Infomercial fitness: Those six-pack abs as seen on TV

Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:05am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK, March 29 - (Reuters Life!) Youre bemoaning your tummy roll when on the TV appear exquisitely toned specimens working out with gadgets that promise to rock, roll or wheel those love handles into abs to die for. Should you go for it?

Experts say all infomercial machines are not created equal. Some are mere gimmicks, some actually work. But targeting one area, such as the midriff, is no way to get fit or lose weight.

"These ads communicate to the public the flawed notion that spot reducing is possible," said Jessica Matthews of the non-profit American Council on Exercise (ACE). "Research has shown that's not the case."

She added that a well rounded program includes cardiovascular work and strength training of all the major muscles, not just the abdominals.

"The more muscle mass we have the more efficient our body becomes and that's when we start to lose body fat so we can see that definition," Matthews explained.

And those buff and smiling TV exercisers?

"The ads say that if you want six-pack abs, spend 10 minutes a day using this equipment," she said. "Those people are not just doing 10 minutes a day."

Matthews cited an ACE-commissioned study that concluded you don't need to purchase a piece of exercise equipment to strengthen your abs.   Continued...