by Daniel Schou
3 fitness trends we will smile indulgently at a few years from now - a pen and barbell prophecy
3 fitness trends that will be smiled indulgently upon a few years from now
In fitness, as in most other areas of life, trends come and go. In this article I will step out on the limb and play the part of the prophet. I will lay out the future for you. Remember where you saw it first.
I will foresee the downfall of 1 exercise, 1 piece of equipment and 1 nutrition trend. These three phenomenon have been experiencing a peak for a while now. They have many believers, users and advocates. Nevertheless I proclaim that in a few years’ time from now we will all smile indulgently at the thought of how much leverage these 3 trends once beheld.
1 THE PLANKS-FIXATION
It’s been going on for a while now; the fixation with planks. These stiff and static exercises are part of almost every workout regime prescribed in books, magazines and fitness blogs. For most people it is hard to imagine that not long ago the thought of serious gym-goers laying still and stiff, watching their sweat render pools on the mat just inches from their faces while they are counting the seconds and glancing red-faced at each other, under the conviction that this ritual are providing their abs with the ultimate workout that will lead to optimal results, would have been frowned upon and laughed at.
Don’t get me wrong here. I am not claiming that planks as such are totally worthless. Not totally. They might have a defendable role to play in an OK abs routine. (Cough, for a beginner, cough.) I’ve used different kinds of planks to spice things up myself, absolutely. It can be done. Sometimes. With lots of time in between. What I hope and think will change though, is the hype concerning this kind of static training. The plank is ridiculously overrated. It is off-the-chart-overrated. This static hold will do little, bordering on nothing, to help you in your quest of chiseled abs. It can be part of a program, obviously, but it cannot be expected to play a major part in the quest of seriously impressive results.
Today planks, in all its seemingly endless variations, are among the most commonly employed exercises in the gym. In a few years this silliness will of course have settled down. People will do something entirely different, but probably just as effective, like maybe trying to stand on their heads, or balancing on one foot while simultaneously practicing their jo-jo-skills.
2 THE KETTLEBELLS-COMEDY
For quite some time now the kettlebell has, by some (meaning many, many, many), been treated as the magic wand of exercising. It is as if the shape in itself would guarantee a success unattainable with other classic tools, such as the barbell and the dumbbell. One could easily be led to believe, if one was at all susceptible to impressions, that the (ergonomically speaking) less than ideal grip of the kettlebell promises a magic touch that will deliver fantastic muscularity upon any good-humored user.
There is of course comedy in this.
And yes, I know, the kettlebell is not a newly thought up trend, it is a grand old tool with tons of (mostly Russian) tradition tied to it, etcetera, etcetera. And yes, of course it can be used to produce both strain and sweat – and in the end results as far as strength and muscle building goes. No doubt. But the hype – the frenzied hype – will die off and in a few years from now we will smile upon the memory of it all.
3 THE FEAR OF ALL CARBS-HYSTERIA
This phenomenon goes hand in hand with another: the eat every other hour-fever.
This has become every man’s knowledge: that to be lean you have to abstain from all carbs. And to get and preserve any muscle to begin with you have to eat every other hour, meaning 7 meals per day. Considering the fact that I have chosen to list this as number 3 on my list of trends that we, in a reasonable near future, will smile indulgently upon, it will come as a surprise to no one that I’m eager to put quotation marks on the word knowledge in the sentence above, thereby transforming everyman’s knowledge to everyman’s “knowledge”. I feel certain that, given just a little bit more water under the bridges, all this so called “knowledge” will be appropriately ridiculed. We just have to wait for it a little bit longer.
For those demanding an explanation for this certainty of mine, please let me elaborate.
How come I am willing to discard the carb-fret as hysteria and the every-other-hour-eagerness as a delusional fever? Skipping all the knots and bolts of the science, let us just agree upon the fact that when you have eaten your body will preoccupy itself with dealing with the newly supplied food. This will lead to a temporarily loss of performance and ability. Of course, this loss will eventually lead to its opposite - a force sprung from the newly added nourishing that the food provides – but in wait for this benefit you will first have to endure an hour or two of lowered energy levels and a dampened will for achievement. It follows that 7 meals per day will leave you less (and in my own personal opinion too little) of a window for maximum performance. I believe in (and live according to) a totally different nutrition regime, where I eat more seldom and have longer periods of no food intake in between meals. There was a time when I myself went with the 7 meals-approach. When I compare these two ways of eating the more sparsely scheduled variation comes up clearly on top. For me it has meant better results in regard of muscularity, performance, strength and well-being.
I know there are gym rats out there that fret losing muscle mass if they go any longer than two hours in between meals. To them I can only say relax, it won’t happen. Really, if the human body were that sensitive regarding this, we wouldn´t still be here.
And as far as the carbs goes: they are simply too important to be ignored in the long run. Carbs are fuel. Carbs are essential. As are fats. As are proteins. I eat lots of carbs. Every day. And my body fat percentage is still low. All year around. A good set of abs are acquired through a well composed lifestyle, intense training and healthy nutrition – not by staring oneself blind on one macronutrient.
So, there you have it. Three trends that will be smiled upon in the not too distant future.
There are other candidates of course. Like the functional exercises-stupidity (think Turkish get up and you get the drift…). Or the over-excitement with circle training (you get good at what you do, so I guess intense circle workouts will make you… half decent at everything).
I will be scorned. I will be mocked. But time will see me through. I’ll be one of those that can say: told you so. Not that I would though, that is never a gentleman’s choice of words. No, I’ll be content with smiling knowingly at what the future brings.
In the not too far distant future we will acquire our chiseled abs through intense workouts that involve primarily dynamic and strenuous movements. When in need of lifting some iron we will primarily enjoy the feeling of grabbing the ingeniously thought-up tools we know as the barbell and the dumbbell. And we will enjoy the carbs of potatoes and brown rice on a daily basis, relishing the power that this macronutrient gives us. Lastly, we will have plenty of time for all kinds of achievements and enjoyments, since we are not always preoccupied with the digesting of our last meal and/or the preparing of our next one.
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