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The cheat’s guide to fitness

We promise cheating won’t work, but millions of people have paid to find that out for themselves.

  1. The Hawaii Chair 

It’s a chair. It’s almost exactly bit like your office chair except the seat oscillates rather than swiveling. You sit on the chair and make it oscillate. 4,319,989 people have watched the infomercial on YouTube. We’d guess that most of them watched for shits and giggles.

Sadly, millions of people have also bought the Hawaii chair. Sadly, because it does virtually nothing for anyone’s fitness or body shape.

  1. Shake weight

The Shake Weight is a modified dumbbell containing floating weights. You hold it, shake to start and then resist its oscillations. Watching that is intensely suggestive. There is little doubt that the fame it acquired because of that helped 2 million Shake Weights to sell within a year for a total of US$40 million in sales (numbers supplied by Shake Weight inventor, Johann Verheem.)

Shake Weight was initially released as a product (hilariously) "designed specifically for women". There are now male and female versions of both the product and its informercials. To be fair, half of the infomercials are parodies. It’s just that you can’t really tell the difference. The bloke in this ad was able to keep a straight face throughout the entire 60 seconds. I bet you won’t.


  1. Bodyblade

Bodyblade appeared during the golden age of home-shopping networks and late-night infomercials, 1991. It is a long flexible blade that you shake. And when you do, it shakes you back. It claims to tone your muscles through vibration and muscle resistance. In 2013, it was updated with a fadland promise, “the key to Bodyblade is the rapid contraction technology.” Technology is still in very “in”, but looking like an out-of-control insect never has and never will be. That’s mostly what the rapid contraction technology does for its users.

  1. Flex belt ab belt 

The Flex Belt is a take-home, spot version of a weight loss salon treatment that was hot in the 70s. Electrified pads were strapped over major muscles areas, then attached to a pulsing electric current. The electric impulses shot into the muscles, causing them to contract. This was supposed to tone the muscles. The Flex Belt sends electric shocks into the muscles of your middle stomach.   

The vlogger in the video below hides her stomach behind a tent-like top throughout the entire film, which does make her awfully earnest endorsement of the Flex Belt somewaht questionable, does it not?

And this video is unintentionally funny because it’s a blonde joke:

  1. ThighMaster

Two words: Suzanne Somers. She has sold more than US$100million worth of ThighMasters. Check out why (when your kids have gone to bed):

  1. The Treadmill Scooter (aka Treadmill Bike) 

Yes, it’s a scooter whose platform is a treadmill, or a treadmill on the go, if you like. Its product features include:

  • “Thinking of taking the Treadmill Bike to the grocery store? Be sure to stock up on ice cream while you're there. You will have earned it.”
  • “The Treadmill Bike’s elevated running platform means you'll be seen over the hood of even the most heinously overbuilt motor vehicle.”

Gosh, eh?