Every year people aspire to get healthy, lose weight and be more active. And while this might be your goal for the New Year, sometimes joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer might just be too pricey (especially if saving more money is another one your resolutions!). At-home options can work and there are plenty of programs that get top marks in our Exercise Video report. However, for those who spend New Year's Day on the couch watching TV marathons, some As Seen on TV infomercial products may catch your eye.
Our research found that while some of these gadgets work to some degree, none of them will get you looking like the model in the ads.
The Perfect Situp "Don't work half your abs, work ALL your abs!"
Our verdict? Works for beginners, but reviewers aren't sure you need it at all
The $100 Perfect Situp promises to work both your upper and lower abs in one motion by keeping your body in the right position. The device even makes a clicking sound to inform its user that the exercise has been performed correctly. However, reviewers and experts also say that if you have any fitness experience at all, the product is a waste of money and its more cumbersome than anything else. It can be awkward to use and it is not suitable for anyone over six feet tall. So if you're a newbie to the situp world, the Perfect Situp might be right for you. Otherwise, reviewers say you'll outgrow it pretty fast.
The Air Climber "The fun workout that uses air to elimiate impact!"
Our verdict? The Air Climber works, but long-term durability is iffy
A compact mini stepper might sound like that perfect way to get yourself in gear. Bellows attached to the base of the $100 Air Climber fill with air, providing resistance as you pump and down on them. The product claims to provide a cardio workout that will help you loss weight while tightening your abs and core. And many users, especially beginners, have had success with the product. On the downside, some say it's noisy and there isn't much range of motion. More troubling, many owners report durability issues and complain that the bellows lose their buoyancy after a few workouts.
The Rack "Virtually indestructible 30 pounds of solid steel!"
Our verdict? The Rack works, but isn't as versatile as it claims
For any guy looking to get buff in 2012, the commercial for The Rack, a $160 fitness gizmo, is pretty compelling. This 30-pound, compact workout station can be configured in multiple ways to allow users to perform all types of exercises including sit-ups, crunches, dips and push-ups. And many users who own it, do love the all-purpose device. However, there are a few owner that claim that The Rack is lacking in a few deparments. For example, leg exercises are nearly impossible and the device doesn't offer much resistance. Overall, howevever, when paired with other fitness equipment like free weights, The Rack gets good reviews, particular for upper body and ab exercises.
Total Gym "A total body workout in just 10 to 20 minutes a day"
Our verdict? A solid, compact home gym
Hawked by Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley in infomercials, The Total Gym is basically an incline bench that glides on a track. Using pulleys and the resistance from your body weight users can perform a variety of gym-type exercises. Beginners especially find this machine helpful, but there are some drawbacks and it is pretty expensive - ranging from $160 to over $4,500 depending on how many add-on accessories you buy. For more intermediate exercisers, the moves become easier and less stimulating. Additionally, working out can be time consuming since the position of all parts must be altered for every exercise. Overall, the Total Gym works as advertised, and especially for beginners, is a good alternative to a home gyn that uses weight stacks, but be aware that the Total Gym still requires a fair bit of room.