Did you ever have to cue audiocassette tapes before teaching aerobics? (You might’ve heard about playing albums in class, but that was before your time.) Were you among the first wave of personal trainers to get certified through an official course? If you answered yes to either or both of these questions—and you joined the fitness industry before or around the time step aerobics became popular—you might be a member of Generation X (also referred to as Gen X). This group, now in their 30s and 40s, has influenced the fitness industry through many permutations.
Since this survey was last published in January 2009, the national unemployment rate has increased from 6.1% (August 2008) to 9.6% (October 2010), which equates to about 14.8 million unemployed individuals in the United States (U.S. Department of Labor 2010a). However, the silver lining for fitness professionals is that even though the national job market has declined, our industry is still expected to see better-than-average growth (29%) in positions over the next decade (2008–2018) (U.S. Department of Labor 2010b).
Our work as fitness and wellness professionals can be hugely rewarding. We are there on the frontlines, helping people win back their health from the jaws of obesity and sedentary living. We give loyal participants the joy of those regular exercise sessions they love. And we train some of the fittest people in the country as they strive to break through plateaus and achieve new personal bests.
If you haven’t had a client ask about it yet, you will soon. Intermittent fasting has hit the mainstream, and a lot of peo- ple are taking notice.
Proponents claim that intermittent fasting causes more rapid weight loss than other approaches; that it makes dieting easier; and that it improves blood glucose control and blood lipids. Does the current body of evidence support these claims? Let’s find out.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
We can be certain that men and women have always needed to eat. We can also assume that they shared advice about what to eat from the time they first learned to communicate. And they have never stopped.
In the United States, nutrition communication traces its origins to early 19th century preachers who prescribed dietary remedies to cure the physical—and in some cases moral—ills of the day. Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister, believed that a high-fiber, vegetarian diet would cure alcoholism, cholera, premature aging and sexual urges (Deutsch 1967).
We’ve seen many activity trends come and go in the fitness industry, but per- haps none quite as “dirty” as the current obsession with mud runs and obstacle races. While some events are milder than others, many could be described as an “ordeal” that also happens to be a workout. For example, you might find yourself slopping through mud, scaling impossibly high verticals and pushing yourself to the limit—physically and mentally.
Back in Canada, when my colleagues and I developed strength and fitness programs for hockey athletes, we began to notice something fascinating: Farm kids had distinct advantages when their “farm strength” was transferred to the ice. These young athletes were stronger on the puck, stronger in front of the net when battling their opponents, and stronger in odd body positions.
The health and fitness world confronts a complex paradox. Exercise causes consternation and elation, angst and joy. It can prevent—and lead to—illness and injury. Workouts can keep you out of a hospital and put you into one.