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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

  • After more than a decade of making cars and SUVs — and, more recently, solar panels — Tesla Inc. wants to electrify a new type of vehicle: big trucks. The company unveiled its new electric semitractor-trailer Thursday night near its design center in Hawthorne, California. CEO Elon Musk said the semi is capable of traveling 500 miles on an electric charge — even with a full 80,000-pound load — and will cost less than a diesel semi considering fuel savings, lower maintenance and other factors. Musk said customers can put down a $5,000 deposit for the semi now and production will begin in 2019. “We’re confident that this is a product that’s better in every way from a feature standpoint,” Musk told a crowd of Tesla fans gathered for the unveiling. Musk didn’t reveal the semi’s price. On Thursday night, Tesla surprised fans with another product: An updated version of its first sports car, the Roadster. Tesla says the new Roadster will have 620 miles of range and a top speed of 250 mph. The car, coming in 2020, will have a base price of $200,000.
  • The Trump Administration on Friday asked Congress to approve a third major disaster aid relief package for areas hit hard by hurricanes in 2017, which would bring total federal aid to nearly $100 billion, as for the first time, the White House proposed budget savings to offset some of that cost. “This year’s Atlantic hurricane season has resulted in historic, widespread destruction that continues to affect the lives of millions of Americans,” said White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney in a letter to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. In the same letter, Mulvaney that Congress has already approved over $53 billion in disaster relief this year, and that it’s time to find a way to pay for some of that. “The administration believes it is prudent to offset new spending,” Mulvaney added, sending a list of plans that would save $14.8 billion by using budget funds from past years which were never spent, and by canceling other programs. BREAKING: White House requests $44B hurricane aid package for Texas, Puerto Rico, smaller than requested. — AP Politics (@AP_Politics) November 17, 2017 The extra $44 billion is far less than what has been requested by officials in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico; just this week, Puerto Rico’s Governor traveled to Washington, D.C. to personally request $94 billion in aid. “We would just like to stress that this is a conservative estimate,” said Gov. Ricardo Rossello of the disaster aid request, as his island continues to struggle in the aftermath of devastation from Hurricane Maria. Even before the latest White House disaster request was official, it was getting less than rave reviews in the Congress. “We’ve been continually told to wait, wait, wait,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) about new disaster relief, as Lone Star State officials asked in October for $19 billion just for the state, and say infrastructure repairs could total $61 billion. Meanwhile, officials from Florida last month asked Congress for $27 billion in relief aid. Cornyn said Thursday night that his staff had reported this latest request from the White House was “wholly inadequate.” As for the budget cuts proposed by the White House – $14.8 billion would happen now, with an additional savings of $44 billion projected between 2025 and 2027. disaster11 Here is the list of budget cancellations and changes that the Trump Administration would make to save $14.8 billion: + Emergency farm conservation activities from Hurricane Sandy – $204 million + Advanced Tech Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program – $4.33 billion + Obama stimulus loan program for innovative tech – $479.4 million + Obama stimulus program for National Emergency health Grants – $23 million + Excess money at the Army Corps of Engineers – $210 million + Army Corps, flood control after Hurricane Sandy – $519 million + Agricultural Research Service – $212 million + Rural Economic Development Grants – $196 million + Rural Business Program – $25 million + Rural Energy Savings program – $8 million + Unspent money at Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – $72 million + Watershed & Flood Prevention – $90 million + Farm conservation programs – $1.42 billion + Supplemental WIC funding – $800 million + Unspent education money in Student Financial Assistance $3.9 billion + Unspent funds at HHS – $560 million + Justice Department working capital fund – $410 million + State Department, Democracy Fund – $99 million + Federal transportation highway aid – $1 billion + EPA state and tribal assistance grants – $150 million + EPA Environmental Programs and Management – $100 million Here is the full budget request for offsets on this latest hurricane aid plan. Those offsets amount to $14.8 billion, far short of the $53 billion that’s already been approved, without even including this latest request for another $44 billion.
  • Thursday, a local Subaru dealer handed over the keys to a brand new Outback SUV to a local Meals on Wheels program, thanks to a nationwide effort to “share the love.” Subaru is celebrating 50 years in the US by giving away 50 vehicles to Meals on Wheels around the country. The only one selected in Oklahoma was the metro Tulsa program. Lauren Danielson with Meals on Wheels tells KRMG the vehicle will help them serve their clients, especially when road conditions are bad and the normal volunteer routes can’t be covered. The keys for the new Outback were handed over personally by Larry Ferguson, owner of Ferguson Subaru in Broken Arrow, part of the Ferguson Superstore. He told KRMG Subaru of America has five charities it supports, including four national organizations.  Each dealership then chooses a local charity to support. Through January 2nd, Subaru of America will donate $250 to one of those charities for each new Subaru leased or purchased. “For every new Subaru sold, a portion of that goes to the charity, and that’s the customer’s choice,” Ferguson said. The local charity Ferguson chose this year is “Hope is Alive,” a group that works with people suffering addiction or alcoholism:
  • The man who was in a car with a Memphis, Tennessee, father who died after being shot and crashing his car . Loronzo Davis and a second man, Romedarrius Humphrey, were riding in a car that crashed on E. Crump near Lauderdale early Tuesday morning.>> On Fox13Memphis.com: Memphis father dies after being shot, crashing while driving to store When officers arrived, they found Davis suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on the scene. Davis’ family told WHBQ that he had just left home to go to the store and never returned. He had a 4-year-old daughter. Humphrey was lying in the middle of Crump with a black jacket in his hands, according to a police affidavit. He had also been shot and was unresponsive. Humphrey was taken to an ambulance and his jacket stayed in the street. When police couldn’t find an ID in his jeans pockets, they said they looked in the jacket. >> Read more trending news In one of the pockets, officers said they found a grocery bag containing several clear plastic bags of marijuana – some of which were broken down into even smaller bags, according to the arrest affidavit. Officers said they also found a scale inside the grocery bag. The drugs had a total weight of 155.2 grams, police said. Humphrey was taken to Regional One in critical condition. He was treated for his injuries and then booked into the Shelby County jail. He has since been released on his own recognizance. Humphrey is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell.
  • After winning full House approval of a GOP tax reform measure, Republicans on Thursday night took another step forward in their quest for sweeping changes to the federal tax code, as the Senate Finance Committee approved a slightly different tax reform bill, setting up a debate on the Senate floor following a Thanksgiving break in Congress. “This is a good bill that delivers on our promise to provide middle class tax relief and grow our economy,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), after his panel finished up an at times chippy four days of work. The 14-12 vote in Hatch’s Senate Finance Committee came nine hours after the House had voted along party lines to approve a Republican tax reform package, as GOP lawmakers cheered when they reached a majority. “We voted to cut your taxes, because it’s time that the hardworking people of this country get a break,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. Big win today in the House for GOP Tax Cuts and Reform, 227-205. Zero Dems, they want to raise taxes much higher, but not for our military! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2017 Ryan and his top lieutenants were able to keep the tax bill moving by convincing some GOP lawmakers to vote for the bill, even though they had concerns about the details of the measure. In fact, during two days of debate on the House floor, a number of Republicans publicly expressed their hope that a variety of provisions would be changed in the measure. The biggest flashpoint in the House remains the changes that block most state and local tax deductions, which drew sharp opposition from GOP lawmakers in New York, New Jersey and California. “Adding back in the property tax deduction up to $10,000 was progress, but not enough progress,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who voted against the bill. “This fight is not over,” Zeldin added. I voted NO on the tax bill today to protect Long Island and NY. While the bill passed, I will continue the fight. — Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) November 16, 2017 Next stop for tax reform will be the Senate floor, where the magic legislative formula may prove a bit trickier for GOP leaders, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his party’s plan “will bring lasting relief to middle-class families, small businesses and American workers.” “When the Senate returns after Thanksgiving, I will bring this must-pass legislation to the floor for further debate and open consideration,” McConnell added. But like an earlier debate over health care, McConnell can only afford to lose two Republican votes, and already there are rumblings from more than that, like from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who is demanding changes on how small business and pass through businesses are impacted by tax reform. “People realize we have a problem here,” Johnson told reporters, saying he’s been getting a lot of people telling him, “stand firm, you are absolutely right” on helping small business. “Not necessarily what I was expecting,” Johnson admitted with a smile. Other Republicans on the bubble on tax reform include Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who blocked health care reform earlier this year, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who voted against that health care plan as well. Also, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who publicly rebuked President Trump in recent weeks. If the GOP tax reform bill is going to be changed at all, it will have to come from within Republican ranks in the Senate, leaving Democrats stewing on the sidelines. “The public always knows that when the Republicans are in power, the first thing they want to do is give tax cuts to the rich,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who got into a late night spat with the Senate Finance Committee chairman. Tense moment between Sen. Brown and Sen. Hatch after Brown says GOP tax cut is 'for the rich.' Hatch responds: 'Don’t spew that stuff on me' pic.twitter.com/57zEA03a6b — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 17, 2017 “This is such a scam,” said Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO), as Democrats could only express their frustrations, unable to stop the GOP tax effort. Adding to the aggravation of Democrats is the inclusion of a provision in the Senate bill that would repeal the tax penalty from the individual mandate under the Obama health law. In a speech on Thursday night to tax group, Vice President Mike Pence made clear the White House wants that provision in a final bill. “Repealing the individual mandate tax at the heart of Obamacare is a tax cut for millions of hard working Americans,” the Vice President said.