The Worst Fitness Trends of All Time
Learn about some of the more interesting ways people have tried to stay in shape.
Fitness Equipment You Should Avoid
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.
Click through the slideshow to learn about some of the odder, yet strangely popular, ways people have marketed fitness, from fat-burning pills to the Shake Weight.
Anything in a Chair
Lots of people would love to lose weight sitting down. They are willing to slide, rock, and twist away the pounds around their waistline—as long as they don’t have to get up. The most blatant opportunistic offender is the Hawaii Chair with its swiveling base that’s supposed to tighten your abs while you sit. Unfortunately, sitting is the antithesis of exercise—the Hawaii Chair does nothing to get you in shape. Nevertheless, the makers of these chairs are millionaires now thanks to people who didn’t know any better.
Things That Vibrate & Jiggle
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, a vibrating dumbbell that became a media sensation on novelty value alone.
You’re better off saving the $20, buying typical 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 Sketchers use celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Brooke Burke, and others to promote toning shoes as a good way to stay fit. While a percentage of the $100 for the shoes pays for the endorsements, the shoes don’t do anything different than the ones you’re wearing now, according to a study by the American Council on Exercise.
Electric Ab Belts
Someone thought using similar shock technology utilized in some physical therapy treatments was a good idea as 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.
The $150-$200 for the belts is better spent on a gym membership—the belts don’t work, and they can even be dangerous. Would you shock yourself for lower cholesterol? Then don’t do it for tighter muscles!
This new exercise trend is all the rage among young women who want to look sexy while getting fit. As videos on the internet illustrate, home poles often come loose or sweaty hands often lose their grip. While pole dancing might bring some spice into exercise, pole dancing is best left to highly trained professionals.
Weight Loss Pills & Powders
Weight loss in a pill sounds too good to be true. And that’s because it is. These “miracle” pills that supposedly boost metabolism often contain hydroxcitric acid, chromium picolinate, or ephedra, which either have absolutely no nutritional value or can cause adverse side effects as bad as death.
Your money is better spent on healthier food, or even green tea, a tested way to increase metabolism and protect your body against disease.
Celebrity Fitness Videos
Jane Fonda, Cher, O.J. Simpson, and that guy from Jersey Shore whose always pulling up his shirt might be famous, but that doesn’t make them experts at fitness. There’s a lot of junk peddled out there in the name of celebrity endorsement, so 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.
Most Everything in an Informercial
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 Adonis for four easy installments of $19.99 sounds ridiculous, then you’ve got your head on straight.
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The moral of the story: if someone promises to take the work out of the workout, he’s got more fat in his head than you want to lose around your waist.
The key to staying in shape is regular exercise, a balanced diet, regular amounts of water, and other time-tested procedures. The important part of fitness is sticking to an activity, so it’s important to find one you like, from pick-up basketball to yoga.