Death By Design: Why Most Fitness Trends Are Garbage
by Jake Gifford
Fitness trends are in abundance in this day and age and whilst it might seem like we are spoilt for choice, we've been sucked into a commercialised vortex of overzealous marketeers and snake oil salesmen.
The good thing is that fitness trends never really last. The bad thing is that there's always another quacky or tarted up fitness trend on the horizon to quickly fill the void and empty the pockets of the public.
However the problem with many fitness trends is that they are over-hyped, over zealous with their marketing and have a tendency to exaggerate or distort scientific claims to sit comfortably in favour with their product.
Due to our busy schedules we don't utilising much of our time researching or evaluating claims and have become very trustworthy in whom we deem to have an ounce of authority.
Authority, unfortunately is not a particularly valid form of evidence and one we need to challenge vigorously if we are to get any closer to tackling quacks and charlatans.
There are unfortunately no magic diet pills, super fat burning diets, DNA fitness kits or metabolic boosting workouts that melt fat off your body in a matter of days or whilst you sit at your desk job all day.
But because we are subject to the becoming of the ‘shiny object syndrome’, we get caught up in the idea of quick fixes and new ‘revolutionary’ ideas that liken themselves to Clark Kent. Due to the fact that we aren't all scientists or have the knowledge or experience in fields other than our own we have to resort to trusting those who claim to be our salvation.
Our lust for obtaining our health & fitness goals can often lead us to unsustainable shortcuts.
Sadly due to the low barrier of entry within the fitness industry and poor regulations it's a case of the blind leading the blind and a lot of people getting away with ill-advice.
Those that deny the simple acts of exercising more and eating less usually are either misinformed, deluded or peddling some sort of product or service for financial gain.
I hold my hands up in saying that I was once caught up during the early stages of my career in being misinformed, however one has the ability to change a stance and learn through adequate research and reflection, something some people turn a blind eye too.
Now what I'm saying can appear to be a direct antithesis of a certain curly-haired guru’s slogan and philosophy (which is also ironically a trend), but in truth the concept of exercising more (than you currently do) and eating less (calories) is consequently one that has stood the test of time and will for eternity. I'm not bashing the encouragement of healthier eating and exercise, however if we are to move forward then methods and systems must be constructively criticised.
Plus, just because something is effective does not mean it is efficacious. Physical inactivity and obesity are two complex socioeconomic problems that aren't simply just a matter of physiology and psychology. The environment we interact with plays a large part in our decision making, motivation and ability to invoke change. It's not simply a case of buying a product or service anymore, rather we need a variety of solutions to solve problems.
Most fitness trends are simply putting a bandage over a much more deep-rooted and complex problem.
We far too often get caught up in shortcomings in the fitness, diet & health industries, perceiving that there’s more to fat loss from a physiological perspective. We think it can’t be that simple and that there’s a major key element we are missing. I think that’s why we jump on the never-ending search for a single answer or solution in the form of trends or innovative but often pointless ideas.
We often forget to apply context and question whether a product or service will actually work irrespective of weight of the claims, testimonials or social proof it may have.
In truth, a lot of products and services will work out there for the same reasons because they encourage some form of exercise and caloric restriction (albeit their claims of the working mechanism may be different). In fact many fitness trends out there are almost identical from decades ago, they just change the name or packaging. But it's not about whether they work or not, it's whether you can actually use them in your life for a consistent and sustainable period of time.
If the answer is 'no' then it fails the test and you've got to find something else.
- There is no quick or easy solution to your goals no matter what someone may tell you.
- Most trends work simply because they are restrictive in nature which is often stressful and unsustainable.
- Claims are often exaggerated and overestimated so don't believe the hype and do your research!
About the Author
Jake Gifford, MSc is a personal trainer based in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. Jake encourages people to reject diet culture and discover the benefits of exercise beyond the way you look. You can also find him on Instagram @thephitcoach