Fitness Futures: My Crystal Ball For 2009
2008 is in the rear view mirror, and 2009 is only a couple weeks away. Sadly, it appears as though the fitness industry as a whole has again failed to produce any significant results on a broad scale to effectively reverse the scary obesity epidemic that is plaguing our society. It’s not only adults that are getting fatter and sicker, but our kids too! However, on a positive note, I feel that in 2009 we can make real progress if we take advantage of some exciting breakthroughs that can help provide the long-term answers to solve this ever-growing problem:
Fitness Trend#1- Fitness Boot Camps Will Continue To Increase
One-On-One personal training will always be with us. There is a lot to be recommended with this type of training: The highly focused attention of one-on-one personal training can help an individual focus on a specific goal more readily than group fitness protocols for instance, and some of our clients just prefer one-on-one, and we are happy to accommodate them.
However one-on-one training just doesn’t make sense for many people. Often the price gets in the way, regardless of the value. Others just prefer training in a group envinroment. No problem! Fitness Boot camps are probably the hottest thing in the fitness game right now. Fitness clients are able to better access personal training services in a unique and dynamic team environment that provides better social support and accountability for only a the third of the cost of typical one-on-one training rates.
Fitness boot camps are popping up all over the country, and for good reason. But just because someone calls their program a “bootcamp”, perform due diligence and make sure to join a program with qualified instructors who are getting results with their clients.
Fitness Trend#2- Interval Training Kills Aerobic Training For Improved Fat Loss And Fitness 100% Of The Time
High-Intensity Interval Training is rapidly gaining popularity as the best form of improving both fitness and fat loss. Thankfully, 2009 will see more people doing sprints and less people doing marathons to lose weight. However, make no mistake about it, lots of people are still going to do hours of snail-paced cardio to burn fat.
Aerobic or endurance training is essentially going at a slow, low intensity pace for a long period of time (typically at least 30-60 minutes). In other words, the focus of endurance training is on the total volume of exercise (not quality). Think about all those speed limpers you see every New Year foolishly running for hours pounding the pavement or treadmill to get rid of that winter blubber. Sadly, this results in minimal fat loss and lots of overtraining injuries (e.g. tendinitis).
With interval training, the focus is on the intensity of exercise (quality). Intervals consist of alternating between shorts bouts of all out high-intensity effort and active recovery periods for a much quicker and focused amount of time (typically 10-20 minutes of intervals works best). This approach is scientifically proven to burn nine times more fat AND lead to faster improvements in fitness than the aerobic alternative.
Two landmark scientific studies come to mind here:
The Tabata study compared the effects of four minutes of high-intensity interval training with 45-60 minutes of low to moderate intensity cardio. The interval training group burned just as much fat as the endurance group and also had greater improvement in both anaerobic (think sprinters) and aerobic (think distance runners) fitness… in only four minutes!
The Gibala study compared the effects of 20 minutes of interval training (30 second sprint followed by four minutes of rest) with 90-120 minutes of endurance training in the “heartrate zone.” The conclusions of the study were that both methods of training lead to the same improvements in oxygen utilization (or aerobic fitness). In other words, intervals accomplished what endurance training did from a fitness standpoint in only a sixth of the time!
The time is now to hop off the treadmill and start doing some intervals. Come 2009, do yourself and your body a favor and start sprinting your way to better health and fitness.
Fitness Trend#3- Lean Protein And Fiber Are The Carbohydrate Addict’s Answer For Improved Health, Performance, and Body Composition
Americans are carb addicts. We simply can’t get enough starches and sugars in our diet, and we have the bulging midsections to prove it. One of the biggest misconceptions about diet today is that eliminated starches and sugars from your diet automatically means low carb. There’s more to carbs than bagels and banana splits! Eliminating grains (even whole grains) and refined sugars still allows for consumption of the other carbohydrates: fruits and veggies. These nutrient-dense carbs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber and create more stable blood sugar levels to keep your body burning fat all day long. All of my clients who have lost the most fat have followed our guidelines of unlimited veggies all day long (besides corn, peas, carrots, beets, and potatoes). In other words, eat lots of veggie carbs, and very little of the other stuff if you want to see your abs!
The overwhelming scientific literature proving the fat burning benefits of a diet high in lean protein and fiber is finally catching the eye of mainstream consumers. Protein is the most important component of each and every meal or snack you consume. It builds and maintains muscle, allows your body to preferentially burn fat, increases metabolism through the thermic effect of feeding, and fills you up. Fiber (ideally obtained from fruits and vegetables, specifically green vegetables) helps slow digestion for a more steady supply of nutrients and sustained energy, it prevents overeating at each meal, and it helps keep you more full between meals. Thus by combining protein and fiber every two to four hours, you provide your body with the optimal one-two belly fat burning punch for a leaner and healthier you.
Without a doubt, people who eat more protein and fruits and veggies next year will reap the rewards of this.
Well, those are the top fitness trends for 2009 according to my crystal ball. I hope the information in this article gives you the push you need to be the trendsetter for your own body and the bodies of those whom you care most about in the New Year!
Fat Loss Forever!