Last weekend, I was chatting with my mother on the phone. She's all excited that I'm coming over to visit for a week in November. "I'll be seeing you in only seven weeks," she trilled happily, immediately followed by "How's your diet going? Have you lost much weight?"
Dang. I'd forgotten that I'd told her I was going on a diet following my last visit a year ago. The problem is that my mom has a mind like a steel trap. Her memory is so good that sometimes she remembers things that haven't even happened yet.
So I started sipping at a beer while I pondered the problem. I used to worry that drinking beer made me put on weight, but I've discovered that, after a few beers, I don't worry nearly as much.
I think I want what all reasonable men want -- some way of losing weight without having to commit any time or effort to the problem. More specifically, without having to do any exercise or change my diet or lifestyle in any way.
You may feel that this is a bit of a pipe dream, but I'm an optimistic fellow by nature, and -- believe it or not -- I may have stumbled across a viable solution.
On Monday, while I was beavering away in my office, my chum Paul from the next bay dropped by to chill out for a few minutes. While we were chatting, Paul mentioned that he'd been looking at some form of exercise machine that causes you to lose weight by jiggling you around. Of course, I immediately thought of the old machines involving a belt strapped around the user's bottom. The belt would vibrate and shake and was supposed to simply "melt the fat away."
Paul assured me that this wasn't what he was waffling on about. Apparently, a new type of vibration machine is starting to appear in fitness centers. The idea is that a platform vibrates under your feet with a frequency that automatically varies back and forth from 10 Hz to 60 Hz. Your muscles react automatically to balance your body against the machine's changing motions and speeds.
It seems that Paul has been researching this quite a bit, cumulating in his finding a very affordable version on Amazon -- the Confidence Fitness Full Body Vibration Platform.
These machines usually sell for thousands of dollars, but this one is only $250 with free shipping. Of course, one is always worried that something is too good to be true, but I'm a big fan of real-world customer reviews, and the Amazon reviews for this machine are pretty darned good. It's got a rating of 4.5 out of five stars with 680 customer reviews (456 of whom gave it the full five stars).
Reading these reviews, we see countless comments along the lines of "I have had the product just over three weeks and my wife has already mentioned improvements in my appearance" and "My clothes fit better" and "I sleep better at night."
Paul and I decided to buy one between us to see if it works. We ordered it around lunchtime Monday, and it arrived Wednesday morning. You can't argue with service like that.
The machine is reasonably rugged and very easy to assemble. It takes up hardly any room, and it's amazingly quiet. It's also very easy to move around, because it is equipped with two small wheels. All you do is tilt it up a little and trundle it around to your heart's content. Paul and I wheeled it into a spare office. No one even knows you are using it unless you tell them.
Reading the instruction books (yes, I'm that sort of person), we are informed that a 10-minute session on this machine is the equivalent of a one-hour regular workout. Also, one should not exceed the 10-minute time limit.
To be honest, I took all this with a grain of salt. I've been exposed to myriad marketing -- let's say fantasies -- over the years, and I've grown used to disappointment. However, I have to say that, in the case of this jiggle machine, I've changed my mind.
All you are doing is standing on a jiggling platform. "How hard can it be?," you ask. But after my first 10-minute session, my thigh muscles were burning and my heart rate was way up there (there's a heart monitor built into the handles and a display on the main control panel). A little later, while sitting at my desk, I realized that I felt like I'd had a really good workout. I did a second session a couple of hours later, and I really, really felt that one.
The great thing about this is the short amount of time it takes. When I arrive at my office in the morning, I start my computers powering up, set the coffee machine going, and then spend 10 minutes on the jiggle machine listening to the news on the radio. Quite apart from anything else, this is much less frustrating than staring at my computer screens muttering, "Come on you... little beauties" (or words to that effect). In the middle of the afternoon, I do the same thing again.
But how will we know if this machine works? Well, I'm going to use the little scamp twice a day leading up to my trip to the UK. In the spirit of scientific curiosity and investigative journalism, I'm not going to change my diet or my lifestyle otherwise. (I dare to be different.) This means that, if I do end up losing weight, we can have some level of confidence that the jiggle machine is performing its magic.
Now, I'm hoping against hope that I will be able to surprise my mother with a slimmer, svelte version of her firstborn son. Keep your fingers crossed for me. In the meantime, have you heard about -- or had experience with -- these jiggle machines?
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting