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Waist Not - Want Not!

David Landau


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It is seen every day at the gym. There lies the ever so countless and countless grunting, groaning, and straining attempts to reduce the ever expanded waistline. This is the loathsome drudgery exemplifies America's unending quest for the ideal midsection. Each and every day there is literally thousands upon thousands of hours wasted away on superfluous efforts to trim fat off of the mid section. Ah, the tradition of the sit-up, just do hundreds upon hundreds of them and that fat will just disappear - sure! All One has to do is join in and be a part of the crowd. It does not stop here. The failed attempts at the attainment of any miniscule loss of fat around the middle are quickly fed with alternative suggestions. These aborations come in the form of pitiful routines that center on the waistline, but end up no better than reinventions of the wheel. (*The wheel has been used also, possible picture with description) It is time to wake up folks!

As is often seen, the fitness field remains dominated by much of the same old dead end information. No, think not? Just sit down to watch TV and wait a few minutes as you change the channels. You will eventually come across infomercials with literally a host of invalid contraptions that promise impossible solutions in a hurry, but would only be fit for the trash can. Many of these "programs" will imply that old fashioned crunches (sit-ups) should be replaced by their technologically advanced state of the art (no science) mechanisms. Take a closer look and you will find that they are largely made of the cheapest of all possible "high tech" materials available. But nevertheless, many viewers will become irresistibly drawn in when they see a familiar TV star, former/present athlete, or some fitness model/bodybuilder. This is reminds me of the old fashioned carny relying on a big boisterous voice to real in his or her victims - "Come one, Come all!" But be real cautious when you see athletes, movie stars, and high profile people in association with these shows, for they only provide a dash of comical entertainment at best. Folks, they are merely well compensated provocateurs of this ongoing fitness fraud. They are guilty by association, as getting paid high bucks immediately changes the objectivity of these not so expert - experts. As someone once said, "when money speaks the truth keeps silent." Nonetheless, they are cleverly convincing with their phony plastic smiles and a feigned concern for your well being. Sure! They then in turn grin all the way to the bank. As a result, this absolute garbage rules the TV waves, as the "experts" insist upon besieging you with impossible promises of lies, sex, and video tapes. This is simply worthless provocative commercialism that turns into a classic case of delivering nothing for "something."

In a description of the Game Show Fixes in the late 1950s, someone testified that "A degree of deception is of considerable value when producing these shows." A greater lesson in this clever deception is on a much larger "scale" here. But, on and on these clowns continue to suggest plenty of false claims, as well as presenting phony testimonials. The promises imply that an attractive slim - flat, hard waistline and six pack abs is just around the corner. The classic scenario begins with a host that introduces guests that are genetically blessed with bodies far beyond the average viewer's inherent capability to understand simple cause and effect - born not made. Preoccupied by the generic and pretentious entertainment, the consumer then starts to envision dreams of a beautiful sculpted waistline. Before and after pictures are shown as "proof" that such outstanding results are possible. But are these after pictures of our heroes actually the before pictures of them, in turn getting paid to fatten up? Sadly, those that are captivated by this will see their hopes and illusions simply end up as broken dreams or become a repetitive bad habit that never quite ends up anywhere. The only possibility of any result, might be lower back pain and injury at best. In all cases this becomes the perfect scenario for the agony of defeat. There is absolutely no evidence that exists to support the contrary. Efforts to promote this nonsense should be completely censored. It is here that the prostitution of exercise has reached its all time high. Be that as it may, there is some value to the direct strengthening of the waistline. But in no way shape or form should it be confused with their suggested spot reduction and loss of fat. The spot reduction of fat which is a complete myth but just the suggestion of it satisfies the intellectually starved. The bottom line is that America's obsession for a slimmer waistline is becoming satiated with over hyped commercialism. All of this leads to the most abused waste of effort, time, and money one can ever observe.

Now in the new millennium, we have a new buzz word that is virtually being shoved down our throats to describe what we should all be concerned about; it is our "Core". Now that we're told that it is a necessity to have a sound and sexy Core, it makes sense that we better do something about it. Does it sound too convincing and too good to be true? If this is the case, run as far away as you can with one hand held to your wallet and the other hand held to your gun. Basing your training on this "core" approach because the majority is participating in it, will be your undoing. Many will still ignore the common sense signals of buyer be ware, in spite of this being a classic case of highway robbery. This "waisted" campaign will unfortunately forge on without a hitch. The entertainment and comedy industries should take notice, as the promotion of this "Core" belief is not only one of humor, but one of many errors. Case example; back on the home front it is now popular belief to do the traditional sit-up bending half way around a large beach ball like implement and this is truly scientific? If that doesn't do the trick, go back to purchasing that plastic useless gizmo, or just go squander your money on the latest diva dance video DVD. This only provides one vicious circle of doubt, a chaotic diversity if there ever was one. Nonetheless popularly, it is now suggested that these are indeed new ways to combat our ever problematic issues of the mid rift. Not so fast! All these short cuts do is only deliver you one fat chance, slim and none (no pun intended) and slim again left the premises. But then you ask yourself, why are so many people confused over the cause and effect of abdominal exercise?

Why do they continue to jump on and lay over large beach balls bulged up underneath their bodies and persist on purchasing pieces of infomercial junk, or blindly jump into the latest dance gyration video. Because they see millions upon millions of suspect "successful" people doing the same. But in reality very few ever succeed and millions do fail miserably in their attempts to accomplish the impossible. The answer is no, no, and no again. The solution is not these exercises in futility or anything remotely suggested. The following mistakes from days gone by will allow you to comprehend some simple rules of cause and effect. First off we will cover the comical origins that are not so far fetched as they are today, but the results have always remained the same.

The History of Abdominal Evil Doers

There is nothing new under the sun and when the old exercise myths die, there are plenty of new ones to take their place. A look back in history shows us similar follies that are not so far fetched from today's madness. Conning people, cheating them, and making them like it was an art practiced by snake oil exercise salesmen from the early part of the 20th century. Money was quick to be had, as it was well understood that there was "a sucker is born every minute with two to take him." In the early era of abdominal awareness, the dominating folly was the mechanical vibrator belt. It was seen ingrained in the public's mind as a novel approach to spot reduce fat off of the waistline. It was told that their use alone would contribute exclusively to the miraculous reduction of fat off the waistline. But shakers, vibrators, along with the ever so popular daily dozen (a popular 1920s callisthenic regime invented by an ex football coach) would indeed produce the ever so sought after reduction of the inches or so they thought. But of course again if there were any doubts, there had to be endorsements by the stars, professional athletes, as well as many of the popular people of that era. The elegant waistline was also an equal opportunity for women, and the corset line still remained popular from an era removed. The waistline gadgetry and girdles continued on through the 1930s. In spite of the great depression where economic hardship and prosperity effected food and dietary intake, functional appliances such as rubber rowers continued to be sold by the thousands. The claims were absurd as they are today, but the only discernable difference was that some of these purveyors really meant well.

The "Core" conditioning dogma bandied around today as we know it, was simply referred to then as slenderizing and firming. You could join in with many stars and starlets in the process. There with signed testimonials were Bing Crosby, Betty Grable, Fred MacMurray, Cary Grant Cecil B. DeMille, Dorothy Lamour, and many others. Those that we often enjoy on today's AMC Channel, stood up to be counted as slim, vigorous, and healthy. They were exceptions in spite of these little rubber exercise cords they promoted, but it was enough for the public and during those bleary years anything pushed by the stars allowed for there to be slim a ray of hope. The 1940s roared in and there was a complete theme of whole bodily strengthening, including Barbell Systems, Calisthenics taken from the Military Drills, and Pulley Machines. To their credit, each system was seemingly always accompanied by a reduced calorie menu. The waistline was reduced only as a result of the diet plans offered. There were even calorie charts that allowed those participants to make intelligent choices based on their total calorie basally, minus how active they were. This was a legitimate plan that allowed for seeable and measurable results. (Pictures of before and after 1950s)

Fraud none the less would find its way creeping back into the picture; it had been there all along however, but in the form of fad diets alone. Although there were occasional "slimming apparatus" that came in the form of simple spring exercisers, there was no lull in the action as these fad diets had been around since the Earl of Salisbury (the early inspiration of high protein diets - Salisbury steak). The 1960s however forged in with a new twist. Chubby Checker's hit record Twist stimulated overwhelming exercise phenomena that danced and whittled away at the waist. Spot reduction never had so much fun! With the Dance Cult, Let's Twist Again and Twist it Up followed and it was reported that "Chubby" had actually lost 30 pounds during a 3 week stretch as a result of demonstrating his strenuous twisting exertions. (Preoccupation of his sought after appearances likely gave the super star little time for his typical indulgements, therefore opened the possibility for his weight loss) In describing this dance/exercise Checker explained, "The first position of the stance is like a boxer's. Then you move your hips like you're wiping yourself with a towel. Your body goes back and forth in one direction and your hands go in the other direction. From that point on you ad-lib energetically." It was just that simple! The craze was not to be denied and not surprisingly stimulated a generic offspring of exercise twisters. The exercise crusaders were quick to jump on this bandwagon. The Twist and Slim Exerciser, the easy exerciser for the whole family was understood as a way to lose those extra pounds and reduce the hips, waist, and stomach. This was an equal opportunity exerciser that supported twisting for those up to 400 pounds. "5 minutes a day keeps the fat away." Not to be grandstanded, the Weider Company (* Joe and Ben Weider were Muscle/Bodybuilding Industrialists who successfully lured a young Arnold Schwarzenegger to the United States and have basically ruled the physical culture world to this very day) ) introduced the Figure Trimmer. It was a twister unparalleled, as it promised a slimmer, trimmer, leaner waistline in only 2 minutes! As a back up, the clever Weiders pleaded with their consumers to watch the size of their meals and forbade in between snacks. But it was Jack LaLanne who hastily "engineered" his twister and it stood above them all. He was the official twister king, for he had been the first of the twisters. His twister however had the added special isometric balance rope for added resistance for the upper body as you twisted away. But like all the fads before them, they rode on a horse called hype and it came in like a lion and crept away quietly like a lamb.

But as someone once said, "birds of a feather flock together." How little did they know they were close to home here! But it was one of those feathers that stood alone, Jack Feather that is. Jack was a dietary and gadgetry schemer that had the early line on waistline fraud. Jack knew that imprisoned in every fat man, a thin one was wildly screaming to be let out. He answered this desperation in the only way he knew how, he told the public what they wanted to hear! In the 1960s through the early 1980s, he dominated the abdominal awareness craze. This inventor of the Sauna Belt, The Mark Eden Bust Developer, Trim Jeans, and the Astro Trimmer, was a brilliant marketing genius. He understood the failure of the previous fitness bamboozle. Jack took advantage of America's ominous lusting love affair with their non stop pursuit of the slimmer, sexier midriff. Having the early line on Fitness made" easy and simple," he simply skipped the fitness part and delivered the public what they wanted, which was easy and impossible solutions. The public bought it hook, line, and sinker. Big Jack was making millions of dollars as a result of claims that were far cleverer than the one's imposed by the imposters of today's fitness fantasia. The claims were simply wonderful and full of promise. Lauding losses of 3 inches of paunch within 3 days and 5 inches in a period of 2 weeks was more than palatable to a "starving public." Lose as many inches as you want! He suggested doing more was better and that expansive waistline would just disappear. Feather was brilliant with his associated flyers that opted for an exercise routine. Although extremely simple, the exercises would be rather difficult in some cases to interpret and adhere to. Feather knew this and successfully dodged mail fraud law suits in lieu for many years. Millions were made and fraud claims were slow to mount. By the time he was in jurisprudence, he had compiled far more money than the lawsuits combined. It was reported in one case he settled out of court for around 1 or so million dollars and in the process kept his nearly 40 million in the bank. Ironically Jack Feather was a very learned man and really did know the value of proper exercise for himself. He bought the first of the manufactured *Nautilus Exercise Equipment for his own personal use. He knew the value of progressive exercise and the true value of health and development, but on the opposite side he also knew there was a gold mine at the end of the rainbow. Unfortunately the consumer never knew what hit them. As in the others before him, Jack's time came and went. He became the platform for those that could cleverly dupe the public up until this very day.

Electric Dreams

Electricity in its many uses has been a miracle, and if you think not; try living a few days without the comfort of it. The clever marketing of electricity however is far reaching and appropriate, until it becomes part of the re "Volt" against the waistline. Only if Benjamin Franklin were alive to see the amazing use of his discovery of the clever harnessing of electricity, only if! The 1990s roared in needing something anew and the "discovery" of electricity was made for the sole use of a passive way to "exercise" the fat off. The consumer had its fill but was falling prey to more, even though it had been used eras gone by for several health related remedies. For now its time had come for the battle of the bulge. The EMS (electrical muscle stimulator) era had moved in to save the day, or at least from their perspective. It was and is now possible to apply rubber pads directly to your belly and exercise that fat off only to reveal that ever elusive "six pack." Sure. This is something that would have made even Jack Feather proud. Stimulators that were originally used to revive heart attack victims could now be "toned" down to put a lean/lien on that waist. Just when we thought previously that fraud was at an all time high, passive belly treatments became the rage. Now all one has to do lie down and have these pads applied and presto, no more fat. Belts were patented so that one could even take your exercise to work and have it turned on all day. Imagine the ever elusive 6 pack and with no effort or exercise at all! But the consumer here could never get enough and when some current didn't work, more did, only in the form of shocks, bruises, and even burns. Fat burning became an actuality, but the type that came in the variety of burned and bruised skin followed by a hospital visit. Quick to stem the phony claims with this electric current was the FDA, and it appears the horizon is cleared from at least this. Not so fast, the desperate although hard pressed to get it domestically, have new sophisticated electronic devices that have spread world wide like the plague. Now the "dreams" can stay alive while world wide outlets house these items conveniently and internationally. Here in America the saga rages on as again when these myths die or are temporarily put to rest, many more will be there to readily replace them.

Rhythms and Blues

Was the coast clear? Yes and it was cleared for more to come. It is often said that things happen for a reason but in the fitness industry things happen without reason or many reasons so it seems. There is no rationale whatsoever to offer routines that present no help or solution to the said problems, but there is always that same hidden reason behind them, money. Someone said, "Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it." Taking it a bit further, the understanding of fraud is one thing, but once the credit card becomes charged in addition, well that's a totally new ball game. Waistline fraud and credit card fraud both gift wrapped in a wonderful package and this is your up to date madness. This latest in fair game has turned into made for TV hits in the guise of dance videos for of course waist line reduction. Genetically gifted models with waists that would make Twiggy (picture/bio Twiggy) blush, adorn your television screen and make it even more believable. Their bodies appear to be taken from Cirque de Soleil and move more gracefully than John Travolta in his wildest dreams. These are exceptions beyond the imagination of the average Jane or Joe. Ballroom, Disco, Belly, Latin Dancers and More, then enter to the beat of the rhythm of the waist; professional wrestling should take a close look, how unique? Chubby Checker being far removed (Dj vu all over again) from the scene, this dancing is back only with a double barreled shotgun and for open season. Both in the way of reductio "ab" absurdum waistline fraud along with post claims of buyer beware.

The buyer again jumps at this erroneous opportunity. Credit cards as a result may disappear into cyberspace and the consumer is left to deal with automated systems that are conveniently mistake prone towards charging more than the advertised costs. The consumer here is fair game. In addition, the consumer is buying into dances that we have been done for years for simple recreational pleasure. These objectives are fun and appropriate when taken in this context. But this has gotten way out of hand as there is no magic quality whatsoever to this. But as always it exists uncensored without opposition. The fantasy journey towards waistline mania continues to blaze unprecedented trails and once these dead end, there are many more to replace them, with no roads to glory coming soon. Today we can't get away from it, as it dominates the consumer from every angle. Gadgetry comes and goes, but dancing is now set to wage the war on that ever elusive lean slim trim look. It becomes another case of the blues, as is always the case, the rich gets richer, and the consumer is left with another bill of goods. Is there a ray of hope in a clouded lost horizon? Cause and effect unfortunately gets lost in the illusion depicted in these "cream of the crop" dancer experts.

The Solutions

There seems to be a subconscious message inside those that are caught in the battle of the expanding waist. It is a false illusionary message that is an autonomic one. It seems to be bread into the brain and suggests that one has to expel the demon (fat) by any means available. This is well understood by the exploiters of fitness scam and is what adds to fuel the excessive blatant and fraudulent misinformation. These modern day "solutions" are no better than trying to put out a fire with a can of gasoline. Thank God in this atmosphere of kooks, frauds, and outright nuts there are solutions for those that are truly concerned about achieving success in reducing the waistline. These are some legitimate ironclad rules to follow;

Spot reduction or the removal of fat from the waistline can only be had through a moderate and calculated descending reduction of the overall caloric intake. There is no exercise (this includes side bends, crunches, movements, or any apparatus advertised on TV or otherwise that applies to either or a combination of all) known to mankind that will magically remove fat from the waistline, it is a physical impossibility. Trying to undo genetic situations beyond your control is absolutely unobtainable and excessively trying to do so is at best counter productive and at worst dangerous.

There is no special routine recommended by any personal trainer or a system of training regardless of what gender it is offered to, that will provide any slight suggestion of fat loss around the waistline. Watch out for that "unconditional money back guarantee."

There is no such thing as a fat burning effect, zone, or other so called arbitrary training that will do the trick. Avoid being spoofed by this impossible dream; it is a pure fantasy/myth.

Caloric restrictions based on individual requirements provide the possibility of benefits far beyond those suggested by the aforementioned perpetrators of tummy fraud.

Muscles are muscles (skeletal) and share the same response characteristics regardless of where they are located on the body. When a muscle is exercised, it has varying potential for hypertrophy (an increase in size). Therefore any exercise for the abdominal area will be no different than an exercise for any other muscle structure, therefore muscles can only grow in response to an exercise stimulus, not get slimmer or smaller as is popularly suggested.

© 2010 David Landau