Now, more than ever, people are paying attention to their health. Plus, with the extreme popularity of social media platforms like Instagram, there are so many ways to get inspired. Using the internet can be a great way to find easy workouts and fitness inspiration. However, you also want to be careful not to fall into any fitness trends that may not actually be effective—or, worse off, may be dangerous. Sometimes certain health fads spread like fire across social media, and you may be tempted to emulate what’s out there when you see positive results posted. But, some fitness trends are better left untouched, as they’re not always as promising as they sound.
“Fitness trends are usually blanket statements, instead of individualized tools,” says Aaptiv Trainer Katie Horwitch. “No one fitness protocol is for everyone, but that’s exactly what trends state. Trying to use a formula that wasn’t formulated for you can do everything from being ineffective to cause overtraining, [and/or] cause serious injury. A successful fitness lifestyle requires being highly self-aware. Have the patience to find what works for you (whether that’s via experimentation or enlisting outside help, like a doctor or trainer).”
It can be hard to decipher on your own which fitness trends are worth your time, which is why we’ve consulted with the experts. Here are six fitness trends you should skip.
Those who are trying to shape their body might be tempted to try waist training since it’s all over social media. But, steer clear of these body modification tools. “These corset-like devices can be seen on the latest Instagram celebs as a way to ‘train’ your waist to hold less fat in certain areas of your body,” says Aaptiv Trainer John Thornhill. “But in reality, these trainers don’t lead to long-term success.” Waist trainers can actually cause harmful side effects including causing acid reflux and compromising your organs. And there’s no evidence that wearing these devices reshapes or “trains” your body in any way. You may see more sweat in the area and experience a temporary light slimming effect, but you’re not going to end up with a permanently cinched waist.
“I encourage committing to a well-rounded, cardio and strength training regimen,” Thornhill says. “That way you strengthen your entire body and mind.”
Weight Loss Pills and Tea Cleanses
Weight loss pills have been around for several years now, but now weight loss teas have appeared, as well. Both are prevalent on social media and both should be considered with caution. “These pills can come with severe side effects, and can increase your chances of cardiac arrest,” says Thornhill. “Truthfully, there’s no ‘magic pill’ that will give you a perfect body. Instead, stick to consistency in your diet and exercise plan. It will work wonders for you in the long run.”
Acrobatic Yoga Poses
Yoga can be an amazing tool for your body and your mind, and there’s nothing wrong with working hard to advance your poses. But, if you’re practicing yoga, make sure that you’re in it for the right reasons and not just for a fancy shot on Instagram. “Overextending your joints into a stretch or pose that’s past your safe range of mobility can cause permanent damage,” says Horwitch. Instead, start gradually with yoga and stay in tune with your body. Everyone who can do a handstand or backbend now started somewhere.
“Find yoga instructors [like your Aaptiv trainers] who can talk you through the minor adjustments and cues in each pose you do. If anything hurts, stop,” Horwitch says.
Vibrating Ab Belts
It would be a dream come true if you could lose weight without working out. But don’t be fooled by any product that claims to do so. “I’m sure you’ve seen infomercials about various vibrating ab belts that are said to give you rock hard abs just by sitting and watching your TV,” says Thornhill. “Of course, this too doesn’t work. It may fire flexing activity in your abdomen, but it doesn’t replace good ole fashioned strength training and a healthy diet.”
These products may seem tempting as complements to your training routine and easy ways to cheat some more activity out of a day. In reality, though, these are a waste of money that you could be investing in your health.
Intermittent fasting, keto, and paleo are all gaining in popularity. Although none of these kinds of diets are inherently bad. In fact, these diets work for many people and can be part of a healthy lifestyle. But they might just not be right for you. “Jumping on a diet plan without doing research on if it’s right for you can be dangerous,” Horwitch says. “For some people, [it] can cause an even unhealthier relationship to food by reinforcing a good vs bad mentality.”
The best diet is one you can stick to and that fuels your body from the inside out. We know that the basic rules of nutrition—a balanced blend of macronutrients and enjoying certain foods in moderation—works. But if you’re interested in trying a new eating plan or diet, it’s important to work with a professional. “Talk to a pro about your goals, and find what works best for you,” Horwitch says.
Too much of anything can be unhealthy, and that includes cardio. “Although adding cardiovascular exercise into your regimen has tons of benefits, increasing your mileage/time too quickly, for example, can lead to injury and serious wear and tear on your body,” says Certified Personal Trainer Lauren Seib. “Running and vigorous exercise for me has always been a powerful drug, but the key is to dose correctly. It’s important to find a healthy balance of hard endurance exercise with lighter activity (barre/yoga/walking/stretching). Be sure to listen to your body when it’s sore or fatigued.”
Some fitness trends can be beneficial, but make sure that you’re not just blindly following something because it’s popular. When in doubt, speak with a trainer or a doctor to help find something that fits your needs.