I’m going to be straight with you: I’ve been grading SAT essays until midnight every night for the past week. Spending that much time with the profundities of high schoolers has made me crabby and bitter. I’m thisclose to grabbing the next teenager I see and screaming, “SURELY YOU CAN COME UP WITH BETTER SUBJECT MATTER THAN THE KARDASHIANS FOR YOUR COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMS!!!” You’d be amazed at how often reality TV stars come up on this test. Although I shouldn’t complain; at least it saves me from the 500 nearly identical essays on The Scarlet Letter.
Anyhow, all this bitterness (read: exhaustion) has spilled over into my everyday pursuits and consequently every health & fitness article I’ve read in the past week has crawled under my skin and irritated me like so many baby spiders waiting to be born by scratching my arm with a fork. (What? You never heard that urban legend?!) Anyone else ever notice how health & fitness mags seem to recycle the same 5 stories over and over again? Yeah.
5 Fitness Trends I Wish Would Die Already
1. Superfoods. Avocados, acai berries, fish – hey, do you read the stickers on your bananas? – everything is a “superfood” these days. The funny thing is that most often they are the simplest foods we have. Fruits, veggies, seeds and other natural goodies have finally gotten the scientific stamp of approval and boy those scientists are letting us know. I like to feel good about what I eat as much as the next health nut but I object to the word “superfood.” I think we all pretty much know that if it comes out of the ground it’s good and if it comes out of a box, then it’s not as good – enough with the false distinctions and hyperbole already. When my banana grows a cape and rescues my toddler from a speeding bullet, then you can slap a sticker on it and call it super.
2. Treadmill workouts. Why is it that every single cardio workout listed in a magazine is on the treadmill? First, it is the world’s most boring piece of fitness equipment ever. Yes, I use one but only when I have no other options and certainly not every day. No wonder people think they don’t like to workout. Second, it is the world’s simplest piece of fitness equipment. You can change the speed and you can change the incline. On really fancy ones you can make it run backwards. Everything else like preprogrammed “fat burning” workouts are just changeups of the speed and incline. Does anyone really do those workouts that say “Jog 1 minute at speed 5. Run 1 minute at speed 6, incline 2. Repeat 8 times.”? Try intramural soccer or play co-ed dodgeball – there’s intervals for you and you’ll be having so much fun that you won’t even worry about what your calorie burn is!
3. The “uniform.” In a world with Nike Dance Line, Athleta, Puma and Richard Simmons, you’d think fitness models would get to wear something besides a teeny-tiny cami in a bright color with spandex booty shorts in an equally bright yet contrasting color. (Yeah, yeah, I read that one article that one time about running skirts too.) There is a whole world of fun workout stuff out there! Bring on the maternity gear! The tennis dresses! The ironic t-shirts!! And somebody please please bring back sweatbands. I’m serious on this one. They’re so functional! And my face gets so sweaty! My other pet peeve is the ubiquity of the Perfect Ponytail. It’s always the same Pony in the same spot on the back of the model’s head. Even when she is demonstrating Pilates techniques thereby making the rest of us feel really sorry for her because you can’t lay flat on your back if you have a ponytail sticking straight out of your head. What I wouldn’t pay to see a model with a high side pony a la Deb on Napolean Dynamite!
4. The “Lose 10 Pounds” Diets. Don’t get me wrong on this one – I have gotten many a good recipe from health & fitness articles. What bugs me are those spreads where they plan out every bite you eat for a week (or a month or a lifetime). It’s not that they exist – certainly there is a need for that kind of detailed instruction especially when you are first starting out – but it’s that they are in every. single. mag. every. single. month. Oh, and they also bug me because the only way anyone would ever lose 10 pounds on them is if they represent a radical change to your current diet. Why waste 20 useable pages every month when you could write about something we haven’t heard about a million times – like trapeze workouts or rock climbing or, be still my heart, actual research!
5. The Advertorials. I saved this one for last because I hate nothing more than to get a magazine in the mail only to discover the headline: “Top 100 Fitness Products!” or “We tested 500 products and tell you what’s hot and what’s not!” or my personal fave, “The Health Products You Can’t Live Without!” (Well, I’m not using your product now and last I checked I’m still alive…) It might as well say, “Companies give us a lot of free swag and we pay back the favor by telling you to buy their really expensive stuff with page after page of glossy pictures of things that you don’t need, can’t afford and aren’t as good as we say they are anyhow.” Is there anyone out there who has really bought a pair of running shoes because they read in a mag that it was the best for their foot type? Why would you do that when you could go to an actual running store and have an actual person watch your gait and then recommend an actual shoe for you to try on? A close second on my hate list are the “gift lists” that come out for every conceivable holiday. I have never once looked at “25 things your mom will love this mother’s day” and seen anything my mom would like for a price I could afford.
Well, okay, then. I’ve probably alienated about half of you – feel free to rant back at me in the comments – but I must say, I do feel better. Anyone else have a health or fitness trend that they think is way overdone?