Fitness Ups and Downs

fitness trendsFitness trends wax and wane like the phases of the moon with many programmes hailed as the route to complete body transformation. Other fitness programmes take a more holistic view and combine more gentle exercise with a healthy diet. Such is the appetite for new ways to keep fit; any new development will have its enthusiasts and detractors. Here are some of the trends going up and going down in recent times.

UP – Metabolic Resistance Training

Losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously is something that appeals to anyone looking for fast results and body shape transformation. Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) is the new hot trend that offers circuit-like functional exercises that produce remarkable body changes. Variances used are body weight, kettle bell, and dumbbell exercises. Heart rate is elevated and more calories are used up in less time. Studies show that calories will continue to be burned up to 38hours after a 30-minute power packed MRT session. Known as the after burn, this phenomenon is attracting new recruits to this type of exercise daily.

DOWN – Body Part Training

Exercises that train certain muscles on different days and utilise isolation of muscle groups are on the wane. The muscle groups in the body are designed to work in synergy and it is now recognised they should be trained that way. Isolation training of muscles fails to initiate the hormonal environment where fat can be burned and muscle gained. It is believed that this type of training may cause muscle imbalances and injury. Exercises should incorporate around 80% multiple, compound joint movements such as presses, squats, and lunges.

UP – Women’s Strength Training

Women are discovering the benefits of weight lifting for body conditioning. The old fallacy that weight training builds unattractive muscle on women has been dismissed and women are discovering that a toned fit look can be achieved in record time. Two or three weight sessions a week are sufficient for significant changes without having to rely on cardio workouts. Benefits of strength training are enormous. Metabolism is boosted, and stronger muscles and bone density help prevent osteoporosis.

DOWN – Long Steady Cardio Routines

One of the more difficult ways to shed actual body fat is long sessions on elliptical trainers, treadmills, and stationery cycles. These routines have their place but are very time consuming. Not as efficient as other workout methods, too much steady cardio can lead to reduced lung and heart capacity.

UP – The Thirty Minute Workout

Recent research is compelling. The correct mix of short 20-30 minute workouts and exercise can produce twice the results you expect in half the time (for example combining interval training and MRT). With one-hour workouts being the norm, many people shy away from or give up one-hour routines because of the time commitment. A twenty or thirty minute workout however, is achievable by anyone in any occupation or in the role of parent at home.

DOWN – Low Intensity Workouts over Long Periods

The old belief that if you work out for longer better results are achieved is false. Exercising over an extended period raises levels of cortisol a stress hormone that is connected to loss of muscle tissue and fat storage. More efficiency in your workout reaps better rewards, so if you have been stuck in an exercise rut, ask your gym or trainer for shorter, sharper ways to tone and increase fitness levels.

UP – Interval Training

Interval training is a highly efficient cardio exercise where periods of high intensity effort are interspersed with active recovery periods.

The most significant study that documented the effects of interval training was carried out in 1994. The s study compared individuals who undertook either 20 weeks of sustained duration steady cardio against individuals who completed 15 weeks of short burst duration interval training. The interval training study group lost nine times greater body fat than the steady cardio group. Interval training has great cardiovascular benefits, increases immunity, and overall health.

UP – Boot Camps and Small Groups Training

Whether you attend boot camp at your local gym or make a holiday of visiting a residential boot camp, you will find it a popular option with many different kinds of fitness enthusiast. Mostly held in outdoor settings, boot camps are experiencing huge popularity. They incorporate unusual ways of achieving your fitness goals that are fun, motivational and can be enjoyed with a group of friends.


Nutrition wise, detox diets have lost popularity and a trend towards clean and natural eating is replacing extreme diets. The Paleo diet for example encourages the intake of foods hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. This means plenty of fresh, natural foods such as meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, seafood, nuts, and berries. Wheat and dairy were not part of the ancient diet so these are eliminated from the eating programme. Benefits include a more alkaline stomach, increased energy, and improved health. The diet is not restrictive and offers plenty of variety.

Author: Denise Colebrooke