Pros and cons of overplayed fitness crazes

March 1, 2014

It seems people will try anything to get fast results rather than put in the time and effort needed to get in shape. However, the plain, simple truth of the matter is if you want the body of your dreams you’re going to have to change your lifestyle and get your hands dirty in the process. Below are four of the most overplayed fitness crazes that people tend to rely on to get fit. Understand the pros and cons of each before you drink the Kool-Aid.


If you have trouble eating the daily required amount of fruits and vegetables, juicing could be a good way to supplement your diet to get needed vitamins and minerals. It can also be a tasty substitute for sugary drinks and can keep you from snacking on unhealthy foods.

Don’t expect juicing to be a miracle weight-loss supplement, because it’s not going to happen. There are many other important foods needed for a strong metabolism, and to build and repair lean muscle tissue, such as quality protein from lean meats and fish. Also, juicing can rob your diet of much-needed fiber for stable insulin levels, proper digestion and hunger control.

Gluten Free

There‘s no doubt some people have gluten allergies or celiac disease that can cause them a great deal of problems, and for those people, avoiding wheat and eating gluten-free products can be essential. Gluten can cause a serious autoimmune disorder that can damage the lining of the stomach and prevent the body from absorbing nutrients from food. It can also cause inflammation and other reactions throughout the body for those who have this disorder.

A relatively small group of people experiences this issue, but for most of us wheat is fine and could be a healthy part of a balanced diet. However, because of celebrity claims and false marketing, the whole world is sour on wheat, and thousands of people believe it’s bad for you and can make you fat. This has also caused the marketing of a complete line of gluten-free products that have little nutritional value but are riding on the gluten-free wave. The truth is, whole wheat products such as wraps, breads and pitas can be good alternatives to less-nutritious white breads and other carbs that can spike insulin and cause weight gain. It’s important to read labels and be sure the product you’re getting is made mostly of fibrous grain and does not contain added sugar and enriched white flour.

Low carb

Cutting back on bad, high-glycemic and sugary carbohydrates can be an excellent way to drop weight and get healthy, because these types of carbs are easily converted to sugar. That can wreak havoc on insulin levels and other chemicals that cause your body to retain fat and make you constantly hungry. Foods like white pasta, white bread, candy and sodas contain lots of bad carbs and should be limited.

Carbs should not be eliminated altogether, because they provide your body with long-lasting energy, strength, and mental focus. They can help you build a lean, tight body with a strong metabolism, but it makes sense to replace bad choices with healthy foods such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, 100 percent whole-grain products, and fruits and vegetables.


If your idea of cleansing is eating healthy, natural foods that are not processed or created by people in a laboratory, then it can be a great way to clean your system, spark your metabolism and boost your physical and mental energy. It can also help rejuvenate your body, causing it to function better.

Hollywood diets that promote rapid weight loss in a short period of time by drinking liquid-only concoctions can rob your body of critical nutrients, drive your metabolism into starvation mode, and cause you to lose valuable lean muscle tissue. It may look good in the short term on the scale, but it will eventually promote weight gain and can make your body unresponsive and sluggish.

So if you’re really looking to get in shape, don’t fall for fad diets and quick fixes. Instead, eat a healthy diet of natural foods, and if you think you have a food allergy, consult your doctor. Work out three to five times a week and be patient; give your body time to respond to your routine and results will be much better.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

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