How to Spot a Fitness Gimmick

So we’ve definitely heard all of the gimmicks, commercials, testimonials, and spokespeople during late-night informercials… “Turn your body into a super fat-burning machine!” “You can get washboard abs in just 5 minutes per day!” “Exciting new development!” “Research-proven!”

How can you spot a fraud? What sort of warning signs should you be on the lookout for if you think something might be a gimmick? Check out today’s quick tips on how to spot a potential fitness fraud… Be Well!

If It Sounds To Good Too Be True, It Probably Is…
How many times have you heard this? Ads and infomercials can be so seductive that you really want to believe the wild claims they promise. You may be tempted to suspend good judgement and buy into the fantasy. Substandard and fraudulent products hurt more than just your wallet. When a product doesn’t do what it claims to do, you feel let down. This can lower your self-confidence and can even lead you to believe that your fitness goals will never be achieved.

Buyer Checklists
Gimmicks and scams are not always easily detected. Use this checklist before purchasing a product advertised in a mail-order catalog or on television (especially during late-night!):

  • Is the product supported entirely by testimonials?
  • Is there any controlled, randomized scientific evidence supporting the sales claims?
  • Do the experts associated with the program have the proper credentials?
  • Is the person selling the product a believable salesman?
  • Does the promotion use any pseudo-medical jargon?
  • Does the promotion boast a “secret” formula or “miracle” answer?
  • Do the claims seem miraculous or far-fetched?
  • Is the product appealing exclusively to your vanity?
  • Does the suggested use of the product seem unrealistic in regards to the desired outcome (i.e., “just seven minutes a day toward slimmer thighs”)?
  • Does the fine print contain any long-winded disclaimers?
  • Does the offer include additional free prizes?

Online Buying Tips
You need to have confidence in the company and product you’re buying online. Does the company have your best interests at heart? If in doubt, search for clues as to their reliability. Do they have a phone number? You may want to call to check them out further.

Ask a question by e-mail and see how long they take to respond. Ask the company for independent research that substantiates their claims and promises. You can check out the company on the Better Business Bureau’s Business Report page to see how others in your situation have reviewed them, too.

If In Doubt, Ask The Experts
The media is quick to announce a new fitness discovery, regardless of the source’s legitimacy. Unfortunately, this new claim may quickly be retracted when proper, scientific studies are made. Gimmicks will misuse the initial, questionable data to convince you to buy their product. What should you believe? If you don’t have the time to sort through information dispensed from reputable sources, you should ask an expert. A certified fitness instructor will, hopefully, be able to separate fact from fiction.

Avoid the lure of fitness-product charlatans and increase your skills at making educated buying decisions. Try not to buy the hype and stick to the age-old adage, “if it sounds to good too be true, it probably is.”