4. Is it really that different?
What is most interesting about infomercials is that the products and programs for sale seem so new and revolutionary! The marketing on them really gets you pumped up! But step back and ask yourself if the gizmo, DVD or training plan really is special or if it's just being marketed as something exciting. Time after time, I see new infomercials for strength training products that are all different shapes and sizes and materials. Do they work? Most likely, anything will work if you use them regularly. But are they any better than the tried-and-true pieces of equipment at the gym (dumbbells, resistance bands, stability balls, etc.)? Probably not.
5. Are the dramatic results what interest me?
If you answer yes to this question, run away from the phone. Do not "act now" and order the product. If you're desperate to lose weight and the claims of rapid weight loss or dramatic results are persuading you to pick up that phone to order, take a deep breath and remind yourself that buying the product itself won't help you lose weight. Using it regularly, along with a healthy diet and sound fitness program will. And if the product or program doesn't interest you at all, then it's probably not a smart buy, no matter how effective it appears to be. For example, if you have two left feet and would never be caught dead on a dance floor, ordering a set of hip-hop dance DVDs probably won't work for you—even if it has worked for others.
6. Is the creator of the product MIA?
The safest, most effective fitness products and programs were created by qualified fitness professionals with degrees in exercise science and/or advanced certifications in personal training or group exercise. If the creator of the product is not certified or fails to mention the qualifications of his or her expertise, be wary! Do some additional research first (see number 9). If a celebrity or model is promoting a product, be sure that an exercise scientist or fitness professional has provided the science.
7. Will it too hard or too easy for me to use?
Some fitness products out there are incredibly challenging and completely unsuitable for beginners. In fact, one of the most popular infomercials, P90X, gives even the fittest people a challenge. On the other side, some other DVDs and products are much easier and would not be appropriate for a seasoned exerciser. Look closely at the moves and the exercises shown on TV and see if you can do them. If your knees start aching after a couple moves, it probably is not for you.