The Shake Weight Is Still Out There—and It’s Stealing Your Clients

A man dressed in comical fitness attire wraps plastic wrap around his waist.

Just think about how fit we’d all be if we’d truly harnessed the power of “dynamic inertia.”

Those of you who know your fitness gimmicks—or watch a lot of late-night TV—will recall that dynamic inertia was the gainz-driving force behind the Shake Weight. It supposedly offered the cure for flabby arms and sagging shoulders.

In reality, it was total BS.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

I have vivid memories of the Shake Weight—and not just of the gloriously entertaining wink-wink parodies it triggered almost instantly on “Saturday Night Live,” on “South Park” and in literally every gym in the world.

I recall being at the Arnold Sports Festival in 2011 and seeing an impossibly jacked fitness model hawking the Shake Weight (see Page 4 here). And I know I saw it prominently featured in one CrossFit gym’s large collection of “novelty items,” which also included the Thigh Master—which is still available, BTW.

For entertainment purposes only, I present two lists:

Alas, the Shake Weight’s time was short—even when the product evolved to feature variable resistance in a Pro model. Consumer Reports, WebMD and others debunked the suggestive fitness solution as less effective than traditional implements and movements.

I bring the Shake Weight up for two reasons:

  1. The Shake Weight and comical products like “The Frog” are not gone. They’ve just evolved and changed form.
  2. People are regularly taken in by empty promises in marketing.

As a gym owner and fitness expert, it’s your duty to educate people so they don’t waste their time and money.

Experts and Lies

I won’t name and deride current worthless fitness gimmicks.

But you don’t have to look far to find snake oil.

And neither do your clients and prospective clients.

Some products might actually work to a very small degree, adding 0.5 percent to an athlete’s performance. At the super-elite level, maybe that increase is the difference between gold and silver, and the product should be considered.

Literally anywhere below that level, the product is a hundred times less important than working out consistently and eating vegetables regularly.

And most of the products are utter and complete nonsense. Everyone knows it—except for a huge number of helpless people who desperately want to get fitter but don’t know how to do it.

That’s where you come in as a trainer or gym owner.

You need to provide real knowledge—to your clients and to prospective clients who are looking for help.

Last week, I gave you five blog ideas. This week, I’m solving your content problems for all time.

Helpful Content for Clients

If you’re ever hard up for something to write about on your blog or social media, do one of these two things:

A. Tell people exactly how to get real results.

B. Explain why fitness gimmicks are not effective.

Here’s the truth: As stupid as most ridiculous fitness products are, people spend money on them.

I guarantee that someone in your life has fallen prey to some marketing ploy and purchased a gloriously ineffective powder, mask, mouthpiece, wrap, cleanse, device or workout system. And these are people you know—people close to a fitness pro.

Outside your circle of influence, misguided people are desperately throwing credit cards at hucksters who are taking orders at an unbelievable pace.

That means people are wasting money—and have money to waste. You can prevent people from being fleeced and grow your business at the same time.

It’s a big win for everyone because your services actually get results. And you deserve to make money for having real solutions.

Do This—and Don’t Do This!

Here’s a media principle that will guide you from now until your retirement:

Anytime you can’t think of anything to publish, put the lie to some silly trend or ineffective gimmick.

If you want two lifetimes of blog ideas, take some advice from Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper and answer common fitness questions for your audience.

But here’s the secret: Don’t mock a dumb product and the poor people who use it. That will just come off as mean. It will shame users and turn them off to your message. And don’t just say something is “stupid.”

Instead, use your knowledge as a true fitness pro to explain why a certain type of product is ineffective. Provide evidence. Then tell your audience exactly what to use or do instead. Compliment users for being willing to invest in their health, then give them real solutions. Be kind but direct.

As Chris has said repeatedly, it’s just not enough to say “don’t do this.” Anyone can do that. Even the snake-oil vendors.

To have an effect, you need to answer two questions: “why?” and “what else?”

You already have those answers. And they’re obvious to you. But they aren’t so obvious to the general person.

So state your case—over and over.

If you do, you’ll help people and you’ll help your business.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.