Monday, December 15, 2008

What Does the Future Hold for Fitness in 2009?

Being as it's part way through December it would be a good time for the annual fitness year in review. Unfortunately, the fitness industry as a whole has not fully accomplished it's objective of producing significant results on a broad scale to effectively reverse the obesity epidemic that is plaguing our society.

More specifically, the sobering fact that Canadian and American adults keep getting fatter, more lethargic, and less healthy has mirrored the unabated deterioration in the health and fitness of our youth population. However, all is not lost as 2009 is a new year and will be host to several growing fitness trends that will provide the long-term answers to solve this ever-growing problem:

Fitness Trend #1 - Fitness Boot Camps Will Rise

As everyone knows in the world there is a recession going on however it doesn't have to affect you or your health and physical fitness. However, with every problem emerges a solution; fitness boot camps are just that. Boot camps are probably the hottest thing in the fitness game right now. Boot camps are the ultimate win-win for trainers and clients. Fitness trainers get to better leverage their time and maximize profits by working with an unlimited number of clients per hour. Fitness clients are able to better access personal training services in a unique and dynamic team environment that provides great social support and accountability.

If losing weight is a goal of your in 2009, do yourself a favor by joining a local fitness boot camp. The results you'd get will amaze you not to mention the fun you'll have!

Fitness Trend #2 - Interval Training Destroys Aerobic Training For Improved Fat Loss And Fitness 100% Of The Time

High-Intensity Interval Training is rapidly gaining popularity as the best form of improving both fitness and fat loss. In 2009 you will definitely see less people doing marathons and more people doing sprints to lose weight. However, don't get me wrong, steady-pace cardio has its place and is incorporated in my clients programs for rapid fat loss, however its not first on the list and it shouldn't be on yours.

Essentially, aerobic or endurance training is going at a slow, low intensity pace for a long period of time (typically 30-60 minutes). In other words, endurance training focuses on the total volume of exercise, not quality. Think about what typically happens in the New Year, people with their New Year's resolutions foolishly running for hours pounding the pavement or treadmill to get rid of that winter blubber. Sadly, this results in minimal fat loss and potentially a lot of overtraining injuries (e.g. ______-itis).

With interval training, the focus is on the intensity of exercise (quality). Intervals consist of alternating between shorts bouts of all out high-intensity effort and active recovery periods of low-intensity effort for a much quicker and focused amount of time (typically 10-20 minutes of intervals works best). This approach is scientifically proven to burn nine times more fat and lead to faster improvements in fitness than the aerobic alternative.

Two landmark scientific studies come to mind here:

The Tabata study compared the effects of four minutes of high-intensity interval training with 45-60 minutes of low to moderate intensity cardio. The interval training group burned just as much fat as the endurance group and also had greater improvement in both anaerobic (think sprinters) and aerobic (think distance runners) fitness… in only four minutes!

The Gibala study compared the effects of 20 minutes of interval training (30 second sprint followed by four minutes of rest) with 90-120 minutes of endurance training in the “heart rate zone.” The conclusions of the study were that both methods of training lead to the same improvements in oxygen utilization (or aerobic fitness). 2.5 hours per week for the interval group vs. 10.5 hours per week for the aerobic group. In other words, intervals accomplished what endurance training did from a fitness standpoint in only a fifth of the time!

Jump on the interval training bandwagon now, as its time. Do yourself and your body a favor in 2009 and start sprinting (on a bike or treadmill) to look better naked.

Fitness Trend #3 - Lean Protein And Fiber Are The Carbohydrate Addict’s Answer For Improved Health, Performance, and Body Composition

Typically people are carb addicts. We simply can’t get enough starches and sugars in our diet, and we have the bulging midsections to prove it. A misconception in the diet world is that eliminating starches and sugars from your diet automatically means low carb. Better said, eliminating grains (even whole grains) and refined sugars still allows for consumption of the other carbohydrates: fruits and veggies. These nutrient-dense carbs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber and create more stable blood sugar levels to keep your body burning fat all day long (that's one of the secret keys to maintaining weight loss).

Clients of mine that have lost the most fat have followed my guidelines of unlimited veggies all day long. In other words, eat lots of veggie carbs, and very little of the other stuff if you want to see your abs!

The overwhelming scientific literature proving the fat burning benefits of a diet high in lean protein and fiber is finally catching the eye of mainstream consumers. Protein is the most important component of each and every meal or snack you consume. It builds and maintains muscle, allows your body to preferentially burn fat, increases metabolism through the thermic effect of feeding, and fills you up. Fiber (ideally obtained from fruits and vegetables, specifically green vegetables) helps slow digestion for a more steady supply of nutrients and sustained energy, it prevents overeating at each meal, and it helps keep you more full between meals. Thus by combining protein and fiber every two to four hours, you provide your body with the optimal one-two belly fat burning punch for a leaner, more toned and attractive you.

Without a doubt, people will be consuming more protein and fruits and veggies next year, and their bodies will reap the rewards of this. Let it be you!

Well, those are some of the fitness trends for 2009. I hope the information in this article gives you the push you need to be the trendsetter for your own body and the bodies of those whom you care most about in the New Year!

Resurrect your body back to life!

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