The 5 Most Shameless Money Grabs By The Fitness Industry

By now, most of us have given up on our annual January attempts to shed some of the excess weight our rampant holiday feasting slapped on us. We've given dieting a shot. We've hit the gym. The most desperate of us may have even dabbled with fucking CrossFit. Yet as the weeks go by, we're slowly adapting to our new, slightly portlier figures and learning to embrace the additional padding.

At least, that's how most of us function. A select few will take one last, sad step and decide to give working out at home a try. You know, because the driving to and from the gym is what really sucks about working out. Not everyone can afford to shell out for their own cardio machine and an array of weights, though, and opt instead to pay still-obscene dollar amounts for useless machines that promise a shortcut to health and fitness. For example ...

#5. Osim iGallop

Digital Vision/DigitalVision/Getty

Do you like horseback riding, but hate the idea of owning and caring for a giant animal? That ... actually makes sense. Riding's pretty good exercise, but horses are a hassle unless you happen to have a handy stable nearby, which you don't. Also, a horse eats and poops, and keeping up with both costs about as much as a car payment each month.

moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images
Way less sad to put a bullet in your car when it breaks down, though.

It's not the ideal setup for the occasional 20-minute workout, is what I'm saying. So why not get a fake horse? I'm not talking about kids' rocking horses, or one of those mechanical bulls western-themed bars are so fond of (although if you have the room and money, holy shit, absolutely buy a mechanical bull). There are devices out there that simulate your body's movement during riding, minus the "hanging on for dear life" part -- which, come to think of it, is roughly 99 percent of the exercise you get from horse riding. Oh well. Still, maybe products such as the iGallop aren't a complete waste of time. Let's see what the ads say it can do:

YouTube

... um. Ma'm? I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but there's no way you're performing in an advertisement for a fitness product. Maybe that's what you were hired for, but that's either a Jessica Simpson video or the first minutes of a softcore porn flick. There's no way whatever the hell you're sitting on is a machine for "exercise," and even less of a chance said machine doesn't vibrate.

OK, maybe I'm being a little unfair. Maybe that tacky GIF is just an anomaly, and the product's official promo pictures don't make it look like an orgasmatron.

Amazon
Wrong!

I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad product. Few things that are designed to make your ass slimmer are without at least a little inherent value. Still, I don't care how great a core trainer this thing is -- if you're willing to throw $400 at it, you might as well stick it in a place of honor in your living room and maybe glue a few dildos on it. Because there's no way in hell anyone who sees it is going to believe it's anything but a fancy Sybian.

#4. The Face Trainer

Tomwang112/iStock/Getty Images

SkyMall is a gift that keeps on giving for enterprising comedy websites. Their sales are comprised of 70 percent panicked gift orders, 30 percent irony, and 100 percent being so bored and/or drunk that ordering wine glass holder necklaces for your entire extended family seems like a hilarious idea. Still, at least the company generally limits its antics to the sort of clever-but-not-quite-useful stuff Billy Mays might have peddled back in the day. It's not like their target audience is too into the fitness marke--

Something Awful
Oh, god dammit.

Yes, that is a workout mask for your face muscles. And yes, it works by applying "proven principals of resistance training to facial muscles" -- which, let's face it, is just a fancy wording for "It's a really fucking tight mask, and now you have to make faces. Give us money." The Face Trainer promises to take years off you, which is a claim I actually fully believe, because there's no way you won't get chased off a cliff by a torch-wielding mob if you go out in public wearing this thing, doing frantic Frankenstein faces to keep it from suffocating you.

Unfortunately, it looks like the product was too stupid for even SkyMall, since it's nowhere to be found on their site today. Or is it? A search with the keyword "trainer" gives me a bunch of Mad Max-themed neon trikes, terrifying elliptical trainers with random cords, a Star Wars "Force trainer" because of fucking course, and ... the "Tribal Style Giraffe Mask."

Look at the Tribal Style Giraffe Mask. Look at it:

SkyMall
Somewhere, the Jigsaw Killer is furiously masturbating.

There's no way that thing won't slim the shit out of your face the second you try it on, likely bear-trap-style. And you will try it on, if only to silence its constant whispering in eldritch tongues.

#3. ViPR

Mike Powell/DigitalVision/Getty

So you're walking down the park early in the morning, doing something I generously assume is not crime-related, when you suddenly come across a group of creepy fitness types waving huge logs around. (Oh, get your mind out of the gutter.) Like so:

Via SPORTathlon
"You won't get away this time, Cobra Commander!"

Hahahahahaha! What the actual fuck is going on? Did you stumble upon a Warriors-style territorial battle between two 1980s-themed CrossFit factions? A no-budget Masters Of The Universe LARP?

Nothing that sane, I'm afraid. You've just witnessed the ViPR in action, and things aren't going to get any better once those people actually start moving.

If you didn't watch that video, two things. One: Please do; you owe it to yourself. Two: That exact same sentence, only much louder.

The ViPR infomercial is a simple piece of work at heart.

YouTube
Indeed.

Basically, it's several spandex-clad fitness enthusiasts doing the Stormtrooper stun baton spin ...

YouTube
No need to click that link. It looked exactly like this in the movie.

... mimicking everyday activities such as shoveling ...

YouTube
I think?

... and even clumsily engaging in some of that bullshit Klingon pretend fighting in which they slap each others' bat'leths and expect people to be impressed.

YouTube
Nerds!

Only they don't have stun batons, or shovels, or unwieldable blade things. They're doing it all with a fucking log. Called ViPR. I mean, I think the log is called ViPR, but maybe I misread something and it's actually the true name of the entity that possesses all these people and forces them to do stupid shit for our amusement.

YouTube
Example.

Again, I'm not saying this stupidly-named fucking thing is necessarily a bad product at heart. It has a number of holes that it claims makes it fully compatible with a number of other incomprehensibly-named gadgets the more impressionable gym might sport, so I guess you can at least join all those bullshit things into a giant Voltron of uselessness when you inevitably get bored with it. It's just that if you're trying to get in shape, I'd wager there are better ways to go about it than an exercise tool that makes you look like the Star Wars Kid grew up and joined a fraternity.

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Pauli Poisuo

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