A NEW YEAR, A NEW YOU–PART 3 (WHAT REALLY WORKS?)

Have you seen those ads with those new devices that you hold and shake, that are supposed to take the place of all those machines and exercises that you’d do in the gym. Do they work? Well, it depends. Let’s take a look at it.

Of course the model demonstrating the device in the ad is absolutely ripped, and having a great time using it. But do you think they got that way with that particular device? Most likely it was lots of hard work doing all the traditional things in the gym.

But there is actually some science behind those things. When we started sending people into space, they discovered that they came back with smaller, weaker muscles.

Subsequent research revealed it was prolonged exposure to zero gravity that caused the problem. In space, they didn’t have to work as much to maintain posture, or move around, so, their muscles started getting weaker.

When the astronauts got back to earth, they were subject to gravity again, but they had to work to build their muscles back up again. Basically, it’s the same old thing: “Use it or lose it.”

They started experimenting with ways to let the astronauts exercise in space. One thing they did was create machines that actually shook the astronauts. The vigorous shaking forced the muscles to respond to counter the movements, and so they received exercise.

This concept has worked its way into commercial gym equipment research with a vibrating platform that you stand on while doing exercises like squats. The tiny vibrations make the body unstable during the movement which initiates more muscle work to help stabilize the body. That equipment is pretty pricey and places that have it are pretty rare.

So now we can order those devices on T.V. that you hold and shake. They’re much smaller, and much less expensive, but the science behind it is similar. Basically, you’re contracting the muscles on again, and off again, a whole bunch of times to resist and reverse the movements.

So yes, the muscles are getting loaded up, and that means they’re getting exercise. But are you getting as much exercise as you would with traditional equipment and exercises? Let’s go back to the people demonstrating. Did they get that way using that thing? Probably not.

What’s at the core of this latest gimmick is the idea: “You can get results easier if you’ll just buy this product!” This is the reoccurring theme of all of these ads. If you’ll just buy this one thing, you’ll look just like this, without all that nasty hard work.

As a trainer who’s tried just about everything that’s out there, I’ve learned that almost anything will work if you work hard enough, and do it with some consistency. But nothing works as fast as most people want it to. And it’s always inconvenient and messy.

If you’re not sweating and breathing hard, it’s probably not going to be enough to get you what you want. But if it makes you sweat, breath hard, and you feel like you just got a great workout, you’re probably on your way.

If you want real results this year, here’s an idea. Make a commitment to stick. Be consistent in your efforts. Don’t make excuses—make yourself accountable. And just get started. That’s the ticket. That’s what works.

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