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5 Worst Exercise Gimmicks on TV Today


Fitness is straightforward.  It’s even pretty simple.  You take the 3 components of rest, nutrition, and exercise; mix it all up and you achieve your fitness goals.  But one thing it is not- it is not easy.  For most of us, there is no losing 50lbs in 3 months or gaining 40lbs of lean muscle in 4 months.

But how would you look 25lbs lighter with harder muscles showing in a year from now?  How would you look if you added 20lbs of lean muscle mass to your frame a year from now?  Both would look pretty good.  It’s about working hard and consistently toward a goal of lifelong fitness.

But some companies want you to think they have come up with a shortcut.  And they market these shortcuts to people with implicit promises of great results with minimum effort, and it’s so easy.  Shame on them.

In my Clark Kent, day job, I work at a retail store.  I see a lot of “as seen on TV” exercise equipment come in. Although my job is to generate profits for the store, if we never sold a one of these, I would not lose any sleep. 

So, here are the worst 5 I have seen this year.

1.  Shake Weight – Are you kidding me?  So, I’m standing there with this plastic, dumbbell shaped thing in my hand and my associate is telling me to shake it.  So, I do and my response, “what next?”  Well, that was it.  For close to 30 bucks, this has to be the worst exercise equipment I have seen in a long time.  Better idea, get a pair of dumbbells for 10 or 20 bucks and do 3 sets of 15 reps for curls, extensions, raises, or whatever, but leave that shake alone.  Just pathetic (is that too harsh?).

2.  Ab Circle – Wow, you pop 200 bucks down to swivel back and forth.  Or you could spend a few bucks to get a pair of dumbbells.  Stand tall while holding the dumbbells straight over your head and do side bends.  Or you could spend 200 bucks to swivel back and forth.  And, how long do you swivel for – 5 minutes or 60 minutes – for it to work?  Just terrible.

3.  Leg Magic – Can it be so easy, you just stand there and move your legs out and in on rollers for a measly 100 bucks.  You can sculpt your legs and core muscles, and blah, blah, blah.  Wow, just stand there, watching TV and move your legs out and in and back.  Or you could get a decent set of snickers and mp3 player for less.  Then you could go on brisk 1 mile walk every other day while listening to your favorite tunes, and be a lot better off.

4.  Ab Lounge – $110 to do crunches and abdominal work in an easy, effective way that’s, again, easy on your lower back, easy on your abs, easy on oblique’s, easy on your intelligence.  Wow.  As far as I know, you build muscle by stressing and making them work.  You bust a sweat.  But not here, just sit back and crunch away in ease.  For 100 plus bucks, wow, who comes up with this stuff? 

5.  Ab Rocket – Just sit back and lean back.  Help me.

There you have it five of the worst gimmicks I have seen. 

I think what bothers me the most is that they prey on people’s misconceptions and feed into someone’s hopes.  And somewhere in their make believe user’s manual, it probably mentions eating a balance diet and importance of consistency and all that, just try and sound legit.  All the while, somewhere in there, they hope people never catch on that it’s all a gimmick, an expensive one at that.

Bottom-line, you need nothing, not even a decent pair of sneakers, to get a great workout that will leave you heaving for breathe.  But throw in a decent pair of sneakers and a brisk walk every other day; you’ve got yourself a good fitness routine.

Most important, fitness is fundamentally a whole body endeavor.  You don’t just tone arms, or lose a little off the side, or get rid of some cellulite, as these folks would suggest. It’s your whole body.

All these late night infomercials on the newest, state of art fitness equipment guaranteed to turn you into a buff hard body are only good for its entertainment value, if that.



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