The right approach to fitness fads

We fitness types like to think we're trendsetters in our industry.

Which is why we trawl around fitness conventions and trade shows, trying to pick up on the next big thing coming to a health club near you.

I'm not talking about clothing trends, although I do fancy myself as a bit of an active-wear fashionista. (However, having recently stumbled across some '80s photos of myself sporting a G-string leotard, tights, fluorescent leg warmers and a zebra-striped sweat band, I'd have to confess to being a little misguided in the past.)

I'm talking about fitness trends: what the stylish personal trainers are doing this week, and the latest class craze at those edgy city gyms.

It sort of went like this: in the '70s jogging was cool, but by the '80s we were into Richard Simmons and aerobics - before the instructors became strange and diva-ish and you needed a diploma in modern dance to keep up.

So we evacuated the aerobic floor for cardio equipment - steppers, bikes, treadmills - until we realised it was as boring as bat shit and returned to training at home in front of Jane Fonda.

But cardio was getting uncool, so blokes got into weights and girls became yogis.

Choreographed classes - Body Attack, Pump - got us back in the group fitness studios, and resistance training became technical, with weights equipment that looked like those craney things you see on building sites scattered around the gym floor.

Then we spent time focusing on core muscles and rubbishing others about poor technique. Fit balls and wobble boards turned up and we all went weird again.

Where am I going with this? Well, trends need gurus, and we trainers often think that's what we are, and that there is only one way to do things, and if you train mostly in the weight room then quite clearly you're ignoring your transverse abdominis and can expect a crippling back injury before you turn 30.

Or if you do a lot of spin classes, then your upper-body development will certainly suffer to the point that you can't pick up the newspaper from the front lawn without assistance.

Or if you're not doing CrossFit, then obviously you've got the mental resolve of a Labrador in a butcher's shop.

The thing is, there is no "one way". All sensible and proper ways are good. Take a bit of this, and a bit of that, and don't listen to people who tell you that their way is the only way.

Michelle's tip

Experiment! Try everything, even if you think you might not like it, or if it seems a bit kooky. It keeps your mind open and your body mobile.

-Daily Life