For the vast majority of the general public the future of training is largely dictated by the fitness industry. The massive, unstoppable marketing machine that is fitness in America sets trends, pushes product, and steers the health and fitness ship toward new revenue streams at a blink of an eye.
The pull is irresistible to many of us. Novelty rules our primitive instincts and we fall for many of the gimmicks cleverly marketed toward our insecurities. Convenience is another topic of choice exploited for all it’s worth to get more money out of our pockets.
Don’t believe me? Just look at other industries. HGTV’s mission is to push products by their sponsors. Trends and styles are set on almost every show while you are bombarded with commercials by the very same companies selling those products. The fitness industry isn’t much different. From gadgets to supplements, the list of “new and exciting” is endless.
So where does this lead the fitness industry in the future? Where are we headed and is it all for the wrong reasons?
Where can we find real, life-changing results?
Table of Contents Show
- Promises, Promises
- Slick Marketing
- Retro Trends
- At-home Training:
- Strongman, Powerlifting, Weightlifting:
- Other Group Training:
- Real Results
- In Closing
From tech to supplements, the fitness industry has only grown each and every year. It thrives on one main objective: to promise you results. But how can these promises be kept if we all have our own unique stories and circumstances?
How can a one size fits all approach really deliver the goods? We fall hook, line, and sinker because we internalize and personalize these promises. We feed our narratives and act on impulse.
From the latest gadget to the newest supplement, these companies want what’s in our pockets above all else. The supplement industry, for example, has been around long enough now for us to see templated sales tactics. Lean models sporting six packs and preying on your insecurities tempting you to buy. Discount codes, limited time sales, and clever before and after pics (usually shot on the same day) lure us in.
And what about research? Normally, the same company will do the research on their very own product. Do you think they’ll give themselves a bad result? Another way is to take one tiny result from a single study and blast it on high as if it was doctrine.
What to do
Don’t fall for it. Turn on your B.S. meter and think about if it is too good to be true. Ask yourself if it sounds logical, if it’s a realistic result/goal, and if the evidence/testimonials are from reputable sources.
Only you can answer these questions, but do yourself a service and scrutinize everything. Normally the flashier the presentation, the more potential for B.S..
As stated above many supplement and tech companies have mega bucks dedicated to marketing their products. It’s a business after all and we’re the ones holding the cash.
From personal trainers, celebrities, and social media influencers it’s no wonder we feel like we are being bashed over our heads with the latest slick marketing tactics. Marketing tactics from big companies with big budgets.
One can only notice that it all starts to look the same over time. The latest diet of the day is advertised ad nauseum. Crazy looking programs and exercises are introduced along with the old favorites presented as new. And zealots come out of the woodwork defending their way of training. It’s as if whichever way the wind blows the money goes.
The fitness industry keeps a close eye on all of these trends and acts accordingly. It is though we are being told what to believe and adopt without any real urge to thoroughly research the methods and experiment on ourselves which technique, supplement, or program is best for us individually. Gone are the days of self-discovery where we would try a program or diet for several months before changing things up. Now, we diet and program hop due to the avalanche of “what’s new.”
Is this land of confusion on purpose? Are we being duped into becoming so fragmented that we will simply put our money down on anything without thinking twice? Does the fitness industry look at us as lemmings falling off the proverbial cliff?
What to do
Again, don’t be fooled. You are your best advocate. Only you know what you truly need, can afford, and are capable of. Once you start looking at the fitness industry as a business you start to pick things apart and peek behind the curtain of what’s really going on.
At the same time separate the industry from your own relationship with health, fitness, nutrition, etc. One is a business while the others are real tools for a better you.
Fortunately, there are some strong positives coming out of the figurative abyss. Many so-called new doctrines are thankfully from the old school of training, nutrition, and motivation. Listed below are just a few of the more popular movements bringing us back to a simpler time. A time that produced real results.
Brooke Wells (Image courtesy of CrossFit Inc.)
Love it or hate it, there’s no denying the impact CrossFit has had on the world. Not only is it still a worldwide phenomenon, it’s also a great example of the antithesis of hyper technological gyms, studios, and gadgetry.
CrossFit embodies many archaic, but effective methods such as barbell training, bodyweight moves, high-intensity cardio work, and pure spirited motivation from all levels. Look into any Box and you will notice minimal equipment, no cell phones or ear buds, and everyone is cheering on each other.
Many CrossFitters use Paleo diets or other simple means of fueling their workouts. Supplements are usually used at a minimum and very little if any technology is utilized.
Franco Columbu Push Ups
Some say that at-home training will be the new normal. Some have even gone so far as to say that the brick and mortar gym days are numbered. As this remains to be seen, it is easy to envision this trend.
More and more people are opting for staying home and consuming. Everything from grocery delivery, newly released movies, and next day shipping for just about everything (even a new car!) has us staying home more. Fitness, training, and nutrition is no different. From streaming exercise platforms to specific food delivery services we are opting out of jumping in our cars, fighting traffic, and getting to the crowded globo gym.
Another low-tech option, bootcamps are only growing in numbers. The days of performing a bench press, resting for a minute or two, then another set are becoming a thing of the past. More and more people are opting for outdoor group training for many reasons as CrossFit disciples.
Camaraderie, simple (not easy) movements, and minimal equipment these group training sessions produce results while injecting a little fun.
Strongman, Powerlifting, Weightlifting:
Brian Shaw Doing Deadlift
Easily some of the fastest growing modes of training are some of the oldest. Thanks in part to CrossFit, weightlifting has seen a resurgence.
Powerlifting and strongman also seem to go hand in hand. These training styles have one very interesting thing in common: they are much more performance driven than vanity driven. Training loads are stressed much more than a six pack.
Other Group Training:
Rucking, running clubs, natural bodyweight training have all had a good run as of late. More people are becoming interested in strapping a rucksack on their backs, grabbing a partner, and just going for it rather than the traditional set and rep schemes of the big box gym. Plus, you get the extra bonus of group camaraderie and connection which cultivates accountability and, in the end, results.
Let’s take a giant step back and see your goals as they really are. Whether it’s to build muscle and strength or to get strong as an ox or to just shed a few pounds and feel great, the processes aren’t rocket science. A little research, some reliable guidance, and a boatload of hard work and consistency and you’ll be well on your way.
Want to get jacked? Try a bodybuilding style program. Moderate weight and reps, a bit of volume, and a minute or two of rest between sets is a good start. Want to get strong? Go heavy, low reps, lots of rest, and eat a lot of good food. Is the goal to get lean? Try any program, stay consistent, and eat a few hundred calories under your maintenance level. Not easy, but pretty simple.
Keep the big picture into focus, use what’s necessary, and be true to yourself regarding putting in the effort.
The use of the latest gadgets, tech, and “new” methods look highly attractive and they will no less be absorbed by the masses. But take a look around. Are we all walking around with our ideal physiques? Where does all the tech take us?
Start with the basics because hard work, consistency, and resilience are free.