The Cambridge English Dictionary defines the term bandwagon as an activity, group, movement, etc. that has become successful or fashionable and so attracts many new people. Sound familiar? Well the fitness industry has its fair share of bandwagons and unsubstantiated bs, particularly due to the popularity of social media and so called influencers.
For many years those of us employed within the fitness sector have battled against the unscientific nonsense spouted by the media, so called celebrities and of course the ever popular ‘bro-science’. It seems that anybody with even the slightest modicum of fame or popularity can spout some fitness or nutrition related nonsense, based on nothing more than a big pay packet and all of a sudden it’s the latest craze and another fitness related bandwagon is created, mindlessly followed by the masses and destined to fail, though not before making a lot of money for the instigators…. and then came social media and in particular Instagram. Whilst there are a lot of valid and well knowledgeable posters on the site (and indeed on the internet in general), there are also a lot of unqualified folk putting out advice and techniques that look good when carried out by the fit looking model types performing exercises, but that are on the whole often pointless, using equipment incorrectly or even dangerous. Since when has the assisted chin/dip machine been intended for use as a leg machine with countless people adding weight and stepping onto the kneeling plate to work their legs? This can often be found on Instagram and is not what the machine was intended for; use a high step or jump box at the correct height and simply step up and down! I rest my case, but there are plenty of similar examples that can be found on social media posted by those looking for easy follows and boosting their egos with countless likes. Please understand that this is not every fitness post to be found online, and there is plenty of useful, free advice to be found, but being unregulated, the world of social media is perhaps not the best place to obtain all your fitness regimes; try a personal trainer, that’s what they are trained to do!
In comparison to nutrition however, the fitness bandwagons are a relative drop in the ocean with new fad diets appearing and disappearing faster than you can get on the scales! Don’t eat after 6pm, don’t eat carbs, keto is the only way, and so on, we’ve heard them all, and advocates of each method swear by the method which, when broken down all each one does is reduce calorie intake by some method which will of course result in weight loss. It is interesting that following his admission to hospital following what would prove to be a fatal fall, Dr Robert Atkins was found by the medical examiner to have a history of heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension with his widow refusing an autopsy; perhaps his diet isn’t so healthy after all.
And then we come to the latest bandwagon, veganuary. Now, I am all for people eating more vegetables and also reducing their consumption of meat, and there is nothing wrong with a vegan diet when CORRECTLY IMPLEMENTED, but so many people see this drive towards veganism as the latest trendy bandwagon (much like gluten intolerance; are there really so many celiac sufferers all of a sudden?) and jump on without any real thought leaving themselves open to deficiencies in protein, vitamins B12 and D3, creatine, carnosine, the essential omega-3 fatty acid DHA, taurine and iron; all pretty essential to the optimum running of the body.
So before you jump on the latest bandwagon, whether nutritional or training related, do your research. Is it really all its made out to be? Will I be able to undertake it within my current lifestyle? Is it sustainable? Am I prepared to make the require changes and so on, and if after much thought and answering these questions you still feel that it’s for you then best of luck and I wish you every success. All that I ask is don’t jump on the bandwagon just because everybody else is. You are an individual, don’t be a sheep, instead make changes that are beneficial to you because you want to, not because some d list celebrity tells you to or some flash harry on social media makes claims that cannot be backed up.
Stay healthy AND STRONG!