Fitness column: Which 2019 fitness trends are untenable?

Fitness column: Which 2019 fitness trends are untenable?
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Examining 2019's fitness trends, Paul Robinson doesn't see fitness technology replacing simple solutions related to diet and exercise.

The fitness powers that be have released this year’s top 10 exercise trends that, frankly, may have little bearing on your next workout. The challenge with most trends is they disappear as quickly as they arrive. What makes the list this year is often absent from the next.

Here is a quick review of 2019 trends (in no particular order) with a few notes on staying power and whether they can boost your health and fitness goals.

Bodyweight training

Resistance training accomplishes a lot more than I can fit into this small space. Bodyweight training (i.e. pushups, chinups, etc.) can be done at home with little to no investment. The challenge with bodyweight training is knowing what to do when the load is too light or too heavy. With exercise, progression is necessary for improvement — that’s when free weights or resistance bands come in handy.

Staying power: Bodyweight training isn’t going anywhere. It’s a great complement to most workouts.

Fitness technology

I’m not a big fan of fitness technology. This stuff is popular not because it works, but because its trendy and looks good. We used to measure fitness by health and performance. Now we track sleep and the number of steps between your chair and the bathroom. Good old fashioned perseverance and hard work is a distant memory.

Staying power: Sales for wearable technologies are skyrocketing — much like obesity rates. Hmm, maybe there’s a correlation. Having said that, if it works for you, knock yourself out. This bling is here to stay — at least until they plant a chip in your brain.

Mindful eating and sober curious

Seriously? Sober curious?! Eating and drinking with abandon has became socially acceptable — dare I say encouraged. (Ah, first world problems.) This year, it seems food and alcohol abstinence has been assigned trendy names. ‘Gee, I wonder what sobriety feels like. Maybe I’ll give it a whirl!’.

Staying power: Overindulgence is an epidemic and I love the trend towards moderation — not so hot on the hipster names. Food and alcohol addiction shouldn’t be taken lightly. This stuff is too serious to be branded with pretentious labels. We will see if it sticks.

Group training

Same show, different packaging. The steps in step class have been replaced with spin bikes, rowers and treadmills — primarily because they produce better results.

Staying power: Group training has been around for years and will continue to thrive in evolving formats. Working out with friends increases persistence, and it’s great for extroverts and people who like crowds, high fives, and whooping. But you need to find the right fit, as some classes can be pretty hardcore.

Shorter classes

Finally! Abbreviated class duration is catching up to exercise research. On the cardio front, more isn’t necessarily better — better is better.

Staying power: Most people (hardcore excepted) have little time or desire for hour-long classes. Hopefully demand keeps this going. If not, just leave halfway through the class and lift some weights.


Long duration cardio sessions to lose weight have gone the way of the dodo, although there are certainly enough people chained to treadmills. Did you know they used to chain prisoners to treadmills as torture devices in prisons? No joke, but I digress.

Staying power: Unless the research changes, bouts of HIIT (high intensity interval training) produce the most efficient cardio burn. Boot camps, sprints, stairs, spin bikes and rowers seem to work best. I will let you know if things change.

All-natural protein bars

Somehow this made a top ten list this year (he said with eyes rolled). I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest 99 per cent of you don’t require protein supplementation. However, I could be off by a percent.

Staying power: This will be a hit with people looking for an easy fix — or a chocolate bar with protein. Newsflash: Protein supplementation doesn’t help you lose weight, proper nutrition does. Shelve the protein bar (and your wearable technology) and grab a salad. Better still, find a watch that zaps you every time you overeat.

Older adults

Not only is this trendy, but it could have a huge impact on bloated health care spending. All the research points to incredible outcomes when seniors exercise. Believe it or not, our 55-plus clients tend to produce the most dramatic gains.

Staying power: This is a tough one. Make it accessible and people may buy in, because prescription medication and euchre are much more tempting than exercise and healthy eating.

Simple solutions

Increase fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Add regular movement (especially resistance training). Subtract processed food. I know, this is boring advice but it produces results through simple changes to your diet and habits.

Staying power: Proper nutrition and exercise will always be there waiting for you.

Paul Robinson has enjoyed 30 years as a personal trainer, executive, speaker and consultant in the fitness industry. He owns Kneifel Robinson (KR) Personal Training, with his partner Monica Kneifel Robinson, serving St. Albert & Edmonton. KR specializes in helping beginners, Boomers and gym-phobics achieve success in-studio and on-line. You can reach them at;

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