It’s no secret that there are some fitness atrocities that have reared their heads over the last 30 years, which would make any self-respecting personal trainer cringe . These movements gathered masses of followers in the hope of attaining beautiful bodies, better health or just to be in with what’s ‘trendy’. Why do we still believe that some new diet, pill, nutrition or exercise regime will be the ultimate solution? In this article, we present you with a highlight reel of the worst fitness trends.
1. The aerobics culture of the 80s
Picture it: neon spandex-clad woman with headbands and leg warmers dancing to the beat of Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want To Have Fun. Now, aerobic activity is good for you but what was preached to women everywhere is that they should not lift weights in fear of getting ‘bulky’.
So for almost the next two decades, the weights area was viewed as the ‘men’s section’ while the girls did their ‘toning’ in an aerobics studio. In truth, ladies, is that if you want a good figure, get off your treadmill and go lift something heavier than your handbag. Not only does weight training do more for your metabolism than cardio, it will also improve your body composition, not to mention the strength gains that will add to your quality of life.
2. The no-fat craze of the 90s
After the release of a few studies about the health risks associated with saturated fats, the world developed an absolute fear of fat. Low-fat diets were promoted to such an extent that an obesity (and diabetes) pandemic stemmed from the incorrect belief that all fats are not only bad for your health but is also the reason for obesity and that carbohydrates on the other hand cannot make you fat.
Fat-free and low-fat variety products were often loaded with sugar and had a much higher carbohydrate content than its original counterpart, deceiving us into a state of ill-health and poor nutrition. The truth is that unless you are quite active, you don’t need that much fuel in the form of carbohydrates. Now it is widely known now that fats serve important functions within the body and consuming good fats like omega 3s can actually help protect against heart disease and is essential for good health.
3. Exercise gimmicks and diet pills
Cue the cheesy infomercial showcasing beautifully toned and tanned bodies vibrating their way to absolute fitness in just 10 minutes a day! Or the pill that miraculously melts and traps fat. The reality is that no pill (or at least one that won’t almost kill you), plastic wrap, detoxing tea or any amount of vibration will solve your problem. The answer will always be balanced nutrition, self-control and exercise. This gets them onto the list of the worst fitness trends out there!
4. Low-carb/high-fat diet
Fat is now our friend, carbohydrates are the enemy. While there are many health benefits to this diet, like for instance eating more greens, many people make the mistake of thinking that by cutting out carbohydrates they can now gorge on all fats, with no consequence to their health. Definitely up there as one of the worst fitness trends ever! It might shed you some kilos but very low carbohydrate diets can pose serious health risks.