You know those fitness items you just can’t live without maybe it’s the “right” pair of socks, the sports bra that doesn’t ever chafe or wireless headphones that stay put while you’re running. But alongside your must haves are likely a few items you regret wasting your money on (shake weight anyone?).
Here are a list of 7 overrated fitness products to avoid falling prey to (aka they’re merely going to collect dust and take up space in my house!).
1. Any wearable “body toning” product.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Time and time again studies have proven that products claiming to tone your body just by wearing it, such as the once popular toning sneakers or ab toning belt/stimulator, simply don’t work. Remember, there are no get fit quick schemes or shortcuts to fitness. Well there is one secret – eat healthy, exercise regularly and leave all the too good to be true products on the shelf.
Yes, there are a ton of great kettlebell exercises. But in my opinion, you really don’t need them. Most kettlebell exercises can be done using your standard free weights. Not only can you get the same results with less equipment in your house, free weights are also cheaper and more versatile than kettlebells.
3. The ab rocker or ab wheel.
Not only are you more likely to injure yourself using an ab rocker or ab wheel, you can actually get a better core workout without it. To build a stronger core incorporate basic core exercises such as plank variations, pikes, and mountain climbers into your resistance workouts. But keep in mind, you can’t spot-target fat loss.
4. Any fitness contraption that claims to target a part of your body for fat loss.
ThighMasters and hip abductor/adductor machines found at many gyms are perfect examples of machines that claim they can target weight loss in certain areas. While the resistance exercises performed on one of these machines may help you tone certain muscles, studies continue to prove you can’t spot-target fat loss anywhere on your body. Instead of trying to target your “problem areas”, eat a healthy diet and try compound exercises which activate more than one muscle group at a time. Compound exercises include squat and lunge variations, plank variations, and step-ups (you can even add an upper body workout when doing these lower body exercises to make it even more dynamic!). The good news is these exercises are free – you don’t need any equipment or gym membership to do a basic squat, plank, or lunge.
5. Gliding discs.
You know those things you put on the floor to take resistance off a body part or to challenge your core? Well, you don’t really need them. You can actually just use paper plates instead and they work just as well–trust me, I’ve used them before. Others have used frisbees instead of gliding discs and have reported they work the same. Ultimately, if you are shifting your weight and really focusing on activating the appropriate muscles during a workout, you can do that without a disc or a paper plate.
6. Machines at the gym.
Don’t get me wrong machines can be a helpful and easy way to target important muscles groups, so if you have a gym membership go for it. But, really, there isn’t a single machine you actually need to use. You can target all the same muscles through body weight resistance exercises or by using free weights. Lunges, squats, push-ups, chest press, etc. are all effective for developing strong muscles. There are also classes based on the TRX system that use just the strap and your body weight to create a very tough workout that will leave you sore the next day!
7. Weighted vests.
Some people like to work out with a weighted vest, and while it works for some, to me the risks of using this for added resistance far outweigh the benefits. Adding weight to your body changes your center of gravity and throws off your balance, as well as your posture. Posture is very important for safe exercise. Hunching or straining to stand upright while wearing a vest can lead to serious neck, shoulder, and/or back injuries. Added weight can also put added pressure on your joints which can lead to overuse injuries.
Would you add any other overrated products to this list? Is there something you’ve bought that is collecting dust?