7 Fitness Fads That Have Worn Out Their Welcome

Nothing gets the masses into a frenzy quite like a new fitness fad. You know, the new hot exercise or piece of clothing that will help you reach your fitness goals at a fast pace? Of course, most fads fade over time. Usually, this happens when most people realize the hyped-up workout program doesn’t burn as many calories as they first thought. Or that a piece of workout apparel is totally bogus.

Not sure what’s still in and what’s on its way out? Here are seven fad workouts that have worn out their welcome.

1. 8-minute abs

Machines and regimens claiming to be the breakthrough for getting an amazing midsection never go out of style. Hence the appeal of the 8-minute abs program, which claims to give you an amazing stomach in just eight minutes. And sure, that is probably enough time to give your abs an all-around workout. But it isn’t going to melt away a spare tire to give you a perfect six-pack.

“You may be building beautiful muscle but still hiding it under a layer of fat,” FitDay summarizes. “A diet filled with lean meats, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates is necessary to peel that layer of fat and allow your muscles to appear. That, along with cardio exercise will show the world the strength and power of your mid section.” When people realize that this workout isn’t the quick-fix to giving them a flat stomach, they’ll move on to the next fitness fad.

2. Barre-inspired classes

sport girl smiling

Barre isn’t going to replace the cardio you need to lose weight. | iStock.com/vadimguzhva

You’re sure to continue seeing gyms centered around the bar method, pure barre, and the like. It makes sense, because, as Fitness points out, there are many health and fitness benefits in the dance-yoga-pilates hybrid. But the booming interest in the ballet-inspired workout has dipped significantly since it first arrived on the scene, partially because classes can cost a pretty penny.

But a bigger reason for the dwindling interest is barre-inspired classes aren’t quick-fixes for losing weight. As WebMD points out, barre isn’t a great source of cardio, which is essential for weight loss. So while the occasional barre class will help with your flexibility, it won’t make the weight melt off.

3. Phiten necklace

Sports fans were looking at their TVs and scratching their heads a couple years back when these rope-like accessories began showing up on the necks of well-known MLB and NFL players. The story behind the Phiten necklaces and bracelets? The titanium enhances the wearer’s physical and athletic abilities. And with professional athletes promoting the accessories, they became a big hit.

But the fancy neck and wrist wear has since worn out its welcome, particularly since consumers got wise to the fact that there wasn’t any research to back up the claims. Plus, WebMD points out that the popularity of the necklace in pro sports circles has more to do with how superstitious athletes — especially baseball players — can be.

4. Parkour

sporty woman outdoors

Flying high over buildings is a lot more difficult — and dangerous — than it looks in the movies. | iStock.com/Choreograph

Thanks to the opening scene of Casino Royale and shows like American Ninja Warrior, the parkour practice gained lots of interest. But the high-flying, building-jumping fad is more dangerous than it is an effective way of getting into shape. The fitness fad requires training and commitment to get it right, Livestrong.com explains. Plus, it puts you at a higher risk of getting injured. The level of difficulty has become enough for many interested participants to find a more grounded fitness fad to follow.

5. Anything with a vibrating platform

Every few years, a vibrating contraption pops onto the scene, claiming to shake you into a slimmer figure. Such is the case for the wave of vibrating platforms that began appearing in infomercials in the early 2000s. But like many fitness fads, the vibrating platform began wearing out its welcome once it became clear results weren’t likely.

The Huffington Post says, “the effects of the vibration are only felt for a very limited period of time (i.e. 30 seconds to four minutes) and that window of time is different for everyone.” The same article points out, “There are also multiple studies showing no benefits at all.” In short, a vibrating platform isn’t going to help you lose any more weight than if you do the movements on your own. And while we are on the subject of fitness fads that involve shaking equipment…

6. Shake Weight

There is arguably no fitness contraption more absurd than the Shake Weight. The gimmicky, spring-loaded dumbbell alleges all you have to do is give it a shake, and it moves to tone your arms for you. But, as WebMD perfectly summarizes, this contraption isn’t enough to give a thorough workout. “For a muscle to be fully stimulated, resistance must be applied through a full range of motion,” the story explains. “The Shake Weight does not deliver this and will not result in the same muscular activity as traditional dumbbell exercise, despite what the company claims.”

7. Skipping the gym because of ‘toning’ shoes

The overly-chunky sneakers from the ’90s were reborn more recently in the form of “fitness” shoes claiming to help you get toned without setting foot in the gym. But, not surprisingly, Sketchers Shape Ups and their cushy-soled competitors have lost their appeal after they couldn’t deliver on their promise to get you super fit all on their own. It doesn’t help that Sketchers had to pay a large settlement to the Federal Trade Commission for making false claims about their shoes.