| By Big Jeff Pearce |
I started out trying to write an article about the best gimmicky pieces of workout equipment on TV. I tried, really, I did. I got to number three and I realized what I already knew; you don’t really need any of it except for a chin up bar. The fact of the matter is that a lot of the movements that these pieces of equipment allow you to do can be done in your home, on a chair or on the floor. Do you really need a perfect push-up? No. Just do a push up and stop being ridiculous.
If you want a home gym, you will have to sink some money into the appropriate equipment. Something like a Multi -Function Chinning Bar will allow you to do chin up, and that’s great, but what about your legs and your core? Well, there is something called “The Rack”. This walker-like device allows you to do everything from bicep curls with 20 lbs. to back squats with 20 lbs. Chin-ups are great, but they aren’t going to build the physique you want by themselves. The same thing applies to back squats with “The Rack”. Body weight exercises are fantastic, but you don’t need these ridiculous contraptions in your home gym to do the majority of them.
So let’s get this list of the worst of the worst; the ugliest of the ugliest started off with an earth shattering “shake”…
#1 – The Shake Weight
Yeah, this thing is real. I don’t know who thought this thing up but it is by far the most ridiculous and worst attempt to get money out of people’s pockets that I have ever seen. Seriously? You’re going to shake your way to fitness? Really? If you believe that, you’re probably the same person that looked up the world gullible in the dictionary when your friends told you they took it out. This thing has been parodied and made fun of in shows like South Park and across a litany of fitness websites. However, you can still find it all over the place – from Wal-Mart to Sportchek, it’s still everywhere.
#2 – The Sauna Belt
Apparently, fat actually melts off of your body when you apply heat to it! By that logic, I could take an acetylene torch to my love handles and burn them right off; I’m sure they would come off, but not in the way I would want. I should note that there is some validity to the application of heat, it will make you sweat. The sweat that you pour out will help you lose some weight, until you drink anything. A lot of MMA fighters use saunas to help shed water weight before weigh-ins but that weight is replenished almost immediately after. Remember, you can’t sauna off fat.
#3 – The Thigh Master
I think that everyone’s mom had one of these in their house. It is the Thigh Master. It is sold as a toning system and there are a variety of exercises or attachments you can do to mix it up. A wise little green Jedi named Yoda told me once “Tone not. Burn fat or gain muscle. There is no tone.” I don’t know how a little resistance training is going to help burn fat and gain muscle at the same time (totally reshaping your legs); but apparently it can.
#4 – Any Electric Shock Weight-Loss Device
For the truly lazy, do the following:
- Wrap this belt with electrodes around your impossibly large mid-section.
- Grab a bag of Doritos Cool Ranch.
- Lie back in your favourite recliner and turn on the television set.
- Turn on your electro-shock belt and let the pounds fly away!
People actually bought this thinking that it would shed pounds for them. The dumbest, most out of shape guy in my gym swears by it and tells me about it all the time with an insane look in his eye. I don’t know how much I trust him, but I know that I don’t trust that belt to come through on its promises. These things also exist for your biceps and other muscles. If it were this easy, everyone would look like Arnold in his prime.
#5 – The Entire Scope Of Abdominal Devices
From the Ab Rocker to the Ab Doer, there are countless devices out there that do nothing for your mid-section. My own family fell prey to these machines, even the author himself as a fat 11 year old boy. I am not saying they are completely useless or anything. Just unnecessary. Any movement you do where you contract your mid-section, or get you off the couch will help…Somewhat.
The Lesson …
In my first month working out, I ran into a great Canadian boxer, George Chuvalo, who once went 15 rounds toe-to-toe against legendary Muhammad Ali. I asked him to sign my training log and he wrote in it “Hard work pays off”. That moment has stuck with me ever since. No matter what device you buy, even a fully equipped home gym, it will not help you attain the physique you want unless you are willing to put the work in and eat right. Shortcut gimmicks and ridiculous, too-good-to-be-true promises will not help you attain your goals – they will keep them from ever being attained. Get serious, throw out the nonsense and design yourself a solid meal/training plan. Be consistent and realize that there is no substitute for hard work. Hard work pays off.
Jeff Pearce, Editor-In-Chief
Big Jeffrey Pearce, is a physical culture writer, editor, personal trainer, and a lifetime natural bodybuilder from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been bodybuilding and strength training since he was 16 years old and remains a dedicated gym rat to this day. Big Jeff is one of the strongest athletes you will ever meet, routinely bench pressing 500lbs and tossing up 150lb dumbbells for reps in a typical workout. An honors graduate from the University of Toronto, Jeff’s brains also match his brawn. Jeff has a passion for writing and has been in featured in Muscular Development. Jeff also coaches high school kids on the benefits of strength training and nutrition.