A new workout gadget for the New Year?

Question of the Month:
Many of my friends are using those infomercial workout programs.  Are they as good as all the hype suggests?  They are expensive; should I make the investment?

Answer:
This is a great question.  The infomercials for P90X, Insanity and the like are very well marketed products.  The numerous testimonials from regular Joes who have shed more weight in 90 days than seems possible are very intriguing.  These companies are quite versed at playing on our emotions and desires, while suggesting that their program is the panacea for the unhealthy wanting to be fit and trim.     

It is not surprising that people are experiencing results from these programs.  Any program that gets you moving, increases your heart rate, incorporates resistance training and limits the amount of calories you consume  will illicit positive results on your physique if done so on a regular basis.  Makers of these programs have not invented some new principle of exercising.  They have simply packaged a common principle of exercise with a new spin on the concept (like confusing your muscles).  Simply get an attractive host with a great body and motivating personality, and your program is destined for success.  

However, there is a place for these programs.  I give them credit for getting people started on an exercise program who otherwise would not have done so if not prompted by the commercial.  These programs do work well for self-motivated individuals, but even the most motivated are unable to keep up with these video programs long enough to make it a lifestyle.  More traditional modes of exercise (health clubs, athletic teams, running, biking, etc.) lend themselves to lifelong behavioral changes.  

You might be better off visiting your local health club and having a personalized program designed by a certified personal trainer.  The program will be individualized and take into account your health history, your current fitness level, your limitations and other variables.  Additionally, professional personal trainers provide external support and motivation to ensure your success.  

The only wise investment for your health is an investment in a lifestyle.  Exercise should be a part of your life every day.  Your success depends on you and your dedication to a healthy lifestyle.  Go ahead and try one of these programs, but know that the end of the 90 day program is not truly the end.  You have only just begun!   

Anthony G. Barnes is the club owner at Anytime Fitness in Chester and holds a degree in sports medicine and exercise science.  To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at anthony.barnes@anytimefitness.com

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