5 Fad Diets that are Endorsed by Personal Trainers

It’s no secret that we could all use a little guidance navigating the dizzying array of fad diets on social media today. What personal trainers have to say about these diets may surprise you…

Sooner or later, we’ll all go through it. An upcoming date lands on our calendars leaving us desperate to drop a few pounds…fast. Off to Google or Facebook we go in search of the most effective and easiest way to lose 10 pounds (lbs.) in 10 days - undoubtedly backed up by scientific facts, evidence, and a picture of someone with the perfect body sunbathing on their private yacht in the Canary Islands.

I mean if it works for the Kardashians, it’s got to work for you, right? Putting sarcasm aside, we can’t deny the very nature of modern society – whatever we want…it’s always a hell of a lot better if we can get it faster (and easier).

Frankly, that’s precisely the dynamic that continues to fuel the popularity of fad diets.

What are Fad Diets?

So widely known for enticing us with drastic weight loss results in a very short period of time, these diets are very rarely sustainable. They often require restrictive food options that leave our bodies starving for necessary nutrients like protein and antioxidants.

Yet these “crash” diets continue to proliferate on the internet and show no signs of abating in popularity.

Fair enough. If we’re stuck with them, the next best strategy is to separate the good from the bad (not to mention the downright dangerous). We spoke with several personal trainers serving the Canary Wharf area on the eastern end of London to get their take. What we learned surprised us. The average person is likely to try over 125 “fad diets” throughout the course of their lives. An amazing figure, yes, but personal trainers recommend they at least consider the following five:

  1. Atkins Diet

Leave it to media mega-boosters like the Kardashians to fan the flames of any diet on the Internet. That’s what happened in 2020 when reality TV star, Kim Kardashian, reportedly lost 60 pounds (lbs.) by adopting the Atkins diet into her very public lifestyle.

The Atkins diet is a meal plan that restricts the intake of carbohydrates (carbs) in favor of the other two main macronutrients: fats and protein. Frankly, the “low carbohydrate” craze was seemingly ignited by the Atkins Diet all the way back in the early nineties, though actually developed by an American heart specialist, Robert C. Atkins back in the sixties.

What personal trainers seem to favor about the Atkins Diet is that it’s a protein-rich eating plan to help you lose weight sustainably. In other words, the Atkins Diet can be a healthy lifelong approach to dieting, but some believe it’s better to supplement the Atkins diet with good sources fiber as well.

  1. The Zone Diet

Originally created as an anti-inflammatory diet to help stave off chronic conditions like heart disease, the Zone diet has demonstrated real “staying power” as a long-term solution to living a healthier lifestyle. Personal trainers seem to favor the Zone diet because of its ability to help regulate our blood sugar levels; an important step in minimizing hunger cravings and fatigue.

The Zone diet employs the use of math more than most fad diets. Here, dieters are required to allocate portions of their plates to accommodate a percentage of each of the three main macronutrients. Specifically, 30% lean protein, 30% healthy fats, and 40% carbs, preferably sources that offer high fiber content.

Ultimately, the Zone diet got a lot of credit for its focus on good sources of protein and is considered a solid dieting strategy to achieve sustainable weight loss and increased levels of energy.

  1. South Beach Diet

The South Beach diet is an excellent alternative for those who choose to eschew the Atkins diet because of its seemingly reckless accommodation of foods that, while low carb, are still very heavy in saturated fat and abysmally low in fiber.

Personal trainers put the South Beach diet in the “winners” category because it balances the low carb approach with fruits and vegetables. There is also an emphasis on eating good carbs in the form of whole grains – a big “no-no” for those adhering to the Atkins mindset. Like the Zone diet, the South Beach diet also does a good job of regulating our blood sugar levels which is directly linked to our hunger cravings.

People reportedly lose weight faster using the South Beach diet when compared to the Zone, but the foods allowed are more restrictive than that of the Zone diet and you have to go in “phases.”

  1. Mediterranean Diet

When we think “diet,” we often think of food restriction. But that’s not the Mediterranean diet at all. Instead, the Mediterranean diet is a plant-based, liberal approach to dieting that’s loaded with vegetables and heart-healthy fats like olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids (fish).

It’s not just personal trainers that find this diet appealing, it’s also a favorite of dieticians. Good nutrition ought to play a key role in any diet, and the Mediterranean Diet is an especially heart-healthy approach to weight loss. While the diet promotes a wide variety of choices, including healthy fats and protein-heavy seafood options, there are areas of limitation that include red meat, sugary snacks, and, surprisingly, there are some limitations on dairy.

One liability of the Mediterranean diet is that it can be a bit difficult for people who don’t have time to cook or plan meals. However, it is a diet based on a region of people who live longer and have lower rates of disease so, if healthy weight loss is your goal, this diet may be worth considering.

  1. Intermittent Fasting

Not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of “fads,” is it? Nonetheless, intermittent fasting is rapidly becoming a popular weight loss strategy that personal trainers are using with their clients. And why not? After all, studies show that intermittent fasting can be a safe and effective means of fat loss.

But what does it mean exactly? Fasting can be interpreted a few different ways, but it ultimately means abstaining from eating any solid food for a certain period of time. Intermittent fasting is a weight loss strategy that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. Here’s the kicker: it’s a weight loss plan that doesn’t necessarily focus on WHAT foods we can eat (or avoid) but rather WHEN we can eat.

Here are two common intermittent fasting plans for weight loss:

16 x 8 Routine: With this plan, you fast for 16 hours each day and allocate the other 8 (say noon to 8pm) for your eating hours. Keep in mind that this 16 x 8 routine often means skipping a meal. If you only eat between 12pm and 8pm, you’re omitting breakfast. Instead, you’ll consume all your daily calories within that eight-hour window.

5 x 2 Day Routine: Here we eat normally (preferably sensibly) for five days of the week. For the other 2 days, our caloric intake is limited to around 500-600 calories. Remember, you don’t have to have 5 days consecutively. You can space them throughout the week.


With its growing information-sharing capabilities, we can expect social media platforms to continue driving today’s diet culture. That means more “influencers” pushing diets that promote unrealistic weight loss results.

Personal trainers warn us to be prudent. While the five diets above have received substantial praise from these fitness professionals, the main takeaway was simple: if a diet promises weight loss results that sound too good to be true, then it likely is.

Lastly, one personal trainer advised us that the basics of weight loss never change: Eat a nutritious diet that includes good sources of protein, reduce your caloric intake, and get more exercise. That may not be a plan that gets you more “likes” or followers, but it’s weight loss formula that works.

←   Back to blog