David’s WOD*: The Line Between Being A Physical Therapist And Trying Workout Trends

David’s WOD*: The Line Between Being A Physical Therapist And Trying Workout Trends

As a physical therapist our CEO wants to try all the new workout trends, but he also knows how bad some of them can actually be.

You all must have noticed by now. Most people alive for twenty years or more usually do. A brand new workout trend seems to get big every couple years or so. From spinning to zumba, the world never runs out of new ways to work out and push themselves physically. But as a physical therapist, I often find this astounding. First of all, basic exercise and cardio have worked by themselves forever, so why people keep trying to reinvent the wheel (or repackage it) is always beyond me. Also, it is quite clear to me in some cases these are non-professionals suggesting people do what could best be called “unhealthy” things to their body. This is the fine line I walk as a workout enthusiast and a physical therapist. To try or not to try? (these new workouts) – that is the question.

What I Use

As I have mentioned before, I am an avid supporter of the Athlean-X program by Jeff Cavailiare. Have done some conferences with the guy, and from his work with the NY Mets to even how he approaches any person he works with, he understands the human body and the best and most concise ways to fine-tune that machine. Yes, the workout is tough, and yes, you will sometimes yell out for mercy from the heavens, but the best workouts should make you feel that way. They push you, and then when you are done, you feel pride knowing you did it (and some slight dread you need to do it again, but that is half the fun).

But you need to understand, I came to that realization about Athlean-X after years and years of seeing through the gimmicks that became workout trends. This has been going on since the seventies, and just never seems to stop. The problem is, a great many of these workout trends you see pop up every year are often made up by random people. Not trainers of physical therapists who know what is best for the body. People take on new workouts thinking they are doing the right thing, without any knowledge that they could actually be doing their bodies damage. That defines the line I walk between being a fan of working out and wanting to try new trends, but also, in many cases, knowing better.


The reality people need to understand is, the flaw is revealed right in the name: trend. A trend is usually something that gets big for a very short time and then vanishes only to be replaced by another one (that is just as ineffective or harmful). While I do not intent to throw anyone’s workout under the bus, let’s take a moment to examine some of the workout trends over the years that were quite transparent to me from the start. A few of these you may forget, a few of these you may remember, and a few of these you may still be doing, and we are not here to judge you. Only inform you. We just want you healthy, after all.

Step Aerobics

Please tell me you recall this fad from the early 90’s? One day the world woke up and someone said “you just need to step on and off a step for a half hour a day and your body will become a temple.” People were going out BUYING steps even though almost every person had actual stairs built into their homes or apartment buidlings. Though it was good cardio, this was not from the step. This was from the movement itself. No better for you than running. Only sillier.


Hey, how about we go to a cycling class, but instead of cycling, we will peddle as fast as we can until we feel like we are gonna die? Does that sound fun? Again, perhaps a good workout, but only in the same sense that running furiously uphill for 2 hours would be a good workout, but there are better and safer alternatives.

Hot Yoga

This one wasn’t even so much a workout trend as a kid of hipster thing, but trust me, doing anything exasperating in high heat conditions is NOT a smart idea for anyone.

And those are just three examples among the hundreds and hundreds. As a physical therapist you want to try new workout trends and try to understand them. But sometimes, you know enough about the human body to know they are just gimmicks and often times, not even needed. You lift some weights, you do some running, you eat healthy, and you won’t need hot yoga or insane spinning classes. And trust me, your body will thank you, long term.

So don’t fall for workout gimmicks, because they are often just that: gimmicks.

*”Word-out Of The Day” by Pazoo Founder & CEO David Cunic