With the start of the new decade, there are inevitably some of those fitness trends that will become all the rage as well as those that will fizzle and burn out. I’d like to break down some of my favorites and how they have come to pass, as well as play Nostradamus and predict those current trends that will soon evaporate into nothingness.
Those That Have Died
1. Tae Bo
Remember Billy Blanks?? Not too many people do either. The combination of kicks and punches set to music and endorsed by every celebrity that came out of the classes made it incredibly popular in the 1990’s, but it became a dinosaur when everyone realized that if challenged in a fight, repetitiously throwing side kicks to “Everybody Dance Now” would eventually get their asses kicked.
2. The Tony Little “Gazelle”
This probably paved the way for ellipticals, but the straight-legged swinging machine that eventually became the reclusive clothes hanger in most spare bedrooms only appealed to those with pony-tails pulled through the back of their ball caps. And maybe Richard Simmons.
3. Jane Fonda calesthenics
The wave of the ’70’s led to more knee and back injuries than any other form of exercise, but made people get up and active. Even though it made them do so in spandex and leg warmers. Let’s face it, actors are good at acting (I wouldn’t even go that far in most cases), and pretty much all attempts to make an exercise video become colossal failures.
Trends that Should Die
This is a program that lets people download the “Workout of the Day” from their website, and is derived from military programs. The downside is that most people who try it usually run the risk of having their muscles rupture, discs herniate, or any number of other injuries that occur when people with minimal training are given high intensity exercises that have few (if any) reasons to be used. Once a few thousand people wind up in physio, this program will wind up dead in the water.
2. “Fitness Experts”
Ever wonder why doctors and lawyers call their professions “practices”? It’s because they are always learning and becoming better at what they do. To be an “expert” implies that you know everything about a given topic, a concept that inherently just plain funny when we think of most fitness professionals.
3. Muscle Isolation Machines
Why spend a few thousand dollars on a complex machine that lets you squeeze your triceps in a slightly different way? The gyms of the future will have barbells, dumbells, cables, and open space to let the body simply move the way it was meant to: unencumbered.
I’m sure there are many more trends that have died and that should die along the way, but we’ll leave those gems for future posts.