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After being in the fitness game for a while, longer than I want to admit, I’ve seen some fitness trends come and go. Does anyone remember the Shake Weight? You probably want to forget that one, like me.
In 2023, wearable technology and equipment accessories continued to rise to add variety to your home and gym workouts. Adding variety is excellent for keeping your interest high and for your gains. Although keeping up with trends is essential, especially with your health and fitness, you should remember that some fitness trends will always stay in style.
You know, stuff like barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and that little thing called progressive overload. When thinking about adding something trendy to your workouts, always consider whether it adds or takes away from what you’re already doing. Have you got it? Good.
With that in mind, five coaches with their finger on the fitness pulse weigh on which fitness trends they see will rise in 2024 and what will hope to die a fitness death.
Melody L Schoenfeld, MA, CSCS, an award-winning trainer, international speaker, and coach
Flourish: Training and nutrition based on your goals and values.
Perish: Demonizing vegetables.
Why Flourish: “Working out is often dogmatic: “You have to train THIS WAY and do THESE EXERCISES, or you’re WRONG!!” or “You have to eat THIS WAY, or you’re GONNA BE POISONED AND DIE.” The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of ways to move and a lot of ways to be healthy. If you’re meeting your nutritional needs, feel good, and your behaviors match your goals and values, then you’re likely on the right track. If your training supports how you want to feel, goals, and values, chances are, you’re training the right way.”
Why Perish: “Regarding veggies, recently, it’s become a big trend to go into supermarkets and say that THIS food is TOXIC because it has THIS ingredient/chemical/etc. But the fact is that nutrition is complex, and isolating one element of food isn’t a handy way of evaluating the whole. Veggies, fruits, whole grains, and legumes have many health benefits. If you don’t feel good eating them, don’t eat them. But if you’re eliminating them based odadsn some of the pseudoscience being put out there right now, you’re doing your overall health a disservice.”
Mike T. Nelson, Ph.D. Creator of the Flex Diet Cert & Phys Flex Cert, CSCS, CISSN,
Flourish: Flexible Nutrition
Perish: Long Fasting
Why Flourish: “Flexible Nutrition, when you follow solid nutrition principles, most people can reach their fitness goals. It is doubtful that you need to weigh your broccoli daily, but you do need to understand that calories, macros, and micronutrition all matter. Hit the basics with a solid yet flexible plan, and you don’t have to live on shoe-leather chicken breast and canned tuna only.”
Why Perish: “The idea that everyone needs to do a super long three- to seven-day fast. This is a big macho pissing match not based on any real human data. No cells from an aging one-eyed ferret are not human data. If you want to do it as a challenge, maybe there is a place for it, but the idea that “science has proved” there to be a ton of documented benefit is BS. Maybe in time, that will happen, but right now, I would give it a hard pass.”
Allan Bacon, Ph.D., Founder, Maui Athletics Fitness Coaching
Flourish: Focusing on shut-eye.
Perish: Extended Fasting.
Why Flourish: “I would love to see a shift to focusing on what matters in 2024. So many people are looking for a quick fix and miss out on what will help. Proper sleep is one of those core practices that can supercharge your performance in the gym and your physique. And everyone ignores it!
Most adults require 8 hours of sleep, whereas intensely trained athletes require 9-10 hours. (Venter 2012) This has many benefits, including potentially doubling the testosterone compared to less than 7 hours! (PMID: 19684340, 17520786, 6405703)”
Why Perish: “ I would like to see the idea of extended fasting go the way of the tyrannosaur. Not only does it come with no distinct benefits (not for cancer, body weight, cardiometabolic health, etc.), but it can exacerbate nutrient deficiencies and lean muscle loss.
Research suggests that there is no benefit for otherwise healthy people to extend fasting beyond the calorie deficit it creates, which means a standard continuous diet of equated calories yields the same benefits without the negatives. Even when we look at autophagy, that life-extending process you hear touted on every pseudo-scientific podcast, it appears that fasting makes no real difference and that a calorie deficit alone does the job. (PMID 31810345)”
Andrew Coates, Coach, Writer, and Speaker
Flourish: Home-cooked meals
Perish: Overcomplicating health and fitness information
Why Flourish: “This industry loves to glorify meal prep but can portray it as an arduous chore of bland food that takes up an entire Sunday. Instead of the growing reliance on expensive food delivery apps, one of the best ways to lose unwanted body fat and get back to a healthier routine is to prioritize 2 to 3 windows of time each week to cook a nourishing meal at home and scale the amount to produce a batch of meals that can last for 3 to 4 days at a time.
Having home-prepared meals means we’re less reliant on eating out, eating convenient, impulsive, fast, and often higher-calorie food. Recognizing that it doesn’t take much time or effort to cook a larger batch of ingredients into 4-6+ meals vs. just 1 goes a long way to see the time cost value of cooking at home.”
Why Perish: “The overcomplicating and “optimization” of fitness and health. The barrier to starting and staying consistent isn’t education. It isn’t a knowledge gap. It isn’t ensuring you get sunlight within an hour before waking or waiting to drink your coffee for a few hours. It doesn’t ensure you turn your wrist at the perfect angle to target the right muscle. Influencers, charlatans, and profiteers now have more avenues through social media to build brands upon sensational and often made-up rubbish.
We need fewer barriers to moving. How we move matters less than the fact we move at all. The exact foods we eat matter less than creating sustainable lifestyle habits that encourage us to progressively eat less ultra-processed food, more protein, more fruit and veggies, and fewer calories.”