Fitness Find or Fitness Flop? You Decide!

Apr 22, 2010

Health-Conscious Chef Spreads the Word on Healthy Eating

A person’s nutrition choices can make or break his health. Unfortunately it seems that many people would rather choose McDonald’s french fries over a healthy spinach salad. However, one man has made it his mission to teach the world’s eaters to take nutrition choices into their own hands. Formerly known as the “Naked Chef,” Jamie Oliver has a reputation for helping the average, non-culinary-oriented person navigate the kitchen.

Frustrated with the food given to children in his native England, Oliver developed a television series called Jamie’s School Dishes. His goal was to help school chefs develop better-quality meals to improve the health and well-being of area schoolchildren. While working on this program, he realized that the children weren’t receiving adequate nutrition at home, either. This led him to create the “Ministry of Food” campaign in which he teaches “noncooks” how to prepare healthy family meals from scratch.

Having achieved success in his home country, Oliver decided to bring his efforts to the U.S. In the television series Food Revolution, Oliver will take on the residents of Huntington, West Virginia, which has been called the unhealthiest town in the U.S. Throughout the program, he will face children who eat pizza for breakfast and cannot tell the difference between tomatoes and potatoes. And an even greater challenge may well be presented by local adults who seem adverse to change. “The time is right for people to rediscover the sense of pride, satisfaction and fun you can get from cooking for the people you love,” states Oliver on his website, “I want to prove that turning around the epidemic of obesity and bad health doesn’t have to be boring or dull in the slightest. Wonderful stories will unfold in Huntington, and hopefully this will inspire the rest of the states.”

Shake It Up With Shake Weight™

A new device that has exploded onto the market is the Shake Weight, a 2.5-pound dumbbell-shaped apparatus that promises “strong, sexy, sculpted arms & shoulders” in just 6 minutes a day. The product was originally designed for arm-conscious women, but a male version has recently entered the market. Users grip the tool in one or two hands and then shake it vigorously back and forth with minimal—if any—changes in range of motion.

The Shake Weight website states that strength benefits are derived from a “new” technology dubbed “dynamic inertia,” which promises greater muscular activation than traditional dumbbells. The ads show finely chiseled models pitching the tool, advocating its effectiveness. But can a 2.5-pound dumbbell really help the average, overweight American develop lean, toned arms? You decide. According to information provided in the 2010 edition of ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (8th ed., p.169; Baltimore: American College of Sports Medicine), “To improve muscular strength, mass, and—to some extent—endurance, a resistance exercise that allows a person to complete 8–12 repetitions per set should be selected.” Older adults or deconditioned individuals should select a level of resistance that allows them to complete 10–15 reps.

The Shake Weight website claims that users will perform roughly 240 reps per minute; that’s up to 1,440 reps, if the 6-minute suggested protocol is completed. However, based on scientific principles, the applied resistance is not significant enough to solicit the promised muscular adaptations. Other factors to consider are fat mass, which will conceal muscular tone, and limited range of motion, which may initiate degeneration of area soft- and hard-tissue structures.

While the Shake Weight may help a deconditioned population move—or shake—more, can it deliver on its claims? You can shake it to your heart’s content and find out firsthand for $19.99.

Note: This column puts the power of deciding what and who are hot or not in the industry in your hands. The list will also be compiled on the IDEA website at Check back each month to see the running tally of products, people and initiatives.

At the end of the year, we will have a poll on our website for IDEA Fitness Journal readers to choose the top Fitness Find and Fitness Flop. We will then publicly announce our awards, showing the good judgment, advocacy and expertise of IDEA members!

We’d love to hear from you about your favorite finds and flops. Send all comments and nominations to Ryan Halvorson at for consideration. Please do not expect a response.

IDEA Fit Tips, Volume 8, Issue 5

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