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by Jordan Shakeshaft, Greatist.com

Between Shape-Ups, sauna suits, and the infamous Shake Weight, it seems there’s no gizmo, gadget, or get-skinny-quick gimmick we won’t try. In fact, Americans spend upwards of $30 billion a year on weight loss products (clearly those late-night infomercials are doing something right). But as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Read on to see how Greatist ranks the biggest fitness flops, fails, and what the f*#!s?! of the last few decades— and how to avoid getting duped.

Do Not Try This at Home — The Flops

1. The Shake Weight
 Spoofed by Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and South Park, the wildly suggestive Shake Weight needs no introduction. And while the benefits of spring-loaded 2.5-pound dumbbell remain questionable, more than 2 million units sold in its first year on the market, and sales have more than doubled since (making our gag gift theory a bit of a stretch).

2. The Free Flexor

If the Shake Weight is rated R, the Free Flexor gets a big neon XXX. With its patent-pending Circular Strength Technology, the world’s first (undeniably phallic) flexing dumbbell is said to set the forearms ablaze and “make your muscles cry.” Not exactly our idea of a happy workout. (NSFW: Best spoof ever.)

3. Vibrating Platforms
 Can couch potatoes really shake themselves stronger, healthier, and slimmer? Yeah, we didn’t think so[1][2]. And while some athletes might show improved performance after stepping off shaky ground, the jury’s still out on whether shelling out thousands for platforms like the Power Platewill bring better results than other conditioning methods.

4. Sauna Suits 
No, that’s not a trash bag. We’re just happy to smother you. These rubbery waterproof suits are designed to make people sweat out several pounds per session. Problem is: There’s nothing safe about that (think: heat stroke, muscle cramps, and fainting). What’s more, those lbs are typically gained back immediately after eating or drinking.

5. 8 Minute Abs 
Don’t kill the messenger here, but eight minutes cannot a six-pack make (no matter how serious that spandex is). The 80s “8 Minute Abs” craze was essentially just that. Crunch all you want, but a washboard stomachrequires full-body conditioning including strength training, cardio, and a healthy diet to match.


6. Exercise in a Bottle
Yup, that’ll be the day. And the Federal Trade Commission was just as disappointed as we were. In 2000, Enforma, the company behind Exercise in a Bottle and other weight loss “miracle drugs,” was forced to hand over$10 million as consumer redress. Do not pass go, do not get America’s hopes up.

7. Toning Shoes 
Tried wobbling around town with the best of them? Turns out these unstable, curved soles are little more than a fashion faux pas (honestly, no real woman looks like this in Reebok Easy Tones). Recent studies reveal that “toning shoes,” including these and the original Sketcher Shape-Ups,don’t help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories, or improvemuscle strength and tone.

8. Power Balance 
For $29.99, this performance bling claims to improve balance, strength, and flexibility through special hologram frequencies. The reality: Studies have found that Power Balance bracelets actually work no better than a placebo[3]. So any improvements to that game are, as they say, all in the head.

9. Ab Rocket 
Five minutes a day to “sizzling rock hard” abs? After a $14.95 30-day trial,some users beg to differ. And while the Ab Rocket might do something for that midsection, the neck and back supports aren’t exactly cushy, and the whole “workout-plus-massage” part? Talk about failure to launch.

10. Big Wheel Skates 
Whoever said bigger is better wasn’t referring to the in-line skates on Venice Beach. Still, monster-wheeled Chariot Skates and LandRollers went big, making those trips, slips, and falls 900 percent more embarrassing (and likely more painful).

For the full list of fitness fad flops, go to

  • Amid some criticism from Democrats in Congress about the federal government’s disaster response to recent hurricanes that devastated much of the island of Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump on Tuesday declared that he was satisfied with the emergency relief work so far, and said he would visit the U.S. territory next week. “That island was hit as hard as you could hit,” Mr. Trump said of Hurricane Maria. “Even Texas didn’t have 200 mph winds.” “We have shipped massive amounts of food and water and supplies to Puerto Rico,” the President told reporters at a White House photo op, “and we are continuing to do it on an hourly basis.” Trump says he will travel to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, may also stop in the US Virgin Islands https://t.co/6crUpVtidb https://t.co/LIbzDMzWMO — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 26, 2017 “Puerto Rico is very important to me,” Mr. Trump added, who said one problem is that it’s been tough to deliver aid immediately, “because it’s an island sitting in the middle of an ocean.” “It’s a big ocean,” the President said. But in Congress, Democrats see a different situation, as they have complained in recent days that the U.S. response is lacking. “We cannot ignore the unfolding tragedy in Puerto Rico,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). “Congress must act now to help.” For now, the Trump Administration has indicated that no extra aid request will be made for Puerto Rico until October – Democrats say that’s going to leave the island in the lurch for too long. “Our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico have been devastated by Hurricane Maria,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “Federal funds should be approved as soon as possible.” Puerto Rico 'is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. It’s a big ocean. It’s a very big ocean.' — President Trump, 9/26/17 — Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) September 26, 2017 Democrats pointed to Mr. Trump’s own Twitter feed in recent days, which has been consumed much more with the controversy in the National Football League over players kneeling during the National Anthem, than the fate of Puerto Rico. “The time for tweets and talk is over,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. “The American citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands need action and results.”
  • Oklahoma Thunder stars Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Nick Collison, Josh Huestis, Raymond Felton and Coach Billy Donovan have joined the national conversation about national anthem protests by athletes across the U.S. In a press conference Monday, Westbrook said President Donald Trump's tweets about the protests were 'outrageous.' SEE MORE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. quotes JFK in response to NASCAR's ‘take a knee' stance 'Obviously, the things he's saying is outrageous. In my opinion, it's uncalled for, especially due to all the other things we have going on in the world, the people, the families, the people all across the world that's hurting, that need help, that need guidance from our house. I think it's unnecessary and uncalled for and I'm definitely not in agreement with anything he says, never will be.' Westbrook went on to say it will be up to the team how they respond to the ongoing conversation about athletes’ recent protests during the national anthem at U.S. sporting events. “As for me and our team here, if it's something that we will discuss, [then we will] go back to the team and discuss how we want to approach that and the national anthem,” Westbrook said. “We have a lot of respect for the flag, for the national anthem, and obviously, if our guys want to do something that represents togetherness, I'm all in for it.' Paul George said he hoped NBA players could use their platform in a similar way to those in the NFL. 'I can't speak for other organizations or other teams or their locker rooms,' George said. 'Hopefully, whatever we do as a unit, as a union and as a fraternity, we do it. Everyone has to take a part in to doing something. Hopefully, we do something as a league that gives us strength. I thought what the NFL is doing right now is beautiful. They're showing a lot of power, not only from the players, but the front office [is] making statements that they're gonna back their players up in whatever they do. I thought that was very powerful, so hopefully we can approach it the same way the NFL's doing it. I saw MLB guys taking part into it, so if we could just realize what's at hand, we're the face of a lot of things, we're the face of a lot of brands, we could use that platform to catapult what's going on. That's what we can make our mark on.' Nick Collison said he was disappointed with the president's comments and echoed the sentiment that professional athletes have a voice in the U.S. 'I'm disappointed in the president's comments,' Collison said. 'I think he’s got an opportunity to try to bring people together, and it seems like every time he has a chance, he tries to tear people apart. I don't know if it's for political gain or what, but I think part of being an American and loving America and loving the country is loving your fellow American and the other people that make up this country. When people who have an issue that they protest, they're trying to make the country a better place. Whether you agree with them or disagree with them, to then make them your enemy does nobody any good. For me, it's disappointing. I think players are in an interesting position in this country when that they have a voice. They can try to use that for good to unite the country. I think that’s what guys are trying to do. I know that's a tricky situation. A lot of people disagree with it, but I just wish instead of saying it's us against them and fighting the culture war that everyone seems to fight all the time, I just wish there would be more listening and trying to make it better and solve problems instead of just point out who's fault it is for problems.' Josh Huestis said that protests throughout American history have not been well received, but he believes those involved are doing the right thing. “It’s interesting,” Huestis said. “I’m proud. I think America was built on a foundation of people standing up for what they believe in, and I think throughout history you can look at any protest that’s occurred, and they’re not well received at the time they occur. I think that’s pretty obvious. I think that’s why the protest has to take place. So, obviously, I think what they’re doing there is a good thing. I think it’s calling attention to problems we have in this country, and, obviously, there’s going to be some resistance, but I think that they’re on the right path.” Raymond Felton said that though he’s not into politics, he’s willing to make a stand to do the right thing. “Everything in that aspect is everybody’s own opinion. Everybody has their own opinion. Somebody else might feel a certain way, or this person here might feel some kind of way. With me, I’m not a politician. I’m not into politics. I don’t get into all that, but at the same time, I’m all about what everybody else is down to do, I’m down to do it, as long as it’s the right thing to do at the end of the day.” Coach Billy Donovan said the organization will support Thunder players during what's become a contentious time for some athletes. 'We're always going to support our players' right for free speech and things they're pointing out,' he said. 'For me, personally, also I have great respect for our country as well, and it's certainly during some difficult times with different challenges going on. As a person that has coached for a long period of time and been around a lot of different environments and situations, there are a lot of struggles out there. There's a whole a lot of people fighting a lot of difficulties. It's unfortunate, because I would like to see our country come closer together rather than being pulled further apart.' The team's response comes after President Donald Trump said NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police violence against minorities in the U.S. Trump’s comments sparked responses from athletes both in the NFL and beyond. Hundreds of football players took a knee during the anthem Sunday, and some athletes and officials called Trump’s comments“divisive.” SEE MORE: WWII Vet Kneels In Support Of National Anthem Protests However, some sports fans say they don't agree with the protests, and some athletes appeared ready to move forward. 
  • Equifax CEO Richard Smith is out after the credit bureau reported a massive data breach earlier this month. >> Read more trending newsSmith announced on Tuesday that he is stepping down. Officials with the Atlanta-based credit reporting and technology company said a “cyber security incident” might have exposed the personal information of 143 million Americans. Hackers exploited a software glitch to gain access to the trove of personal data, the company said. Equifax disclosed earlier this month that the data breach was discovered in July and believed to have taken place from mid-May to July. >> Related: Equifax, software maker blame each other for opening door to hackers The data believed to have been accessed included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses. Smith had been Equifax's CEO since 2005. Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. was named interim CEO. Although many analysts had applauded Equifax's performance under Smith, he and the rest of his management team had come under fire for lax security and its response to the breach. >> Related: Equifax apologizes for sending people to fake company website WSBTV obtained video of the Smith speaking to students and faculty at the University of Georgia last month, after the company’s massive data breach occurred but before the company disclosed it. The company didn’t disclose the breach until Sept. 7. The Associated Press and the Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
  • soon will be making an all-out assault to get into our homes. The cooler weather and the stink bugs go hand in hand. The brown marmorated stink bug was first released into the United States in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1996, according to Penn State University. The bug apparently traveled from northeast Asia in a shipping container that was delivered either to the port of Philadelphia or Elizabeth, New Jersey, and then trucked to Allentown. This insect has now spread to 44 states and has very large populations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, Ohio, and North and South Carolina, according to stopbmsb.org. It has also spread to California and Oregon allegedly via a car driven by a person traveling from Pennsylvania to California in 2005. According to researchers at Penn State University, this type stink bug emerges in mid- to late spring. As temperatures cool, they begin to swarm near windows, doors and other cracks of buildings seeking refuge from the coming winter. Once inside, the stink bugs enter a physiologically inactive, diapause state or state of suspended development. They emerge from this hibernation over a broad range of time, which explains why we see active adult stink bugs throughout the winter and early spring. A mass emergence from diapause occurs as daily temperatures and length of daylight increase, especially in mid- to late May. >> Read more trending news The ability of these stink bugs to survive is quite remarkable. While there is some mortality among the hibernating bugs in the winter, a significant percentage of them make it through to spring and then mate. Colder temperatures in northern states typically reduce the bugs survival rate, but that appears to be changing. Increasing temperatures linked to climate change are likely a cause for such an increase in stink bug populations, especially in middle and northern latitudes. While excessive heat may drive stink bugs out of hotter, Southern states, the warm but moderate temperatures at higher latitudinal locations have increased the survival of stink bugs with significantly larger spring and summer populations.  The good news is, other than being incredibly annoying and having a pungent smell, stink bugs are pretty harmless to humans and animals. They cannot bite or sting nor seem to carry any known diseases. To get rid of them, it is recommended to flush them or vacuum them, then throw out the vacuum bag to avoid the bugs' odor. But using vacuum bags and water to get rid of these bugs could become costly, so it is best to prevent invasions by making sure you seal up your home now. Replace old screens and make sure doors and windows close tightly. Also caulk any gaps, cracks or holes in your homes exterior, especially on the south and west sides. These bugs can squeeze themselves quite a bit, so they can fit through even small cracks. Unfortunately, these insects are quite destructive to agriculture. This species feeds on over one hundred different types of plants including several of great economic importance to humans. Fruit trees (especially apple and pear), soybeans and peanuts are significantly damaged by these insects. The bugs have also been found feeding on blackberry, sweet and field corn and have been known to cause damage to tomatoes, lima beans and green peppers. There is no way to kill them by spraying, at least not once they are on the plant, because they must be hit directly. The bugs can fly off the leaves and they aren’t harmed by eating the chemicals on the leaves or on the fruit. However, researches at Penn State did find that while there are very few controlling natural predators, it appears other local predators such as spiders and some birds may be becoming more immune against the bug’s protective secretions and increasingly aware of the growing stink bug feast around them. – Eric Elwell is WHIO's chief meteorologist. Contact him at eric.elwell@coxinc.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva made headlines Sunday afternoon when he was the only member of the Pittsburgh Steelers to stand on the field for the national anthem. >> Read more trending news Since that moment, the lineman now has the best-selling jersey in the NFL. Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who earned a Bronze Star and served three tours in Afghanistan, was the only Steelers player who came outside the tunnel during the national anthem Sunday afternoon. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin previously said the team collectively decided not to be on the sideline during the song. Pictures and video of the 29-year-old West Point graduate standing alone, with his hand on his heart, quickly spread across social media. According to ESPN, a spokesman for Fanatics confirmed that over the past 24 hours, Villanueva's gear has been ordered more than that of any other NFL player. Officials with Fanatics, which runs the NFL’s official online store, said the gear includes jerseys and name T-shirts. The offensive lineman beat out four quarterbacks : Tom Brady, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers -- for the top spot. Villanueva jerseys are available in men’s and women’s sizes. ESPN's Darren Rovell said this is the first time he can remember seeing an offensive lineman's jersey available in women's sizes. “I was looking for 100 percent participation. We were (going to) be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin said after the game. Nearly 200 NFL players didn’t stand for the national anthem during Week 3. Three teams -- the Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks -- didn’t come to the sideline until after the playing of the anthem had finished.