More and more people seem to be taking on bonkers endurance challenges, from ultramarathons to Tough Mudders. Even the average high-intensity gym class is about pushing your body to the limit. But now there’s a growth in classes focusing on stretching, recovery and calm. In Japan, the practice of wrapping babies in muslin cloth, otonomaki, is now being tried on adults, apparently to help stretch the limbs and comfort them.
Confused by different diet plans? Now you can go one better by assessing exactly what works for your body. Pure Genetic Lifestyle uses your DNA to formulate diet plans and advise lifestyle changes, while supplement company VITL has launched an app to assess and monitor your nutritional needs.
Nicole Scherzinger completing the Viking Challenge
Measure results, not pounds
Time to end your co-dependent relationship with the weighing scales – fitness gurus want you to focus on your fitness rather than weight. The same goes for those awful “before and after” pics – it’s about achievements rather than aesthetics. “I do not do before and after pictures. I do before and after Viking Performances,” says the Viking Method’s Svava Sigbertsdottir. “On the first day of the month, we do a certain Viking Challenge. Then we train for a month. On the last day, we repeat the challenge and see how much we have truly progressed.” If it’s good enough for Nicole Scherzinger …
Last year must have been the year of the gut, as we gained new awareness of its effects on everything from weight to mood. Kombucha fermented tea is the latest way to boost your good bacteria, and bottles of the stuff are becoming more popular. In its medicinal-look bottles, Jarr is the hipster’s choice of “booch”.
Don’t worry, this isn’t some “discover your inner child” workshop, but a type of exercise. Functional movement – jumping, weaving, crouching – is having a moment, and now crawling is the ultimate way to get in shape. Think army recruit. Or panther. Or lizard. It improves strength, stabilises your core and gets the blood flowing.
People were doing everything with coconut oil last year – baking with it, using it on their hair, even stirring it into coffee. Now ghee, or clarified butter, is the latest fat to gain hipster points. The Indian staple has a high smoke point so can be used for cooking and is more easily tolerated by those with lactose intolerance. And, yep, people are already putting it in their coffee.
Boutique gyms continued to shake up the gym industry last year, with their strobe-lit studios, juice bars and fluffy towels, certainly. But class-based gyms also take a hit on your wallet, so more people are turning to at-home apps and video subscriptions, where you can access a range of classes to suit you. BoxxMethod taps into the boxing craze, or try Yogaia for a huge selection of yoga classes.
Funghi are having a bit of a renaissance in culinary circles, and it turns out they’re pretty good for our health, too. Mushrooms are one of the only rich food sources of vitamin D, and are also rich in selenium, while some varieties are meant to boost your immune system. Hardcore healthy folk will be supping on chaga tea this year, but making a mushroom soup will work nicely too.
Nike used to be branded a bit of a villain in the sportswear world, with it’s corporate “big business” ethos, but it has blazed a trail when it comes to sustainability. Last year it revealed that 71 per cent of its products contain recycled material. Now Adidas has produced a trainer, the Adidas x Parley, with an upper made entirely from yarns and filaments produced using plastic salvaged from the ocean.
It seems counterintuitive to brush your teeth with something black, but this is the latest in cult dental care – and is supposed to actually make your teeth whiter. Plus, it is non-abrasive, natural, and won’t leave your mouth tasting like a chimney.
If you’re looking to cut back on coffee, there are other alternatives to matcha. Turmeric lattes are already becoming a “thing” – the spice is mixed with frothed nut milk for a bright yellow warming drink that’s rich in antioxidants. The healthy food company Rude Health has experimented with its milks and a rainbow of other ingredients for a range of interesting hot drinks, from charcoal to spirulina and beetroot and ginger, and will be serving them alongside their coffees in its London café.
Nourishing, not detoxing
Rather than cutting out entire food groups in your effort to be healthy, try adding in nutrients. Sprinkle some seeds on your porridge, add some kidney beans to your cottage pie, and think about what you are putting in rather than taking out. The Pure Package has launched a nourishing cleanse for the new year featuring warming soups, protein-packed smoothies and (gasp) even rice and potatoes.
High-protein products have become a hit, from shakes to snack bars, with even Mars getting in on the action. Micellar casein bars are a bit different, though. They are a before-bed snack for after-work gym goers, meaning your body won’t be stocking up on calories overnight, as the bars instead slowly release protein without the sugar spike.