What current fitness trends do you see that are helping or hurting the average gym attendees results?
Colin: The fitness trend I’m seeing that’s hurting attendees results is gyms frowning upon serious weightlifting. I’m talking powerlifting and bodybuilder hardcore training. I’m not even talking just about Planet Fitness who I can’t stand. Though their “judgement free” zone that has a lunk alarm when people make too much noise or put forth serious enough effort to build muscle certainly tops the list. Even my own gym has been very disappointing lately.
I had noticed a great trend at my gym lately that it had been becoming a much more serious lifters gym. There is a growing crowd of regulars looking to lift hard and often. Then we got a notice the weight room was going to be closed for 4 days for changes. We were thinking great, they are putting in some better equipment for us, changing things up to fit our needs. What actually happened? Several machines were taken out, and the space was used to build a large wood floor, presumably for group fitness.
In gyms all across the nation people are being talked to or even kick out for dropping weights, grunting, basically “frightening” the average person. I’m not saying that screaming at the top of your lungs on every rep and literally tossing weights to go tumbling when done (something I’ve seen far too often) but seriously, how do you lightly set down 100 lb dumbbells after you’ve reached total exhaustion? I suppose it makes sense, gyms make their money on memberships so they need to gear towards what would appeal to the masses, but what appeals to the masses is not what’s best for results. There is a reason serious bodybuilding and powerlifting gyms are so hard to come by these days, but it’s still sad.
Dara: I would say the current trend that is hurting the average gym attendee is crossfit/p90x/insanity/other crazy workouts people do because they think they are hardcore. I say this for two main reasons: 1) most of the time it’s beginners or near beginners doing this type of workout because they have been wrongly led to believe it’s a short cut to fast results when in reality it should only be done by advanced exercisers looking for something different or increase intensity and 2) it’s feeding into the pervasive idea that you need to workout like a maniac in order to get results, which causes many would-be moderate, health focused exercisers to either push too hard and get injured, or to shy away from exercise all together because they are led to believe if they aren’t dying in a pool of their own sweat by the end of the workout and not able to walk properly for a week afterwards that their workout didn’t work.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – everyone needs to build a foundation first and then increase intensity gradually, focusing on goal oriented exercises that will achieve your desired results safely with a minimum amount of risk on injury. Translation? If part of the reason (or the entire reason) you are doing a specific exercise is because you want people to notice you because it’s so “crazy” or “hardcore” it’s likely stupid and you are at high risk of injury.
Matt: I’m with Dara 100% on this one. I see so many inexperienced trainees doing things like kettlebell swings and hanging cleans and it just looks like a serious injury waiting to happen. There is so much low back swinging going on it’s crazy. Then when those performing this style of training literally limp out of the gym they think to themselves, ‘I really killed it today!’, when in reality they caused so much joint inflammation from improper lifting that they are in pain (joint pain, not muscle pain). Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not knocking crossfit, but it is for the advanced athlete, not the beginner.
Secondly, and I see this way too often for my own comfort, due to training being so mainstream now there are a very large faction of what I call McTrainers. Everyone has a trainer and this means trainers are in demand and the quality of their work has hit bottom I’m afraid. I actually heard a trainer instruct his client to round his back at the bottom of a barbell row and then heave the weight up and hyperextend his back at the top. He actually used the word hyperextend your low back, like it was a good thing. It took all I had to not make an example of this guy in front of a crowded gym but that’s not my style so I moved on.
There are a great many amazing trainers, but there are even more terrible ones. If you are looking for a trainer, don’t be afraid to try a few different ones or ask the gym who their top trainers are. Most gyms just give you to the newest (and least paid, thereby maximizing the gyms profit) trainer. While that sometimes can be someone who knows their stuff, more often than not it’s someone looking to make some fast money in a new career they just jumped into.
On the plus side of things I see that the HIIT and circuit training crowd is slowly growing and the number of people spending hours on the treadmill is dropping. The message is finally being received that lifting weights and doing sprints is the recipe for a lean body and not a crash diet combined with endless hours of soul sucking cardio.
Round 1: The best fat loss method
Round 2: Fasted vs fed cardio for fat loss
Round 5: The best 3 exercises
Round 6: The ideal training program
Round 7: How much protein for fat loss
Round 8: The last 10 pounds
Round 9: The ultimate training split
Round 10: Do carbs or fats make you fat?
Round 15: Are cheat meals good or bad?
Round 16: The fastest way to get six pack abs?
Round 17: The most effective exercise sequence
Round 18: Is cardio necessary?
Round 19: IIFYM vs clean eating
Round 20: Newbie mistakes and advice
Round 21: The most important muscle
Round 22: Is core training necessary?
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