Dennis Rodman has always grabbed attention. It is a similar type of attention that the guy in the circus that juggled the rubber chickens always received. Since ‘birds of a feather flock together’ Dennis has teamed up with Kim Jong Un, the dictator of North Korea who according to one former US CIA agent, doesn’t have the ability to run a taco stand.
In the fitness industry, it is always easy to spot those who are the clowns. The clowns always start the movements that end up being fads and the remainder of the industry plugs along and experiences the type of growth that would be expected from an actual business.
Who are the clowns? In the present day, it is easy to spot. First, an infomercial is the first sign that you are a clown…not always, but almost always. Second, you either have a product or program that is merciless or is far too easy. Think Crossfit or P90X. These come and go and they DO work if you follow the program. The problem is in some cases, the exercise is so strenuous that people have either been injured or the workout is so gimmicky that you quickly tire and put the program on the shelf.
The equipment world is no stranger to fads and gimmicks. Remember the Shake Weight or the HealthRider? Who can forget the products where you were going to put on a belt and through electric stimulation you had the promise of melting all the belly fat away?
The way that ALL these products and programs are beneficial is that they get people interested in doing something! The fitness flame has been sparked. The danger is that the uninformed will think that ALL fitness products or programs are the same and they clearly are not.
If you haven’t exercised since the earth’s crust was still cooling, that’s OK. The problem is when you don’t start moving once you understand the problem. If you are doing nothing, 1 minute a day of brisk walking followed by slowly increasing the time and intensity is a great thing to do. If you haven’t done any strength training, a minimal workout is better than nothing.
For those who have vitriol concerning my classification of the above products and programs as gimmicks and fads, remember Dancing to the Oldies? Billy Blanks was once a big deal and the NordicTrack had people falling and nearly cracking their skulls. Did people get benefits from these things? Absolutely, but many also had the products and programs in the sarcophagus region of their home never to be seen again!
An interesting aside was a middle-age friend of mine who decided to get a NordicTrack when they were hot back in the early 90’s. He was so excited and called me up when it came in. I went over to see him trying to mount what many call a torture device and once he got his balance, he tried to use it and it ended with him on the floor and, in his attempt to get his balance by throwing his leg violently backward, he literally threw the ski through the sheetrock wall!
The interesting point of all of this is that didn’t discourage him. He decided that he needed desperately to exercise and he sold the NordicTrack and bought a good quality treadmill that easily got him into the best shape of his adult life. Maybe that’s why NordicTrack’s biggest selling products today are treadmills and ellipticals.
Fads and gimmicks come and go but clowns are forever. Who is going to be the next Richard Simmons or the next Thigh Master? Who knows but one thing for sure, the world will never have a shortage of circus acts like Dennis Rodman or guys like Kim Jong Un who should be flipping burgers at Burger King! Maybe that needs to be the next big fitness fad…Dennis and Kim Jong Un in “Flipping to the Oldies!”