You//Fitness and Health
by Greg Small
In the age of social media new ideas, fads and trends spread like wildfire online, making 'experts' of those who are pushing their particular agenda. The world of health and fitness is not immune to this; journalists are constantly on the hunt for new fitness trends and diets whilst consumers keen to discover the next quick fix to health - without having to instigate radical lifestyle changes.
From the 5:2 diet, to paleo, to sugar free to fat free, to high intensity training, to resistance training to protein shakes, the list is endless and yet as a nation we are getting fatter and living more sedentary lives. There needs to be a move back towards the tried and tested health and fitness science.
The internet serves as both a gift and a curse for the health and fitness industry as there is a wealth of information available online, however, it must be treated with caution. Consumers are becoming reliant on sub-standard free content online, with more and more people turning to the internet for inspiration for their workouts.
Not all who post workouts online will be an accredited fitness professional just as those offering nutritional advice will not necessarily have received the relevant training. Indeed, not all personal trainers have completed nutrition courses, so whilst they are experts in exercise they may not be sufficiently qualified to give nutritional advice. Any claim that you can get healthy and thin fast with little or no effort is not based on tried and tested science.
Those seeking to achieve a healthy lifestyle should stick to medically-backed exercise and nutritional advice, which is very clear and simple. Eating a well-balanced, well-rounded and colourful plate will lead to you having great levels of energy and a healthy digestive system. There are hundreds of fad diets out there but there is one thing that never changes: always ensure that you have a plate full of nutritious (colourful) freshly prepared meals, packed with vegetables, avoiding refined and processed foods and get enough daily exercise.
In terms of exercise, it is important to get advice and instruction from trainers who are properly qualified, not only in terms of delivering effective exercise but also in terms of safety. Being observed in a one-to-one session with a personal trainer, or as part of an exercise class delivered by a qualified instructor, means that mistakes that are putting your body at risk will be instantly corrected.
New fitness classes that encourage people to take up exercise with qualified and accredited professionals should be welcomed; you just can’t beat the benefits of participating in a group workout. Group workouts are highly motivating and the social aspect can be helpful in driving you to work harder.
However, there are fitness trends that come and go so not only is it important to check that the instructors are properly qualified, as it is them who can combine fun, engaging sessions with effective exercise. It is vital for optimum fitness that there is no over-dependence on just one type of exercise. The body needs to be surprised and exerted in many different ways.
Of course include new fitness classes or boot camps as part of a training regime but it must be balanced with other things; for example, high intensity interval training should be mixed with strength, resistance, endurance and flexibility training.
Everyone is different; everyone has different goals and responds differently to exercise and diet changes. To ensure a training programme is tailor-made for your goals, always consult a qualified fitness professional who will combine your strengths and interests with a diverse programme to keep you motivated and on track to achieving your goals.
About the Author: Greg Small is Head of Membership at the Register of Exercise Professionals