“Eat this type of diet and you’ll lose weight.” “Drink this and lose belly fat.” “Take this every day and you’ll never be tired!”
We are constantly surrounded by social media, TV, magazines, friends, family, actors, influencers—you name it—telling us the next best thing we should be hopping on the bandwagon for, promising results. But which trending diets, foods and supplements are the real deal?
Well, the truth is, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Luckily, we know a few people who can help us get to the bottom of this. Our trainers are experts in their field—each one is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, after all. Needless to say, they have been around the block a few times and have tried a lot of these fitness trends themselves. So, who better to ask about which trends are worth the hype and which ones you should steer clear of? We asked our trainers what they think, here’s the inside scoop!
Let’s start with the diets that are better left on the trending page. Most of the nearly 600 trainers we asked agree that these top health trends are not worth the hype.
1. FAD DIETS
Keto, paleo, low-carb, Mediterranean, juice cleanses—they all have one thing in common: They are fad diets. Trainer Megan Vinyard of Burn Boot Camp Kennesaw, Georgia puts it best: “Burn focuses on long-term results. I always say that your relationship with food should be a long-term relationship as well. Keto and other fad diets, most of the time, will show results—but never long term. I always ask, ‘So you are never going to have pizza again?’ or ‘What do you do for Thanksgiving?’ or ‘Why deprive yourself when you can learn balance?’ And usually they end up losing all their progress when they come off these fads and go straight back to bad habits. Learning healthy habits and [having a] healthy relationship with food is so important. You should never single out carbs, fats or proteins but instead have a balance of all. Food is energy—especially carbs—so learning those healthy relationships is key. We focus on a 80/20 lifestyle and it works! You can be human and realistic without hurting your progress toward your goals.”
2. FAT BURNERS
A product is claiming to be a “magic pill” that will do all the work for you without you lifting a finger—really? Yeah, we laughed too! Trainer of the Year Cody Burns of Burn Boot Camp Verona, Wisconsin has seen people looking for a “quick fix” time and time again. He says, “Most believe that if they take this magic pill or drink, they will instantly shed the unwanted fat off their body. That’s not exactly how your body works. The best way to lose body fat and gain lean muscle is by eating clean and training. A better approach is to save your money and invest in healthy whole foods and a clean pre-workout, like Ignite, to get you energized for your next workout.”
3. SWEAT GELS
Don’t sweat it! This fitness trend goes right along with the quick-fix schemes that just don’t add up. Burn Boot Camp HQ Training Manager Jamal Gibson compares using a topical sweat gel to buying a car and car insurance—and then expecting the same car to go faster because you have insurance. The truth is, sweat gels don’t burn calories like you may think. Jamal explains the science behind the myth like this: “Sweating burns calories but doesn’t require rebuilding and repair, which continues to utilize energy for days after the incident for a workout. It feels great to sweat, but sweating is an accessory result of working out. There are many people who sweat in atypical patterns naturally. My wife doesn’t sweat nearly as much as I do when we work out together. The reason I burn more calories is because she weighs 100 pounds less than me. Stick to what you know to be true: Consistency is only beneficial with intensity. Work hard enough to get the results you desire and avoid the gimmicks.”
4. WAIST TRAINERS
Another glamorized trend in the fitness world is waist trainers. We’ve seen the Kardashians promoting them on social media, swearing by their results. Red flags start popping up for us with the guarantee of a smaller waist just from wrapping a band around your abdomen, and our trainers are on the same page. Although waist trainers can help with posture and may make you eat less frequently due to the compression of your organs, many fitness trainers believe you’re better off keeping those bands and belts off your waists. There haven’t been enough studies about waist trainers to conclude any long-term results. What does deliver long-term results: consistently eating right, getting rest, staying hydrated and exercising.
Got all that? Great! Know that you know which fitness trends aren’t worth your time or money, here are four that you should consider.
A whole foods approach is a great place to start to make sure you are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals from natural sources. But you may need to supplement your diet to keep your body functioning in top condition, especially with an active lifestyle. Here are two our trainers love to include in their own diets and encourage clients to try for themselves:
COLLAGEN POWDER— Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. Think of it as one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. We know that what we put in our bodies has external effects, so adding collagen is a great start to glowing from the inside out. Trainer Jessi Drayer of Burn Boot Camp Bethel Park, Pennsylvania says, “Ever since I started taking a quality collagen protein on a regular basis, I have noticed that my complexion is much clearer, and my skin feels like it glows! On top of that, my hair, skin and nails are much healthier, and my joint pain is gone! It’s such an easy way to take care of your skin when you have limited time for skincare products.”
PROTEIN POWDER— Adequate protein consumption is truly a key to building and sustaining muscle mass. Don’t think of this as being “bulky.” Maintaining muscle takes work and is beneficial to any fitness journey. Lean muscle mass allows you to burn more calories at rest, so hitting your protein goal daily is incredibly important. Having a quality protein powder at hand allows you to ensure you hit that daily. This will also help with muscle soreness and a faster recovery time.
Like Trainer Danielle Miller of Burn Boot Camp Gilbert, Arizona says, “Even if you eat balanced, it’s so difficult to get all of the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) your body needs. We often stick to the same fruits and veggies we enjoy, which can allow for a gap in important vitamins.” Before we dive into some different supplements, it is important to remember that quality is key here, so be sure to check your supplements for high-quality, clean ingredients before buying!
MULTIVITAMIN— Taking a daily multivitamin along with eating a variety of fruits and veggies will set you up for success to give your body everything it needs!
VITAMIN D— We get it—you are stuck at a desk, have errands to run and can’t just sit outside and soak up the sun. Neither can we! The truth is, we don’t get enough sun in our modern-day lifestyle. So, it only makes sense that we are missing out on some good old-fashioned vitamin D. But that doesn’t mean we should forget about it! We need it to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D can result fragile, misshapen bones in adults and other health problems like breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression and weight gain. Trainer David Rhodus of Burn Boot Camp Evanston, Illinois adds, “There have been multiple meta-analyses that have concluded supplementing with vitamin D can reduce the chances of catching the flu, improve bone health (and reduce the incidence of fractures) and decrease overall mortality rate in adults.”
MAGNESIUM — Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. You’d be shocked to know that it is involved with over 600 cellular reactions, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure, strengthening bones and creating protein and DNA. Yet up to 68% of American adults don’t meet the recommended daily intake! Low levels of magnesium have been linked to many negative health outcomes, including overall weakness, depression, high blood pressure and heart disease. Trainer Yonit Arthur of Burn Boot Camp Apopka, Florida adds, “It’s incredible for helping people who have sleep issues and for people who are prone to constipation.”
3. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
This is the product of adding yeast to apple juice, which turns the fruit sugars into alcohol—otherwise known as fermentation. Although highly acidic in this state, vinegar has chemicals known as polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can curb cell damage that can lead to other diseases. More studies are needed to determine its effectiveness, but Trainer Christen Jackson of Burn Boot Camp Mt. Juliet, Tennessee says that taking a tablespoon of ACV every morning “helps aid in digestion and promotes a healthy complexion, amongst other health benefits.” This definitely isn’t something you want to drink copious amounts of. In fact, drinking more than a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar can damage your teeth, hurt your throat and upset your stomach. Our trainers like to cut the acidity by taking it with a bit of honey and a dash of lemon juice right out of a shot glass, or adding it to a tall glass of ice water and using a straw so the acidity doesn’t harm your teeth. Trainer Jordan Riding of Burn Boot Camp Exton, Pennsylvania says, “I make mine as a tea with warm water, blue agave and apple cider vinegar. I also add some cayenne pepper to help with dehydration and throat soreness.” As with anything you are putting into your body, it is important to consult your doctor to make sure adding ACV to your diet is right for you, as it could interact with certain medications or medical issues.
You can eat clean, train hard and supplement your diet with the nutrients your body needs, but without sleep you are basically a walking (healthy) zombie. But really—our trainers agree that you aren’t doing all that hard work justice without giving your body the rest it needs to recover. Sleep is the prime time for the body to get its hormones back to a healthy level. Need proof?
Sore muscles? Sleep! Your brain releases the hormones that encourage tissue growth to repair blood vessels, which restores sore or damaged muscles.
Feeling under the weather? Sleep! Your immune system relies on sleep to produce more white blood cells that can attack viruses and bacteria that protect the body from infection.
Inflammation? Sleep! Your heart rate naturally slows when you are asleep, letting it take a well-deserved break so that hormones can be used to relax other muscles in the body, which leads to reduced inflammation.
Cravings? Sleep! Poor sleep patterns can impact the level of the hormones that make you feel hungry or full. If you don’t get enough sleep, your “hunger hormone” (ghrelin) levels go up and your “full hormone” (leptin) levels go down. So you may experience cravings for sugar or salt instead of the nutrients your body needs.
Feeling down? Sleep! After a good night of sleep, hormone, energy and stress levels are all back on track. Your body has the amazing capability to adjust and restore all of these while you’re in dreamland so that you can start your day on the right foot! A healthy amount of sleep (the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours a night for adults) helps your body feel refreshed and more prepared to face the challenges of a new day instead of feeling defeated and stressed. (Warning: A positive mood has been associated with boosted recovery outcomes and better overall well-being!)
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