In a time where more than half of all Americans are considered overweight and obesity is on the rise the health and fitness industry is booming. Despite the poor health of our society as a whole, a large portion of the population is taking an interest in diet, exercise and fitness trends. While taking an interest in these fitness practices and strategies is not likely to result in improved health, actually implementing some of these practices and strategies is one way to put yourself on the path to a healthier you.Diet is one of the most popular aspects of the fitness industry. There are a number of popular diets available today for those who are interested. There are diets which are high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates, diets which are high in carbohydrates, diets which involve complex combinations of nutrients, diets which require the consumption of pre-packaged foods and even diets which limit the dieter to one or two foods during the course of these diets. In selecting a diet you should utilize common sense to determine whether or not a diet is likely to help you achieve desired results. Some diet plans such as those which are overly restrictive will likely be eliminated quickly during this process. You should also consider how easy the diet will be to adhere to until you lose the desired amount of weight. Considering these factors will help you to determine which diets will be most effective for you.Exercise is another popular component in the fitness equation. Most people realize they should be doing some form of cardiovascular exercise and strength training but there is a great deal of contradicting information regarding the amount and type of exercise which is required for weight loss or fitness maintenance. Before beginning any fitness program, dieters should consult with their doctor to ensure they are fit enough to begin an exercise program. Those who have never exercised before may consider short walks of 10-15 minutes when they begin their exercise program. The duration and intensity of these walks can be increased as the fitness level increases.Exercise equipment is another aspect of the fitness industry which confuses many. There is a great deal of equipment available and this variety can be overwhelming. Popular pieces of equipment include treadmills, stationary bicycles and elliptical trainers. These pieces of equipment allow the user to gain a cardiovascular workout but none of them are required for a fitness program. Dieters can run, jump, swim, play a sport, dance or participate in any activity without the use of complicated and expensive equipment.Pilates equipment can be particularly confusing for would be exercise enthusiasts. Pilates has only become extremely popular in the last few years. Although many have jumped on the Pilates bandwagon on the recommendations of celebrities, most people do not have a full understanding of what Pilates really is and the equipment involved in practicing this form of exercise. Although there are complicated pieces of equipment such as reformers and trapeze tables most novices can simply purchase a floor mat and a DVD to begin their journey into Pilates.