Nicole Nam has a Bachelors of Science in Public Health Nutrition Specialization and a Masters of Science in Kinesiology. She has a personal training certification from the American Council of Exercise, and has trained a variety of clients, including a contestant in this year’s Miss Nevada competition. Follow her on Instagram here.
Before we even get into the nitty gritty of this article, I want to really quickly touch on something that recently happened in the fitness influencer world. This past week, a huge IG fitness influencer, Brittany Dawn, made headlines for scamming her followers out of hundreds of dollars by selling them what was supposed to be “personalized” workout and meal plans but instead were just basically the standard fitness ebooks. A word of warning: please do your research on the person you’re “hiring” to become your trainer! Even if they’re online. Choose quality over appearance—some people look good and don’t have the certification or training themselves to be able to spot correct form or even guide you on proper movement.
That being said, I would love to tell you that every fitness product being promoted and sold on IG is legitimate. I get it, there are so many products that look so damn good, but they just don’t make any sense. Trust me, I’ve tried quite a few products myself out of curiosity. I’m here to give you the full review on some trendy fitness products that I’ve tried over the years and whether they work (spoiler: most don’t) and the “science” behind the products (or, more accurately, lack thereof).
1. Weight Loss Protein Powder
I’ll start with this: there was this one particular protein powder that was DELICIOUS. For fear of legal repercussions I can’t really, like, name-name them…but it was a UK-based company and every IG influencer was at one point promoting the living crap out of it. Good marketing, as we will come to learn, does not a good product make. I did further research on said product, and found out that their whole nutrition label was a potentially (most likely?) a lie. As in, their shakes allegedly contained wayyy more carbs, and less protein, than were disclosed on the label.
That said, I used the protein powder as a post-workout supplement and NOT as a meal replacement, and it provided a better alternative for a sweet tooth craving (because this powder did taste really, REALLY good). I do not suggest ever using protein powder as a meal replacement if the powder is considered to be a low-calorie, fat burning powder with a high caffeine content. Also, the FDA does not regulate these supplement claims, so whatever you see on the nutrition labels and the miracle working promises are all up to the discretion of the company…meaning they could easily bullsh*t the whole thing. This applies for ALL supplements for sale in the USA, like in your GNC stores and stuff, not just the products you see on Instagram. The more you know.
2. Waist Trainer
I truly blame the Kardashians for this trend. A waist trainer basically makes you sweat more in your midsection, which is great… but SWEAT IS NOT FAT. Sweat is water mixed with tiny amounts of ammonia, salt and sugar molecules. So just because you sweat more does not mean you’re losing fat. If sweating more motivates you to work harder (it happens), then by all means. Just know that that’s not fat that’s seeping out from your pores.
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Now, I won’t lie…I do use a waist trainer, but not for the same reasons it’s being marketed for. I use a waist trainer as a back support for certain exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and certain abdominal exercises. If you want to use one, for whatever reason, I suggest using ones that do not have hard boning as that can restrict your movement and breathing.
3. Detox Tea
Good ol’ poop tea. That’s all that it is, and you could literally get it at an Asian supermarket for a fraction of the price. It’s called like, the Ballerina Dieter’s Tea or something like that, but I swear it’s been in Asian culture—or at least in MY Asian family’s culture—for ages. We whip it out whenever someone can’t, ya know, go.
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So, yes, I use detox tea and I grew up around it (although the packaging was way less sexy)…BUT there’s something inherently very dangerous about people using laxative products to lose weight, because that’s actually a form of purging, so I advise caution. I think these teas are great for when you need them (aka when you are constipated), but do you REALLY need to detox everyday for 14 days as per most detox tea “instructions”? No, you don’t. I wouldn’t use them for 3 days straight, let alone 14. Using even a mild form of laxative for that long just cannot be good for your digestive system. At the end of the day, you want to still be able to go without any help, right? Don’t do it.
4. Appetite Suppressant Coffee Creamer
What a novel f*cking concept. So novel, in fact, I bought one at my local Gelson’s and I don’t even normally use creamer in my coffee (guess I was feeling spend-y that day). Remember when I talked about products that don’t make sense? This is one of them. So the creamer has ingredients such as hoodia and green tea extract that are in a lot of popular fat burner pills. The main ingredient is coconut oil, which is arguably better than your Coffee-Mate bullsh*t.
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I stuck to the serving size which is a measly 2 teaspoons and the only difference it made was turn my coffee from black to a dark milky brown. I prefer my coffee black anyway, but there was literally no noticeable change in the taste of my coffee. I tried it three times and threw the bottle out, because it was useless. I mean, it barely made a change in my coffee so it’s definitely not doing anything for my body. Save your money, and learn to like your coffee without all the cream and sugar. All the caffeine without any of the crap.
5. Celery Juice
I swear, people are always trying to find a way to juice something. I can’t throw a bigger eye roll at this trend. This sh*t blew up on IG, and now EVERYONE is drinking neon green juice in the morning that is completely FIBERLESS and actually just like 90% water anyway. The dude who started off this trend is a health “guru” who is neither certified nor trained, btw, but claims to hear a voice that tells him about other people’s health status. He literally just started drinking the sh*t one day when he was 8 years old because he said a “voice” told him to. Is that who you want to take health advice from? Like, really?
There is absolutely no science backing celery juice as anything else but mostly water, because duh, celery is made up of mostly water. Unless you’re drinking this because you enjoy the taste (and let’s face it, you don’t), I suggest you stop juicing celery and start eating it whole because the fiber is the most valuable part of the celery. And PLEASE PEOPLE, stop trying to juice everything like you don’t have time to eat the actual fruit or vegetable. You’re not that busy, sweetie.
In case you’ve been living under a McDonald’s-sponsored rock, the predictions for 2018’s top health trends were just released and I’ve been doing an intense investigation into WTF these things are. I’ve already told you which ones sound somewhat doable, but now I’m gonna talk about the weirdest ones on the list, because there are a lot to choose from. Like, if this shit becomes the new norm, I’m done. I thought the charcoal lemonade at Juice Generation was the weirdest thing for society to accept, but I guess I was wrong. Here are the top 5 most bizarre health trends you’ll see in the new year:
1. Eating Weird Shit Like “Moringa”
The health and wellness industry has already convinced people they should be taking ginger shots and drinking turmeric lattes for anti-inflammatory purposes, but now they’re springing this new “moringa” product on us. Apparently moringa is some super-green natural supplement found in trees in India, and scientists are trying to convince everyone it’s the new kale. Honestly if anyone can try this and get back to me with some real proof I might consider it, but right now I’m okay with all the other supplements I’ve been convinced to buy over the years. Can we just make up our minds and stick to something?
2. Using Science To “Hack” Our Bodies
I know science is more advanced than ever, but why on earth do we need to start biohacking our bodies? This trend is all about using science to change the things we’ve been doing that are already healthy, like adding adaptogenic plants to our coffee or using live bacteria to “hack” our skin’s microbiome. I understand there are amazing new innovations in the science world, but I don’t really get why it has to be a health trend. Like, don’t you think we’ve gone a little too far? Let’s let biology do its thing and keep the science out of our cosmetic bags. This trend is bizarre.
3. Making Our Apartments Healthy
Don’t get me wrong—I literally swear by my horoscope and I watch Long Island Medium at least twice a week. But like, who actually believes in all these magical crystals and plants to give your home healthy vibes?! It’s one thing to invest in a pretty succulent to have on your coffee table, but it’s another thing to deck your apartment in Himalayan salt lamps and 50-pound crystals hoping they’ll spread positive energy. These things are glorified dream catchers, and I’m not buying it. Save the sketchy incense and essential oils for your yoga class and that stay-at-home mom on your Facebook feed who’s clearly involved in an MLM. It’s getting weird.
4. At-Home Spin Bikes
Now that you can buy a FlyWheel or Peloton bike for your living room, this trend is blowing up, and frankly I don’t really get it. Unless you live in a random town in Bumblefuck, Delaware where there’s no SoulCycle within a 50-mile radius, why would you want a spin bike at home?! Aside from the fact that it takes up SO much room and would just end up being used as a towel rack, it’s weird. Like, you’re gonna have people over for a pregame and just ignore the fact that there’s a spin bike in the middle of the room? There’s also no chance your workout is as good at home as it is when you have an instructor yelling at you to raise your torque IRL. Just saying.
5. No-WiFi Mental Health Vacations
This trend is actually baffling to me, and I had to reread it about four times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. People WANT to travel to places without internet? WHY? And please don’t give me some crap about being in the moment and enjoying face-to-face company. We’ve all been on family vacations. Your phone battery usually dies by noon. Like, apparently “super cool phone-free social clubs” are a thing, and hotels are offering digital wellness escapes where you can “disconnect to reconnect.” These hotels make you leave your phone at the front desk upon checking in, and allow you to do horrible shit like relax in a tech-free environment and experience the great outdoors. Even the Mandarin in Las Vegas is getting in on this trend. Like, you’re really gonna go phoneless in Vegas??? If this is really what people want, I’m genuinely concerned for the direction of society. I thought we were moving in a good direction with in-flight WiFi and internet service in the subway. All these psycho mindfulness-preaching health bloggers are literally ruining it for the rest of us.
Images: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash; Giphy (3)
For all of you who don’t follow health bloggers or give a shit about what Gwyneth Paltrow will be mixing into her smoothies next year, the predictions for the top 2018 health trends just came out, and I’ve honestly been dying to know what’s in store. Let’s just say the list is barely in English. Like, I consider myself pretty extra for spending half my paycheck on natural supplements and yoga classes, and I STILL didn’t know what any of this shit was. After going through the trends, I’ve picked 5 that I could potentially see myself trying out, and you should too. I mean, New Year’s is around the corner so it’s time to think of resolutions anyway. Here are the trends that could be legit and worth doing.
1. Being Committed To Self-Care
To be honest, the closest thing I have to a “self-care ritual” is my weekly $7 polish change and like, staring at my eyebrows in an illuminated mirror while I’m waiting for my sushi delivery. Unless you have all the time and money in the world, most people aren’t regularly visiting infrared saunas or taking eucalyptus scented baths or getting regular Swedish massages (and if you are, fuck you). Anyway, making time for self-care is gonna be trending in 2018, and I’m SO on board. Any new excuse for skipping plans is amazing, so if I need to excuse myself from a group dinner to meditate on my couch for the rest of the night, I’m down. Just taking care of myself over here.
2. Taking Nootropics
Nootropics are apparently these natural brain-boosting pills that were made by Silicon Valley pros, and they’re totally gonna take off next year. They’re “cognitive performance enhancers,” and they’re supposed to help with stress levels while reducing brain fog. Kinda sounds like Adderall without the prescription, honestly. Supposedly they’re made with specific amino acids and stimulants that make your brain work better, so why wouldn’t you give them a try? I’m not opposed. Don’t judge if you see me popping pills with my cold brew at 8am.
3. Using An App To Get Birth Control
There’s obviously an app for everything, so it doesn’t surprise me that there’s gonna be a burst of birth control apps in 2018. Period tracker apps have been helping betches track their menstrual cycles since the beginning of iPhones, and I’m obviously on board with more technology to make my life easier. New apps like Maven, Eve Kit, and Nurx will connect you with healthcare pros around the clock and even deliver birth control to your doorstep, so you don’t have to stop by CVS once a month and wait in that goddamn line. At least in 2018 we’ll have to leave the house less.
Head to https://t.co/IrSr4jAGxU to redeem up to TWO months of free birth control with promo code #CHECKYOURFACTS pic.twitter.com/il2Ca38epq
— nurx (@nurxapp) November 1, 2017
4. Nut-Milk Yogurt
I’ve never actually tried a nut-milk yogurt, but swapping almond milk for skim milk was pretty harmless, so I imagine this will be similar. I mean, yogurt is healthy for you, but dairy sucks for your skin and everyone’s somewhat lactose intolerant, so maybe we should all make the switch. I imagine nut-milk yogurt doesn’t taste like some phenomenal sugar-filled YoCrunch yogurt, but then again it’s yogurt, so how bad could it be?
5. Specialty Kombucha
Kombucha is literally the healthiest drink you can buy, and it somehow has some alcohol in it, so you can tell your green juice to kill itself. In case you don’t shop at Whole Foods on the reg, Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is supposed to be amazing for your gut and help fight inflammation in your body. Apparently Kombucha is becoming more mainstream in 2018, and regional craft brands are making their own versions of it, so you can basically be a WASPy Kombucha connoisseur in the new year. We could be facing a year of specialty crafted Kombucha and a mini Kyler Jenner. I’m so pumped.
Images: Brooke Lark / Unsplash; Nurx / Twitter; Giphy
Although I’m really going to need you resolution-ists to shut the fuck up with your 2017 #goals, progress pictures, and #blessed outlook for the year, there’s at least one aspect of this resolution push we agree on: It’s never too early to start getting ready for beach season. And to do so, be sure to pay attention to the hottest fitness trends of 2017, because there’s nothing a betch loves more than being trendy and pretending to sweat.
According to a report by the American College of Sports Medicine, these will be the biggest fitness movements of this year. So get the fuck on board.
Wearable Technology (aka Fitbit)
Got a Fitbit in your stocking this year? Convinced you’ll never use it? Think again, betch. Wearable technology (think Apple Watch, Garmin, Fitbit) has been making a splash for a few years now, and experts are convinced it’s not going anywhere. And as we’ve determined from a v. scientific investigation, Fitbits are def betchy. In 2017, embrace the effort of trying too hard. We approve just this once.
Body Weight Training
Body weight exercises are a fancy way of describing the crunches you do on the floor of your studio apartment because you’re too poor/lazy for a gym membership. But according to people who give a shit about fitness, apparently this trend is on the rise for 2017. Push-ups, pull-ups, planks, squats, lunges, sit-ups…these are all ways to half-ass your way into the fit lifestyle.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Unless you’re psychopathic and really are dying to run a marathon in 2017 (and you shouldn’t), you don’t have to run hours at a time to get in shape. HIIT exercises combine bursts of high-intensity exercises with short rest periods. Think Pilates, sprints and Kayla Itsines for a visual. These exercises are great at burning calories super time-effectively, but they are also a motherfucker to get done with a hangover. That much effort is certainly not betch-approved, but you do you.
It’s not just bros at the gym geeking out on the free weight machines anymore. Strength training is a pretty huge part of getting fit (namely, finding your abs under layers of winter weight) so don’t forget to include a few good ol’ bicep curls in your fitness regimen this year.
Whatever workout you choose for 2017, just remember: The more calories you burn, the more wine it becomes acceptable to drink.