; women are feeling strong and powerful as they lift and shatter outdated stereotypes. There are also lots of studios in the British capital where you can pump iron — Frame, Third Space and Manor’s MCP to name a few. 

What the professionals recommend: “My 2020 prediction is that we’ll see a huge rise in strength-training weight classes. Third Space has just released a class called Lift and the feedback has been fantastic. HIIT classes still dominate a lot of the London market: short, sharp bursts of training for time-poor fitness fanatics. However, a change is beginning to occur with the rise of CrossFit.” Kate Maxey is strength and conditioning master trainer at Third Space London.
Where to try it: Third Space, various London locations.

Bangkok: The Thai capital is shifting towards functional movement and functional fitness with a slew of gyms through the city.
Photograph by Getty Images

4. Functional training in Bangkok

Whether you're a local, new to the city or passing by, keeping up with your fitness regime in Bangkok will be easy. The city has a slew of gyms and fitness studios from homegrown brands, like BASE, The Lab and Training Ground, as well as franchises from the West like Physique 57 and F45. ClassPass, the world’s largest fitness network, has also stepped things up a notch since it was lured here last year. 

What the professionals recommend: “The trend in Bangkok is shifting towards functional movement and functional fitness. Rather than targeting separate muscle groups, it focuses on the whole body and applies a multidimensional approach to fitness. Additionally, barre (or ballet-inspired workout) seems to be on the up. People still love bootcamp-style classes and Muay Thai is naturally ingrained in Thailand’s fitness scene. I think one of the bigger players is going to penetrate the market here next year, such as Barry’s Bootcamp or Orangetheory Fitness.” Aurimas Juodka is a health and human performance expert in Bangkok
Where to try it: MOOV Bangkok. 

5. Bootcamps in Sydney

With a gym and wellness cafe on practically every corner, Sydney knows how to do fitness. Stroll around Bondi and you’ll spot the Lycra-clad gym fanatics clutching their yoga mats and the Instagram-famous bodybuilders flexing their muscles in the renowned beachside gym. Cult Aussie fitness franchise F45 is still a big deal here, while new wacky workouts are popping everywhere. And it’s no surprise, with mild winters and warm summers, Sydneysiders are increasingly turning to outdoor group training to get their daily exercise fix.

What the professionals recommend: “Fit as a Farmer is a bootcamp that utilises the equipment you’d find in a farmer’s work shed — tractor tires, hay bales, wooden logs, wheelbarrows and more. Sydney is a really active city and people are always keen to try something new. We’ve seen a growing trend in people wanting to try unconventional workouts such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, aerial classes and pole dancing, and I think this will continue to grow in 2020.” Angus Whittaker is co-founder of Fit as a Farmer
Where to try it: Fit as a Farmer, Sydney. 

6. Indoor cycling in Zurich

Saddle up because boutique indoor cycling classes are taking over Zurich. Velocity, Switzerland’s first spin studio, led the way after its founder was inspired by New York giants SoulCycle and Flywheel. Then came Spark Cycle and more recently Open Ride, which is being branded as ‘the future of fitness’. If you’ve never tried a spin class, it’s essentially a dance party on an exercise bike. Expect high-energy instructors, uplifting playlists and a gruelling workout. 

What the professionals recommend: “When I first decided to relocate from London to Zurich in August 2018, I received the same reaction from everyone — why? The bottom line is: this city is way more than cheese and chocolate. The fitness scene here is exploding and there’s a particular desire for new-age indoor cycling experiences that use immersive light and sound technology. These workouts feel like live concerts, all packaged with an energy that transcends mainstream fitness and throws you back to early 1990s rave culture. I expect 2020 will be the year that sees us trading unhealthy habits and underwhelming workouts for sweat and the kind of euphoria you feel at 4am on the dance floor.” Rebekah Abdeen is head trainer at Open Ride Zurich
Where to try it: Open Ride, Zurich, Switzerland.

Read more from the Spa & Wellness Collection 2019 here.

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