Image: James Duigan/Twitter.
Is it just us, or was 2015 the year health and fitness took over?
‘Athleisure’ outsold a number of popular fashion brands, Instagram feeds were inundated with gym selfies and healthy meals, and you couldn’t walk down the street without overhearing someone talking about the 12-week training program they’d embarked on.
It’s great to see everyone taking an active interest in their health, but as with any phenomenon, along with the good came the not-so-good: celebrity-endorsed “teatoxes” and scarily extreme #fitspo rhetoric, to name just a couple.
If you ask James Duigan — personal trainer to the stars, Bodyism founder, and author of Clean and Lean for Life: The Cookbook — there are three big health/fitness trends from this year that really need to shuffle back into the shadows when 2016 rolls in.
1. Unqualified Instagram “experts”
“I think there’s a really worrying phenomenon on social media where we’ve got unqualified people prescribing hardcore exercises programs and calorie-controlled diets on Instagram without any accountability,” Duigan says.
“They’ve got millions of followers. It’s so sad, it’s so dangerous, and they’re really hijacking some lovely messages. You’ve got these women saying, ‘I’m strong, not skinny’ but they’re really skinny and it’s confusing.”
Duigan says while there appears to be a backlash to this trend, it probably won’t be going anywhere for another year or so. The worst thing? These ‘experts’ are very rarely taken to task when they get it wrong.
“If they write the wrong thing, they can just delete the comment or delete the post… but if [other professions] write something dangerous or irresponsible, they can lose their job or go to jail if it’s bad enough,” he adds.(Post continues after gallery.)
2. Ridiculous diets
When it comes to extreme diets, you’d think we’d have learned by now. Apparently that’s not the case.
“I know there was a diet there where people didn’t eat for two weeks, they only ate Chinese herbs and broth or something. I think a lot of people got quite sick from that. Hopefully that doesn’t come back,” Duigan says.
Oh dear. Here we were thinking teatoxes were the most questionable diet of 2015. Ultimately, Duigan says, the most effective way to manage your weight is to focus on your health, eat “good, lean and clean food”… and listen closely to your BS detector.
“Basically, anything that sounds crazy is crazy and we know diets don’t work. They just don’t. You need to find a way to change your life simply and enjoyably so you can sustain it,” he explains.
Watch: Make sure you’re getting your health and fitness guidance from reputable experts, like Paper Tiger‘s Jenna and Casey. Here’s a simple leg exercise to try at home. (Post continues after video.)
3. Exercising to exhaustion
New fitness fads will always come out of the woodwork, and often each one will be more full-on than the last. This isn’t necessarily a good thing.
“Crossfit is great because it’s got so many people moving and into fitness, but it’s also pretty full-on that they’ve got office workers doing Olympic lifts to exhaustion. A lot of people get injured,” Duigan says.
“I would urge moderation there and urge that exercise is there to energise you and build you up and increase your enjoyment of life, rather than break you down, exhaust you and injure you. Find balance in that.”
That said, if you basically live on your couch and can't remember the last time you exercised, this advice probably doesn't apply to you.
"Don't worry, you're not overdoing it — you need to get off the lounge and do some exercise. But if you're doing full-on intense classes every day or twice a day, eventually your body will break. You've got to be careful."
Which fitness trends do you hope to see the end of next year?
James Duigan's Clean and Lean for Life: The Cookbook ($39.99) is available now.