It’s a billion dollar industry, and growing exponentially. An astounding number of gadgets out there, and associated infomercials claim to transform your pudgy abs into washboard abs with “virtually no effort on your part.” Unfortunately, the only thing that they’re likely to do is reduce is the balance in your checking account, not your scale.
The truth is, everything looks better on TV, but you have no way of judging the quality of a machine or gadget. When you watch exercise equipment ads on TV, keep in mind the following tips:
1. If the advertisement claims that you can tone up while lying in bed reading a book, watching TV or on the phone, please pass it up. This is the catch phrase used by advertisers to sell to unsuspecting customers.
2. Beware of the phrase “guaranteed or your money back.” Always look for the fine print. The manufacturers may promise that you’ll lose 10 pounds in 3 weeks, if you follow the program. Incidentally, the program generally involves a low-fat diet and a more vigorous exercise program.
3. Be cautious of hard sell phrases like “three easy payments.” One gadget claims to cost “Not $80! Not $60!” but “just 3 easy payments of $14.95.” When you add the shipping & handling, and it costs $54.95.
4. Don’t be impressed by expert endorsements. This is the oldest trick in the book. It’s a sign of money behind marketing, not the quality of the product.
5. Don’t pull out your credit card just because a product is not sold in stores. Matter of fact, most of these gadgets are found on store shelves, or will appear in a few weeks. The product is most generally less expensive at the store and you can have the option to test the product to see if you like it.
6. It’s no big deal if a product “awarded a U.S. Patent.” You could patent a dumbbell for animals if you had the right design. To get a US patent, you need an original idea, not necessarily a good one.
7. Don’t believe in a tool that will enable you to build strength and lose fat simultaneously. Building muscle and losing weight are 2 separate fitness goals and require different approaches.
8. Don’t be impressed persuaded by scientific terms. Product manufacturers like to use fancy phrases, many of which are not accepted by the medical community.
9. Don’t believe that some new contraption is better than free weights or machines. One manufacturer claims that “with free weights or machines, getting the right form is impossible,” but with its revolutionary new gadgets, “there’s no way to use the gadget improperly.”
10. Don’t shop when you are desperate, hungry or tired. You are more likely to be ‘taken in’ by false advertising. Shop when you are feeling your best, so you can make the right decision without being affected by the hype.