May 2, 2017


The good,bad and the ugly

FROM WORKING IN the fitness industry over the last 10 years I’ve seen an awful lot of trends come and go.

The latest and sometimes craziest workout routines, the in-season ‘celebrity diet’ and the latest fitness equipment that promises you’ll get a six-pack this summer.

With time the good trends stick around and the bad move on eventually. However, it can take some time for the bad trends to depart, usually after causing confusion.

As a trainer I find it just as confusing as my clients when I see some of the information being pushed about.

The health and fitness industry is marketed using millions of euro each year. This can lead to individuals thinking the latest advert, trend or influencer they have come across can help them achieve their health and fitness goals.

Everything and anything is marketed these days from supplements we can hardly spell, workouts and training plans that promise you fast and effective results, and some of the funkiest and craziest-looking workout equipment.

Most of these options are a total waste of time for the average gym-goer and generally you don’t need to take notice of a lot of marketing nonsense that is going on around you.

If you feel that covering your tummy with saran wrap, having butter every day with your coffee, or standing on a vibrating board is going to lead you to healthy living and reaching your fitness goal, you need to think again.

The truth is almost everyone in fitness is trying to sell you something. A product, programme, a diet pill or a magic quick-fix.

Very rarely someone tries to sell you the truth — that there are no shortcuts. You can’t beat the basics — patience, hard work and consistency. It may be boring but it’s true.

Getting regular exercise, eating healthily, drinking water and getting enough sleep are the basics that work.

Here are my top 4 useful tips to consider implementing for the average gym-goer.

1. Protein/supplements

Let me start by pointing out that I am not a nutritionist, dietitian or affiliated with any supplement store or brand.

Instead, I will always mention the basic information in an honest way and give you the advice I offer to my clients.

Some supplements have a place for certain individuals but they should only be looked at once you have the basics covered when it comes to nutrition and other lifestyle factors.

For a lot of us, supplements can be quite overwhelming. I find that most people follow the trend and fall for certain marketing schemes when it comes to supplements.

A basic protein source is a good start if you feel you need to look at this route. I have written an article before about protein and mentioned all the basics you need to know before letting the marketing racket influence your decision.

2. Workout routines

I have seen anything and everything at this stage.

Any form of exercise is positive and getting off the sofa and moving more should be the number one goal.

However, you might need to audit that current workout you’re doing if you feel you’re getting nowhere with it.

The good, bad and ugly will always be around but luckily I have been around the industry long enough to know what is useful and what is rubbish.

Your workout should always be tailored towards your goal. Everyone’s goal is different, whether it be improvements in your performance, aesthetics or mindset, whatever it may be.

A good workout programme generally covers all the basics. Something that includes mobility/flexibility, strength, cardio and core is a good place to start.

No matter the latest workout trend, it always comes back to the basics. I have written a piece on the basics and how they can really make all the difference.

3. Equipment

The gym equipment coming and going is sometimes mind boggling.

We still see lots of crazy-looking gym equipment adverts on TV and online that promise to get you those two-week abs.

Having said that, it’s great to see a lot of the big commercial gyms shifting their focus on laying out the gym floor the right way.

Long gone are the days of hundreds of resistance isolation machines taking up space and now we are starting to see people focus a lot more on movement, mobility, flexibility, strength work and on their core.

A well-designed gym should have space that allows you to train your body and improve your movement. Squat racks, barbells, kettlebells, dumbells, resistance bands and other mobility tools such as foam rollers and lacrosse balls are great to have around.

That set-up might not sound like a lot to some people but it means you can really put together a good workout with a strong emphasis on developing strength on the basic movements.

Having access to a simple set of resistance bands can go a long way. I have put together a video below of the best and most useful exercises you can do with a set of bands.


4. Influencers

Social media platforms, online trainers, books, bloggers and vloggers are some of the relevant areas here.

There are a lot of good influencers but also plenty of people offering bad advice. Sadly, a lot of this bad and misleading information contradicts a lot of the good, basic information that has been out there and working for years.

A quick flick through Instagram will just show you a whole new world of fitness. A lot of this can be false information that is dolled up to draw you in.

It won’t take long to find someone offering a discount code for supplements, a quick-fix detox plan, or a training programme that most likely won’t match your goal.

Most people looking in are drawn here from the content being shown. A lot of this content is filtered, edited and cropped with exactly that in mind.

There is some amazing information out there but you need to be wary you’re not following some random trainer, blogger or vlogger who hasn’t got a clue what they are talking about.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.