Sometimes the fitness world comes out with some bold, revolutionary new ways to build muscle and to grow stronger.
And sometimes, it comes out with stuff that is just plain goofy. Sweatin' to the Oldies, anyone? And when it comes to fitness fads, it's not always easy to see which you're getting.
Often, fitness fads are more hilarious than helpful. Take a look at this slide show from Livestrong. A lot of the fads they chose to cover came out of the 80s, and plenty of them were designed especially for women (we're looking at you, Thighmaster); but funny fitness fads can be found in any era, and plenty of them are aimed at us guys, too. Some of them, like the delightfully ridiculous "Horse Riding Fitness Ace Power", come from other countries. You can rest easy knowing Americans aren't the only ones eager to humiliate themselves on overpriced contraptions, especially if it means not having to actually work out very much.
In fact, here at ManSalt we've started to develop a theory. The hilarity value of these fads is often directly proportionate to the amount of money you have to pay to get involved with them, and inversely proportionate to the amount of work the manufacturers tell you you'll have to do.
And so many of them involve vibrators. Er. Vibrations. So. So. Many. Make of that what you will.
Note, we're not saying that some of these funny fads can't be effective. The Shake Weight doesn't really make you work much harder than traditional weights, and it will make you look ridiculous. However, weight lifting is weight lifting and it's not going to hurt anything other than your pride. (You're dreaming, however, if you think you can see results with a mere six minute workout, which is what you'll find on the DVD.) If you managed not to throw the good old Bowflex out the window while attempting to assemble the thing, then you might get some limited benefits out of using one (though probably not much more than the benefits you'd get by...again...simply engaging in some strength training with traditional weights).
The only commentary we're really making about some of these attempts to feel the burn is that they're kind of hilarious. And that 90% of us will never look like that young Greek god they got to do the infomercial for them.
So, all humor aside—are any of these funny fitness fads worth pursuing?
It depends what mean by "worth pursuing". Some of these fads only make you look stupid. Some provide some sort of tiny little side benefit while simultaneously making you look stupid. (Hint, if it's meant to stimulate micro-muscle movements by vibrating while telling you to engage in the same exercises you'd do without the contraption of the hour, it probably falls into the latter category.)
Some trends, however, will in fact help you. The thing is, they just tend to be traditional stuff, re-marketed and re-packaged.
For example, Men's Fitness praised the "Couch to 5K" approach. Of course, this program doesn't require any expensive equipment and it doesn't really make any outrageous claims:
"The program itself is a common sense approach to starting small and gradually working your way up to 5 kilometers by walking and running as well as adding time and distance. It's exactly what anyone with a brain might do when starting an exercise routine (if we weren't all so eager to get that quick fix right away, that is). While Couch to 5K is fairly common sense, it's not harming anyone and it is (along with the many smartphone apps dedicated to the program) getting a whole new generation of lazy folks off the couch and onto the road."
Men's Fitness also mentioned the medicine ball, but this thing is less a fad and more something that's been around forever and ever. It was just unpopular, until it became briefly very popular. Now it's back to being unpopular, but professional athletes keep right on using it.
Spin classes were also mentioned as a pretty good choice.
Funny Fitness Fads in 2016...what's big this year?
Sadly, nothing at all that qualifies as hilarious.
According to The Huffington Post most of the current fads won't even require you to suffer through The Home Shopping Channel.
Wearable technology is the #1 fad, and you can get some form of wearable tracker in any drugstore these days for under $30...though you'll still end up paying up to $300 if you want a really comprehensive one.
The thing about wearable trackers is they're not magic. A tracker will provide you with information. Sometimes these things will also provide inspiration and motivation by essentially "gamifying" your life. However, if you don't work out, sleep, and get your calorie count under control, they're mostly going to serve as shameful reminders of your laziness.
Body weight training, high-intensity training, traditional strength training and personal training are all coming in as the next big fads, indicating, perhaps, that maybe we're actually all kind of sick of buying overpriced crap.
It may not ever be a funny fitness fad, but...
Look, here at ManSalt we really don't care if you pick up a vibrating contraption, go Sweatin' to the Oldies, or order some crazy Ab Machine. We're just going to encourage you to get up and get moving no matter how ridiculous you feel. Or look. But just do it.
And once you're done, grab some ManSalt. Run a hot bath. Soak away those aches and pains so you can get out there and keep moving. If you've gotten off the couch at all, or made any kind of honest effort to get fit, then we think you've earned it. And that's no fad.