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From fad to fit

In the past 20 years, this magazine has seen fitness trends ebb and flow. Now may be the best time for you to catch the crest of the wellness wave.

By Agu Paiso


Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “trend” as “a current style or preference.” Being time-bound, a trend will eventually run out of steam and get re-labeled a “fad.” That’s true for fashion, but can something more abstract—such as getting fit—burn itself out like an over-trained athlete? When it comes to working up a sweat, we are spoilt for choice. Narrow your options by taking a look back at some examples of fads that faded, and trends that have transcended into healthy habits.


Moving pictures

Back in the 1980s, the
Jane Fonda Workout series of aerobics videos helped usher in a newer, more accessible form of exercise. No need for gyms—you could  work out any time in the comforts of home. The pitch was so successful, it spawned 23 different videos. Others jumped on the bandwagon. Mark Wahlberg, a fitness freak in his own right, had his Marky Mark Workout video; Carmen Electra had her Aerobic Striptease series.


Taking it a few steps, kicks and punches further was Billy Blanks and his Tae-Bo series, which incorporated martial arts and boxing training into a 60-minute cardio circuit. It garnered a loyal following, focusing on movements rather than muscles. More recently, Power 90 Extreme, or P90X, has wrested the exercise video throne. It’s a package that consists of an intense workout program and a proper nutrition plan to get you fit, utilizing a 12-DVD set, designed around a 90-day workout period.  


Using the TV to get fit has also become more interactive, with video game consoles joining the fray. Nintendo’s Wii Fit, Microsoft’s XBox Kinect, and Sony’s Playstation Move all promise to get you fit, with the added element of fun.


Verdict: If it gets more homebodies moving, it must be a good thing.


Studio staples

Humans are social creatures by nature, and great things have been achieved when we work together. The same can apply to workouts, too.


Yoga started out as a means of meditation, a path to spiritual transcendence. Modern forms have evolved into health and wellness practices—particularly those done in a class setting. From the hot rooms of Bikram, the rigorous structure of Ashtanga, to the flowing nature of Vinyasa—and everything in between, practitioners of these forms of Hatha Yoga gain flexibility, as well as a degree of muscular strength and tone.


Pilates is another studio fitness regimen with its own history. Developed during World War I by German self-defense instructor Joseph Pilates, it became a proven way of building core stability and strength. Now more people, from previously sedentary homemakers to elite athletes, recognize the importance and benefits of a strong core.


Yoga and Pilates are effective and time-tested, but there remains the quest for something more progressive, to keep up with changing times. Dance is certainly progressive, and the music component amps the fun factor. Ea “Ace” Torrado, one of the resident trainers at Plana Forma, is a dancer, choreographer and Zumba instructor who knows more than a few things about dance workouts and classes. Barre 3, Zumba and Plana Forma—thanks to the dance component—tend to be less intimidating than traditional fitness classes. Instructors are warm and accommodating, always eager to “teach beginners the proper technique, listen to feedback, and make the environment more personal,” Torrado says. She also notes that these dance workouts “give a sense of elegance and beauty to the movements. Class participants feel good and look good while executing the moves.” The beats serve as cues for holding a pose, or going into the next movement. Music is a welcome distraction from the actual intensity of the workout, and the up-to-date playlists keep people coming back for more.


Verdict: Studio staples fit the fun-loving Filipino psyche—and the barkada mentality is also a big reason these classes click. 

And what of the group dynamics of boot camp or CrossFit, or that running craze? Get the lowdown and verdicts on these fitness trends in the August issue of HealthToday, from newsstands and bookstores. 

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