It's amazing what you learn when you cannot find the remote. Today I learnt how easy it is to get in the best shape of my life in just 60 seconds a day. Flick on one of the obscure freeview channels at breakfast time and you can see for yourself. At that time of the day, it's wall-to-wall infomercials. And, at this time of year, it's wall-to-wall infomercials for weight loss products, each more miraculous and each requiring less effort than the one before.
Rotating discs for the 'perfect push-ups'? It's here. Electronically operated rotating saddle that mimics the action of horse riding while you watch TV? You bet. Everything you need to get into the best shape of your life and, what's more, no discipline required. Plus, if you call now, you get a free weight loss poster!
Let me get one thing straight. If you are fat, or just a little bit wobbly, then you are not a lateral thigh trainer away from chiselled abs and slender pins. You are not just a pair of muscle-activating trainers away from a perfect derrier. You can use a Thigh Master daily, but your legs will not shrink at supernatural speed. You can use dumbells that shake, but you will not shed fat at an extraordinary rate.
You do not need gadgets to progress. Let me give you an example: Picture the average-sized guy that gets sent down for a couple of years, only to emerge from prison fully metamorphasized with a physique that is part gorilla, part Greek god. Do you think he used vibrating plates to get that way? Of course not. He used a bench and some weights, because that's all he had. Now, many of my female clients have different aims to our fictional lag, but the point remains valid.
Equally, let's take a look at our altogether-more-wholesome heroes from 2012. Thoughts turn instantly to our golden girl Jessica Ennis. Her stunning victory in the Olympics was down to natural talent, years of training and a cool head in the fever pitch of the Stratford stadium. Not down to a revolutionary new workout DVD that blended Zumba with high intensity somersaults in a 'patented blend proven to sculpt and tone'. And did you hear Mo Farah mention in interviews how his success was down to space-age cookware that allowed him to prepare chicken in less time and with less oil? Didn't think so.
None of my clients use gimmicks. They just do all the basics things exquisitely well. This means triggering the desired hormonal stimuli through stretch-induced damage, then delivering a tailored macronutrient intake and ensuring an appropriate state of metabolism to achieve their aims. Or, in layman's terms, they lift big, eat right and get to bed on time. And they achieve an average fat loss of 10.6kg in their first eight weeks (that's FAT loss, not weight loss).
If you have weights, a bench and the know-how, you already have enough tools. If you genuinely cannot lose weight or build muscle with effective training, then you need to take a look at your diet, hormone balance, sleeping patterns or digestion. You don't need new micro-fibre gymwear and you definitely don't need electronic pads that contract your abdominal muscles.
Your muscle fibres don't care whether you have loaded them with a dumbell or a small cow. Your fat cells don't care whether the workout you followed was eulogised by a washed-up celeb or endorsed by a random guy in the gym. What matters is the intensity, sets, tempo and rest periods. And what matters even more is the balance of protein/fat/carbohydrate that you introduce to your system afterwards.
It's very easy to laugh at the people that buy gimmicky products. But, while it's easy to dismiss the buyers as a naïve minority, the reality is that these ads would not keep on appearing on television if it were not for sufficient people buying! So, if you've ever bought a Thigh Glider, know that your purchase was responsible for sustaining this industry of fakes, frauds and phonies. And if you are ever tempted into ordering a 'revolutionary' gadget hawked by a botox-laden presenter, know that your bodyshape is as likely to change as her facial expression.