Undoubtedly, everyone reading this must share in the same pain and frustration that I experience when I feel that revolutionary fitness technology such as the “Shake Weight” has been hidden from me, only to be unveiled and advertised during early morning television infomercials. If this equipment is so incredible, why in my 4 years of studying Kinesiology did I never hear the scientific (sounding) term “Dynamic Inertia”? Should I ask my alma mater for a tuition refund? Furthermore, why have I WASTED years in the gym with conventional workouts when I could have effortlessly improved my fitness with the Shake Weight?

Simply put, the only time that I have wasted was the time spent listening to the poorly researched and overly advertised commercials for this product. As consumers of health and fitness equipment, memberships, programs and supplements we must become better, well-informed patrons of today’s market so that we can avoid quackery like the one described above. I have compiled a list of rules to live by in order to properly evaluate health and fitness products:

  1. Quacks can be identified by their unscientific practices. The scientific method and controlled experimentation is not clearly identified as a method for product testing, experimental evidence is replaced by anecdotal evidence, quick and miraculous results are promised and best of all, the person or organization is named similar to a reputable institution such as the Mayo Diet, which contrary to popular belief has no connection with the Mayo Clinic.
  2. Quacks advertise an “effortless” way to experience the benefits of physical activity. “Get ripped in 10 minutes” is an example of pure quackery that contradicts the physical activity guidelines set forth by organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Honestly, no effective exercise is easy and no easy exercise is effective.
  3. Quacks do not have the credentials of a fitness professional. Individuals with a college degree in physical education, kinesiology, exercise science and/or a nationally recognized certification in personal training or health and fitness are those that should be sought out for exercise advice. Your neighbor with the large biceps doesn’t count.
  4. Diets are a major source of quackery. Diets that emphasize one nutrient at the expense of others, diets that require the purchase of special products that make claims inconsistent with established guidelines and diets that are proposed by people lacking credentials should be avoided.
  5. Books, magazines, articles and websites are full of quackery. Movie stars, athletes, and TV personalities are not the experts in nutrition, exercise or any aspect of the scientific method unless they have the credentials to disprove that assertion. Furthermore, being in good health and maintaining excellent fitness does not qualify any one individual as a fitness informant. In seeking accurate fitness advice, aim to search only through websites utilizing .org or .gov as these sites are more rigidly maintained.