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The 25 Biggest Fitness Fads of All Time

The most laughable and most functional fitness fads.

10. Diet Pills

Diet pills (or at least some form of weight-loss supplements) have been around since the dawn of man. In ancient Greece, physicians would often prescribe laxatives and other “medicine” to aid in weight loss. Diet pills, however, haven’t exactly had the best reputation over the past few decades. Fen-phen became the most commonly prescribed weight-loss drug before it was discovered that it had the potential to cause fatal pulmonary hypertension and valvular heart disease. Ephedra (and weight-loss drugs containing Ephedrine such as the popular Ripped Fuel) then ruled the marketplace until 2004 when the death of Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Steve Belcher raised a few eyebrows and it was removed from the US Market because of fears that it raised blood pressure and could possibly cause strokes and death. Meanwhile, Diet Pills are still going strong as we see everyone from The Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels to Jersey Shore star Snooki selling their magic weight-loss beans.

11. Ab Roller

Back in the day, people used to do these things call sit-ups and crunches to work their abdominal muscles. They didn’t require anything other than your own body weight and a flat surface to lie on. They seemed to do the trick for a couple hundred years. Then someone went ahead and invented something called the Ab Roller. It was basically just a cumbersome machine that helped you do the same damn crunches you were already doing, but it claimed to be more effective. It became a huge hit, everyone seemed to have one sitting in their living rooms, and a whole rash of abdominal workout tools came along. Here are a few of the most memorable ones: Ab Wheel, Ab Lounge, Ab Rocket, Ab Glider, Ab Circle and Ab Coaster. And that’s just the beginning; there are tons more where those came from. The fad, however, has faded in recent years. Most of the Ab Rollers we see nowadays are either sitting on lawns during garage sales or disassembled in the basement. Turns out those regular old crunches work just fine.

12. Wii Fit & Assorted Fitness Video Games

We definitely have to give credit to Nintendo’s Wii Fit for getting a whole new generation of lazy kids off the couch and moving their bodies around at least a little bit. The game’s yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance games might not be the most effective way for people to lose weight, but they do provide some form of exercise to the people that probably wouldn’t have done any exercise otherwise. So just how popular did Wii Fit become in the late 2000s? By May 2010, the game had sold over twenty million copies worldwide. That’s a whole lot of people swiveling their hips with a virtual hula-hoop and jogging in place with a controller in their pocket. The fitness video game craze only grew with Microsoft’s unveiling of the Xbox Kinect and Sony’s Playstation Move and, although it doesn’t get nearly as much media hype as it once did, the getting-fit-through-video-games fad is still going strong. Hey, if it helps people get off their butts and get moving, that’s fine with us.

13. Boot Camps

The 1990s gave us so many awesome things: Reebok Pumps, Fanny Packs and the Spice Girls. Oh, and they introduced the get-fit-in-just-four-to-six-weeks-while-this-ex-military-guy-screams-at-you fitness fad of Boot Camps. Based very loosely on military aspects of training, Boot Camps often involved ex-military instructors, group exercises strung together with very little rest in between, and the idea of pulling together as a team to get the job done. Popularity may have dipped a bit in the 2000s, but Boot Camps have come roaring back in the past few years as a way to drop some pounds with your friends while getting berated. The exercises are fun and worthy additions to any fitness routine, but we’re not so sure about the whole theatrical aspect of this fad. What we are sure about, however, is that ex-military guy that Maury Povich always brought on to put the unruly teenagers through a fitness Boot Camp. You remember him? Yeah, he was awesome. NEXT: Feel the power >>

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