Health and fitness is a booming business, and you can always make a quick dime off convincing someone they can get fit by taking a pill or wearing a special belt without changing their unhealthy lifestyle. Fitness trends come and go, and as people who have gotten and stayed fit know, the only true way to accomplish this is by eating and living well.
While they usually don't work as promised, these fitness fads and shams can be appreciated if for nothing more than their entertainment value. So, for your entertainment, here are the year's best (a.k.a. worst) fitness fads.
The 17 Day Diet: First was South Beach, then Atkins, then baby food. There's always a new fad diet for the media and health food stores to cash in on, and 2010 proved to be the year of the 17 Day Weight Loss Program for some. The diet makes you change up your eating routine every 17 days, with the goal of confusing your metabolic system. With a confused metabolism, you should begin to see weight fall off you rapidly. Well, as with most fad diets, you might see initial weight loss, but simply changing your eating times and carb sources every 17 days won't last simply because it's not sustainable. As soon as you mess up your cycle, the weight comes right back.
The Shake Weight: The most benefit the Shake Weight offers is from the calories burned from laughing while you watch the viral video demonstrating its application. The Shake Weight is supposed to get you "ripped" in 6 days by increasing muscle activity "by more than 300% compared to traditional weights." While it might cause a bit of muscle tension or soreness, jerking the weight won't cause the increase in heart rate you'd get by actually lifting weights.
Shape Ups: These hideous shoes are supposed to tone your lower half by creating an unstable sole, forcing your leg muscles to work harder to stabilize each step. Sketchers claims these shoes can "get you in shape without ever setting foot in a gym." Attractive idea, but there's no way that $100 will buy you magic shoes. Podiatrists, trainers and experts at the American Council on Exercise all came to the conclusion that toning shoes don't deliver what they promise– in fact, their unstable sole actually opens you up to the possibility of injury.
Weighted Hula Hooping: Hello, 1950! Hula Hooping is back, but this time it's weighted and added to the gym routine. While the familiar, unweighted version of this belly favorite can be a great core and cardio workout, the weighted version can cause pulled muscles in beginners. And, past 10 years old, aren't we all beginners to hula hooping again?
Wii Fit: With games ranging from strength training to yoga, Wii Fit allows you to get "fit" without leaving your living room. But the games don't have a personal progression tool, so you could just be doing the same level exercises every day. Seniors and beginners might get a good start with Wii Fit, but a fully fit body won't be the result of turning on your favorite game system.