Exercise Gizmos

Thursday, 9 November 2006 | Tags: ,

Ab toners, butt shrinkers, belly busters: are they really miracle fit-makers, or just well-marketed gimmicks? We take a look at some exercise gizmos to see how many live up to their claims.

The Basics

  • With so many on the market offering different benefits, it’s important to make sure you’re getting a quality machine rather than a piece of junk. You want to lose pounds, not money.

  • Before you buy, try a particular piece of equipment out at a store, or go to your local gym to see if there’s something similar so you can see if you’re comfortable using it.

  • Make sure you can get a refund (including shipping), especially when buying online or on TV.

Other Considerations

  • If equipment requires assembly, it may be more hassle than it’s worth.

Be Aware

  • Promises of remarkable weight loss must be considered with caution. Be aware that in order to achieve these goals, machines may also come with strict meal plans that can be unrealistic for your lifestyle, making advertised goals unattainable.

  • Both a kinesioloigist and a fitness trainer explained to us that spot reducing fat is just a myth. Burning up calories through activity is the only true way to shed unwanted pounds and you will most likely lose first in the areas where you last put it on.


We each took an exercise gizmo that promised to reduce inches and used it faithfully for two weeks on a daily basis.

  • Anna: Thigh Master (claim: firmer, thinner thighs): $110
  • Kristina: Ab Force (claim: thin the waist and firm up abs): $30

Usage Test

  • Anna found the Thigh Master easy to use. She was stiff for the first few days but persevered. She wouldn’t use this product on a regular basis. A visit to the gym gives Anna a more well-rounded workout.

  • Kristina found the Ab Force easy to use. She had a sore back for the first few days, but thinks she’d keep using it if she had it. However, she wouldn’t go out and buy it.

Measurement Test

After two weeks of usage as directed:

  • Anna thighs measured exactly the same.

  • Kristina’s waist measured exactly the same.

Both found that, though the products made no size difference, they may have had an effect on their muscle strength in the area.


Though having an exercise gizmo might motivate you to work on your problem areas, you can usually get a similar result for free by doing crunches, lunges, walking, and other conventional exercises.

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