Banned Fitness Phrases for 2013

TAGS: super foods, fitness fads, boot camp classes, Brady Cooper, paleo

Overused, abused, annoying, or just downright irritating. There are many catchphrases that we use as Americans to make us sound witty, funny, or cool. Just like there are new fads in our culture every year, there are also phrases or sayings that we look back on decades from now and wonder what in the world we were talking about.

In the health and fitness industry, this isn't any different. Every year there is some gimmick or quick fix recipe to lose more weight, get more sleep, have better sex, or lower our cholesterol. These fads never last long, as five years down the road, we look back and laugh at how ridiculous we were. The same thing goes for catchphrases or sayings of different generations. In the 70s, we were “far out.” In the 80s, it was “totally awesome dude.” In the 90s, we told each other to “talk to the hand,” and now we don’t even talk to each other anymore. We just text #YOLO to our neighbor and get LMAO in reply.

So here are my top five most overused fitness words and sayings of 2012 that make me cringe every time I hear them. Feel free to owe yourself twenty push-ups for every time you use these sayings in 2013 and beyond.

#1 Super food

I'll be honest. The first time I heard someone use this as a label a few years ago, I was very intrigued. Here are some thoughts that ran through my mind at the time—did it wear a cape? Does it turn you into the Incredible Hulk? When the woman told me what food she was actually talking about, I stood there confused. She proceeded to tell me that acai berries have long been a part of the staple diet of the primitive tribes in the Amazon and that the fruit with the appearance of a purple grape and taste of a tropical berry had antioxidants so powerful that it could help you lose weight and even cure cancer.

I think you know where I'm going with this. “Super foods” aren't so super. These foods have been around forever and now we have to put a flashy word in front of them so people will buy them? “Over 100 super foods for a super you.” The last time I checked, I didn’t need Dr. Oz to remind me that fruits, vegetables, and lean protein are a staple of a healthy diet. The only adults who should be using the word “super” in their vocabulary are elementary school teachers.

#2 Paleo

“Have you tried Paleo?” every person who has tried diets and failed over the past year asks. It seems like every time someone tries to explain the “Paleo” diet, he also has to include the words “caveman,” “hunter gatherer,” and “wooly mammoth.” Oh, and if you really want to get the most out of eating Paleo, you have to run around like Fred Flintstone and howl like a chimpanzee.

All jokes aside, I'm willing to bet that eating like a caveman wouldn't get us very far in today’s society. In better terms, the Paleo diet is moving away from eating processed, non-food crap to eating real food again. Look, the Paleo diet seems to work well for many people, but like all diets out there, it isn't for everyone.

#3 Boot camp

This is the phrase I have the biggest problem with. I want to tear my eyes out every time I hear someone brag about how hard core her “boot camp” class is. Now, I'm all for promoting an activity that gets people off their buns and burns some calories, but this nonsense has to stop. These people should be ashamed of themselves.

At the bar the other night, I overheard a young woman ask her friend why she wasn’t drinking that night. Her friend replied, “I can’t drink too much tonight. I have boot camp in the morning!” Seriously, what are we talking about here? If my grandfather ever heard this come out of my mouth, he would roll over in his grave ! The so-called exercises that take place at one of these circus camps doesn't resemble anything close to what actually goes on during military basic training. The majority of the individuals I see performing these “boot camp” classes never do any of the exercises correctly, can’t lift their own body weight, and usually end up looking like they are having a seizure by the end of it all. Nothing that goes on in one of these classes resembles anything that could actually make you stronger, healthier, or in better shape. The weight is either too heavy or too light, the rest periods are nonexistent, and whatever shit the instructor threw at the wall that day is what sticks. If you want to burn some calories and get your ass kicked at the same time, why don’t you take up boxing or MMA? At least you will learn how to defend yourself instead of looking like a fish out of water on a weekly basis. This “boot camp” garbage needs to go. In fact, while we're at it, any fitness class that has the words “extreme,” “EZ,” “insane,” or “hard core” before its name needs to go as well.

#4 Muscle confusion

Do I really need to put this one on here? I really thought this whole “muscle confusion” thing had ridden its course. However, it amazes me how many coaches and trainers still use this phrase to describe what type of training they do. If you walk into a gym and a personal trainer says he specializes in “muscle confusion,” run for your life. Why would I ever want my muscles to be confused?

Personal trainer: “Hey, dude, we're really going to work on muscle confusion for the next six weeks so that when you start basketball season, you'll be faster and more coordinated.”

You: “Huh? Oh, thanks but no thanks, man. I really don’t want my muscles to be confused when I'm attempting a game-winning free throw.”

#5 Metabolic training (insert the words EPOC, anaerobic, and VO2 max here)

We all know by now that interval-based training burns more calories than steady-state cardio. However, it's overblown. I hear people say interval training “speeds up” or “revs up” your resting metabolism all the time. I hear the term “after burn” as if it’s the holy grail of fat loss. Not only that, but people feel that these “metabolic workouts” have to be more grueling than going three rounds with Bas Rutten. Whatever happened to a little jump rope and some hill sprints?

The average person who just wants to look better naked and keep up with his kids doesn't need to be so damn conditioned. The other argument that muscle burns more calories than fat is true, but it's overrated. Organs such as the liver, brain, heart, and kidneys burn 15–30 times more calories than muscle does but only account for five percent of your total body weight. It would take a vast amount of muscle—far more muscle than most of us will ever build in a lifetime—to increase your resting metabolic rate. Sure, strength training is very important, and preserving muscle during a fat loss phase is a more realistic approach. Lift, sprint, and eat healthy. That’s it folks.

So there you have it—my biggest pet peeves of 2012. Hopefully, these phrases will be banished from the mouths of trainers and “gurus” in 2013 and the years to come.

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