Are you Fooled by these Fitness Marketing Tricks?
Added: Thu. Jun 25, 2009 12:17pm
Posted in: Women
We’ve all seen the infomercials: fitness equipment that works you
out in only minutes each week. The model using the machine looks
perfect and an actor endorses it. It’s on television, so it must work.
In fact, I likely use it. So why am I going to tell you that you’ve
The truth is, most of the fitness equipment out there is great –
even if it looks like something from the inquisition. It’s usually safe
and effective if you know how to use it. Besides knowing how to use it,
it only works if it’s used. If you set it up and walk away, it does no
good. Of course, no matter what piece of equipment you use, it must be
part of a program to keep you fit.
The marketing often leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to
honesty and clarity. While the information may be accurate, it’s often
presented in a way that twists the truth. I’m here to level the playing
field on ab machines, thigh machines and cardio equipment. Let’s start
They rock, they roll, they work those six tiny little muscles in
your belly and melt away fat in only seconds. Right? Well, not quite. A
good deal of the marketing that goes into abdominal machines is just
barely honest and I’m left with the frustrated clients who had a much
different expectation. I also see people performing 200, 400, even 800
reps on these machines – with little or no results. How can this happen?
Rectus Abdominis: The muscle we all know as a six-pack is in fact,
one muscle. It appears to be six muscles because of the connective
tissue that holds it in place. In some cases, more defined individuals
can reveal 8 or even 10 “packs”. Regardless, that muscle is rectus
abdominis and it’s only one muscle.
The advertisements often make it seem as though you’re getting 3
machines in 1 or that you target more muscle groups than you really
are. This is where I have a concern. The equipment may work well – but
I feel the user should know what’s really going on.
Secondly, many of these machines make it easy to “cheat” through the
exercise. As a result people often tell me they can do 600 crunches
with a machine but get no results. If you depend on the machine to do
the work for you, you’re not benefiting as you could. You should really
“feel” the muscle working. The marketing makes it look so easy, people
assume they can do almost no work and get results. Not the case. Use
the machine to really target that muscle and make it work hard.
Thigh machines are very popular with women. They’re presented as the
answer to shapely, toned legs. The truth is, they work tiny muscles
called abductors and adductors. Abductors are on the outside of the
legs and draw the legs away from each other, adductors are the inside
thigh and they work to draw the legs towards each other. They are small
muscles that do not make a big difference in the look of your legs.
This also means you won’t be burning a ton of calories like you would
with other leg exercises like squats and lunges. You would likely get
more benefit from using these machines as a complement to a larger leg
The myth that you can lose fat off an area you are exercising is
called “spot reduction”. It doesn’t work. You can exercise your thighs
all day, but your body will take fat from where it wants to. When you
see these marketed as the answer to “rubbing thighs”, know that that
they only play a small role in that result.
Cardio equipment includes machines like treadmills, stair climbers,
elliptical, bikes, rowing machines and the like. While all have
benefits, there are some myths out there that lead to confusion for
Fortunately, I’m here to give you the bottom line. Much of the
cardio equipment out there indicates two heart rate “zones”. There’s a
“fat burning” and “cardio” zone. So what’s the difference? Well, it’s
quite simple and I’m going to do my best to clarify it for you right
Our bodies burn fat in different ratios at different heart rates.
When your heart rate reaches a certain point, 50% of the calories
you’re burning are fat. When you work harder, that ratio drops to 40%.
However, you burn a lot more calories at the higher rate.
For example, let’s imagine you work out in the “fat burning” zone and burn 100 calories. Fifty percent or 50 calories are fat.
If you work out in the “cardio” zone, you’ll burn 200 calories.
Forty percent of 200 calories is 80 fat calories. Which would you
rather burn, 50 fat calories or 80? I’d prefer 80. The marketing has
again given the impression that it’s two different exercise machines in
one. It’s not. You’ll burn fat at both and you’ll strengthen you heart
in both. I see many people spend more time in the fat burning zone and
less in the cardio zone. This means, they spend more time on the cardio
equipment than they need to. Push a bit harder and get into the cardio
zone for some greater results.
I recommend changing your cardio routine every 3 or 4 weeks. This
keeps your body from falling into a plateau. If you have a treadmill
and like to use it, you’ll need to change your routine on that
treadmill every 3 or 4 weeks for the same reason. You can change the
angle, speed, duration (time you spend exercising) and interval
(fast/slow). You can also change the frequency of the exercise from 3
days a week to 5. Perhaps you exercise hard 3 days a week for a few
weeks and then exercise a bit lighter for 5 days a week. Those are some
simple techniques to change your overall routine and keep the exercise
So how long should you exercise? In the case of any of the exercises
I’ve discussed above, the body will start burning fat stores after 25
minutes of exercise. This is because for the first 25 minutes, it uses
the available sugars already in the bloodstream. After that’s
exhausted, it switches to body fat.
What’s been your experience with buying miracle equipment that did
not work? Have you tried something with little or no results and
wondered why? I’d love to hear from you….let me know.
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