Fad diets are bad. Everyone agrees on that right? What is a fad diet though?

Same with exercise. Everyone scoffs at people jumping on the latest trend. It’s a fad it won’t last. How do we decide what’s a fad type training method and what’s a ‘good’ training method.

The definition of fad is something that people have an intense enthusiasm for, short lived, a craze. Generally in terms of diets and training we think of fads as things that offer quick fixes, magic results, do xyz and all your problems will disappear in weeks, you can do really simple things like add in a drink and still eat everything you normally do and the magic drink will fix everything and so on. It might be the idea that you can do just one type of exercises and change nothing else and suddenly drop 5 dress sizes.

Again here, much like Slimming World from my last pos, what PTs have issue with, is not always that specific fad in isolation. It’s the idea it is a magi fix.

There are fads that we out and out despise of course. Any magic slimming pill or skinny tea for intense. Literally a way to steal people’s money.

But some ‘fads’ could be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle and could have some benefits. Certain supplements incorporated into a good routine will add benefit. Our issue is that on their own they’ll do f’ all, and you need to understand that.

I happen to think that Herbal Life’s protein powder is actually one of the tastier ones out there (expensive though so I’ll stick with My Protein thanks), but it doesn’t do anything more than any other protein powder will. If you think it will it’s a fad. I’m partial to a hot water with lemon when I wake up, but that’s because it’s part of my morning routine which sets me up for the day, 5 minutes first thing sat and drinking it is calming and means I start the day not rushing around. It doesn’t act as a magic detox or anything. If I thought it did that would be a fad. Pilates, a current trend, is an excellent addition to anyone’s week. Is it the only form of exercise we should ever do? No. If you think it is we are entering fad territory.

What I’m saying is the reason I think we (PTs) dislike these fads is not always that the thing itself is bad. It’s the lack of understanding of why you might decide to do it. If you do something that could be seen as ‘faddy’ for a reason that benefits you and you understand it, it isn’t a fad. If you do something because you think it will fix a problem without any real knowledge of how it might do that it is. It always comes back to education, understanding and knowledge.

Let’s think about running. I like (well after the event anyway, rarely during) running. Some people think running is terrible for you. Now if I ran because I believed it was the only way to lose weight and so I should run for 20 minutes every day, that’s a pretty unhealthy mindset surrounding running, it’s factually incorrect, I’m unlikely to stick to it and you could argue it’s a bit faddy. Actually I run a couple of times a week because I like being outside, it’s my time to switch off and maybe listen to an audio book or music, I always feel better afterwards. Sometimes I run for a long time, sometimes 10 minutes. I often stop for a coffee and cake during a long run, because I like coffee and cake and runs should be enjoyable. It’s not a magic fix but it has benefits for me personally that I value. Same exercise, two different viewpoints of it, the exercise is the same for both outlooks – what is different is how it is perceived, in terms of purposes and perceived outcomes.

What people selling a specific product or brand want you to believe is their product will change everything. A PT wants to you to understand that sustainable progress comes from a mixture of things, forming habits, understanding how your body works and what it needs, working out what works for you around your lifestyle. It doesn’t require buying into any specific concept or product and if one thing doesn’t work for a client, a PT will look at what else might instead.

We need to keep coming back to the point that no one way of doing things is better than another, the key is making an informed decision on what you do and why.

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