Please Don’t Waste Your Money: Toning Shoes and the Shake Weight

So I just saw that there are shake weight classes starting to sweep the country and I feel I have to do my part to combat the ridiculous claims being made by this product.  I will admit that commercials for the shake weight are quite humorous to watch, and it has been parodied on both South Park and Saturday Night Live…an easy target.  There is both a shake weight for women (2.5 lbs, white) and for men (5 lbs, black).  Here are the ads, in case you have been living in a cave:

So let’s go through a few of the claims.  The men’s commercial states the shake weight will “redefine strength training” and will “build definition, size and strength.”  Wow, all that from shaking a 5 lb weight for 6 minutes?!  Do you really think the guy in the commercial got that body from the shake weight?  In order to build size and strength you have to lift heavy weights, and progressively lift heavier weights.  Shaking a 5 lb weight isn’t even close to cutting it.  In the women’s commercial they say nothing about building definition, size and strength…instead they use the words “trims arms, shapes shoulders” and “tightening and toning.”  I guess the 2.5 lbs difference results in “toning” instead of muscle building.  One woman in the commercial tries it and then rubs her arms and says “I can feel the definition already.”  Seriously…a few minutes shaking a 2.5 lb dumbbell and she feels muscle growth?  The women talk about feeling their muscles burning within seconds of using the shake weight, I guess equating burning with working hard and building muscle.  But the burning sensation is simply lactic acid building up in your muscles and really has nothing to do with muscle growth.  Both ads talk about the “completely new workout technology called dynamic inertia.”  If you are skeptical, you should be.  There is no such thing as “dynamic inertia.”  It is simply a term made up by the marketing gurus behind the product to make you think it is something new and revolutionary that will allow you to build the body of your dreams in only 6 minutes a day.  Sorry folks, but a hot body is not achieved in 6 minutes a day, otherwise we would all look like fitness models.  I just saved you $20 -$30.

Now I’m going to save you even more money…toning shoes.  There are Skecher Shape-ups, endorsed by the likes of Joe Montana, Kim Kardashian, Karl Malone and even, sadly Wayne Gretzky.  Eva Mendes endorses the Reebok EasyTone.  Basically the same product, touting the same benefits…EasyTone claims they “work the hamstrings, calves and butt up to 28% more” (more than what…I’m assuming walking without EasyTones?); Wayne Gretzky says the shoes make him stronger in his legs, core and back.  Wow, those are some serious claims from a pair of shoes that have a rounded bottom.  Well the American Council on Exercise (ACE) put the shoes to the test.  In their report, titled “Will Toning Shoes Really Give You a Better Body?” they found:  

Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed
statistically significant increases in either exercise response
or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials.
There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these
shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more
calories or improve muscle strength and tone.

But what about the claims made by people who wear them that they have sore muscles?

“Do you feel different when you’re wearing these shoes?
Of course you do because you’re walking on probably
an inch worth of cushioning,” explains Porcari. “They feel
different, and that’s why when people first wear them
they’re probably going to be sore because you’re using
different muscles. But if you wear any sort of abnormal
shoes that you’re not used to wearing, your muscles are
going to get sore. Is that going to translate into toning
your butt, hamstrings and calves? Nope. Your body is just
going to get used to it.”

Understand also that any studies cited by the shoe manufacturers proving their statistics are questionable at best.  The studies are sponsored by the shoe manufacturers, are of questionable design and are not peer-reviewed.  As the chief science officer for ACE, Cedric Bryant says ““Depending on how they conduct the study, they can prove anything they
want to prove.”  There, hopefully I just saved you $100 (or more).  Now go spend the money on a gym membership, a TRX or something useful.

Have a great weekend everyone.  I will be back on Monday with a great post on how to lose fat!

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About Lisa Van Dore

I have lived in Sherborn, Dover and most recently North Walpole, for a total of 15 years (and counting). Having recently been through the process of selling a home and buying (and renovating) a new one, I understand the conflicting emotions of excitement and anxiety inherent in the process, whether you are a seller or buyer, whether this is your first home purchase or your tenth. I have a BA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Indiana University. My early career found me working as a CPA, and later as the controller of Crate & Barrel. More recently I spent seven years running my own personal training business. I understand the hard work and dedication necessary to build a business and a reputation...most of my personal training clients came to me by referral and my first client was still with me when I decided to leave personal training. This speaks to the level of effort I put forth for my clients, week after week. On a more personal note, I raced triathlon for seven years and more recently completed my first half marathon. In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, Maine, hiking and, in the fall, following college football...my teams are the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!).
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