8 Fitness Trends To Be Wary Of and What to Do InsteadJun 05, 2023
Just because something is trending or some girl on Instagram who has a six pack is doing it doesn’t mean that you should be doing it.
Sifting through all the trends coming and going can be overwhelming and make it impossible to know what is worth your time and what could even be detrimental to your health.
Being the educator that I am, I wanted to share eight trends I see popping up, WHY you should be wary of them, and what you can do instead if you see them within a workout or a program you have selected.
Let’s dive in.
1) Not enough or too many rest days
In order to see strength progress the human body needs to be fully worked 2-3 times/week (2-3 full body days or an equivalent). This could look like 2 full body days, 3 full body days, 4 half body days, 2 half body and 1-2 full body days, 5 body part split days, the list could go on and on. But the point here is that each muscle group should be worked 2-3x week for a total of 10-20 sets per muscle group.
What I see trending is, “Just listen to your body and let it rest,” which turns into only walks and maybe 1 pilates workout every week. On the other end of the spectrum are those who go hard-core and take 0-1 rest days/week.
I’m not shaming or minimizing ANY kind or amount of movement. But if you are looking to get stronger and see “results,” walking and 1 pilates workout/week will not cut it. And if you’re not giving your body enough time to rest and recover, you’re running it into the ground. Make sure you’re giving your body the time to adapt to the stimulus. Adaption happens during rest, not during activity.
You need to find a balance between the times for stimulus and adaption.
2) Random exercise order and selection
Creating an effective workout is not as simple as selecting a bunch of exercises for the body parts that you want to work. Depending on your goals and priorities the exercises should be put in a certain order and a certain variation of that exercise should be used.
For example, skull crushers with a bar is not the same as skull crushers with dumbbells. Why? Dumbbells require more stability. Your hands are in neutral with dumbbells. Dumbbells offer the opportunity for increasing range of motion. Using a bar offers you more stability allowing you to go heavier. Using a bar limits your range of motion. Changing your grip with the barbell is going to change the muscle engagement every so slightly. So you can see my point – you cannot simply interchange all exercises for triceps, biceps, shoulders, chest, quads, etc. They are all different is some way, shape, or form. And until you understand the nuances of each, you may not choose the best one for yourself or put it in the appropriate place within the workout.
Even when following a program from a trainer, the exercise selection and order can appear to be very random. I have personally downloaded and looked through other trainer’s programs. Of the probably 20 trainer’s programs I’ve looked through, I’ve found only one that I like and trust. Just because someone is a trainer doesn’t mean they are qualified and doesn’t mean they apply what they’ve learned.
3) Short-Term programs
There is nothing wrong with a short-term program (12 weeks or less). What is your plan after that? If you’re looking to make a long-term change, you need a program that will last a fair amount of time and educate you along the way so that you’re not lost trying to figure everything out on your own afterwards.
This is why my program inside my membership (Strong with Estelle) is 12 months long! Do you need to complete it? No. But I do require a 3 month commitment because this is really the minimum amount of time to see whether you like something and if it’s working for you. Along with the 12 month program you have over 40 educational video lessons on form, equipment, nutrition, habit development, exercising while traveling, mobility, flexibility, and more. I want to make sure you’re set up for success for your life…not just for a few weeks.
4) Too many exercises per workout
5-7 exercises per workout is ideal because your body does better with simplicity. Simplicity = a clear message. Doing more exercise within your workout might FEEL like you’re accomplishing more, but it actually confuses the body, which yes, makes it more difficult. But difficult does not equal results. A clear message to your body is what will elicit the best result.
Just like your body needs 10-20 sets per muscle group/per week, your body needs a certain amount of volume within specific patterns.
There can be exceptions to this depending on if you’re doing a half-body or full-body workout or if you’re doing only compound or adding some accessory or isolation work in. But generally, 5-7 is your sweet spot.
5) High reps and short rest times
There is nothing wrong with high reps and short rest times, but doing do it it thinking it’s better for toning, your nervous system, or that you will get super strong doing so. High reps are not strength training. High reps are endurance training – on the opposite side of the spectrum as strength.
Some muscle groups are meant for endurance: core, feet, small muscles between the shoulder blades. Muscles in these areas are going to be primarily type 1 muscle fiber which does better with endurance. Muscles like the quads, hamstrings, chest, and lats will do respond better to heavy lifting with longer rest times as this trains type 2 muscle fibers that respond better to strength training.
There is a place for high reps and low reps, light weight and heavy weight. You just need to know the effect of each and when to use each one.
My friend, Megan, and I did a whole training on how lifting heavy can be better for your metabolism and nervous system. It’s available for replay with a complimentary workbook HERE.
6) No repeat workouts
No repeat workouts have zero strategy. It will require infinitely more time and energy to get to the same place with no repeat workouts as if you used a strategic program.
Having any fitness goal and using no repeat workouts to get there is like attempting to drive from SoCal to Maine with a crappy car, no GPS, no plan, and not even knowing the order or states or the shape of the US. You MIGHT get there, but you’ll probably give up along the way and at the very least you’ll waste a long of time, money, and energy having to stop and regroup, fill up for more gas than you’d like, eat gross gas station food. It would not be a good experience.
Having a strategic plan is like having a sweet car, the ultimate GPS, snacks for the road, and getting to your desired destination in the shortest amount of time.
7) Reps to failure
There can be a place for doing reps to failure (maxing out), but it’s not necessary for most people. And for those who could benefit by taking advantage of it, it’s not with every set and not with every exercise.
Ideally you want to have 1-2 RIR (reps in reserve). I like to illustrate this as like a gas tank. You want to leave enough gas in the tank to do 1-2 more reps before mixing out. So if you can do 10 reps with X amount of weight before maxing out, then you’d want to do your sets with 8-9 reps. This take a bit of time and practice to figure out, but eventually you’ll be able to know where this is by how you’re feeling, not by using some math equation.
8) Tons of plyometrics
Plyometrics are jumping, bounding, leaping, and clapping sorts of exercises like burpees, jumping lunges, jumping lunges, clapping push-ups, box jumps, etc.
There is nothing wrong with them. But they should not dominate a workout, and for the majority of the population, should not even be in the program.
Many “trainers” like to use plyometrics in their workouts to make people feel like they’re getting a good workout in. Plyometrics can FEEL very hard, but are not extremely effective.
Typically plyometrics should be found within intermediate and advanced exercisers or for those who’s daily life requires them to be good at plyometrics (which is not a lot of people).
Tune in to Fitness Beyond Aesthetics!
Fitness Beyond Aesthetics is a fitness and lifestyle podcast that will help you fall in love with exercise, become amazed by yourself, create healthy lifestyle changes, and break down that confusing gym and lifting stuff so you can feel welcome and at-home within the fitness world.
Episode 31 talks more about these 8 fitness trends you should be wary of and what to do instead.
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