Six health and fitness products to not waste your money on this year

It’s that time of year again: We’re still trying to find things to make with leftover turkey and looking to the next month full of more holidays. Of course, the most important one to the fitness industry is New Year’s Day. We’re all going to promise to lose fat, gain muscle, and generally be more fit, which is a great idea if you can stick with it. If you think you can do it with one of the following products though, think again.

The Hawaii Chair

Well, at first glance this seems pretty cool. Work out while you sit in your depressing grey cubicle, all right. I can write some code for beyond the whiteboard while I burn off the stuffing. Here goes nothing.


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So what can you use instead? A hula hoop. Yes, they still make them, in a plethora of sizes and weights. None of them will set you back $300. You will still look ridiculous if you try to use it at work, though.

JumpSnap: The ropeless jump rope

It’s a jumprope… without the rope. You can do everything with it you can do with a jumprope, except for learning to be coordinated enough to actually do double-unders. The list price is $60 but you can get it for only $35 at Amazon right now. Of course, you could also get a jump rope for about $8; batteries not included and not necessary.

Shake Weight

Comes in two types, one for women

And one for men

240 reps per minute! WHOO! I am going to get RIPPED!

Wait. What’s the range of motion on those “reps”, about an inch? How much work can you possibly be doing? You would be much better off with a good set of dumbbells — Sure, they’re more expensive than a $30 Shake Weight, but think of all the money you just saved by not buying a Hawaii Chair! Plus, you won’t look like a massive tool.

Carb Blockers / Fat Blockers

Eat all the carbs you want, and don’t get fat, as long as you don’t mind a little “leakage”. Think about it for a minute: If you’re not allowing your body to digest this stuff, it’s going to head for the nearest exit as fast as possible. Instead of spending $70 a month on these pills, you could try NOT eating 500 Calories worth of carbs in a single meal. Do Zone, do Paleo, or at least skip the soda. You don’t need 36 grams of carbs from caffeinated carbonated sugar water.

Wii Fit

I have a Wii. I’ve had good times with it, some of the games are awesome, and maybe this one is even fun, but Wii Fit is not going to do much for you fitness-wise unless your entire life has been spent in front of the TV. If this came with Wii Dumbbells and a Wii pullup bar I might have more respect for it, but Nintendo probably decided that people flinging their remotes at the TV was bad enough. Instead of Wii Fit, I highly recommend New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Sure, you don’t use the balance board and it doesn’t claim to make you fitter, but just try playing it for an hour with your friends without at least one fight breaking out. That’ll burn off some of the pumpkin pie.

Globo Gym Memberships

Gym membership agreement

Yes, I am really claiming that (most) gym memberships will not help you get fit. I’m talking about big chain gyms with lengthy contracts here. They lure you in with their free first months and other deals during this time of the year, and get you to sign up for a year-long contract. What happens for most people from then is you’ll use the gym once or twice a week for a month and then stop going (but keep paying) when the drive to complete your New Year’s resolution dies down. They make a good deal of money off of people who don’t go to the gym, so there’s no incentive for them to call you when you stop showing up.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but if you join a Crossfit gym, you will see results because their business model is predicated on you showing up and working out.



  1. January 12, 2010 / 6:38 pm

    Great list of crazy fitness gadgets, the ropeless jumprope takes the cake!

    We had a white elephant gift exchange at a Christmas party full of Crossfitters this year. One of the gifts was a Thighmaster and we all had a good laugh over that one. It hangs in the gym now and I keep threatening to make the WOD 150 Thighmasters for time.

  2. Doug
    January 25, 2010 / 6:12 pm

    When I saw the shake weight commercial I thought it was a joke/spoof. Those women had to know that they looked like they were auditioning for a gonzo porn shoot.

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