TV Shopping: How To Not Get Scammed!

I happened to zap into one of those late-night-TV-infomercials about the latest miracle devices for getting a great body. For once, my wife and I decided to actually watch the crap and get a good laugh.
One night, I happened to zap into one of those late-night-TV-infomercials about the latest "miracle" devices for getting a great body. For once, my wife and I decided to actually watch the crap and get a good laugh instead of just sighing and moving on to another channel.

Comparing Exercises

It was a most interesting experience. The one product in particular showing this time was a crossbreed between a Stairmaster and a cross-trainer (name withheld to avoid a lawsuit against me). The man and the woman presenting this were, of course, booming about how great it was for fat burn, building muscle tone, avoiding injuries. There were clips of oiled-up athletes using the machine, fitness experts praising it, flashing percentages of how superior it was compared to other ways of training and, of course, the man using the machine "for the first time" and getting utterly surprised by how easy it was.

Convincing enough, huh? Well, let's take a closer look. Oiled-up athletes using the machine? Does that make it more credible? So, if I would take two golf balls and glue onto a toothpick and put this "mini-dumbbell" into the hands of Arnold Schwarzenegger, does that mean I could credit his impressive biceps to my toothpick-and-golf balls dumbbell? You figure.

Expert Opinions?

Cue the fitness-experts. You're presented by a couple of smiling faces praising the product, and at the bottom of the screen you see their names and the words: "Fitness expert." Period. Umm ... Fitness expert? Who's a fitness expert? The CEO of the company's wife who uses the machine daily? Or is it an actual trainer, certified by a recognized organization and without any economic interests in the product? It doesn't say.

Then they tell us that the product is five times more effective than a fat-burn session at a treadmill. They even tell us that you can cut your cardio-training time by four-fifths if you use their product! Great, huh? Not quite. The small text at the bottom says that this goes if using the machine at 80% resistance, while having the treadmill at 2.7 m.p.h. When was the last time you used a treadmill going 2.7 m.p.h.? Then add the detail of us being humans. Sure, you might burn five times more CALORIES, but are we talking actual fat loss here? Experience tells us that you must keep the pulse up for 15-to-20 minutes before you get any fat burning worth mentioning going. Busting your guts for 10 minutes and believing you're burning fast as efficiently as if you were doing 50 minutes of lower intensity work? Not likely.

We're told that it's not only fat burn, but it's a "total body workout" - which can replace hours in the gym, indicating that since it has two handles, it will train your arms sufficiently, "Toning up the muscle." Now raise a hand, all you who think you'll get 22-inch guns by resting your hands on a pair of handles sliding back and forth in an arch-like motion?

Marketing Is Judgemental

I think the point is made by now - the marketing is dubious, and just judging from all the tricks used in the presentation one is led to believe this is a total scam - like most "miracle" devices sold on TV. So what am I to think when the product actually, peeling away the crook-kind of of marketing, seems to be a great machine for cardio?

Imagine my surprise when I had to admit to myself: "Geez, this could be for real!" I haven't had the opportunity to try this particular device myself, but judging from what I could see it should provide you with a great cardio workout. Of course, forget about that "muscle-toning" crap (shouldn't make any difference whatsoever to someone who workouts with weights regularly) but from a cardio-only perspective it should be great.

Yet, the marketing scheme disgusts me so badly I'd never consider actually BUYING it - which could be a shame if I was in the market for it.

So what's the bottom line? Sometimes, just sometimes, there seems to be good products being offered, but they're so cleverly disguised as the usual scams that you're led to overlook it. It's a sad state of affairs. Don't believe the hype, check the sources, and apply common sense to your purchases - and make sure not to fool yourself the other way around as well, turning down a good product just because it's badly marketed.