The 10 Worst Fitness And Weight Loss Gimmicks

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To attain your best body, you need to exercise and follow a healthy diet. This fact doesn’t stop companies from marketing ridiculous shortcuts. Here are 10 of the most bizarre gimmicks we’ve seen (and smarteralternatives).

Related: 6 Strict Diets With Serious Flaws

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Related: 6 Healthy Foods That Get a Bad Rap

The Hawaii Chair

Haven’t you always wanted to hula your way to a six-pack? Thankfully, there’s the Hawaii Chair, which mimics the tummy-trimming motion while you’re sitting at your desk. (Grass skirt not included.)

Better option: Sit on a fitness ball at work, or buy a hula-hoop.

Related: Everything You Know About Fitness Is a Lie

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The Cold Shoulder

Science says your body burns more calories when it’s slightly chilled, so why not wear an ice vest every day? The Cold Shoulder, a $150 ice pack developed by a NASA scientist, claims to burn fat 70 percent faster than dieting alone. Just wear the vest up to three hours each day (two 90-minute sessions) on an empty stomach, and try to ignore the discomfort.

Better option: Turn down your thermostat or head outside for a brisk walk.

Related: The Real Weight-Loss Workout

Diet Sunglasses

Forget low-carb diets. Just wear these blue shades, and your food will suddenly look unappetizing, causing you to eat less and lose weight.

Better option: Enjoy your food. If you’re worried about portion control, try the proven trick of eating off of a smaller plate.

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Thermal Suit

Sauna suits have long been used by wrestlers trying to make weight, but they’re also marketed to regular folks who want to sweat off a few pounds. Trouble is, you’re only losing water, not fat.

Better option: You can work up a real sweat through weight lifting or HIIT, and you’ll build muscle and boost your metabolism at the same time.

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Green Coffee Beans

The claim: Certain polyphenols found in green coffee beans can help burn fat and when concentrated in pills — the kind heralded by Dr. Oz — you will quickly lose weight. The problem: Subsequent studies have found major holes in such claims, and the extra caffeine in the pills may be too much for some.

Better option: If you’re looking for a miracle fat-burning supplement, start with probiotics (preferably in natural foods) to start building a healthier microbiome. 

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Shake Weight

Made famous by its infomercials and a Saturday Night Live parody, the Shake Weight continues to sell with claims it “increases your upper-body muscle activity by up to 300 percent” compared to traditional weights. Studies have since debunked that claim.

Better option: You’ll see better, more functional results withtraditional dumbbell exercises that offer a full range of motion.

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Flex Belt

This abdominal belt uses electronic muscle stimulation to force your muscles to contract. Despite evidence that it actually works to contract muscles (similar technology is used by physical therapists), Flex Belt won’t remove the layer of fat covering your six-pack.

Better option: To lose belly fat, you’ll need to focus on healthy eating and exercise.

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Dumbbell Phone

Why just sit at your desk answering the phone when you could be building your biceps at the same time? Just remember to alternate arms.

Better option: If you can’t get off the phone and go to the gym, try some bodyweight moves at your desk.

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iGallop

Apparently, horseback riding is great for your abs and glutes. No horse? No problem. With the iGallop, you can ride in the comfort of your living room.

Better option: According to one study, you’ll expend about the same amount of energy and work similar muscles by cycling or inline skating.

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Kangoo Jumps

These “rebound shoes” were developed to reduce the impact to your joints while running. Fans say they’re an effective workout, but only if you don’t fall over (and don’t mind looking ridiculous).

Better option: For low-impact jumping, nothing beats a trampoline. For explosive-strength-building, try plyometrics.

By Gina Demillo Brown

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