A fit figure will always be in style, but too often people want the easy way out. While fitness trends come and go, the endless supply of infomercials and fitness fads are often meant for one purpose — to slim down your wallet.
From fat-burning pills to the Shake Weight, here are some of the most outlandish, yet strangely popular, ways people have marketed fitness.
Lots of people would love to lose weight sitting down. They’re willing to slide, rock, and twist away the pounds from their waistline.
The most blatant opportunistic offender is the Hawaii Chair, also known as the Hula Chair. Its swiveling base is supposed to tighten your abs while you sit. Unfortunately, sitting is the antithesis of exercise. Nevertheless, the makers of these chairs are millionaires now thanks to people who didn’t know any better.
Sure, those vibrating lap belts from the 1950s seemed like a silly way to stay in shape, but that didn’t stop people from making more jiggly things like the Shake Weight. This vibrating dumbbell became a media sensation on novelty value alone.
You’re better off saving the $20, buying regular dumbbells, and doing time-tested exercises like curls, lifts, and presses.
There are a lot of shoes on the market that promise to sculpt everything from your butt down just by walking. Companies like Skechers use celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke to promote toning shoes as a good way to stay fit. At around $100 for the shoes, they probably cost more than the shoes you’re wearing now but they don’t do anything different, according to a study by the American Council on Exercise.
Someone thought using similar shock technology utilized in some physical therapy treatments was a way for people to get a six-pack. These belts shoot electrical impulses into your abs, causing your muscles to contract instantly. The hope is to have abs lean enough to scrub your shirt while you’re still wearing it.
Surprisingly, some research shows ab belts may increase muscle strength and tighten your abdominal section. But if you’re looking for a quick fix, ab belts alone won’t do it. You also need to get regular, good old-fashioned full-body exercise, and reduce your consumption of calories and junk food, before your abs of steel reveal themselves. If only life was that easy.
Weight loss in a pill sounds too good to be true — and it is. These “miracle” pills that supposedly boost metabolism often contain hydroxycitric acid, chromium picolinate, or ephedra, which either have absolutely no nutritional value or can cause adverse side effects, especially on the heart.
Jane Fonda, Cher, O.J. Simpson, and that guy from Jersey Shore who’s always pulling up his shirt might be famous, but that doesn’t make them fitness experts. There’s a lot of junk peddled out there in the name of celebrity endorsement, so be wary of these fitness products. You have to wonder if you’ll stick with a DVD longer than some of their fame will last.
Then again, Chuck Norris made one, so they can’t all be bad.
If it includes bad actors, awkward equipment, unbelievable promises, fine print, and bleach-bottle blondes, it’s probably garbage. And that’s the formula for almost all those late-night infomercials hocking magic equipment that target abs, buns, or anything else you want turned into steel.
If you think obtaining the body of a Greek goddess for four easy installments of $19.99 sounds ridiculous, then you’ve got your head on straight.
The moral of the story: It’s not a workout if there’s no work involved.
The key to staying in shape is getting exercise, eating a balanced diet, and drinking adequate amounts of water. The important part of fitness is sticking to an activity. Find one you like and stick to it to get fit and stay in shape.