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The 25 Biggest Fitness Fads of All Time

The most laughable and most functional fitness fads.

22. Toning Shoes/FitFlop

If there’s one thing that’s for sure, it’s that people will forego nearly any consideration of their pride to get fit. And that definitely includes the fad that is still, sadly, going pretty strong. Toning Shoes, FitFlops, and many other varieties of the odd-looking shoes designed to help you tone your body while you walk (remember those Jumpsoles we all wanted as kids?) have become a hit nationwide with major shoe companies like Reebok and Skechers all making pairs and pseudo-celebs like Kim Kardashian shilling for them. Do they actually work for anything other than to make you look just a little bit silly though? Outlook not so good. This is one fad we’re ready to put back in the shoebox.

23. Pole Dancing Classes/Stripper Aerobics

We have celebrity trainer Jeff Costa to thank for starting this fad. Way back in 2001, he created Cardio Striptease and it wasn’t long before celebrity Carmen Electra jumped on the bandwagon with her own line of DVDs called Aerobic Striptease. Then came the pole dancing classes you’d see popping up at your local gym. Before you knew it, nearly every able-bodied woman in this fine US of A was learning to shed her clothes not to excite her man, but instead to help shed the pounds. Now, don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing wrong with aerobics—anything that gets the body moving is good for fitness—and there’s certainly nothing wrong with stripping, but somehow the combination of the two just never really worked for us. Feel free to shake your booty all you want to get that slim figure, but we prefer our strippers a little less refined and a lot more willing to take our dollar bills. Just sayin…

24. Sauna Suits

Unless you’re a MMA fighter, boxer, or wrestler and you’re cutting weight for a match or fight, there’s absolutely no reason you should be using a Sauna Suit in any type of regular fitness routine. Not only are these trash-bag-look-a-like suits dangerous (think heatstroke, cramping and dehydration), but they’re also actually not going to give you any long-term benefits. Designed to simply make you sweat your buns off, the moment you take a swig of water after your workout all that water weight you lost will immediately come back. If this fad had been going strong during the Internet era, we would have heard a lot more stories of people suffering the ill effects of the dangers of sauna suits. Stay far away from this fad.

25. Power Balance Bracelets

Remember those colored bracelets everybody was wearing a few years ago? No, no. Not the yellow Livestrong bracelets that support Cancer research. We’re talking about the silly bracelets with the hologram dot in the center. That’s right. Power Balance bracelets. Created by Power Balance, the manufacturers claimed to use “holographic technology” to “resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body,” to increase athletic performance, flexibility, balance, and strength. The problem, however, was that they were pretty much just flat out lying. In December 2010, the makers of the wristbands were required to issue a statement apologizing for misleading consumers because they had zero credible scientific evidence to back up their claims. They also offered a full refund to anyone who actually took the time to apply for one. In 2011, Power Balance was sued for fraud, settled out of court, and then promptly filed for bankruptcy. We guess they forgot to harness the power of their body’s natural energy.

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