Today I’m introducing a new strand here at Angry Trainer Fitness called ATF Classic!
Since we launched the ATF site in October 2010 I’ve written hundred of posts on every aspect of health and fitness – many of which have really resonated with all of you out there.
We now have thousands of people following the site (we had over 65,000 visits last month alone!) so I thought it would be a good idea to revisit some of my earlier posts in case you missed them. So twice a month we’re going to run our ATF Classic strand where we take another look at a key part of the Angry Trainer philosophy!
Today I’m sharing my very first Infomercial Insanity – a strand we’ve continued to run here on the site and feature for the forseeable future. Fact is the market for junky fitness products shows no signs of slowing down!
This first piece was inspired by a Today show segment featuring personal trainer Jennifer Cohen that featured a parade of utterly ridiculous fitness paraphernalia! I slammed Jennifer hard in the post – but I actually think she’s a good trainer as I admitted in a later Testing The Trainers.
Anyway – here’s the post – check it out and have a laugh once again at the sheer ridiculousness of this gear! Infomercial Insanity or what…!
I usually tune in to Saturday Night live for a good laugh, but over the years I’ve realized nothing is as funny (or ridiculous) as the fitness products advertised in all those late night infomercials.
Those “skits” are hysterical – complete with actors, scripts and wobbly sets. My face muscles definitely get a workout from these products as do my abdominals, from all the cramping caused by my laughter! But then I get angry. Why do people buy this garbage?
I asked myself the same question when I saw this recent segment on the Today show with Hoda Kotb and Kathy Lee Gifford. The two hostesses were chatting with fitness “expert” and author Jennifer Cohen, as she took them through some of the current products on the market. Given Cohen’s credentials I was really hoping she’d take the opportunity to start telling some home truths about what, in my opinion, are money wasting gadgets – but boy, was I wrong! Take a look at this:
So the first ridiculous product is a treadmill-powered bicycle (figure that one out!). Now in my opinion, even if this junk were beneficial to your health (which it’s not) I can’t believe it’s actually safe. Can you imagine running on a treadmill that leans side to side with forward and backward inertia as well? I see enough sprained ankles from traditional running – I think this is an accident waiting to happen. Why not just save yourself $250 and run outside or actually ride a bike – how about that? I know, I’m a genius!
Next up on the list is the “Flex Belt” which promises ‘six pack abs’ if used for 30 minutes per day, everyday, for 6 weeks. When worn the belt sends tiny electrical shocks to the abdominal area and causes them to flex, supposedly 300% more (more than what I don’t know!)
First off all, everyone has a six pack! It’s the amount of fat covering those abs that decides whether or not you see them. As far as I’m concerned this belt will not give you better looking abs, period. Your abdominal muscles primary function is spinal flexion, meaning they pull your spine into a curved position from a straight one (as in a floor or reverse crunch) This belt can’t do that with electric stimulation, but it will slim your wallet down – by about $200!
Then we come to the most absurd, the most ridiculous, the king of all worthless exercise products – The Shake Weight!
When I first heard of this product I truly thought it was a joke. I could not, and still cannot, believe this product, that throws words like “dynamic inertia” around and claims to tone your biceps, triceps and shoulders is for sale, and selling like wildfire. Wake up people!
You basically grab this misnamed “dumbbell” and jerk it up and down repeatedly for minutes on end. I know, you’re probably thinking what I’m thinking – but this is a PG-13 rated site so I’ll stop. If you ask me the Shake Weight won’t do anything but make you an ambidextrous porn star. Even if it were $1 – please, do not buy one. This product is truly an embarrassment to the fitness industry. Some products at least attempt to work as they’re supposed to and have some smidgeon of validity. For me this ‘thing’ has none.
It can’t be by coincidence that the next product is equally as sexual in nature. We go from jerking a weight, to the “Neckline Slimmer”, in which you bobble your head back and fourth in an effort to slim your neck. Jokes aside, this device targets the muscles on the front of the neck, which in 99% of people are already shortened due to sitting, causing neck misalignment, back pain and other skeletal issues. The “slimmer” actually makes these ailments worse, and I don’t think will do anything to tighten up the skin on your neck. Skin is skin, muscle is muscle.
So finally we come to the final product – the Walk Vest, retailing at $70, which I have to say is a useful tool if used correctly. The Vest can be used in numerous ways to add weight to virtually any exercise. But why is it being showcased in an “unusual fitness product” segment. It’s not unusual at all – personal trainers have used this tool for decades to increase athletic performance and fitness levels.
The segment was just about out of time, but I could see one other product, a phone with a dumbbell attached to the handle. I guess you exercise your answering arm by picking up the phone? OK, firstly you’ll hit yourself in the face answering it, and secondly it won’t do crap! Come on! What’s next? Weighted car keys?
The major issue with most infomercial products is that they don’t work, and the models they use are already in great shape. They have unbelievably toned, well-proportioned and muscular bodies. Can you guess how they got those results? I’ll tell you how, and it wasn’t from using these garbage products. It’s from including resistance training in their workout regime.
People need to learn that there’s no one singular product that will make your belly flat and make you look like a fitness superstar. Your “look” is a direct result of how you train and nourish your body. If you want a tight and lean body, then use products like the TRX Suspension System, or take a Kettlebell class, or use some Powerblocks and bang out some weighted walking lunges (the reason we carry these adverts on this site is that they’re some of the few fitness products I would actually recommend.)
For me, this was a frustrating missed opportunity. Jennifer knows this junk doesn’t work, yet she basically turned this segment into a national advertisement for junk, thereby supporting the myths that surround them.
And people wonder why I’m called The Angry Trainer… maybe next time they should give me a call – and I’ll set them straight!
All information contained within this site, Angry Trainer Fitness.com, is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. No action should be taken solely on the contents of this website. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or on any opinions expressed within this website. Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.