Fitness fads — from trackers to kinesio tape — only work if you do

“Hey Chris, how’s your fitness program going?”

“Great, I just bought this new fitness tracker. It monitors my heart rate, my sleep cycles, my steps per day and it syncs with all of the stuff that’s supposed to sync.”

“How does it help?”

“Well, last night I didn’t sleep a wink and the tracker told me that I didn’t sleep a wink!”

“That’s awesome!”

“Also, I sat in a chair all day and it actually knew that I didn’t move for 16 straight hours!”


“And, it says that my heart rate jumps into my training zone pretty much any time I stand up! Walking back and forth to the fridge is like running a marathon”

“Wow, so you’re exercising more?”

“Gosh no, I sleep at work, hook the monitor onto my cat to get my daily step count up and try to stay still in the evening to prevent my heart rate from skyrocketing.”

— — —

Exercise science and technology has come a long way, helping many avid exercisers and athletes monitor and improve performance.

Fitness itself has become a fashion trend with clothing, supplements and accessories going mainstream thanks to aggressive marketing campaigns and celebrity endorsements.

It’s common to see fledgling exercisers draped in a kaleidoscope of Kinesio Tape, monitoring their personal fitness tracker while pounding back protein shakes in their $200 running shoes.

Before dropping a couple hundred dollars on the training practises of Olympian Usain Bolt consider these few pointers:

1. Protein: At some point the general public incorrectly started associating mass protein ingestion with weight loss and muscle gain. Stop pounding protein shakes and scarfing protein bars in-between meals! If you eat like a ‘normal’ Canadian, you are probably consuming more than enough daily protein without even trying. Protein should represent the small portion on the plate – not the portion that looks like North America.

2. Wearable Fitness Technology: Wearable technology was rated by prognosticators as one of the Top 10 fitness trends for 2016 however, I have yet to see the research showing that these nifty gadgets have had any impact on the growing obesity epidemic. If you are a techie or love to document progress the ongoing stream of data may be interesting. Unfortunately, the little glowing wristband isn’t going to do the work for you.

3. Kinesio Tape: If you watched the Rio Olympics you probably noticed neon strands of tape crisscrossing joints and muscles. The tape is used by athletes to aid with injury during performance. Last time I looked, walking the garbage to the curb wasn’t a performance sport. Can the tape help with rehabilitation? Perhaps. Better still, healthy eating and physical activity.

4. Performance Shoes: Putting $200 down on performance shoes to help trim your bloated bank account is entirely acceptable, especially if the shoes match your contact lenses. Purchasing $200 trainers because you think they will help your performance as a novice is a stretch. Unless you are clocking serious mileage, basic shoes will do the job. Buy better ones as a reward for achieving exercise milestones.

5. Vibration Machines: These vibrating platforms do not melt the pounds away while you sit, stand or read the paper. You need to actually exercise on them – just like you would on the non-vibrating floor. That’s right, squats, push-ups — that kind of thing.

The commercial trappings of fitness are sleek but do little to enhance health for most people. Hard work and consistency are much less appealing but exceptionally more effective.

Basic exercise for the average person doesn’t have to be expensive. It definitely doesn’t require much technology. If you absolutely need (want?) the newest tech fad, then clock six to eight weeks of exercise first to demonstrate your commitment.

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