The Oxford Dictionary tells us that fitness is:
“the condition of being physically fit and healthy”
However, ask Instragram/Twitter/Social Media and you will probably get a very different answer. The thing is, I am not saying that either one is right (or wrong) as I believe it is completely down to you and more importantly, your goals.
With female fitness trends evolving at a rapid rate, the development of fitness technology and the mass explosion of social media and fitness influencers we are literally bombarded with new classes, regimes or products that promise to revolutionise the way we work out (and ultimately look). The question for me is, how do we know which are based on sound scientific principals and which are just fads that will be over before they’ve even really started?
We only have to look back over the last 20 years at some of the trends that have been and gone without a second thought and yet at the time, we thought that we had finally found fitness….. Power plates, Wii Fits, Thigh Master, Tae Bo Classes, P90X – the list is endless (and also, I’m ashamed to admit, collecting dust in boxes in my garage). Yes, I succumbed to those marketing campaigns telling me if I use the thigh master, my legs will miraculously be like Cindy Crawford’s in a week! I desperately wanted to believe it, even though deep down I knew it couldn’t possibly be true.
Here lies the problem, it becomes much harder to distinguish between the fads and the facts with the rise in social media and the influencer scene and the lack of regulations in terms of what they promote and the claims they make.
Fitness is much simpler than these marketeers would have you believe – the best trends and the best plans are the ones you’ll fall in love with and continue pursuing for years, not the one some Z list celebrity tells you that you should be doing this month. We have already seen recently several creators of fitness dvds come forward and confess that their ‘transformations’ were not actually as a result of their own DVD, but of extreme dieting and training regimens that are just not sustainable for the average person.
We (the fitness consumers) are always searching for the next best thing and desperately want to believe that there is something out there that is going to be the key to achieving all our fitness goals. However, no product or gimmick is going to do that. Its actually more to do with your motivation, effort and consistency than the actual programme or product that you are using.
We know from personal experience that unless you are enjoying something, then no matter how much you paid for it or who is promoting it, you are not going to stick at it or see the results that you expected. How many classes have you signed up to, been super keen in the early days, bought all the kit and then somehow over time, it just fizzles out.
I’ve been there so many times…….bought cleats for spinning (still in the box), Swim cap to protect my hair as daily chlorine would surely damage it? – I went once and forgot the cap! I convinced myself I would go climbing once a month, so went and bought myself poles and a compass……you get the point?
With all the best intentions in the world, if the activity or product doesn’t ignite some kind of fire in our belly, then it’s never going to stick and therefore, the results will never come.
The key to finding a trend, in my opinion, is to stay away from these overly-hyped programmes (usually celeb endorsed) or expensive equipment that only focuses on a single body part….the thigh master being a perfect example!
Look for something that you actually enjoy doing and that makes you feel good. No matter how many times Shaun T tells you that Insanity will make you lose weight, if plyometrics and max interval training is not for you, then you’re going to quit, long before you see the results promised by the programme. That is not to say the programme isn’t any good, it just isn’t any good for you at this moment in time – and that is ok.
I believe that fitness is unique to an individual and that although there are generic principles in relation to fitness, the method by which you achieve them should be personal to you. Don’t feel pressured to take up the latest trend just because someone on social media tells us to or because Julie down the street has lost two stone since starting the latest trend. You are YOU, not Julie and what works for her won’t necessarily have the same effect for you. Try out new classes, programmes, online workouts and see which ones are going to meet your needs the most. Once you find one you love, then you have found your own fitness.