In this article, I examine some of the current top workout and diet trends, and point out the pros and cons of each.
This workout has exploded in popularity recently with over more than 4,000 locations around the world. CrossFit is a type of metabolic resistance training that involves high-intensity exercises using multiple joints and muscles, with little or no rest. Exercises include everything from sprints to flipping tractor tires to kettlebell swings. So it's more of a strength and power workout.
The Pros: You're going to get a higher calorie burn with CrossFit and more excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (that's fitness trainer speak for basically representing how many additional calories your body will burn after the exercise session has been completed in order to return your body to the state it was in before the exercise took place.) So it's a great way to get ripped and tone by maximizing the amount of calories your body will burn during and shortly after the workout.
The Cons: CrossFit lags in balance training and core training, and there are a lot of overhead movements, making shoulder injuries more susceptible.
This very popular DVD-based program takes 90 days to complete and relies on "muscle confusion"-a day-to-day variation of strength, cardio, flexibility, yoga, and plyometric moves to keep muscles constantly adapting.
The Pros: A variety of exercises and techniques minimizes getting "stuck in a routine" and platueing.
The Cons: Lacks in teaching how to do the moves correctly and safely, thus making lower back and shoulder injuries more susceptible.
Minimalist Running Shoes:
It started with the Vebram Five Fingers-those odd looking shoes with individual toes, and now minimalist running shoes are the hottest athletic shoe market. Running barefoot is also now starting to gain in popularity.
The Pros: Can improve balance, posture, and movement as long as their is no underlying podiatric dysfunction such as fallen arches.
The Cons: Less support and structure. Learning to adjust your stride to strike the ground with mid-foot rather than the heel, as well as positioning feet further under the body instead of out in front.
The Paleo Diet:
This diet trend is based on the way cavemen ate. Its focus is on whole, unprocessed animal and plant foods-grass-produced meats, fish, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. It excludes dairy and cereal grains.
The Pros: Unprocessed foods greatly reduce excess sodium and fat intake, leading to better possible weight loss, lower blood pressure and better heart health.
The Cons: The diet may be too low in calcium and vitamin D.
Article source: NASM's "The Training Edge". Spring 2013 Issue.
Jack Witt, MS, CPT
Fitness and Health Coach