The fitness industry is booming. It has grown 3-4% annually for the last 10 years and it shows no signs of slowing. But with the good comes the bad. There will always be people that will see opportunities in the market like this and take advantage of it. Which is why a new fitness fad seems to pop up everyday. This makes it almost impossible for the consumer to determine which ones are truly beneficial and which ones do much more harm than good. The fads I list below aren't worth your time or money and are likely to create a bigger obstacle in your fitness journey. These are the fitness fads you should avoid at all cost.
EXTREME WEIGHT LOSS CLAIMS
The Promise: lose x amount of weight in just one week
The Fact: One to two pounds a week--that's how much weight you can lose safely and effectively. Losing weight too quickly is dangerous and non sustainable. Despite what all the diet strategies out there say, weight management still comes down to the calories you take in versus those you burn off.
Here is a great book from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. NSCA's Guide to Sport and Exercise Nutrition provides valuable information and guidelines that address the nutrition needs for the broad range of population. It covers all aspects of food selection, digestion, metabolism, and hydration relevant to sport and exercise performance. Finally, cutting-edge findings on nutrient timing based on the type, intensity, and duration of activity will help you understand how to recommend the correct nutrients at the ideal time to achieve optimal performance results.
10 MIN ANYTHING
The Promise: in just 10 minutes a day you can have the body you've always wanted.
The Fact: Sorry--as much as we would all like this one to be true, none of your goals will be accomplished from a 10 minute workout..unless your only goal is to workout for 10 minutes.
The Promise: Using high compression around your waist, they will reduce your waist line to give you the "desired" hourglass figure.
The Fact: Despite what the Kardashians (and many others) will have you believe, waist trainers absolutely 100% DO NOT WORK.
Not only do waist trainers not work but they also come with a list of side effects.
•shortness of breath
•weakening of core muscles
There are no shortcuts when it comes to health and fitness. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. And this definitely applies to waist trainers.
The Promise: Accelerates metabolism. Increases body temperature to burn more calories.
The Fact: Sauna suits forces your body to lose water by increasing your body's temperature which can be extremely negative for you health. Not allowing your body to naturally cool could cause overheating which can be very dangerous. It is common for boxers, martial artists & weightlifters to use sauna suits to cut some water weight so they can fight in certain weight classes, and although these professionals will use extreme caution with them, I would not recommend anyone use a sauna suit.
NO CARB/LOW CARB DIETS
The Promise: Are you willing to cut carbs and load up on fat to lose weight, elevate your mood and boost energy levels?
The Fact: Sound to good to be true? You might be on to something. When you go on a no carb/low carb diet you will absolutely lose weight quickly. But this is only because you are completely cutting out one of the three macro nutrients that your body uses for calories (energy). Carbs don't inherently make you fat and cutting them out completely will only lead to short term success. Although there are studies that show that a low carb/high far diet can actually help those with neurological disorders, this type of diet should not be used unless under close supervision of a doctor.
ONE SIZE FITS ALL PROGRAMS
The Promise: Anyone who wants to be fit can do this workout. Just follow along until the end.
The Fact: There are too many variables that come into play when designing workouts. Some of the things that I'll ask when designing a workout for a client is: What are your goals? What is your experience level? What equipment do you have? Age? Gender? If the program you are wanting to do doesn't ask even a couple of these questions its not for you.
The Promise: Everyone looks like this "perfect."
The Fact: Instagram is a completely visual social media platform and when you search #fitness you can see just that. Everyone is trying to make themselves look as best they can 24/7. There is a lot of misinformation and almost no education, only influencers trying to look their best so they can sell the products they are sponsored by.
The Promise: I don't need a certification to train you. I've got 10 years of ”experience” and a killer body--you can trust me.
The Fact: The fitness industry is not well regulated. In fact, 45% percent of trainers who claim to be certified aren’t. Pretty scary. There isn't one governing body and there are no laws in place that require businesses to hire trainers with a specific certification or even certified trainers at all for that matter. This means that even if you find a "certified" trainer, it may be that they have a cheap and fast online certificate that required little to no actual knowledge. All certifications are not created equal. Always check out your trainer's qualifications.
NO PAIN NO GAIN
The Promise: Push past the pain to get results.
The Fact: Everyone has heard this saying. it’s nice and catchy but is it true? The answer is NO. Not in the physical sense. Not only is pain not normal, but it will only set you up for injury. Muscle soreness and pain are two different things and people need to understand the difference. (Learn the difference and read my article on MUSCLE SORENESS.) To treat them as the same can potentially cause someone injury. Pain is less of a symptom of hard work and more of a symptom of injury. The truth is that rest is just as important as your workouts. If you want to think of this saying in more of a metaphorical sense, it works. Sometimes you have to push past the emotional or psychological pain to gain something better. But never think that you should have to push past any physical pain in a workout to reach your goals.
WEIGHT LOSS PILLS
The Promise: Take this expensive magic pill and lose weight quickly!
The Fact: There are no FDA regulations on weight loss pills and supplements. Most of these products have little to no scientific research to backup their claims and some can even be dangerous. If you want to take supplements, I suggest speaking with a nutritionist and doing some research. There are things like whey protein and creatine that have been widely researched and are safe for most consumers. Below is the creatine and protein powder that I have used for years now. The Muscle Pharm Protein Powder is the best tasting protein I've tried and the Kre-Alkalyn Creatine creates faster recovery between sets. Both help me get the most out of my workout.
The takeaway from all of this? Don't buy the snake oil. Never blindly believe the hype of a fitness fad. If a product boasts secret formulas or instant fixes, just carry on. Chances are, the latest greatest magic -insert product here- is too good to be true.
Like the article? Check out this article on the 10 fitness fads improving the industry,
Did I miss any harmful fads? Let me know in the comments below!