The premise of this article is simple: There are no healthy short-cuts to acquiring a fit, trim body. The TV and radio commercials lie to you. The “infomercials”, featuring famous Personal Trainers To The Stars, lie to you. They do it for one purpose, and one purpose only – to get a hand into your wallet, and they do a marvellous job, at that. You can find their shoddy products in practically every garage sale in the country. The diets and dieting aids hyped, are at best, barely effective, and at worst, can be downright dangerous.
Abdominal “rollers” are a prime example of useless junk. They support your neck and cervical spine, while you perform the work. You can get the exact same effect by reaching behind your head with both hands, and touching opposite shoulders. And it won’t cost you 50 bucks! Oh. Some of them have weights to add-on. So, hold a weight in one hand, and do the crunch while supporting neck and cervical spine with the other. Still less than 50 bucks!
The various “riders” are okay if you’re totally out of shape, and want to get to the point where you can move for more than a few minutes at a time without becoming winded. But their effect, if used properly, will plateau out in about 8 weeks after you start. For the price of one of the better ones, you can get a whole year at a decent gym, many of which have these “riders”, but which also have other equipment for you to continue your progress on!
The leg-swinging “walkers” are actually laughable. What can I say? I got on one, swung my legs so fast that the thing threatened to tip over with the force, and still didn’t get into my aerobic range. And I’m nearly50 years old! I guess, if you’re just coming out of a long stay in the hospital, and can get one prescribed for you by your Physical Therapist, you might see some benefit. But I wouldn’t bet on it for anyone else. A “rider” is a better buy, in my opinion. But get it at a garage sale.
Finally, there is stuff like that weighted steel “blade” thingie, that you hold in your hands and shake (I’m still shaking with laughter about that one!), and the plastic gadget you put between your knees and squeeze, supposedly to thin your thighs (uh… like I keep tellin’ ya … spot reducing does NOT work!). I bought one of those for 50 cents at a garage sale, and asked my husband to try it out. he’s pretty tiny, and in decent shape from running a small commercial veggie garden. He broke the thing in about 3 squeezes – just snapped it right in two! Need I say more?
There are a few products I’ve seen, which actually will work, if used correctly and regularly. One of them (the best of the lot, in my opinion) is the Bowflex, another is the Total Gym 3000, promoted by Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley. (World Fitness does not endorse any products. This is the author’s opinion, only.) Neither of the mentioned items, tries to delude you into thinking that there is no real work involved in becoming fit, or that you can do so in only a few minutes a day. The infomercials for them show people actually sweating, and obviously working hard. Personally, I think they’re rather overpriced, especially considering the fact that, for similar money, one can negotiate a lifetime membership in a good gym, many of which will offer more than those machines can provide, such as swimming pool, racquetball, etc. However, if you prefer to work out solo, and are prepared to put some serious dedication and energy into the process, they will help you to become fit.
The diets promoted, can work, to one extent or another. But don’t be fooled; they all work the same way! How’s that? Well, losing weight is absolutely and entirely a circumstance of caloric input being lower than caloric expenditure. Short of liposuction, or the surgical removal of body parts, there is no other way to lose bodyfat!
Some of these diets tout “ergogenic aids”, and “herbal metabolism improvers”. Well, maybe so. A lot of ’em use caffeine, which is a stimulant, in one form or another. Some of the less-desirable, use ma huang (ephedra), or plain old ephedrine. Same stuff used in meth labs, to make crystal meth. Now there’s a stimulant, indeed! But do you want to put it in your body? Caffeine can also have a mild diuretic effect, which will cause you to lose weight via loss of water. Very, very temporary, that. But let’s get to the bottom line. Read the diet that comes with all these “aids”. Add up the total calories you’ll get to eat on that diet, and compare it with what you’ve been eating. Hmmmmm… Lots less, eh? Wonder how that diet works!!
Back on the subject of the cost of getting fit; a good set of hex dumbbells will cost you less than $150 USD, and a decent bicycle, at around $300 USD, is still a lot cheaper than just about any of the better “infomercial” machines. You can also get used gym equipment at garage sales and auctions, for pennies on the dollar. Running and walking shoes are also comparatively inexpensive, and both of those activities are among the best sorts of aerobic exercise you can do for yourself! Shop around, pick an exercise you enjoy, and do it! That’s the only way to really become fit and trim.
Summing it all up, don’t be fooled by a bunch of taut bodies parading around on TV, selling a piece of useless gear along with a nonsense bill of goods about how you can get fit in “only 4 minutes a day!!!”. Remember that, if a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.