Results Don’t Vary

This weekend, while running on a treadmill, I had the extreme displeasure of watching a half-hour infomercial for a product called the CoreBody Reformer.  This is a $265 pile of junk that suggests it will burn away the fat of the obese, via a series of exercises supposedly facilitated by it.  Here’s a glimpse:

In the full infomercial, which I (tellingly) can’t seem to find on the internet, there are more extended views of people — women — doing the “CoreBody” exercises.  These involve balancing on the contraption’s tube while executing a series of balletic movements against some unspecified amount of resistance.  Any guesses as to what percentage of the target audience stands a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever moving like that? Hence, the ubiquitous “results vary” disclaimer in the fine print.

Meanwhile, the real secret to the “success” stories — undoubtedly women paid handsomely to appear as success stories — is not the device and exercises.  Also in the fine print at the bottom of the infomercial, you learn that all the “successes” shown in the ad not only posed with their CoreBody Reformers, but “followed the CoreBody Reformer® meal plan.” And guess what? Not only is this rather crucial fact unmentioned in the infomercial, but the details of the “CoreBody Reformer® meal plan” are entirely undisclosed on the product’s website!

One could write a college term paper on the various forms of fraud and theft embodied in this atrocious yet utterly typical scam, not least being the fetishization of the supposed “core” of the body, i.e. the latest variation of the hoary whopper that doing sit-ups will give you a tummy like the models in the ad. One could also note how obesity is such a perfect epidemic for corporate capitalists, a real gold mine. One could ask whether citizens would agree to having the FCC continue granting licenses to broadcasters who use their ethereal desmesnes to air such “paid programming.” One could also ponder the fact that this thing is definitely not small potatoes, in terms of sponsors, as it emanates from the Nautilus, Inc. corporation, which, as it generates over $19,000 in book profits per employee, isn’t big enough to be Fortune 500, but also isn’t close to being a small business.

Suffice, for now, to end with this depressing fact: Consumer Reports endorses this racket!

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High Arka
Guest

It hurts, Michael, but it hurts this one less than reading inspirational stories about upper-lower-middle-income folks going out on inspiring long-distance runs. If you ever spend an hour watching those effers stretching their quadriceps and tearfully congratulating one another after urban half marathons with $265 entry fees, you might find yourself wanting to go home and use a CoreBody reformer. Also, lay off the treadmill. That impact stuff’ll kill you, and it consumes unnecessary power. Find some stairs or some weights, and if you absolutely have to go impact, run outdoors, barefoot, on some grass. Note: not available in all… Read more »

Michael Dawson
Guest

HA, I don’t blame the purchasers of the CBR, and share your disdain for the odiousness of formalized entertainment running.

I try to keep the impact to a minimum by keeping things short, but do like the cardio effects. Alas, I dislike swimming…

Mark Lovas
Guest

Somebody also might do some research into what Pilates has become in the USA and what its originator—who appears to have been a pacifist and socialist—originally had in mind. I don’t have excessive knowledge of the man, but if the quote that he believed that each individual had a right to physical perfection means what I think it does, it’s not about having “model bodies”, but about something more like basic health. In any case, whatever the facts about that particular man, both yoga and pilates are packaged in the USA in the most obnoxious fashion……

Mark Lovas
Guest

And I like the implicit comment that you didn’t have a choice about watching that particular piece of garbage. Even here in the Czech Republic where salaries are, on average, one-fourth (if my memory is correct) of Western Europe, there is an increasing proliferation of screens–in public buses, on the fronts of buildings, etc.–and this corresponds to the most dystopian visions of the future, along with the current attack on pensions and working conditions…..(And people tell me I am depressed? The last person who told me that has not had to work at six different jobs in the past ten… Read more »

nercules
Guest
nercules

Mark, nice to have you here. I live and work in Hungary, and have a Czech colleague who is always complaining about the deteriorating quality of life in his country. I lived in and breathed the fine air of Ostrava (yes, I’m being ironic) for a while as a teacher. But is the cost of living much higher in CZ compared to wages in Hungary?

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

Speaking of Europe, I just returned from a short trip on the north. While I’m reasonably aware of the “grass is greener” twist of perceptions, as well as of the Europe’s economic problems, it seems indisputable to me that the daily life is far more comfortable, healthy, stimulating, and hassle-free than what i have to put up with here in a major US city. Just from having to use my legs to actually walk everywhere for a week, I already fee fitter and healthier (and I do work out regularly in the US – if I didn’t, I’d be falling… Read more »

Martin
Guest
Martin

Marla, I see what you are talking about, but eurocentrism is never going to win me over – despite the great train systems, the far better social supports, the better sense of exercise and child-rearing, I’ve got some family in Germany, and they are just not paragons of civic virtue.
I think there are some reliable, well-stated commentaries here from the lowe r48 and across the ocean, but we are all dealing with locked, fading social systems, just some in far worse current shape, with Dollar Left stores and aisles of sugar snacks the reigning lot of the US.

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

There is really no doubt that Scandinavia, and Europe overall, are a part of the same doomed, decaying socio-economic ecosystem. All I’m saying is that they seem like a more pleasant place to meet the end – the differences seem substantial enough from the perspective of individual life chances/lifetime…

nercules
Guest
nercules

Eurocapitalism is alive and well. I meet their preening representatives every day/

Michael Dawson
Guest

My own view is that Nerc is right and Europe is way more capitalist than the American public or even the European public know. But life is undeniably better there than in the USA, and the chances for some kind of socialism 2.0 effort also way better than here. “Swedish Wage Earners’ Fund,” bitches!

Mark Lovas
Guest

I just watched a couple minutes of that video. Yeah, it’s junk, as Michael put it—-in the sense that you don’t need it to be fit or whatever. But, I’ll bet if you already know how to dance (because you’ve studied for mucho years), or if you’ve learned yoga (after years of study with teachers in the beginning at least) it might actually be usable…..but then mainly because of the knowledge you brought to using it…….(For what it’s worth………………) Hey, is Europe Capitalist? I live in what used to be called “Eastern” Europe, and, errr, all of the economists I… Read more »

Mark Lovas
Guest

(Continuing to agree with Michael, previously on the claim that Europe is Capitalist, and now on the claim that there is reason to think Europeans have advantages………….) There are real differences between the USA and Europe. EG, Whenever I happen to mention to a friend in Central Europe that the USA has no law requiring that employees have maternity/paternity leave, I seem to hear jaws hitting the ground at the speed of light. People can’t believe it, and I am faced with the question, “How can that be possible?”—And, to present the reverse side of the coin with blinding brilliance,… Read more »

Mark Lovas
Guest

I spent a few minutes trying to document my implicit claims about family leave in the Czech Republic (and impllicitly Slovakia, as I lived there for ten years). Wikipedia claims those two countries are most generous in family leave—but there’s a red note saying there should be a citation. However, at Amazon, I found a book which beautifully illustrates the problem faced by families in the USA. It has the title : The Maternity Leave Breastfeeding Plan: How to Nurse Your Baby for 3 Months and Go Back to Work Guilt Free by William G. Wilkoff -and it was published… Read more »