I came across this super cool video showcasing some of the fitness trends of the past century:
I’m really fascinated by the history of our modern fitness culture and videos like this are both educational and highly entertaining. Despite its entertainment value, I can’t help but ask myself “How did people back then take this stuff seriously? I mean, why did someone look at a shaking belt and a tiny plastic stepper and think “Hey that looks like a legitimate way to get in shape?” I can’t help but wonder, what aspects of our modern diet and exercise trends seem legitimate now, but in 5 years we’ll look back and wonder how we ever thought they were the real deal.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but here are my predictions for common fitness habits we’ll be embarrassed to admit we practiced in the next few years.
#1- HIIT style training.
I love a hard workout as much as the next guy, but the hard-core circuit style training has reached a fever pitch with trends like Orange Theory, Crossfit, and similar style group classes in global-gyms. It’s not the style of training that’s a fad, it’s how we think about it. I keep running across people who absolutely love this style of training and when I ask them why they tell me how they like to be pushed and work hard. That they feel accomplished after having driving themselves so hard.
I admit I was once such a person, but I’m seeing this as just another generation of the “no pain no gain” mentality. Success in fitness doesn’t come from just working harder but working smarter. I think the next few years we will see more growth towards smarter training and not as much reliance on just trying to push the body to its limits. High-intensity training will always be around, as it should because it’s a sound approach. What isn’t a sound approach is the idea that all someone needs to achieve results is to just work as hard as possible and that’s what I think we’re going to look back on as a silly and foolish approach.
#2- Elimination diets.
Call me crazy, but I think the idea of a healthy diet simply means eliminating certain foods is a bit long in the tooth. It’s been going on for so long with various diets about eliminating, fat, sugar, carbs, meat, grains, potatoes, and even protein. Yes, protein.
Isn’t it time we looked through the history and recognized a pattern here? No matter what the diet is eliminating it’s the same old song and dance every time. The diet is proposed by some expert who’s at first ridiculed and questioned because their diet goes against conventional wisdom. Then it gains a bit of acceptance and it eventually reaches a peak. Then it’s effectiveness and popularity starts to wane until the next expert comes along and renews the cycle.
The new dietary trends will be focused on what people should eat over what they shouldn’t. I also think there’s going to be more of an emphasis on looking at why someone is eating something be it emotional or physical. We’ll finally learn that diet is about a lot more than just feeding nutrition to the human body and create a complete plan. At the same time, we’ll look at the best-selling diet books, shake our heads wonder why we ever thought they were a good idea.
There’s a gym in the town next to me that’s absolutely huge. It’s a sprawling complex of buildings that dwarfs some of the airports I’ve traveled through. Every time I pass by I can’t help but think “That’s a whole lot of space just to do some pull ups and jumping jacks.”
Granted, some of it is devoted to indoor sports like tennis and soccer so it needs a lot of space. Even so, if I can get a great workout in the corner of my small basement it makes a sprawling mega gym seem sort of unnecessary. You don’t need 5 different weight machines to build up your biceps.
I predict we’ll see more of a trend towards simpler and more efficient training methods like calisthenics and simple free weights like dumbells and kettlebells. At the same time, technology like Daily Burn will make it easier for people to receive training in the comfort in their own home. This will mean that fitness will become a far more efficient and local practice that doesn’t require an entire building full of equipment and a membership fee more expencive than a car payment.
Will this stuff come to pass? Who knows? It’s entirely possible I could turn on the TV tonight and catch an infomercial for a vibrating belt to shrink love handles.