Fitness gimmicks: navigating through the hype on TV

Written by Thomas Liang, Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Do you remember the bull worker? Belt massager? How about the thigh master? Shake weight? Body blade? Ab roller? Or what about that electrical device that you attach to your stomach that promised to give you a 6-pack?

Chances are you have heard of at least one of these, or even have your very own folded up in the wardrobe gathering dust. The common thread with all of these weight loss fitness gadgets is that a particularly savvy advertisement may have lured you in with great promise of incredible results and neglected to highlight the fine print of what else you need to be doing to get results.

Understandably, a quick fix approach particularly to weight loss is very enticing. However, the reality is that the body takes time to change and is best achieved through an active lifestyle encompassing physical activity, breaking up periods of sedentary behaviour and selecting healthy food options to name a few.

To clear up any unrealistic expectations with regards to using a fitness gadget for weight loss, the following pointers can be helpful in deciding where to spend your money.

  • If the equipment only targets one muscle group, for instance, the abdominals, this does not necessarily mean that you will lose weight around that area.
  • If the equipment requires minimal exertion from you, for instance just standing on a vibrating platform then chances are you won’t be burning enough energy for weight loss to occur.
  • If the gadget or activity is using multiple large muscle groups such as legs, back, arms, chest, core then it is more likely to be burning more energy and positively contributing to weight loss.
  • If using the device allows you to get to a point where you are increasing your breathing rate and working at a moderate level of intensity of at least 3-4 out of a scale of 0-10, then it is helping to stimulate weight loss.

For further advice on physical activity, weight loss or making changes to your diet, please speak to either an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or Accredited Practicing Dietitian on the NDSS Helpline 1300 136 588.

You don’t need to be an athlete, you just need to move a little more than you did yesterday.

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