fitness

'I’ve worked out 5 days a week for 6 years. These are the 6 fitness fads I refuse to take part in.'

I don't spend too much time thinking about exercising anymore. 

Even though I do about an hour of movement five-six days a week, I don't spend the hours before or after obsessing about it. 

Don't get me wrong, I used to. It's easy to get hooked on the world of fitness, and go down the rabbit hole of the 'must have' tools and tricks that will help you reach your goals. 

But after six years of consistently working out, and taking part in some or all of the fitness fads that've come and gone over the years, I honestly think it's those very things that weasel their way in and ultimately trip people up. 

For a laugh: Horoscopes working out. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

Fitness is a booming industry, and every month there's a new brand or gadget promising better results, an easier session or just more fun. 

By now the secret is out: diets don't work. But in my opinion, the same logic goes for a lot of the 'extras' we're being told to add on to our fitness routines to make them better, stronger and more effective. 

When they don't work, or they put too much pressure on 'results' or the act of working out itself, it ends in disappointment or giving up altogether. 

So as we head into the new year, here are just six fitness trends I think are actually... bulls*it. 

1. Pre-workout. 

Not only is this stuff so freaking expensive, it's completely unnecessary.

It comes in a powder form that you mix with water and consume pre-workout, with the promise to "amp up your energy, endurance and muscle growth" and give you that lift you need to motivate yourself before you exercise. 

If you are feeling a little low in energy, eat a banana. Or have a shot of coffee if you must. 

You don't need a weird tasting powder that makes your eyeballs tingle (seriously) to have a good workout.

Read: Here's my non-wanky guide to staying motivated.

In my eyes, this stuff is a bit of a gimmick. There are plenty of fitness gurus who swear by it, but it's addictive stuff, and it doesn't take long to become reliant on something like this to even consider moving your body. 

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Save your money. You can get the same result from real food for a fraction of the cost. 

2. Light-coloured workout gear.

Ok, hear me out. I love a matching set of leggings and crop as much as the next fitness lover. But not when I am actually trying to do some genuine exercise. 

Baby pink or pastel blue leggings have been all the craze of late, but they do not really go with... sweat. 

I like to not have to think about sweaty patches while I am working out. 

For the gym, I ALWAYS wear dark bottoms. I save any light-coloured workout gear for beach walks or brunches. 

There's nothing worse than worrying about your sweaty... crevices being on show in your new fancy gym-gear, instead of focusing on what you're actually there to do: exercise. 

3. Smartwatch tracking. 

Smartphone tracking isn't new, but it's definitely exploded during the COVID-era. 

Everyone is 'closing their rings' and checking in on their friends/colleagues/neighbours to see if they're doing more or less than everyone else. 

I can think of nothing more unmotivating or intimidating. I'll admit, I have toyed with the pull of being able to track my sleep and heart-rate, but I always come back to the same conclusion. 

To me, that's setting myself up for failure. The pressure! The comparison analysis! The constant reminders that I haven't done enough, in its eyes, to be considered a success that day! 

No thanks. 

4. Workouts longer than 60-minutes. 

This one's simple. You don't need to be working out twice a day, or for hours upon hours at a time. I often see this in my friends who haven't worked out in a while and are back on the wagon. They go HARD. Too hard. 

One: Who has the time? 

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Two: More time spent exercising in a single day doesn't equal better results. In fact, you're cannibalising your efforts because you're not giving your body time to replenish. 

You're better off doing a proper full-energy workout for an hour, than a fatigued few-hours of half-arsed exercise. 

Unless you are training for the Olympics, cut it out. Length doesn't always mean better. 

Read: The 7 free YouTube workouts I reach for when I’m after something quick and sweaty.

5. High intensity every time. 

Similarly, you don't have to be gasping-for-air-exhausted every time you exercise. 

As my own personal trainer Laurine Irvine shared with me while I was writing this article, "gasping for air is not an indication of whether you worked hard or not. Your age, fitness level, resting heart rate, whether you are a smoker and the type of workout can all impact your breathing rate."

This is probably the one 'fad' that took me a while to unlearn. I used to do mainly HITT (high-intensity interval training) sessions and it used to 'feel' like I was doing more because I was always wrecked afterwards. 

Now I lift weights most of the time. Sometimes I sweat, but other times my forehead is completely dry. It doesn't mean I didn't exercise hard enough, and I am seeing physical results more now than when I was when I was spending my whole session, every session, jumping around. 

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6. 'Spot' training. 

If you've been anywhere near social media, you will have seen videos promising "15 minute ab cruncher" and "20 minute fat blaster."

They are... a lil bit bullshit. It doesn't mean you shouldn't do the workout, but you can't 'spot' train a body part. These catchy names are just good marketing. 

Even though you might be doing a bunch of situps and core movements, that doesn't mean you're on your way to a six-pack. 

As Very Well Fit explains, "The body doesn't only draw energy from the cells in the area you're working. It gets energy from the body as a whole, which means that leg lifts alone won't do much for removing fat from the thighs. However, exercising your legs can increase strength and endurance in your lower body."

Fitness influencer Christie Swadling also explains it well:

Whenever I see these kinds of workouts the names irk me. Sure, do the workout. But you've got to be looking at your nutrition and your overall exercise regime to see significant change in any given area of your body. 

Don't get sucked in by the flashy titles. 

And don't get sucked in by the flashy fads. Exercise isn't and shouldn't be that complicated. 

You can keep up to date with Gemma Bath's articles here, or follow her on Instagram,   @gembath.

Feature image: Gemma Bath/Canva/Mamamia.

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