When it comes to fitness this summer, intensity is king. From Crossfit's hellish WODs to toughing out mud-caked obstacle courses, here are the hottest fitness trends to watch -- or participate in -- this summer.
Crossfit: This hot global trend is here to stay and only getting bigger, with CrossFit's full product line and Reebok-backed annual competition on ESPN2 reinforcing the brand that much further. This summer Reebok CrossFit Games, July 22-28, in Los Angeles will welcome the world's fittest, who have triumphed in regionals and sectionals around the world, to compete for the $250,000 grand prizes in grueling feats of skill and strength. This year's CrossFit Open, an early qualifying stage for the Games, attracted nearly 140,000 participants around the globe.
Indoor cycling studios: No matter what the weather, this summer will see more and more fitness fans getting their fix indoors. Top US-based indoor cycling chains (and rivals) SoulCycle and Flywheel are fast becoming national empires of sweat, with SoulCycle boasting 15 locations and Flywheel with 23 locations, including its only international studio in Dubai which just opened last year. Meanwhile, Europeans are pedaling in the pool, with indoor water cycling classes Aquabiking continuing to gain momentum and catching on outside the continent. Now New York City has its first aqua-focused spinning city, Aqua Studio, founded by French expat Esther Gauthier.
Obstacle races: Obstacle races like the wildly popular Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash race -- where mud-caked participants run through a series of obstacles, including a gauntlet of flames or electrified barbed wire -- are a soaring fitness trend and drawing in the former marathoning masses. Now big-name fitness companies are getting onboard and bringing events like the Reebok Spartan Race around the world.