Nobody ever said this whole fitness thing would be easy. I mean, if it was, we'd all be sporting curvy muscles and there wouldn't be a multi-million-dollar fitness industry.
A client recently asked my opinion on fitness trends. She wondered about Jorge Cruise's '8 minutes in the morning', Bill Phillips' 'Body for Life' and Shape Magazine's 'Shape your Life' plan. And as I flip though these three books I question what has made various fitness movements fashionable over the years.
I remember as a 16-year-old scrawny kid, sneaking into the gym and lifting weights with the boys - striving for muscles like the ones poster-girl Cory Everson had built. It was the eighties, and young girls weren't supposed to be lifting. Yet besides getting strong - I discovered that muscle cushioned my skeletal structure and allowed my body to go to battle on the sporting field. I didn't care if I wasn't as skinny as the other girls in my class, as long as I beat them all on the playing field!
My point is that weight training began as a trend. But in reality, it's just resistance work of the same character of which labourers and athletes engage in every day. For example, you can sit on the leg press and push 200lbs worth of intensity, or you can go for a good bike ride. You can do a bench press, or face the other way and use your whole body to crank out some pushups. Wrap it all up into a workout and call it a trend? Why not?
Commercialization hits every great concept these days. Hot workouts from celebrity trainers are dubbed as revolutionary, when really, you can get the same workout from your local rugby coach. Workout concepts that are the least effective are those that take too long to get results, making it easier to quit, gain back any weight lost, and before you know it you're on the internet searching for quick-fix weight loss plans.
So I responded objectively to my client about her fitness trends in question. Jorge Cruise's workout is effective if you start from a pattern of zero activity. He suggests simple resistance exercises that trigger muscular contractions. Bill Phillips has a great exercise structure; he plans twenty minutes of high-intensity cardio, combined with forty minutes of strength training three times per week. Shape Magazine's plan is a moderate workout with cautious prescriptions, targeted towards the teenage girl who is learning about body sculpting.
Fitness fads come and go, but logic remains - get moving every day and find a sport, or workout that you enjoy. Work hard and aim for muscle fatigue at least once a week, because it's always in fashion to achieve great results!