Those who have been following gym trends will know that 2016 was all about getting abs like Ulisses Williams, Jr., Greg Plitt, and Kayla Itsines. 2017, however, is all about paying more attention to your “mind-body” connection and using the latest technology to keep an eye on how your body is responding to exercise.
While following trends can be fun and informative, not all trends are always good and some can even be counterproductive to your goals. Check out these good (and not so good) gym trends of the year:
Good – Wearable Fitness Technology
Against all the odds and predictions, wearable technology is not going anywhere, anytime soon. The smartwatches and wearable wristband and pendants appeared on the technology horizon a few years ago, but most ended up in a drawer once their novelty wore off. In 2017 though, brands like Apple, Fitbit, and Garmin upped their game, and improvements in accuracy as well as a new slew of features designed to keep you moving increased the value of wearables for fitness enthusiasts. A smartwatch or wristband can help you track your physical performance, measure distance, count steps, offer GPS routing, track heart rate, and more.
Good – HIIT
HIIT or high intensity interval training is a way to burn calories quickly by alternating intense workouts in short intervals. Despite having several limitations, HIIT turned out to be a godsend for those who wanted to squeeze a workout routine into their lunch break. HIIT has been seen in almost all types of workouts from CrossFit to Pilates to bootcamp classes and so on and is even accessible on-the-go through apps like 7 Minute Workout.
Good – Smartphone exercise apps
Just like wearable fitness technology, manufacturers have come up with a variety of smartphone apps, like MyFitnessPal, Strava, Endomondo, and Runkeeper, that don’t need any additional hardware but can be downloaded to your smartphone. From meal planning to workout routines to tracking your progress, everything can be done from the comfort of your smartphone screen. While these apps might be questionable for their accuracy, they are not limited to tracking steps only and are motivating people to keep striving towards their fitness goals – definitely a positive trend.
Good – Floating yoga
Probably the most interesting and unique trend of 2017 so far has been floating yoga. It’s one of the most intense and modern forms of yoga. After becoming a hot trend among yogis from LA to NYC, its popularity is now growing around the globe. Referred to as Holy Water by some, it’s done on a floating board on water which makes it much harder yet fun at the same time. While it targets virtually every part of your body including your glutes, arms, and legs, this version of yoga engages your core the most as you stabilize your body while doing different yoga poses. It definitely is a good trend that takes yoga to a new level.
Jury’s Out – Waist Trimmer Belts
Waist trimmer belts are worn around your midsection during a workout to boost fat loss and promote better posture. Celebrities have been known to tout waist trimmer belts for their effectiveness in slimming down extra fat around the body’s midsection, however, it is also a trend that has become a hot topic of debate. When used in conjunction with healthy eating and regular exercise, a belly trimmer belt has anecdotally shown to achieve amazing results, however, comprehensive scientific studies proving their efficacy have yet to be conducted.
Not So Good – Toning Shoes
Offered by shoemaking giants like Sketchers, and endorsed by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke, toning shoes have continued to be commercially popular in 2017. Costing more than $100 a pair, the shoes claim to do wonders to your body, but in reality they do nothing more than the shoes you typically wear and have paid much less for.
A comprehensive study published by the American Council on Exercise debunked the myth about the toning shoes. The results confirmed that, when running on a treadmill, they were no different from the regular sneakers. In fact, most running shoes yielded better results.
Not So Good – Juice Cleanse
The practice of juice fasting/cleansing has been around for several years, but saw a surge in popularity during 2017. Taking part in a juice cleanse means eating or drinking nothing but certain juices, such as fresh juices for a certain period of time. The issue with this concept is that your body is already equipped with all the necessary tools to cleanse itself of toxins, and to do this, it needs a balanced diet, and juices alone can’t offer that balance. In reality, a juice cleanse can hurt your performance by resulting in muscle loss, fat gain, poor immune system functioning, and decreased overall energy.
Trends don’t last forever, and not all trends are good. Sure, if everyone is doing something, there is likely a good reason behind it. So, while staying on top of the latest trends can be handy, blindly following every new trend might not be the best approach. Rather, try to find a balance, and most importantly gauge your performance to see which fitness trends work best for you. If swimming against the current seems to take you closer to your fitness goals, by all means do so. By not following the current trends, you might end up setting a new trend.