New year, new sports and new ways of training

by Emily Caine

Since 2020 didn’t go quite as planned, lets make 2021 full of adventure. A year to try something new and step out of your comfort zone. Here are some ideas that will push and challenge you mentally, physically and give you the opportunity to learn something new!

Sports

Ultimate Frisbee

The flying disc isn’t only for the fun days in the park, Ultimate Frisbee is a team sport that can be played amongst a group of friends or at a competitive level. It combines elements of football and netball (minus the ball) and is a fast-paced game that will quickly get your heart rate up. All you’ll need is a group of friends, 8 markers and a frisbee! The game is self-refereed, encouraging a high level of sportsmanship amongst players whilst providing a fun and friendly atmosphere if you’re looking to get involved with a team. Competitions are commonly found at a local level, with state and Australian teams available if you’re looking to get serious. Browse our frisbee range here.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), also known as ‘the gentle art’, is a grappling sport and martial art that is commonly taught as an element of self-defence. Unlike many other martial arts, BJJ does not involve striking. The aim is to beat the opponent through use of positional control and submissions. The sport is empowering, mentally and physically challenging and is suitable for all levels of fitness. While a grappling may seem confronting at first, it has an addictive nature that makes you want to continue to learn more. As BJJ increases in popularity, you are likely to some across a club in your local area. It’s always best to speak to the coach, try a class and find a club that has the right environment for you!

Gaelic Football

Although Gaelic Football is of Irish origin, its popularity within Australia is certainly on the rise. The game is played with a round ball and players are able to use both their hands and feet to control the ball and score a goal. The sport has grown in its appeal due to its less confronting nature, in comparison to heavier contact sports such as the AFL. Rules slightly vary between male and female teams, with men’s games having light contact and women’s games remaining non-contact. The Irish heritage brings a community spirit and welcoming feel making it suitable for anyone who wishes to join. If you’re looking to try something new and team sport is for you, this could be a great option! Clubs can be found within most states and territories, with some of the larger clubs found on the Gaelic Football & Hurling Association of Australasia website.

Training

According to ACSM’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2020, wearable technology and high intensity interval training (HIIT) were the top 2 fitness trends in 2020. While these training modalities are not new, they can be an effective way to keep you motivated and add something new to your workout routine. In addition to these, heart rate training can bring some purpose to your workouts and help you hit those 2021 fitness goals.

Wearable Technology

The ability to track our workouts has been shown to be an effective way to increase motivation and exercise compliance. Fitness trackers include smart watches, heart rate sensors and step trackers that allow us to track our activity and progress while training and usually tell us when we need to move more! Setting yourself goals such as walking a certain amount of Kms per month or increasing exercise minutes per week is a great way to keep yourself accountable and see the results right in front of you. The technology varies dependant on what you’re looking to track, so make sure you do your research. Fitness watches are a great option for ease of use, functionality and have multiple tracking variables including calories, HR, distance and speed to name a few. Fitness watches and heart rate monitors can be found at participating SportsPower stores, check out our store locator to find your nearest store.

HIIT

High intensity interval training is a term commonly used within the fitness industry, but you’re probably wondering what makes it so good? HIIT typically consists of bouts of high intensity exercise lasting 1-4 minutes followed by rest or active recovery. Aside from it being an effective form of exercise for the time poor, it also has many proven benefits. Research has shown that HIIT is more effective for weight loss, improving Vo2max and the prevention of some metabolic diseases, over continuous moderate-intensity exercise. The best part is there are so many different ways to complete HIIT, so you won’t become bored of it!

Heart Rate Training

Heart rate training (HRT) is a very individualised form of training, based on your fitness levels, ability and training goals. This approach to training is designed for you to work within ‘target zones’ using a percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR). These zones are dependent on what outcome you are trying to achieve and are an effective way of avoiding overtraining. Most fitness trackers will calculate your maximum heart rate for you, otherwise the most basic formula is 220 – your age. Keep in mind that this is an estimate of your MHR and does not take into account your fitness level, medical conditions or genetic factors that may influence your HR.

The 5 heart rate zones include:

Very light: 50-60% MHR
Improves overall fitness and recovery

Light: 60-70 % MHR
Improves endurance and commonly referred to as the ‘fat burning zone’

Moderate: 70-80% MHR
Improves aerobic fitness and stamina

Hard: 80-90% MHR
Improves maximum performance capacity and economy (the muscles ability to repeat movements at a faster rate).

Maximal: 90-100% MHR
Maximum performance and speed (if you’re new to training this would not be recommended)

I would always advise speaking to fitness professional about creating an individualised HRT program to assist you in reaching your goals and find your optimal training load.

If you’re new to exercise or have a medical condition that may be affected by exercise, please visit your GP for advice and clearance to commence physical activity. Recently, a global initiative led by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) called Exercise is Medicine was launched. This initiative aims to encourage health professionals to review patient’s physical activity levels at every visit and refer patients to the appropriate exercise professional when required. For more information, please contact your local GP or visit the Exercise is Medicine website here.