Along with the New Year usually comes setting intentions that include some sort of health and fitness goal. As these intentions come and go each year, so do the fitness trends. According to recent surveys from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), 2018 is all about going “back to the basics” as published in the Health and Fitness Journal. With that, here’s what you should know about some of the top fitness and diet trends you’ll be seeing a lot of this year.
The Good: Still a large part of the fitness world, High Intensity Interval Training involves short bursts of hard effort followed by short recovery periods. HIIT is still trending through 2018 as it leaves you sweating and can be performed in a relatively short amount of time.
The Bad: Any time you do high intensity anything, there is an increased risk for injury. Although it seems appealing to the time-crunched individual (aren’t we all?), all intelligently designed programs begin with some sort of screening to assess problematic areas and prevent injury. More importantly, high intensity exercise is not sustainable for more than a couple of months as accumulated stress quickly leads to an over-trained state where fitness gains and weight loss hits the wall and begin to evaporate.
Another thing to consider is the fact that HIIT training doesn’t target the fat burning zones which help promote weight loss and reduce harmful inflammation in the body.
The Good: Some things are just more fun in a group. Gyms like Equinox, SoulCycle, and Orange Theory have exploded in the fitness industry and will continue to make their mark this year. Group fitness classes led by instructors are designed to teach you something new and motivate you in the process. One of the biggest aspects of group fitness classes is the sense of community and accountability that reinforces behavior through group participation and group approval.
The Bad: Although there is the appeal of in-group social dynamics, there is little to no personalization of the activities based on each individual’s goals and physiology. Contrary to popular belief, there is no “one size fits all” method to exercise, health, fitness, and weight management. Your physiology is as unique as your finger print and accordingly, all sustainable and effective programs MUST be tailored to each individual and anchored in science.
The Good: Sometimes referred to as “P90X with Barbells,” CrossFit has become the fastest-growing business opportunity for gym owners in the history of the fitness industry. CrossFit gyms come with the complete strength and conditioning “starter kit,” ranging from barbells, bumper plates, racks, dumbbells, and platform space to perform the basic exercises that comprise their programs. In addition, CrossFit “sells” the in-group social dynamics with their programming that foster workout compliance.
The Bad: CrossFit is a random exposure to a wide range of movements at high intensities and usually performed for time. once again, this popular training trend has been derided by health care professionals who see the well documented incidence of injury and overtaining very problematic. Due to the nature of CrossFit programming, which does not follow any accepted training science,ACCEPTED TRAINING SCIENCE, it is difficult to facilitate fitness adaptations and drive further improvements. Once an individual has adapted beyond the ability of random stress applied under time constraints to cause further improvement, progress stalls and the harder it becomes to get stronger, lean out, lose weight, etc. (i.e. the Principle of Diminishing Returns).
The Good: Although it seems like the Ketogenic Diet has been ruling the spot light for the past year, it's a diet that has been in practice since the 1920's when it was designed for patients with epilepsy. The Ketogenic Diet was created to provide these patients with the same benefits of fasting – reducing seizures, lowering body fat, improving blood cholesterol levels and controlling hunger. By severely restricting carbohydrates and increasing fats in the diet, it forces the body into ketosis. Ketosis is when the body uses fat instead of carbohydrates as its primary source of fuel. Research has shown the Ketogenic Diet to be beneficial for weight loss, reducing the risk for Type 2 Diabetes, reducing the risk of heart disease, protecting again cancer and protecting and even reversing certain neurological disorders including Alzheimers.
The Bad: While there are many potential benefits to the Ketogenic Diet, long-term application can be problematic. Let's remember that this diet was created to mimic the effects of fasting, however, the "starvation" mode the body goes into on the Keto Diet is not from fasting. It's from eating high quantities of fat, often as high as 80-90% of daily calories, and starving the body of carbohydrates. Long term use of the Ketogenic Diet may increase the risk of gastrointestinal issues, nausea, vomiting, fat intolerance, osteopenia, kidney stones, heart disease and iron-deficiency anemia. Using a Keto-type diet for 2-3 weeks can provide benefits for your weight loss and performance goals and that's the premise of PHASE IV's periodized nutrition and training programs. Our programs were designed to improve your body's metabolism and turn you into a year-round fat burning machine in a safe and sustainable way.
P.S. Stay tuned for next week's newsletter where we dive deeper into the Ketogenic Diet and how to transform your body into a "Better Butter Burner!"
The Good: With the surge of documentaries promoting the benefits of plant-based living over the past decade such as What the Health, Forks Over Knives and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and the introduction of burger replacements such as the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger, it's no surprise that 2018 will see a huge swell of more plant-minded consumers. A traditional plant-based diet is rich in whole food such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes and avoids fish, meat, dairy and eggs, as well as processed and refined foods. There is certainly more good than bad here as research shows that a plant-based diet can help to reduce and even prevent type 2 diabetes, reduce hypertension, reduce the risk for heart disease, support weight loss and healthier skin.
The Bad: The issues from consuming a plant-based diet mainly stem from consuming too much refined foods and not getting enough protein. However, there are plenty of plant-based sources of protein that can support a healthy diet such as dark leafy greens, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds, pea protein, whole grains and certain soy products. It just may take a bit more creativity to make sure you meet your daily protein needs. PHASE IV STAFF specializes in sound nutrition for plant based athletes.
The Good: More and more research is coming out about the importance of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. An imbalanced microbiome has been linked to a plethora of health conditions including digestive disorders, reduced immune function, inflammation, weight gain and neurological disorders. Taking a high-quality is a great supplement to a healthy diet as is including probiotic-rich fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, yogurt and kombucha.
The Bad: Not all probiotics are created equal and fermented foods may not be good for everyone. There are tons of probiotics on the market right now, so make sure you do your research and find one that actually works. It might cost you a bit more, but your improved health will be worth the investment. In addition, there is no one-size-fits all diet that works for everyone. Every person's physiology is completely unique and therefore not every superfood should be seen a panacea for health issues. Some may even make your symptoms worse! It's best to work with an experienced nutritionist, RD or health coach to determine what foods may be the most beneficial for you.