T Nation

Interesting New Data

From the 17th annual Superstudy of Sports Participation:

  • People are lifting more free weights. Participation rose 7% from 2002 to 2003, and it’s gone up 25% in the last five years. That’s a 129% rise since 1987.

  • Jogging, on the other hand, showed only a 1% increase last year and a 3% rise in the last five years.

  • Fastest-growing exercise system? Pilates. Up 103% in 2003 and 445% in the past three years.

Hey, at least they’re off the couch. Maybe Pilates will act as a gateway drug and they’ll soon discover the seductions of iron.

Chris, good point -“at least they’re off the couch”. My wife&I are somewhat fanatics (well, like you guys are) regarding being strong and fit. When I mentioned one time about a poor technique or rediculously light weight someone was using and remarked, ‘God why do these people come here’…my wife said’Look, ease up, the real loafers are at home’. True enough.

Great points Chris. Every little bit helps.

Well, nobody likes running, at least nobody in their right mind. Every time I see people running, they always look like they are being tortured, and look like they are about to fall apart.

As a supplement to a workout routine, ok, but not as the core, or only exercise.

As far as pilates, it is just being marketed hard right now. Next year it will be Tae-Bo-Pilates, or Yogalaties. I am sure somebody could make millions off of a Yogalaties workout tape program. Uh, hold on… I have a tape to make.

To reply to this again. Personally the best news on here besides the rise in weight training is the slowing of the growth in jogging.

Not saying that jogging is bad, it can have its place when incorporated within a complete program involving weight training.

To many ppl have been caught up in the jogging fad as there one and only form of training for years.

My recent move to the D.C. Metro area was the real eye opener to this problem. On a daily basis I see the same droves of little pot bellied twig ppl, trudging their daily trek, never advancing in physique or body comp in general.

The part I really enjoy is when they silently (with exception of their high pitched panting do to their depressed T levels) zip past me on the 15th mile of their journey to nowhere.

Just thought I would add that little experience.

Once again good info Chris.


Who knows about the iron, but I tried Yoga once and I felt like I was put through some kind of torture. When I think about it, I probably was.

There was an article in the paper about a Finnish Study on depression in the Elderly.

The conclusion was that heavy (i.e. lowish reps) was more effective at treating depression in the elderly than percription medicine (i.e. anti-depressents).

Yeah I used to be a jogger. Jogging 5 km + a day and going in “fun” runs. I don’t know what I was thinking.

I wonder if it would be possiable to market weightlifting. Get ads on late night televisions selling the new revolution in fitness: the barbell!

Even folds away to save space!

All for 6 easy payments of 39.95!

The more I think about the Pilates thing, the more I think it’s an overall positive sign. Sure, that’s a pretty lame form of exercise driven more by marketing than results, but at least they’re not watching re-runs all day or spending 44 hours a week pretending to be an athlete on the PlayStation while in reality getting out of breath walking from the couch to the fridge.

With the obesity rate soaring, at least these Pilates people are doing something. And, like I said, hopefully this will lead them into more effective forms of exercise. Hey, my first intro into training wasn’t exactly “hardcore” either. Not everyone will or even should start out with OVT, and the Fat Fast diet.

We just need a way to get the Pilates folks to join the darkside and enter the scary free weights area.

Bluey - I think Soloflex (read: the Bowflex of 15 years ago) came out with “advanced dumbbells” once. They flopped.

I like the sound of “the Dark Side” I have always had more respect for the dark side in star wars. I mean the goal is to be the strongest right? That is what the dark side is all about pure power. Good name for the mag 10 replacement maybe?

I think that it is overall a positive sign anytime data suggests that more people are becoming active. To explain my viewpoint, let me describe what I see every day at my job. I work at a physical therapy clinic that is tied in with the local community hospital. We see all types of patients, but the majority are orthopedic in nature. The majority of the people who walk through the door on any given day present with some level of obesity. I truly believe that a significant percentage of the orthopedic pts. that we see would not have the problems that they do if they were not carrying around and extra 30,40,50 + pounds of fat. It is frustrating and at times equally pointless when the 5’1" 250 lady with chronic knee pain thinks that she is going to get better by getting some e-stim and performing some quad sets and straight leg raises. It is also amazing how many of the folks will balk at doing a 10-15 home exercise progam of low level rehab exs, much less an effective exercise and nutrition program to promote improved body composition and strength. I have people in their 30s and 40s who cannot ride a recumbant bike continously at any pace for 6 minutes. There is a marked difference in recovery level and time of patients who are fit and active vs. those who are the antithesis of this, regardless of age. The only thing more frustrating than seeing this is going across the street when I have to cover the inpatient load at the hospital. the typical nurse that i encounter is probably 40 pounds or more overweight (no exaggeration) and most of them disappear hourly for their smoke break. I overheard one talking to another the other day bitching about how she was not going back over to the wellness center because one of the exercise guys made her do the eliptical runner for 12 minutes and she that was just way too much. Then you look at the men who the run the respiratory and cardipulmonary rehab depts. Both have had bypass surgery themselves. Both continue to smoke like trains. Both do not exercise at all. These are the health care professionals that are preaching to the patients about good health habits. I am very biased towards resistance training, love this site and would definitely jump into a debate over what are more effective types of exercise to achieve particular goals. In this case, however, I have to say that anybody who has chosen to gett off of the tail and move should be given some credit. At least then you have them in the door and can try to convert them to the “best” type of training at that point.

I do pilates from time to time, I also do yoga, go to an occasional Tae-bo class, or spinning class, or dance class. I don’t consider any of these a “workout” really, I do my real workouts in the gym, but you can’t lift weights 24/7.

For me, weight has been a constant struggle for most of my adult life. I have never been what you would call sporty and maintaining an active life style is something that isn’t second nature, it wasn’t how I was raised. I got picked on and bullied constantly in school for being tiny so I never got involved in alot of activities when I was younger.

I have a relatively sedentary job now, and I am not “outdoorsy”, hate hiking, biking, wandering aimlessly around my neighborhood on a walk, so I have had to find other ways to stay active outside of the gym. For one thing, yoga and pilates feel good (to me), and I think have helped with flexibility. But sometimes if I am home in the evening or BF has the car, going to yoga or Tae-bo for an hour is just an hour that wasn’t spent in front of the TV. It helps me relax, and helps me maintain an “active” mindset if that makes sense. Due to hectic schedule and home life, it is sometimes also the only time I have an hour to myself.

I totally agree with the any activity is better than no activity stand. I wasnt trying to go against that with my post about jogging.

I was simply trying to state that finally the amount of weight training increase has surpassed that of jogging. Maybe the word is starting to get out and ppl are taking it to heart as a good form of training for everyone, male/female, old and young.



wasn’t trying to call you out or argue with your earlier post, but the thread just triggered some thoughts i had on activity in general.

I had rather lift than jog any day



Just figured I had better clarify my standing on the whole activity in general being a positive thing. I could see how someone may take my earlier post in a way I had not intended, through me not being totally clear.

This also reminds me of how I’ve come to answer questions from the general public (you know, those strange non-T people) about things like the Bowflex, the Total Gym and even the Atkins Diet.

You know the type:

“Chris, does the Bowflex work?”

“Compared to doing nothing but clicking on the TV remote, yes, it works… but there are better, cheaper options.” Then I go into the free weight spiel.


“Chris, is Atkins a good diet?”

“Compared to your current Twinkie and Pepsi diet, yes, it’s great… but there are smarter choices out there.”

While I used to want to strangle these people, I’ve learned to see their questions as an opportunity, and recognize this as their first steps into what could be something very positive.

Also, I think some people see this whole lifestyle (weights, good diet, etc) as a club they don’t want others to join, so they seem to be trying to keep them out by berating them. I can understand getting frustrated with newbie questions, but my mindset is slowly changing. Instead of thinking, “What an idiot” I try to think, “Okay, this person is making a baby step into improving himself or herself, how can I help out?”

Believe it or not, this is much more rewarding that just condemning them as dumb newbies and walking away.

(Damn, I must officially be an adult now or something.)

Chris, or Mr. Shugart, whichever you prefer…I agree with you wholeheartedly. Actually, one of the reasons that Im into all this stuff is to help my friends out. I already have 4 of them on a diet that helped me lose 75 lbs of fat, and even gain some muscle after it was all said and done.

I must admit, its a great feeling to know that Im helping out my 250lb or 300+lb friends change their ways and develop new healthy habits. With each of them losing weight and eating like more people should be, its an amazing reward. Almost makes me think about going into this as a profession, but then I remember that Im working on an Elementary Education Degree, and Im pretty covered on helping people.

Its all about baby steps…and WANTING to go somewhere, not being forced. Whatever the motivation is, I embrace it as much as possible.

Just my 2 cents.

“(Damn, I must officially be an adult now or something.”


Great post, a must read for all.