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    How to Evaluate Fitness Trends to Your Advantage

    By Cinder Ernst–

    Have you noticed that there is always something “new” trending in fitness? I have been a personal trainer for almost thirty years, so I’ve seen lots of trends come and go. How do you evaluate a new trend or a new approach to exercise? How do you know what’s right for you?

    First, muscles are all pretty much where they’ve always been and they’re doing what they’ve always done. We humans haven’t changed our anatomy. Trends are always just another way of working out muscles. The Step Aerobics trend that started in 1989 was developed by an aerobics instructor named Gin Miller who hurt her knee. She noticed that she was doing step-ups to music for her knee rehab and it was fun, so she put a class together. Step Aerobics was a great trend when it began and it opened the door for much creativity in group fitness classes.

    The best thing about fitness trends is that they can keep some exercise veterans from getting bored with their workout. A new way of working out can keep you engaged. Maybe you like Zumba: the energy, the music? Maybe there’s a strengthening or a cardio pump class that gets you to the gym.

    When you’re evaluating a new exercise modality, good questions to ask yourself are: Does this (trend) look interesting? Does it look fun? Would I like to try it? If you answer yes, then approach the new workout carefully. Unless you’re twenty, you will want to be extra careful. Listen to your body during the work out. If you have a feeling that could be expressed, “I’m not sure about this exercise,” then stop. Take a break. Find a way to modify. When you try anything new, give yourself 24 hours to see how your body responds. If all is well and you liked it, try it again!

    Science has attempted to give us better ways to manipulate our appearance and our health through fitness protocols and supplements. Trends are sometimes based, however loosely, on some such science or study. You can actually make a case for almost anything working, or not working. The point is that bodies are individual mechanisms, with each responding to input in its own way. Now throw in your thoughts and feelings, and there is almost no way to predict how some new protocol, supplement or scientific approach may or may not work.

    If you are evaluating a new fitness trend, I suggest leaving out the results you are supposed to achieve by using the new protocol. If it’s supposed to burn more calories or build more muscle or make you look like a model, there’s a good chance that you will not get those results from the new trend. Turn your attention instead to having fun and feeling good.

    Fitness trends help to keep your workout fresh. Just don’t fall for the hype of the results.

    Cinder Ernst, Medical Exercise Specialist and Life Coach Extraordinaire, helps reluctant exercisers get moving with safe, effective and fun programs. Her book, “Easy Fitness for the Reluctant Exerciser” (, is available in paperback and E-book. She specializes in fitness and rehab for plus-size clients, but her stress-free approach is suitable for all. Find out more at