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5 Surprising Benefits of Fitness Fads and Gimmicks

Shake WeightI’m the first to admit, how hard it is to keep a straight face when you are watching the shake weight informercial. The million dollar question is, “Can a fitness gimmick like the shake weight actually help someone?” Before talk shop about products, let’s talk about the “someone”.

As a personal trainer who’s been in the industry for over 20 years, I’ve seen it all. I’ve met people from all walks of life, every shape and every fitness level. I’ve met so many different people at the beginning of their fitness journey and I think what most fitness enthusiasts forget forget there are SO many levels of “beginners” out there. You may feel like a beginner, but you already walk 2-3 times a week. However, that may be very advanced to someone else.


As a I do more work for fitness products and informercials (like you see in the Chair Gym infomercial below), I get exposed to all kinds of fitness products. What I have realized more than ever is I’m the minority. There are so many people who have never worked out a day in their life or have never stepped foot into a gym. Sadly, that is the majority.

While I may never personally use some of these products on a regular basis, (mostly because I own a gym and do everything there), I have had the opportunity to see how they actually can help people. This came as a bit of a surprise to me honestly.

Chair GymMy point is, there is something for everyone and “starting” looks very different for different people. For example, when my mom first set out to lose weight, her first step was not into a gym or even down a specific grocery aisle in search for healthier foods. Her first step to a healthier life included a pen and notebook. Before she went on her first walk, she picked up her first fitness tools; a journal and my Get Pfit Workbook. She journaled and studied for 3 months.

You see, before you start actually getting fit and healthy, you have to WANT to get fit and healthy – but that takes hope. Something or someone has to give you hope. For my mom, knowledge gave her that hope. As she studies and did some soul searching along the way, she began to muster up enough energy to start her fitness and weight loss journey.

The next step included getting a rickety home gym treadmill. This was her first fitness purchase. Many people tease about their treadmill collected dust or being a clothes hanger, but it worked for my mom. While it was it wasn’t the best quality unit on the market, she used it. It was her beginning.

Rosalie BradfordLet’s look at another example. Did you ever hear of the story of the lady, Rosalie Bradford, who once held the Guinness World Record as the world’s heaviest woman? Her beginning exercise was clapping to a Richards Simmons VHS tape while she was in bed. Richard Simmons actually visited her and gave her the hope she needed to believe she could make a difference even if she couldn’t actually do his workout videos. So, instead, she would just clap to the beat while watching Simmons workout. Low and behold, that was her start to a complete transformation, losing 769 pounds.

So, while you may laugh at the sequined trainer dancing to the oldies, but it wasn’t a joke to her. It changed her life.

There are so many products out there. Many of them are actually great and many of them are less than stellar, but there’s more to an effective workout tool than the actual tool itself. These 5 benefits of fitness fads and gimmicks may surprise you.

5 Surprising Benefits of Fitness Fads and Gimmicks

richard-simmons1. It can give hope.

Just like how Richard Simmons encouraging Rosalie to clap her hands gave her much-needed hope, fitness products can do the same. For instance, even if a product only focuses on one body part (like the abs or just the thighs), it may give them the hope they need to get started on a total body fitness journey. And, even if it doesn’t scratch the surface of what they should be doing, it can be the beginning of a new healthier lifestyle. Some people just need to know they can do something, and that something doesn’t have the be the perfect thing, but just some thing. 

For more advanced fitness enthusiasts, some people enjoy collecting “toys”. You never know what new product, supplement or DVD can help you break your plateau or take you to the next level. As we plateau we can lose hope so even the smallest little gadget can be beneficial.

fun fitness2. It can be a motivational tool.

I recently tested a new ab product (which hasn’t come out yet) and I can honestly say I was skeptical at first. Most fitness professionals would definitely label this product as a fitness gimmick. However, I found when I used it, it motivated me to do even more work on my abs. Although I know the product alone won’t give me a 6-pack, it made me more aware of my core and my posture. It not only motivated me to maintain better poster and work harder on my core, it motivated me to take my diet up a notch too so I could uncover my hard work. While I know good and well this product is the solution to everyone’s bulging belly, I have to say proved to be beneficial for me.

Fitness_Chronicles_8_Mistakes_Beginners_Make_09.30.133. It can encourage you to seek more knowledge.

If you get a new fitness apparatus, it will likely require a bit of education and instruction so you know how to use it properly. Oftentimes this instruction overlaps to other new information and equipment. For instance, you may have never done one bicep curl before, but may you find yourself holding the shake weight and doing bicep curls for the first time just because you decided to give the vibrating dumbbell a try.

When I get a new fitness tool, I’m so much more apt to do more research online to learn more ways to use that tool. As I explore exercises, I often find more workouts and fitness equipment to try. Since knowledge truly is power, the more knowledgeable I become, the more motivated I am to apply the knowledge.

boring exercise4. It can prevent boredom.

There are so many fads and gimmicks that come and go, but they can entertain you for the time they are here. That is why it’s important for gyms to try new workout classes (like we recently started the new rocker workout called POUND at our gym). Anything you do or use for any length of time can get old over time so buying a new fad fitness tool for your home gym can help spice up an old boring workout.

5. We learn from our failures.

smiling yogiEven if a fitness gimmick doesn’t give you the results you want, you can learn from your mistakes. You will learn what you like and what you don’t like. You will learn more about fitness, as well as learn more ways to workout. I always encourage everyone to try every class and piece of equipment at the gym, and I think the same applies for home fitness.

NOTE: You can try a TON of different workout videos at From yoga to kettlebell workouts – they have something for everyone. A subscription site like LiveExercise is a great way to get a ton of content for very little investment.

Remember, as long as you keep trying products and exercises, you are not giving up – and that is the only way you really can fail.


Owner of Lift Vero and motivational "pfitness, pfood and pfaith" blogger in Vero Beach, Florida.


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