Forget paying for exercise equipment; stairs are free

Tuesday, January 15, 2002



I'm ashamed to admit I spent money on one of those ab workout belts that promises to shed two inches off your waist in two weeks or less by sending electrical impulses into your stomach area -- but I did.

I should have been wary of the product when the infomercial announcer quickly read a list of warnings as long as my arm, but I was too wrapped up in the thought of having a slender mid-section that the hazards didn't seem to matter. (OK. I should have been wary of the product for the simple fact that it was the subject of an infomercial, but we all make mistakes.)

The "real people" on the program made slimming down look simple.

One woman, who claimed to have lost two inches in two weeks, said she wore the belt for 10 minutes a day while she cooked dinner for her family. Another said she wore the belt under her clothes while working.

By the end of the infomercial I was hooked and before I knew it I had ordered my own weight-loss belt.

A couple of weeks later when I opened my mailbox and saw a small package sitting inside I was thrilled. I ran inside and tore open the box, thinking I was only days away from a six-pack.

Unfortunately, the only six-pack I was close to was the six-pack of soda sitting in my refrigerator.

As I read the directions, I learned all of the details the infomercial had neglected to disclose to the public -- the most important being you have to apply some goo to not only the belt, but all over your stomach for the product to be effective.

By the time I got done applying the gel and strapping the belt around my waist it was apparent there was no clean way to wear the belt under clothing.

The worst part was that the $40 contraption didn't slim anything.

I told a friend about the belt, and he started laughing. Then he told me I wasn't alone. His mother had bought a similar model.

"I used it one day," he admitted, "and it shocked the crap out of me."

I felt better knowing I wasn't the only sucker looking for an easy way to avoid crunches.

I have since learned the best exercise is free exercise.

Last weekend, I moved from a second-story apartment to a third-story apartment across town. At the beginning of the day I was full of energy. I carried boxes and small items to the truck, saving the larger items, like my bed and living room furniture, for my boyfriend Jeremiah and friend Matt. We had the truck loaded in about an hour.

When we got to the new apartment, I pointed to my new home. "That's it, up there, the one at the top," I said.

Jeremiah and Matt stood with their heads tilted back, looking toward the sky.

"We're going to die," one of them muttered.

Two trips and about 300 stairs later, the truck was empty and we were finished.

The next day I could hardly move. Muscles I didn't even know existed were aching. I decided the next time I think about purchasing an exercise apparatus from an infomercial I'm going to run up and down my stairs 50 times instead.

Heather Kronmueller is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: