TODAY   |  January 24, 2013

As-seen-on-TV fitness: Does it really work?

Fitness equipment featured in infomercials appear to be easy-to-use and efficient, but do they really do all they claim? TODAY consumer correspondent Janice Lieberman put a few products to the test to find out which are worth the money.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this morning on "today's" consumer, as seen on tv fitness equipment . some of them are pretty strange looking but they do make it look easy to get in shape. so, do they stack up to those claims? consumer reporter janice, has the claims.

>> good morning. many of us have made a resolution to stay fit. with the expertise of " consumer reports ," we looked at whether those infomercial products can help you stick to your vow.

>> six minutes a day.

>> tone the mid-section. minutes a day.

>> reporter: these infomercials always look enticing and make weight loss and leaner look easy. do they really measure up to their claims? the experts at " consumer reports " magazine wanted to find out. first up, the $20 belly burner? does it burn up your buck or really help you lose the punch a?

>> wrap up and slim down.

>> reporter: what do you have to do?

>> you just wrap up and do any kind of activity you normally do and it claims to help you burn calories faster.

>> i tried it on myself.

>> like wearing spanx.

>> " consumer reports " used a metabolic analyzer to calculate the number of calories burned.

>> we had people on a treadmill for five minutes and really was no difference.

>> what about the heat created by wearing the burner clearly seen in the images of the infomercial.

>> what about the water weight i'm losing zbl rchl.

>> we did find you will sweat a little more. it relates to a sweaty belly. have a glass of water and get right back.

>> the company that makes the belly burner says its research substantiates the product's effectiveness but based on only a handful of people.

>>> next, want a fighting chance to shed extra pounds, jay glazer 's punch promises to be a knockout.

>> glove up, strap in and start punching.

>> i needed a little help gets this one on.

>> need a little help jrchlt follow the workout and you have the ultimate fat burning machine. what " consumer reports " found was similar to what i was experiencing.

>> i feel the resistance but it's also like bruising the arm.

>> unfortunately, that's what a lot of panelists said, it was pretty uncomfortable. we didn't think it was that great, too, not a lot of warmup and cooldown and definitely not for beginners.

>> we reached out to the makers of the perfect punch but have not heard back.

>>> for women who love joeing ga, pilates, there's the reformer.

>> tighten that mid-section.

>> you can do a few things, balance.

>> it incorporates balance, strength training and resistance exercises.

>> kind of fun.

>> our fitness expert said this was a good workout, well-rounded.

>> all right, good product.

>> then the $ 1600 street strider.

>> what if you could take your elliptical outdoors.

>> our own kathie lee and hoda were on it.

>> wait, slow down!

>> $ 1600 and you can take this baby home.

>> our panelists liked it. thought it was pa smooth ride. you can get a workout because you're using your arms on the elliptical and standing the whole time so you're always active.

>>> had to give this one a try.

>> fun, i got it! but before long, i was almost a pro.

>> this is a workout! work out!

>> a word of advice before you order any product off the tv. take some time to think about it and find out how much it would cost to return the item, because a lot of these are heavy, if you're not happy with it. it looks good in the middle of the night .

>> i have to ask you about the jay glazer punch that has its roots in the middle east torture devices.

>> how does it feel? doesn't it hurt a little bit?

>> not too bad. maybe if you used it an hour.

>> also rub your skin a little bit. what's al wearing?

>> this is the dumbest thing i've ever seen. the celebrity trainer, i've never seen this guy before in my life, what a moron.

>> wow!

>> wow, fighting words . it's supposed to make you sweat.

>> our producer, michelle, i go up to her and said, what idiot would buy this and she said she bought it.

>> wow! you get a sweaty belly.

>> you want a glass of water water -- wait a second.

>> that one was the one that worked, right? for the core body?

>> you liked it?

>> it still is $250. you really could join a gym for about that.

>> all this equipment, unless you're really going to use it, that's the bottom line here, you have to be willing to put the effort into it. and it becomes a clothesline hanging your clothes on it.

>> and they show all these great looking people that obviously don't use that stuff but already has it.

>> a lot of this stuff comes with diet, do the diet and use this, not brain surgery.

>> and this is a conversation starter, i will put this out there. janice, thanks very much for looking into that for us. we are back