Pump Fiction, Exercise Ripoffs
The benefits of exercise are well-documented. Unfortunately, that's not always the case with advertising claims for exercise equipment.
Some advertisers claim - without evidence - that their exercise products offer a quick, easy way to shape up, keep fit and lose weight. The truth is, there's no such thing as a no-work, no-sweat way to a healthy, toned body. Deriving the benefits of exercise requires doing the work.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued several promoters of electronic abdominal exercise belts - also known as electronic muscle stimulators (EMS) - for claiming users could get "six-pack abs" and lose inches in a short time. The Food and Drug Administration has never cleared any kind of electronic abdominal muscle stimulator for weight loss or obtaining "rock-hard" abs. While some electronic muscle stimulators may temporarily strengthen, tone or firm muscles, they will not lead to major muscle-toning or a major change in appearance.
So, before you jump into the next home fitness fad, the FTC offers this advice: Exercise good judgment and evaluate advertising claims for exercise products carefully.
Read the performance claims critically. Be leery of those that say the equipment or device can:
Always read the fine print. The advertised results may be based on more than just the use of the machine; they also may be based on restricting calories. The fine print may explain this. Even if it doesn't, keep in mind that diet and exercise together are much more effective for achieving a healthy, toned body than either tactic is alone.
Be skeptical of testimonials or before-and-after pictures from "satisfied" customers. Their experiences may not be typical: Just because one person had success with the equipment doesn't mean you will, too. As for those popular celebrity endorsements, they, too, are no proof that the equipment will work as claimed.
Finding the Right Equipment
To help you choose the best equipment for your needs, check out consumer and fitness magazines that rate exercise equipment. Then test various pieces of equipment at a local gym, recreation center or retailer to find the machine or device that feels comfortable to you.
Whether used or new, home exercise equipment can be a great way to shape up - but only if you use it regularly. Don't be taken in by claims of quick, easy and effortless results: There's no such thing as a no-work, no-sweat way to a toned body!
For additional information, please visit the following areas:
Portions of the above information was provided with the kind permission of the Federal Trade Commission (http://www.ftc.gov/)
Last Editorial Review: 9/5/2002
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