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I’m a Personal Trainer – 6 Things I’ve Never Wasted Money On, From Treadmills to Fitness Trackers

This may sound revolutionary to some fitness fanatics, but you don’t need a mat or non-slip socks to practice yoga. For going to the gym, resistance bands and arm wraps are completely unnecessary, and if you’re thinking of starting home workouts, you can forgo expensive equipment.

Last year, 14 percent from the UK were members of the gym. The pandemic helped to increase the number, and according to GlobalData53.3 percent of UK consumers invested in home exercise equipment between March 2020 and April 2021. Now, a few years later, gym platform Hussle has revealed that a third of that equipment purchased was never used.

To help people make purchases that won’t collect dust, I asked fitness experts what are the best things to never buy and which are absolute wastes of money.

1. Treadmills

“They’re practically medieval,” says fitness instructor and canoe coach Martin Sharp. He has a right. The machines were invented in 1818 to be used as punishment in prisons – they were intended for prisoners to learn from their own sweat. Although they are now used freely, Sharp believes they are “terrible” and come with a host of harmful side effects.

“Don’t use them,” he warns. “They set the speed at which you have to train, not allowing for the natural changes in cadence, stride force and speed that occur as you perform, which means you may not be performing at your best.”

It is a controversial opinion. Treadmills continues to be the best-selling piece of exercise equipment, and this year an under-the-desk treadmill that allowed telecommuters to get in their stride while typing went viral.

According to social media, putting your treadmill at a 12 percent incline and three mph for 30 minutes is the ideal workout to shred your body, burn fat, and lose weight. But Sharp is not convinced.

“There are many studies that show that repetitive movements that target the same muscles and joints lead to overuse, wear and tear, and injury,” he says.

2. Massage guns

Many athletes swear by massage guns or shock therapy devices to stimulate blood flow and improve muscle recovery. There are hundreds on the market, from budget models to hot and cold powered ones, ranging from £10 to over £500. But if it were up to personal trainer Joe Johnson, everyone would be in the basket.

“While they may look cool and feel good temporarily, there is little evidence to suggest that they are anywhere near as effective as other techniques like a simple massage or an ice bath,” he says. For regular gym goers, they have massage post-workout is effective, and competitive bodybuilders should aim for a deep tissue or sports massage at least once a week, according to the wellness platform Soothe.

3. Fitness trackers

Fitness tracking are fantastic for tracking your activity, but then you have to do something with your data,” says strength and conditioning expert Aleksander Saks. He says the metrics tracked by smartwatches — typically heart rate, step count and tracking different forms of exercise — can hinder people’s progress because they don’t do anything with the numbers. “That’s great, but will it help you get ahead or make your lifestyle healthier?”

Saks also points out inaccuracies associated with these trackers. In 2019, a study from California State Polytechnic University Pomona compared heart rates tracked on smartwatches to readings from electrocardiograms and found that the watches can drift by 20 beats per minute during intense exercise. Fitbit’s product manuals caution against these inaccuracies, stating that high-intensity movement “may prevent the sensor from finding an accurate heart rate.”

Other users have cited the mental implications of accessing so much data, saying they are addicted to the numbers on their wrist and need a break from the lifestyle they bring.

4. Stimulating before training

graduation thesis powder formulas they usually contain a dose of caffeine that is advertised to give people a mental boost and boost of energy before exercise. Johnson says that “you can get the same effect if you drink coffee before your workout or just completely prevent the need for mental stimulation and just sleep more.” The instructors recommend getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night so that you don’t have to drink caffeine at all before training.

Nutritionist Lindsey Kass says that the dose of some stimulants before training is too high. For example, HR Labs Defib pre-workout contains 400 mg of caffeine per serving, the maximum amount adults should have, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. She recommends a dose of one to three milligrams per kilogram of body weight one hour before exercise.

5. Toners for the abdomen

Abdominal stimulators promise to make the abdominal muscles look tighter or cause weight loss. Slendertone’s “most comfortable abs toning belt” retails for £179 and claims to be “clinically proven to firm and tone abs from four weeks, recommended use 20-30 minutes a day, five days a week”.

It comes with 10 programs, including Pro Toning, Ab Power and Ab Crunch Training. Johnson says they were popular in the 1990s, but he can’t believe they’re still around today. The machines work by sending electrical impulses through the muscles, causing them to tighten so “you can work your core while watching Netflix.” Except you can’t, according to the coach.

The only way to have visible abs is to eat in a caloric deficit – take in less than you burn – to “melt belly fat”. He said this was achieved by diet, not electrical impulses.

6. Medicines for weight loss

Elon Musk would disagree with this. When asked how he lost so much weight so quickly, he took to X (formerly Twitter) and told his followers that injecting Wegovy, brand name for semaglutide, a weight loss drug. It is currently available in the UK for those with a BMI over 30, provided they meet other criteria. According to the NHS, when used alongside diet and exercise, Wegovy users can achieve a weight loss of up to 15 per cent after a year.

These drugs they work by reducing people’s appetites, allowing them to sit in a caloric deficit without feeling hungry. Johnson agrees with the logic – if people consume less, they lose more weight. His problem is when people stop the medication: “Most people go back to the way they ate before and gain weight again.”

A study from March this year found that people regained two-thirds of the weight they lost on the drug when they stopped. The drugs mimic the hormone GLP-1, which signals the brain when a person is full. This does not align the brain, so the weight loss may be temporary. With monthly costs of £199 for the starter pack, according to Private Doc, Johnson says it’s not worth the money.

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