From Diet Fads to Exercise Fads


Unlike diet fads, getting caught up in the propaganda and the delirious hype of the current exercise fad won’t have a disastrous effect on your health situation. However, what it could impact on is the maximization of the outcome which you are looking to achieve whether it is strength gains, better cardiovascular output or even increased weight loss.


Personally, I am a big advocate of having a varied training program which is tailored around helping my clients to achieve their goals. This is where my first problem arises with exercise fads, as with most of these fads, you cannot design the optimum full body workout with them. For example if we look at kettlebells and TRX’s – many trainers will train a client 3-5 times a week and the only piece of equipment they will use would be a kettlebell or a TRX. Now don’t get me wrong I love both of the above, and used in conjunction with various other bits of kit, they are all good, BUT they should not become the sole focal point of a training program. In doing this you have a limited amount of exercises at your disposal which means you may be missing an important component helping you to reach your targets. It’s also very tedious using the same equipment day after day… Now I am a big believer that if a client’s program is varied it will keep their excitement levels high, which has a direct correlation with motivation levels and sustainability of their fitness regime. So go ahead and pick up a barbell, a sled, a medicine ball and a resistance band too – they won’t bite you!


Classes at commercial gyms… Where do I begin? Right, I will give credit to classes such as body attack and body combat as they play a huge part in bringing people to the gym who may not have trained before, and they provide a good entry level to fitness for a gym novice. Moving forward in your fitness level from this though is unlike! Many people approach me wondering why they have plateaued after a couple of months of such classes and stopped dropping weight and their fitness levels have stayed the same… From my experience these classes are very rudimentary and don’t push participants hard enough to achieve goals that are more than beginner level. Having taught spin before I can confirm it is very physically demanding and provides the public with a great workout but doing solely classes like spin, body combat, boxercise etc. doesn’t cater to online slots individuals’ aims. Nor do they build up muscle – essential in the fat burning process and if you want to get ‘diesel’ – they are purely cardio workouts, which if overdone can WASTE muscle (not what you want). Whereas incorporating them into a varied program, this I will allow, you have my blessing!


I couldn’t resist this one… ‘Metafit’, ‘Fat Burning Extreme’, or the latest incarnation I have witnessed, ‘Tabata’. These are all similar high intensity training classes which get branded in order to create the latest trend in fitness and ensure you that this is the ONLY thing you need to reach your targets. Any high intensity, interval training like the previously mentioned are great training methods, but don’t be taken in by the razzmatazz and hyperbole, this is not the training method of the future (especially not when the instructor merely sticks on a cd to do the job for him, eeek it’s awful). Warburton’s need not worry – again, it is great training but don’t make it all you do.


Lastly, this one I probably write at my peril as I can already hear the sound of a stampeding cavalcade of crossfitters at my door with their pick axes (Disclosure: I am actually a big fan of Crossfit and utilize some Crossfit WODS (workouts), and I even love watching their YouTube channel and Crossfit Games footage. I also have mad respect for athletes such as Rich Froning and Sam Briggs, who are nothing short of monster athletes)! Nonetheless, I feel people who just do Crossfit, and only Crossfit, miss out key components in their growth as trained individuals as it can miss out and fail to target specific muscle groups which could require focus. Additionally, with any forms of exercise there is always an injury chance but with Crossfit featuring such explosive and dominant movements, you automatically have a more enhanced chance of injury. For example, any workout which prescribes deadlifts for MULTIPLE reps I am not a fan of and I feel some Crossfit workouts hammer the posterior chain for more reps than necessary. By all means fit in certain WODS as part of or at the end of a varied workout; they are very challenging and ensure progression but be careful and make sure you fill in the gaps of this type of training.


To conclude, I am not damming or telling anyone to forget any of these exercise fads, but the point I would like to make is to use MANY different training methods. Keep your training fresh. Get outside and cycle or run. Hit the gym for a strength session using lots of different equipment to target the full body. Get on the cross trainer, or why not hit up a spin class, boxing or a BJJ session. Don’t get stuck in a rut, remember after about 4-6 weeks if you are training the same way your body will become acclimatized to the training and you’re progression will stunt. Keep mixing it up sensibly and your enjoyment levels will be high which will lead to positive results in the progression to your goals.


Keep exercising and eating well people! Here’s to a healthy 2014, year of the Commonwealth Games after all!



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