For as long as I’ve been alive, there’s been this seemingly endless appetite for novelty fitness items, all of which their manufacturers swear hold the key to good health and weight loss, as if physical fitness isn’t just a matter of moving your body and eating well, but instead is some kind of alchemical process that will never be successful unless you have the sooper-sekrit shakes/shoes/vibrating weights/contraption.
Some of the products go so far as to promise that its users can have the kinds of bodies normally honed through hours of sweat and dedication, without actually spending the hours of sweat and dedication to make it happen. My favorite is probably the electro-stim pads that, when applied to your stomach, will give you the abs of a Greek god on steroids, without ever so much as having to do a single crunch. (I actually once tried this thing, and it felt weird, like little worms crawling all over my skin. I’d rather just do planks, thanks.)
But I can’t think of a time when I’ve come across a product that actually encourages its users to go and work out as hard as they can while using it, and then claims any benefits that follow are the result of the product (and not, you know, the working-out). That changed today, when I read this post on Jezebel about Zaggora’s HotPants.
According to Zaggora’s website, the HotPants work by…well, I’m not really sure, but it sounds like the idea is that the pants heat up your body slightly while you wear them, which they say jacks up the amount of energy you use and increases your metabolic rate. The lining, which they have cleverly called Celu-Lite, is supposed to “enhance your natural body temperature to warm you up in the areas you want to target most (thighs, bum, and legs).”
The manufacturer then challenges women who wear HotPants to do the following:
- Measure your hips, thighs and waist.
- For the next two weeks, work out for 30-60 minutes a day while wearing them.
- Measure yourself again.
Did you catch #2 there? Work out for 30-60 minutes a day? I’m pretty sure you could be completely stark-ass naked and you’d see results if you worked out for 30-60 minutes every day for two weeks. Of course, then that cuts out the potential to charge would-be customers a bunch of money for the privilege of getting a bit sweatier than usual. Capitalism, I’m doing it wrong.
I suppose I should be happy that Zaggora is saying, “Hey, you actually have to work out while wearing these, and no, shifting positions on the couch while watching a Bravo marathon doesn’t count.” It’s a vast improvement over the Reebok EasyTone, which promised tighter butts and hamstrings just by walking around. So I suppose minor kudos are in order in this regard.
Yet I can’t help but find myself aggravated every time I encounter a product like this. It’s not only the fact that they are charging anywhere from US$40-$110 for the pants, but the fact that they are making the pursuit of fitness and wellness seem like it’s this incredibly complicated endeavor that requires special equipment to do it right.
The truth is, there are key ingredients required to be successful in the pursuit of wellness: desire, hard work and persistence. None of these things can be bought, no matter how much money you have. This sucks for peddlers of fitness gadgetry, because once you realize that the secrets of success lie within you, you’ll never be susceptible to buying their wares ever again.
By all means, buy the special butt-heating pants, and wear them while running and doing squats, but remember, it’s not the pants that are making all the difference. It’s you.