Posted on 30 March, 2017

My Favourite Fitness Gimmicks

By Jacob Andreae in Fitness, Exercise, Mix104.9, Radio Show My Favourite Fitness Gimmicks

[Image source: LifeZette]

This week on Balls'N'All, we're all about fitness gimmicks. From the thigh master to the Hawaii Chair (Google it), we discuss whether or not these gimmicks actually work, or if they're just one big marketing ploy. 

My Favourite Fitness Gimmicks

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Transcribed Text:

Jackson - Now Jacob you are the guru on all things fitness. And what we have come up with a little bit off air are some of our favourite fitness gimmicks over the years. And I mean you are a man that, well to me at least looks like you love your fitness gimmicks. So I mean we’ve got a little bit of a list here that we’ve created, should we touch on the ‘Shake Weight’ first? That’s the first on the list but I mean anyone that’s seen the Shake Weight and if you are at home, a bit confused as to what it is, have a look on youtube. South Park I think dedicated a whole episode to ridiculing the design of this Shake Weight gimmick. And I mean we have a responsibility to the listeners out there to not be vulgar on a Sunday morning so we can’t really explain what it looks like but it looks like something you do when you’ve been in the shower for 20 minutes or definitely no-one else is around at home. I don’t know how to explain it any more than that. But it something you do, maybe if you don’t have a girlfriend you might do it a little bit more than other people would but what do you make of this one Jacob is it effective?

Jacob - So the… No, no it’s not effective I don’t think. The Shake Weight looks like a dumbbell which just shakes back and forth when you're holding your hands. There’s a very famous video on the internet, I can’t think of the actors name… But an actress who’s holding it and she’s cracking up laughing.

Jackson - So we’ll ignore that but let’s talk about the abs. And when people think of weight loss and fitness that’s always the selling point for these companies. Very rarely when they’re doing a fitness ad and talking about weight loss or a new exercise or something like that they always do… a zoom in on the person’s abs, whether it’s male or female. It’s never like ‘oh look at the toneness in their arms’. It’s always the abs, that’s the selling point. So we’ll look at the Ab Lounge and the Ab Circle Pro. Are you a fan of these ab machines?

Jacob - So the Ab Lounge is essentially like a lounge and the video that’s on the internet is on the beach, so it looks like a beach chair. I think that it actually would be alright, at the end of the day let me say this: that the best ab exercise you can do is bracing and planking. Because they are like vacuuming exercises where it’s sucking everything in. So you’re strengthening what’s called your Transverse Abdominis which is your flat stomach muscle. You’ve also got your Rectus Abdominis which is your 6 pack muscle. Everyone has got a 6 pack in there somewhere so what you want to do is expose that. So to expose it you 1: you reduce the amount of fat on your body. And 2: you strengthen up that Transverse Abdominis. But planking not only strengthens the Transverse but also the Obliques and Erector Spinae which is in the lower back. So it kinda is like a vacuuming exercise, pulling everything in. So in saying that, the Ab Lounge however… Is not a bad exercise for those Rectus Abdominis, those 6 pack muscles.

Jackson - So the Ab Lounge gets your tick of approval, that’s an interesting one. Just a bit of an off topic a little bit, what do you recommend for the abs? So you’ve got the planks which is fine, that gets your tick of approval as well, but what about the traditional sit-up or the crunch?

Jacob - Yeah so when we were talking about this segment I kind of had in mind that Ab Crunch machine where you kind of laid on it with your neck. And then you held onto the bar above your head then you pulled it forward and it kind of helped you to do a sit-up. That isn’t very good for your neck, although it does help you to get up. But I’m not a real fan of sit-ups, crunches are not so bad. But when I’ve asked people to do crunches what I normally do is more of a pilates style crunch where you’re aiming to keep your lower back pressed down into the mat. As if you’re trying to leave an imprint of your spine in the mat, and slide your rib cage down towards your hips. So get your ribs sliding parallel with the ground, as opposed to lifting your shoulders up.

Jackson - Very good. Moving on what about the ThighMaster? I haven’t heard of the ThighMaster and you’re telling me that it’s very popular.

Jacob - Yeah well I think my parents had a ThighMaster at one point and I’ve used it. So you put it between your thighs and you squeeze your thighs together. So it’s a bit of a thigh burning activity, it’s pretty tough.

Jackson - I wouldn’t have guessed, it’s called the ThighMaster but you’re telling me that it’s a thigh burning activity, wow, you’ve got the revelations here. We will move on, one of your favourites you’ve spoken about for many weeks now is the Gazelle Glider. You wanted to get a Gazelle Glider into the Wanderers Football Club until Dean Rioli said that that’s not the direction the Club wants to go in. So the Gazelle Glider Jacob?

Jacob - This is, I used one of these when we were in Bali over Christmas and they are the most awkward machines to use.

Jackson - Gazelle’s are awkward animals so maybe it suits its name.

Jacob - It’s like you want to lift your knees up. So again have a look at this on the internet, google ‘Gazelle Glider’. It’s just your feet going back and forwards in a straight motion but it doesn’t resemble anything to do with running. It feels to me like, when I was using it I wanted to lift my knees up. But the other thing I wanted to do, ‘cause you’re hanging onto handles at the same time, is I wanted to really lean back and pull my hands back towards me so my feet were out in front. It just… But that…

Jackson - What does it work? So when you get off the Gazelle Glider do you: ‘Oh I’m really feeling it in the left oblique now.’ Or what is it, what’s gonna feel the burn?

Jacob - Well for me it didn’t really feel like a muscular thing at all. So where the ThighMaster, whatever it was called, seemed to you know, burn the thighs, this didn't really seem to burn anything. I think it was a bit more of a cardiovascular exercise, so essentially if you want to do this exercise just go for a run or walk.

Jackson - You would have thought so. What about the Hawaii Chair? It’s a very strange name.

Jacob - Yeah the Hawaii Chair, I’d never heard of this until I saw it on the internet. And there’s a video of Ellen sitting on it and she’s on the phone. And I don’t know if she’s sitting on the wrong part of it or what but the thing is spinning around in a circular motion but it doesn’t look like she’s sitting on the chair properly. So it looks like it’s something you do while you’re watching tv or talking on the phone, and your whole hips are moving around in a circle while the rest of your body’s kind of not. So to me it looks like it’s working your obliques, all of those muscles in your core, your trunk area. But I don’t reckon it’d be doing a whole lot, you’re not doing a lot.

Jackson - I have a theory that you can’t get a lot out of exercise if you can do it while on the phone. And I mean obviously everyone looks at their distractions. I have been on a spin bike before or whatever you want to call it while watching tv or listening to music. But on the phone’s probably a step into the territory where you say yeah you’re probably not getting that burn. You’re not getting what you want out of that exercise, would that be right? I mean distractions we’ve spoken about before on here that if you can use music or whatever it might be to get you off the couch and get you going then it’s all for it. But surely there’s a cut-off point somewhere where you see these new fitness gimmicks and that and they say: ‘It takes 2 minutes out of your day and you’ll get rock hard abs.’ Or ‘Do this in the comfort of your living room.’ Are they… is that just marketing, is that just scam?

Jacob - I don’t know about scam but definitely marketing. And you know what I find the most interesting when I see that is it always says in small text at the bottom: ‘as part of a holistic program.’ You know so you also need to be doing this other exercise but the one thing you’ll always see is they’ll always include a nutrition plan.

Jackson - So basically you can get the Hawaii Chair and get those rock hard abs but it’s in conjunction with repeat 400 metres and fartlek training and an impeccable diet and Jacob Andreae’s fitness advice. Is that about right?

Jacob - Essentially yeah.

Jackson - But moving on what about the Leg Magic? So that’s another one that I’m not really familiar with.

Jacob - This is the one that I think my parents… Geez my parents have got a lot of old fitness equipment at home.

Jackson - They should turn off the tv at 10pm, it’s just those infomercials sucking ‘em in Jacob.

Jacob - That’s where they’re getting it from. And a lot of it’s all rusted and stuff sitting out the back but. So they’ve got this Leg Magic machine and it goes in and out sideways. So you stand on it and the first time you hop on it it’s a little bit awkward and uncomfortable because it just shoots your legs straight out to the side. And you almost start doing like the splits, and then you pull it back in by pulling your legs in closer to the centreline of your body. And again just like the ThighMaster… maybe my mum likes those thigh exercises because it does the exact same thing as the ThighMaster and it burns the inside of your thighs.

Jackson - Now I know exactly which one you’re talking about now. I did it in the gym one time Jacob and felt… If there’s ever a way you want to feel insecure in the gym its get on one of these Leg Magics. I think I remember I was on it and it was one of those ones where it goes out a lot faster than you think. So when you put your legs on it in the middle and you push out, it goes out at a much faster velocity than what you would expect. But the tricky thing here Jacob is getting off it. So I found that I could get that one leg off it and then I was just dangling there trying not to look stupid. And I mean I tell you what, when you’ve got all these muscle heads in the gym and that, looking like an idiot on the Leg Magic’s probably the last thing that’s going to earn you respect. But one of my personal favourites, and it’s similar to the Leg Magic in regards to looking like an idiot while you’re on it, is the Horse Rider. So can you tell us what you know about the Horse Rider Jacob?

Jacob - What I do know, I don’t know a lot about this but what I do know is it comes from Japan, it was made in Japan. And so you sit on it, it looks like it has to slide across the ground a little bit. So you sit on this seat, I think you hang onto a handle, I’m not too sure. And then you go up and down like you’re sitting on a pogo stick. And the legs of it sort of slide forward and back as if it’s like a suspension type seat. Essentially it looks like you’re riding Phar Lap down the home straight of the Melbourne Cup.

Jackson - Surely some of these guys that make this type of equipment… surely they are taking the mickey, taking the urine… Like they must make it and think: ‘Oh come on now Robbo, surely no one is going to hop on that fake mechanical looking horse and think that it’s going to be an alternative to their weight loss troubles. Do you think that any of these people designing it, I mean like, come on now tell me, that in the hundreds of people involved in making the Shake Weight, the first one we mentioned, surely they would’ve had a joke amongst the office, you know ‘Ho ho mate, do you know what that looks like?’ You know that’s got to happen, surely.

Jacob - Yeah maybe. I think at the end of the day they’re just trying to make it fun so that exercise is fun you know. And they know that people are going to buy it because they’re trying to sell the desire you know, they’re trying to sell what someone wants to be. And so if you can… you know, you don’t actually have to do any hard work, like for example go for a walk or a run or a ride or a swim or go and do some strength exercise whether it’s outdoors at the park or at a gym, they’re essentially just trying to, you know, tap into these people that just want to sit in the lounge room and… you know - get fit and healthy!

Jackson - Yeah. I tell you what, the last one is something that I know you’re a big fan of - that may or may not be true but we’ll move on - and that’s the Power Band! So I’m positive that there’s people at home listening to this that are well aware of the Power Band and they were those little wrist band thingies that used to give you superpowers, it used to improve your flexibility and your strength and there was all these tests and there was a lot of marketing, there was more marketing on the Power Band than I think the ShamWow. It was the most popular thing back in the day. You’d see kids, adults, men, women and I have a funny story about the Power Band. And as a 16 year old I was fortunate enough doing all that NT Thunder stuff, I got an opportunity to play as a reserves top-up player for the Brisbane Lions with(Inaudible) or it might have been AFL Queensland back then but there were a couple of good players there and all the players had their Power Bands on and I was a little footy nerd so I was probably the only one that knew all these Lions reserves players and knew about where they were drafted and all that sort of stuff and one of the players playing was Pearce Hanley. Who's obviously turned into a really good football player now but back then he’d only played a handful of senior AFL games and he was wearing the Power Bands and I thought: ‘oh here’s a good opportunity, we had a training session, I might bond with Pearce Hanley for a bit and see what he’s like as a bloke’ and the first thing I said was “oh, how do they go?” and pointed at his Power Band and he was looking around at his wrist which clearly had the Power Band on it and he was like “What? What are you talking about?” in his Irish voice - I got a terrible Irish accent so I can’t put it on - but I basically said yeah, is it any good? I’ve heard a lot about ‘em and he went on a rant, a serious rant, for about a minute saying how ridiculous it was and you know Irish people they’re like swearing a lot and putting a lot of language into their descriptions but yeah, he hated this Power Band that’s for sure. It sounded like Connor McGregor after a loss, he was livid about this thing that he had to wear, it was a club sponsorship deal so that Power Band definitely got a work out but… Skipping to the chase Jacob, have you heard of these Power Bands and are they just made up? You don’t see anyone wearing them any more so they must have been a bit of a sham really…

Jacob - No you don’t. So was he wearing it because the club had instructed all the players that they had to?

Jackson - Yeah well it must have been. So obviously there wasn’t a major sponsorship in regards to, you know, a logo on their jumper or something but I imagine they must have sent them out for free and got a bit of promotion in return, something like that, but he definitely didn’t go out and buy it.

Jacob - Yeah. So I don’t know what all the research was behind it but yeah so definitely these little rubber bands that you used to wear on your wrists which came out you know surprisingly at the same time that wearing rubber wrist… ah, rubber bands on your wrists were very popular, made popular by Lance Armstrong you know and with the Live Strong, the yellow cancer awareness band, and all of a sudden you’ve got these Power Bands which have got this ability to make you stronger and so having that strength you know like it worked through the system in all... I don’t know what ways, and it made you stronger, so it made your grip stronger, made you be able to lift more weights and all this stuff and run for longer and I don’t know what other claims there were but I remember I was teaching middle school and every student seemed to have one of these on and I remember when, after they first come out and all of a sudden they start coming out of China and they were much less you know much cheaper and much reduced quality and I remember seeing ones where, you know how they had the little like sort of reflective thing on them, where that reflective thing was a sticker, so you could just peel it off… It used to make me laugh!

Jackson - I tell you what Jacob, that’s a brilliant marketing ploy. There was no better physical visible sign that you could put your hand up and say “I’m a gullible idiot” than wearing one of those! So I tell you what if your job was a car salesman or one of those people that goes door-to-door or maybe they’re working for a charity in the street, in the shopping centre, something like that, if you saw someone walking with a Power Band they might as well have held up a giant sign saying “Here look guys, I’m the idiot, sell me something, here I am, I’m ready!” I mean surely - it’s a band! A band can’t, logically, increase your athletic potential.But it got me thinking Jacob. You love fitness, you’ve got a teaching background, you’ve got a lot of backgrounds Jacob, is the business of scamming and creating these fake, or not so much fake but borderline ridiculous fitness proposals, is this something that you might look into down the track?

Jacob - No way! Na! You can quote me on that, on air, saying that I’m not going to be selling anything like that. Maybe apparel… I’d like to sell shirts and shorts or something…

Jackson - But you won’t magically say that these shirts will make you...

Jacob - No! They’re not going to be intertwined with some magical material that’s going to enhance your ability to be able to run faster for longer…

Jackson - Oh, very good…

Jacob - Unless there’s, something comes out like that because you know when I was driving in this morning I did hear on tv that there’s this new google jacket which allows...which does all these things - I don’t know enough to talk about it but go and google it if you are interested but…

Jackson - Google the ‘Google Jacket’?

Jacob - Yeah. Exactly.

Jackson - I did hear that actually and it is pretty fascinating and I mean - really going off topic now but there’s another pill going around, a tablet that’s supposedly reverses aging… I know everyone says that, there’s always moisturiser this and that but apparently this has a little bit of weight behind it and they’re doing all these final studies in Japan or China and I might just be very racist by assuming it’s one of those countries but it’s definitely not in Australia or America or anything like that. I’m almost positive it’s Japan.and basically a lot of research has been done and taking this tablet will supposedly increase years on your life and your athletic potential and stuff like that, and I think that’s something we can talk about either later on or in a future episode but we do need to move on and there’s plenty more to come we’re about 5 minutes away, 4 minutes away from 9 o’clock. We will play the news this time and stay with us on Mix 104.9.

About Jacob Andreae

About Jacob Andreae

I write and speak about Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset. 

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My Favourite Fitness GimmicksA quick start guide to losing weight and staying on track. Learn the strategies I use to eat and move for optimal health. Includes worksheets to enhance your motivation, commitment and discipline, along with a sample eating plan and exercise program.