When Is a Fitness Gadget a Gimmick?

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When you see those get-fit-quick fitness products advertised on TV, what's your first reaction? The irresistible temptation is hard to resist when big results, like a "six-pack in 30 days!" are promised. When the ads are just so believable - and when famous faces hawk them - it's tough not to grab your wallet.

But to separate the scams from the legit claims, ask yourself a few questions and be sure you're not wasting your money. The old adage about something that sounds too good to be true applies. If it does, then it probably is. Many companies use smoke and mirrors to make their product look more effective than it is. These tactics include hiring buff models and actors, who may have never even used the product, to sell it. They also may inflate the number of calories burned, pounds lost, etc. by testing the product on a large, muscular man, which skews the counts for "normal" people. If a product targets and produces results in only one area of the body, like the abs, then it's probably a scam.