If you been working your way toward burning fat and toning muscles, then you know that exercise isn’t easy. But that’s not to stop someone from coming up with a gimmick that to make it seem like no big thing if you want the bodies that grace magazine covers.
Remember the Thigh Master? Tony Little’s Gazelle? The EZ Krunch? And, everyone’s favorite to parody, the Shake Weight? What do all of these have in common? They were each fad fitness equipment that claimed more than the results could match. But just because they flopped, didn’t mean they didn’t come from a practical idea. Take a look back at some of these gimmick of days gone by, and discover a real way to get the results that were hyped beyond what they could deliver.
Suzanne Somer’s Thigh Master
Gimmick: Squeeze your way to firmer thighs. “This little wonder is still the best way to tone, shape, and firm your inner thighs with just a few squeezes a day.”
Falls Short: Not enough resistance created by spring to live up to the leg-firming claims.
Get Real Results: Lunges are one of the best overall leg toning exercises that require no equipment at all, unless you want to add weight for more resistance. You can do them standing in place or walking. From a standing position, step out with your right leg and lower your hips toward the ground until both knees are bent at about a right angle. Keep your right knee straight above your right ankle to avoid unnecessary pressure on your joints. Work on keeping your upper body straight and your shoulders back and relaxed. If you’re doing standing lunges, return to the starting position. If you’re doing walking lunges, step your left foot up to meet your right foot. Repeat the lunges on your opposite leg. You can add weight with dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell, or you can do them backward (if walking) to increase coordination and balance.
Tony Little’s Gazelle
Gimmick: Smooth, low-impact workout. “Gives you all the benefits of stretching, walking, running, and resistance training without jarring impacts or damaging movements to your body.”
Falls Short: With little-to-no resistance and not enough focus on the entire body, the Gazelle makes it difficult to get your heart rate up to burn all-over body fat.
Get Real Results: For an equipment-free way for a complete cardio session, walking and running are great. Walking is better for the those who have knee and joint pain, but the key to both is changing up your pace and adding in inclines and declines (e.g., hills). When using equipment, go for an “erg” or rowing machine. Rowing is a great full-body workout and can burn fat quickly and efficiently.
Gimmick: Alternative to the standard crunch. “Get a firmer, tighter stomach–without doing a single sit-up!”
Falls Short: Again, resistance was little match for the user’s bodyweight force on the device.
Get Real Results: If you’re looking to tighten your abs without doing crunches, planks are your best bet–and are equipment free. Position your body at the top of a push-up, with your hands beneath your shoulders. Use proper form, by keeping your body line straight, with your hips and butt tucked underneath you. Use a stopwatch and try to hold for 30 seconds at a time. Each time you do planks, try to beat your previous time.
Gimmick: An oscillating dumbbell that claims you can, “shake your way to firm and fabulous arms and shoulders in just six minutes a day.”
Falls Short: Users of this equipment actually say you can feel the burn, but the results do not show in a six-minute workout. Also, the weight at 2.5lbs (for women) is fairly low and if you’ve been exercising for a while, the Shake Weight will likely have no results. As for the elephant in the room, the number of sexually related parodies created using this equipment makes it really hard to take this piece seriously.
Get Real Results: Get great arms and shoulders with simple moves. First up are arm circles. With your arms straight out to your sides make 15-25 small rotations forward, and then repeat going backward. Next do high V raises. With your arms at your side and palms facing your thighs, raise your arms straight up to an overhead V position and then lower down. Do 20 reps. Last, are reverse curls. With your palms on your thighs, curl your arms so that the tops of your hands come toward your shoulders. Complete 15-20 reps. If these exercises are too easy, add dumbbells, barbells, or resistance bands.
While we’d all love for it to be easy to sculpt our body and burn fat, a gimmick is usually a gimmick. If you have to be sold on a piece of equipment to change your life, you probably don’t need it. To see results, do the work. It’s that simple, but it’s certainly not the sales pitch many people want to hear.
Come clean! What fad exercise equipment or video have you really wanted to try–or actually tried? Tell us in the comments.