This morning I viewed an infomercial for the "Cardio Twister" and felt compelled to publish my opinion on the potential effectiveness of such a product for a typical Australian seeking to lose weight and tone up. As a fitness professional, I feel that I am obligated to do so in order to assist in educating you as the consumer.
Unfortunately, yet not surprisingly, I do believe that this product strongly over-promises and will under-deliver. This opinion is based on how the product has been marketed and the science that just doesn't seem to support these outrageous and "too-good-to-be-true" claims. In fact, the Cardio Twister in my opinion seems like the next generation of the Ab King Pro.
It claims to "target" the "problem areas" such as the inner thighs, outer thighs and butt. Sure, when you are performing a twisting action, you will be recruiting the abductors, adductors and the gluteals (or the outer thighs, inner thighs and butt muscles) - but this doesn't necessarily mean that you will be losing fat from this area and developing muscle.
I guess that this is one of the most exploited myths within the health and fitness industry. Just because you are using a particular muscle group to generate force does not necessarily mean that you will lose fat from that area and/or develop that specific muscle's size.
What may assist you in understanding why is if I define two commonly used (and yet highly confusing) terms, "toning" and "spot reduction":
This term is thrown around commonly and yet not many people are aware of what "toning" actually means. Toning is a two stage process:
- Muscle Gain
- Fat Loss
Depending upon your current body shape, the degree to which these two constituents are required will vary. For example, if you carry a fair amount of muscle but have a lot of fat tissue to lose, then you will require more fat loss than muscle gain. The converse can also be true.
Note that you cannot turn muscle into fat or turn fat into muscle. Muscle tissue and fat tissue are two completely separate tissues and must be treated independently.
Muscle gain, or muscle development, can be induced through a number of means. Often though, cardiovascular exercise is not an effective way to achieve this goal. The Cardio Twister is a cardiovascular workout (albeit, I don't believe it to be an effective one).
Meanwhile, fat loss is encouraged by creating a calorie deficit (or consuming less calories than what your body expends). Two major contributors to creating a calorie deficit are through regulating your nutritional intake (or diet) and through physical exercise. Sure, the Cardio Twister is exercise and thus you will be expending calories (yet, far less than other forms of cardio). However, this machine will not "target" fat loss located on your inner and outer thighs, along with your butt area. This brings me onto spot reduction...
This is (unfortunately) very commonly exploited by many marketing companies promoting products of this nature that apparently "target" a specific area of the body. Spot reduction suggests that you can use a particular set of muscles and thus lose fat from a specific area of the body. If this were true, running would result in fat loss from the legs, push-ups would result in fat loss from the chest and arms and so on.
However, the science strongly disagrees. In fact, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to suggest that spot reduction is possible. After decades of studies, science has concluded that we cannot consciously select an area of the body that we wish to lose fat from through exercise. Spot reduction is a complete myth.
So, coming back to the Cardio Twister, if you do consider purchasing such an exercise machine, be aware that:
- You will not develop muscle tissue as effectively as other forms of exercise
- You will not expend an optimal number of calories relative to other forms of exercise
- You cannot choose to lose fat from your inner thighs, outer thighs or buttocks
- In my opinion, "a few minutes a day", without any other lifestyle changes (additional exercise, dietary change), will have minimal results
Having said all this, if the Cardio Twister is the only way that you will perform some physical activity, then go for it. After all, some exercise is better than none! But I would strongly suggest enquiring about our personal training services...exercise can actually be exciting if it suits you and your lifestyle!
Before concluding this Cardio Twister review, I would like to say one more thing. Although I don't know the models who demonstrate this machine on the infomercials personally, I am very confident that they followed a structured exercise and nutritional programme to get in the shape that they are in. Whilst this is probably commonsensical, I say this with a fair degree of certainty because I was once requested to model a particular brand abdominal machine for another commercial. There were no pre-requisites (such as ever having used the machine before) apart from being in shape. Of course, I was not interested.
Anyway, I do hope that this sheds some light on the Cardio Twister and can assist you in making an informed decision if you do decide to proceed in purchasing it.