I’m Not Sold: 9 Dumbest Fitness Product Infomercials

It’s a bit of a mystery as to why late-night TV is so cluttered with fitness product infomercials. Clearly, the people up at 3 AM are unhappy with their life and may want to change many, many aspects of it, but I wouldn’t assume that fitness is the first place they would want to go. Perhaps an ad for vocab cards or something else that doesn’t involve the person removing themselves from the couch? Regardless of right or wrong, these ads have filled late night TV with different people gyrating, spinning, wobbling, and vibrating themselves to better bodies. Do they work? Probably not. Are they beautiful train wrecks that can capture your attention at 3 AM? You bethca. And here are the creme de la creme.

9. Ab Rail

The exceeding dumbness of the Ab Rail is a fundamental problem with many fitness products. They fool the customer into thinking if they work less they can get the same results because what they’re doing is kind of, sort of like a sit-up. If you bought a machine that involuntarily jackknifes you in half, do yo think that you’re getting the same workout as if you just bought a sit-up? If you answered “yes,” then Ab Rail is something you could very well be interested in. If you answered “no,” you answered correctly and you should reward yourself by treating your body to some actual exercise. This device is also approved by Dan O’Brian of the famed “Dan and Dave” Reebok commercials leading up to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Anytime you can lock that guy down to endorse your product, sit back, fire up a stogie, and watch the money roll in.

8. Gazelle

Everything about the creation, marketing, and usefulness of this product screams “dumb.” Start with that pony-tailed Hobbit, Tony Little, then put him in some cheesy-ass sunglasses while he’s exercising indoors, then toss his ass on the most unintentionally hilarious contraption up to that point, and you can go ahead and turn your brain off and watch this guy glide in place with his beautiful mane swaying hypnotically.

7. Bowflex

Bowflex, that bastard child of Soloflex and resistance band training has been around longer than most of these other devices, which, I assume makes it a really strong contender for the most unused piece of exercise equipment in America. It actually appears to be one of the most effective pieces of exercise equipment that’s advertised, but the marketing of glosses over a pretty important fact: people don’t like to work out in their living rooms. This ad sells people on the fact that they don’t work out is due to time, financial, or space constraints. That’s cute, but inaccurate. People don’t work out because they’re lazy. And working out is hard. Doing it in your living room isn’t easier. Pretty soon that Soloflex becomes a trophy commemorating another broken promise to yourself. Dry those tears and join a gym.

6. Thighmaster

An oldie but a goodie, this video set the bar (a low bar, but a bar nonetheless) for all future infomercials. Going forward, all fitness infomercials MUST feature an attractive but non-threatening man or woman and they must be doing something overtly sexual in the name of good health. The Thighmaster set the stage for this new paradigm with Suzanne Somers and her other-worldly inner-thigh strength. So…uhh…thanks, Thighmaster?

5. iGallop

You may remember this entry from a previous list of “Most Wildly Erotic Exercise Devices.” I’m sure you do, cause once you watch this beauty of a clip, you’ll never go back. Like so many other mass-marketed exercise devices, the science behind this gadget is dubious, but it all boils down to this: Simulated horseback riding is, for some reason, the greatest exercise in which any human can partake. That’s why Billy the Kid was in such great shape. It doesn’t appear to have hit the shelves in America, but when it does, you can bet I will pick one up. As a martial aid.

4. Chair Fitness

Barring people with disabilities or the elderly, if you can’t be motivated or bothered to get out of a chair to exercise, you don’t deserve a good body or long life. Judging by the mere 6,300 views on YouTube, it would seem that most of the world agrees with this philosophy as well. It’s not a particularly funny infomercial; it’s more sad than anything else. But one thing’s not up for debate: it’s dumb as hell.

3. Total Gym
Damn them for stealing Chuck Norris’ dignity! Action heroes from our childhood should never be left shilling suspect products on late-night television. Adding insult to injury, they dressed him like a generic gang member from a 1980’s movie about New York City. What this infomercial does have going for it is some extremely erotic sexually chemistry between Chuck and his wife. It’s a safe bet that the Total Gym was used for some pretty untoward purposes between takes, despite the lady’s demure fashion sense. Being married to Chuck Norris would be like being BFF’s with God. Awesome.

2. Zumba

Zumba may be a fitness program of dubious health benefit, but that’s irrelevant when you’ve got hot scantily glad girls dancing around with ridiculously phallic sticks in their hands. Sadly, that’s about the only utility this workout infomercial can bring to men. The dance routines are way, way too sassy for any man to be able to pull off and still appeal to the fairer sex. Want to meet women through your workout routine? Stick with yoga or pilates. Participation in Zumba will probably repel more women than it attracts, despite those killer abs of yours.

I’m aware the commercial is in German when there are many English ones available, but the German one is funnier to hear, in the unlikely event that you’re actually listening to it when it plays.

1. Shake Weight

Let’s get this of the way, to move the discussion along: the shake weight looks like a cock. And the exercises they demonstrate in the video look a lot like masturbation. If you own a television, it shouldn’t have to be explained to you. It’s a weird product, and its weirdness causes reactions to swing violently and frequently become humor and discomfort. What is perhaps most troubling is the designation that this product is “for men.” Why? Why can only men use this product? Does there exist some difference in body makeup that renders this device useless or even unhealthy to women? I don’t want to go on record as assigning roles based on gender or sexuality, but it seems that both men AND women should be allowed to use a device that simulates jerking a dude off. I’m not gonna do it, but I think EVERYONE should have the option. As for why a man should have to pay X dollars for the shake weight when they have probably been performing similar exercises since adolescence is a conversation for another day.

Tags: Ab Rail, ad, Bowflex tv, Chair Fitness, Gazelle, iGallop, infomercial, Shake Weight, Soloflex, Thighmaster, Total Gym, Zumba,