Fitness | A Perfect Body for $19.95...

You’re out of shape. You’re desperate. You’re watching late night TV and you’ve got a credit card.

HitchcockWindowSuddenly, an infomercial featuring chiseled, glistening models appears on your screen. Their bodies are sculpted to absolute perfection. You think to yourself, “that’s how I want to look!” and lucky for you because $19.95 (plus shipping and handling) buys you the body you’ve always wanted. All you have to do to get in shape, is squeeze, pull, rub or massage that contraption they’re selling and THAT body will be yours! For $19.95, why not? And that’s exactly what marketers are betting on.

Reading this now you think, “of course those gadgets don’t work.” But with “ThighMaster” sales topping one hundred million dollars, there are plenty of people who believe otherwise! That’s because we all want a magic bullet; a pill, or a DVD, or a device that will solve our fitness problems. But as the old adage goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and in my experience, there is no substitute for a clean diet and daily exercise.

Still, you gotta’ wonder: Who’s buying this stuff? When it comes to fitness and exercise gimmicks, these are my favorites... to avoid.

The Shake Weight

Like the moon landing or the election of Donald Trump, everyone remembers where they were when they first saw the infomercial for the Shake Weight. Never mind whether it works or how much it costs... do you see what that guy is doing? Doesn’t that look a lot like something he should be doing in the privacy of his own room? And they’re calling that exercise now? Just saying, if that motion caused weight loss some of us would be thin enough to walk through the eye of needle. This modified dumbbell may be one of the most suggestive items ever to make its way into the fitness industry. I wonder if you can sell one used?

The Sauna Suit

Looking more like a high fashion trash bag that a suit, sauna suits might be better named dehydration suits. Designed to increase body temperature as you exercise, these odd looking body bags make you sweat profusely, resulting in rapid water loss, but not fat loss. The result is temporary and often quite dangerous as sauna suits can cause overheating. But hey, it’s available in silver and black, and one size fits all.

The Thigh Master

You want a gorgeous figure with righteous thighs? This is the perfect product for you. The Thigh Master is a simple, spring loaded, hinged device that you squeeze between your knees while you watch TV. Though it was a big seller, few buyers got the hot bod of spokesperson Susan Somers.

Diet fads, diet pills, and gadgets… they’ve been around for ages. Most experts agree that they are, at best, a quick fix (often effective in the short-term, but are not sustaining). My recipe for healthy aging is good nutrition and exercise. I recommend daily exercise and a calorie controlled diet high in protein. Unfortunately for many people it is a difficult recipe to follow, but worth way more than a $19.95 infomercial promise.

Philip Hitchcock is an independent, Certified Personal Trainer specializing in “Fitness after 40,” Resistance Training and Weight Loss. He maintains his own client base and is also the exclusive trainer for the Four Seasons Hotel. Check out