The fitness industry has more fads than you can shake a weight at. (So many that we just planted one of them into that very sentence.) But every once in a while, you find a keeper.
That's the spirit behind Jillian Michaels's Sweat Inc.: 27 entrepreneurs complete a series of challenges to prove that their workout methods are exciting, effective, and profitable enough to stand out. "The winner needed to be something we haven't seen before, but also appeal to a lot of different people," says Randy Hetrick, one of the show's judges and founder of TRX Training.
Round of applause for Kyle Coletti, founder of the kickboxing-style circuit workout Focusmaster. Coletti won over the judges with boxing combos and body-weight moves that torch fat and build lean muscle—all in just 30 minutes a session. Ready to change your workouts, Focusmaster or not? Let's go!
Don't Fall for Fitspo
It may hurt more than it inspires: A study published in the International Journal of Exercise Science found that when women looked at posters of fitness models while exercising, they felt more tense post-workout than when they started. Researchers believe that in comparing themselves with the models, the participants may have unknowingly undermined that crucial psychological lift that exercise can provide.
Many people are driven by an aesthetic motivation, says Coletti. "Sometimes it's a specific look or fitting into a certain pair of jeans. But often once you experience the mental therapy that a great workout provides, the other things fall away."
Focus on the immediate benefits and the #bodygoals will come. Because ultimately, how you feel after your workouts—not how you look—is what will keep you motivated long-term. (Oh, and lasting motivation = consistent workouts = serious hot-body transformations.)
Crack a Smile
You don't have to look like you're dying through that intense circuit. In fact, research has found that when people deliberately smiled while working out—even just a slight curl of the lips, not necessarily Julia Roberts-ish toothy grins—they felt better and perceived their work to be less strenuous. "When the pain gets tough, "I'm always thinking, Get those internal smiles going," says Coletti. "I tell myself how quickly it's going to be over and I push through." Kill that last rep or mile with kindness, ladies!
(Looking for a fun, results-driven workout to switch up the monotony? Try out Women's Health's new Ignite DVD!)
Get a Clue
When you don't know what to expect from a new workout class, you can walk in with the uneasy feeling that you're going to be driven into the ground, says Coletti. "We always do a run-through before a class." It's a smart strategy: One study found that runners ran slower when they didn't know how far they had to run compared with when they were made aware of the total distance. Hit up the instructor before a new class and ask for a quick outline of the workout format. Be a Regular
Be a Regular
Bopping from one boutique class to the next may soothe your exercise ADD, but sticking with a set program for a few weeks can help you measure your progress more successfully. Coletti says it allows people to see smaller wins that they might miss when they're changing their routines too much: "We switch out the body-weight exercises and strike combinations not daily, but from month to month," says Coletti. "So on day one you may struggle with a few exercises, but we want you to think about building on that every single time. Mentally that becomes really motivating and keeps you more engaged. People walk away feeling like, Wow, I'm pumped at how much better my kick felt today!"
Drop the Yo-Yo
"The number one mistake is inconsistency," says Coletti. "People get it in their head that I'm going to really work out for a couple of months, and they make great gains, and then they stop for a few months. It's frustrating and ineffective." That's because for most of us, fitness is a means to an end: It's the thing you do to fit into a dress, or how you get ready for a single bucket-list marathon. Coletti's advice: View it as a constant. "It needs to be part of your lifestyle, like brushing your teeth. You whip out the toothpaste twice a day, no matter how tired or busy you are."
This story originally ran in the January/February 2016 issue of Women's Health magazine.