The Health and Fitness Fads to Keep (and Which to Ditch) in 2015

Rachel Krause
Photo: Eric Audras/PhotoAlto/Getty Images

Photo: Eric Audras/PhotoAlto/Getty Images

It’s fair to say that society is obsessed with getting—and staying—fit, and we often want to do it as painlessly as possible, in as little time as possible. Each year, we face diet and fitness trends that promise to be the be-all, end-all of getting the body you want, but they aren’t always as effective as they purport. In fact, some of them can actually be pretty dangerous, and put your health at risk rather than optimize it. If you’re wondering which fads we should forget about in 2015, and which are worth giving a chance, start here.

Paleo Diet
The Paleo (short for Paleolithic) diet is based in the somewhat bizarre notion that humans of this day and age should be eating like our most far-flung ancestors, the cavemen, to maintain optimal health and fitness—the way we were “meant to eat.” While there are some aspects of the diet that are perfectly fine, the overriding theme is that not only is eating Paleo too restrictive to maintain, but that our ancestors weren’t all that healthy, anyway, and tended to suffer from atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries, likely from their meat-based diets. Womp womp.
Verdict: Ditch It

Barre Exercise
Low-impact, physically challenging, and suitable for every fitness level from the nearly sedentary to the workout-crazed, barre workouts focus on improving your core strength by “burning out” muscles. This is a workout you will feel, and you’ll see results quickly in the form of a more toned body, better posture, and leaner muscles without bulk. Barre workouts are best when accompanied by a cardio routine rather than as your sole form of exercise, but they’re definitely worth a try.
Verdict: Keep It

Raw Food Diet
The foundational belief of the raw food-only diet is that cooking zaps the natural enzymes and nutrients from food, while uncooked foods retain all of their nutritional value. You’re all but guaranteed to lose weight on a raw food diet, solely because you’ll be restricted to consuming primarily fruits and vegetables, but as for the benefits of an entirely raw diet? Questionable. Certain foods have actually been shown to be more nutritious when cooked, and plus, the digestion process breaks up many of the enzymes in food anyway. Furthermore, a raw food diet can deprive the body of essential nutrients, leading to more easily broken bones and osteoporosis.
Verdict: Ditch It

Pole Dancing
The feedback is, dare we say it, unanimous. If you like a fun, genuinely effective workout that makes you feel amazing—and seriously, who wouldn’t?—pole dancing is it. Swallow your shame and just get on that damn pole for a workout that incorporates cardio, strength, and resistance training, improves flexibility, and makes you feel like a sex goddess. The mere act of climbing the pole is a feat in and of itself, and once you give it a try, you’ll soon realize that we don’t give strippers half the credit they deserve for the moves they execute on a nightly basis. It sounds ridiculous, but deft pole dancing is not only a skill worth having, but a workout worth adding to your repertoire.
Verdict: Keep It

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is exactly as described—it’s high intensity, which means that, unless you’re already in tip-top physical shape, the risk of injury is high. It’s appealing to the less experienced exerciser, largely because it promises more results in a shorter period of time, but heading into the workout too strong can result in muscle strain and, in some cases, even cardiovascular stress. HIIT is a way of training rather than your standard fitness “fad,” but unless you have a good understanding of what you’re getting into and a good fitness foundation to begin with, it may not be the ideal way to get in shape.
Verdict: Ditch It

Fitness Trackers
Fitness trackers are a great resource for just about everyone, from the fitness freak to the person who’s just trying to be more active, but it’s important to keep in mind that they aren’t always completely accurate—in fact, they’re rarely completely accurate, and have been known to overestimate calorie burn. Rely on your fitness tracker for information like heart rate and run distance, but when it comes to counting calories, don’t put quite as much stock in it.
Verdict: Keep It

Read more: How to Break Out of Your Fitness Rut Once and for All

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