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Gimmicks, Gadgets, and Free Lunches

by Racer X Virtual Trainer

The Power Balance bracelet is pretty cool looking. Think I'll get one to increase my street cred!

Some of you may have seen the recent Twitter banter and Facebook posts on the pending bankruptcy of the Power Balance Bracelet Company when it was hit with a $57 million settlement intended to repay duped consumers. The famous bracelets shot to popularity a few years ago and were soon spotted on the wrists of various celebs and pro-athletes including a few motocross pros. The silicone jewelry featured a thin polyester film hologram that purportedly would "enhance the body's natural energy and was designed to mimic Eastern philosophies that have been around for hundreds of years. The hologram in Power Balance is designed to respond to the natural energy field of the body. The Mylar material at the core of Power Balance has been treated with energy waves at specific frequencies. The resulting Mylar is believed to resonate and work with your body’s natural energy flow to help enable you to perform at the best of your ability.” Wow, that is one heck of a claim. Sign me up, right?

Well, sales were strong for the company and everything appeared to be great until last January, when disappointed consumers first filed a federal lawsuit claiming the bracelets packed no more power than a rubber band. Most likely because someone cut one open and realized that much to their surprise, no magic gremlins were housed inside working their fingers to the bone to make you a better person or athlete. Just more silicone! The owners of the company were forced to release a statement acknowledging that the bracelets' alleged magical power had no ground in science:

"In our advertising we stated that Power Balance wristbands improved your strength, balance and flexibility. We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct in breach of s52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974."

"If you feel you have been misled by our promotions, we wish to unreservedly apologize and offer a full refund."

In the immortal words of ESPN's college football analyst, Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friend!" It seems as though the refund offer wasn't good enough and the company was slapped with the massive settlement last month. Various news outlets report that the company will now be declaring bankruptcy and scrapping the Power Bracelets for good although their website is still up and running. Heck, even NBA stars Shaquille O’Neal and Lamar Odom were dragged into the mess because they endorsed the product.

Gadgets are nothing new in the battle to lose weight. People have been looking for the easy way out since the first caveman looked down and noticed his gut protruding over his belt.
Okay, so what's this have to do with Motocross? Glad you asked. In my opinion it has plenty to do with motocross and training. Being the owner of this site, I get approached at least monthly with the next miracle potion, a shirt that will give you super powers, or a drink or pill that is sure to cure arm pump. So far I think I have done a pretty good job of not selling out and taking ad dollars at the expense of promoting these products to you, the reader. This article is not intended to bash the Power Balance company for telling lies. I'm not even sure I blame them for pedaling their outrageous claims. I tend to fall on the conservative side of things and believe that the responsibility lies with the consumer. I figure if you are not smart enough to know when someone is blowing smoke, then you kind-of deserve a little rubber bracelet.....for 30 bucks. It is amazing to me and demonstrates two things very clearly. People will do and say anything for money and other people will buy anything if the right person (NBA star, celeb, and yes even a motocross pro) tells them to do so.

Honestly, I have been biding my time, sitting back waiting for an appropriate time to voice my opinion on things that are too good to be true. I tend to believe that the only solution for success is hard work and putting in your time. Sure there are people in this world who are "gifted" at certain things and don't have to work as hard but then there are the rest of us. Perhaps that is why we search for that magic bullet that will suddenly give us the ability to jump a triple or rail a berm like the Pros so easily do on Saturday afternoons. It begs the question... can size, strength, and talent be found in a pill or bracelet?

Hopefully you consider this website a credible source and none of the trainers, doctors, dietitians, or other contributors to this site believe in hocus pocus fixes like these. The furthest I have ever gone into that realm is with MonaVie. While I don't and never did tout that product as the miracle health cure the company claimed, I do still believe there is credibility to the fact the glucosamine and chondroitin are beneficial which is one of the main ingredients, along with the Acai berry that MonaVie claims to have in the drink. But when I pushed MonaVie to disclose the amount of each ingredient in their formula, they refused and I stopped pushing the product. There are still a few people in the motocross industry selling MonaVie, but like the bracelets, you will have to decide for yourself if the claims are too good to be true.

Turns out size, strength, and the talent to go really, really fast on a motorcycle can't be sold in stores.

Check out the promises made by the popular shoes, Shape Ups. All this from just putting on a pair of shoes, ehh? Awesome!

Top stars like Shaq and Drew Brees were paid to endorse the Power Balance bracelet and motocross is not above the frenzy with our own top athletes sporting bracelets of varying kinds. I have no knowledge of any of "our" athletes being paid to endorse a "balance and strength improving" bracelet which, in many ways, makes it even worse. They must really believe in the magic. That, or they are just trying to make a fashion statement. If that's the case, I wish they would just tie a string around their wrist to remove the doubt. Or is that not cool any more? But if they do believe in the bracelet's power, I'll bet a couple Franklins on the fact that they are the same riders who think a pill can cure arm pump and supplements are a cure for a bad diet. Anyone want a 5-Hour Energy......

I think its pretty obvious where I stand when it comes to gadgets and gimmicks. Nothing disappoints me more than when I meet a person I thought was intelligent only to find out they are sporting a magical bracelet and matching Shapeup shoes. I guess it is human nature to look for the easy way out. If you’re more interested in finding a short cut or to train less, be my guest. There are plenty of people in the world ready to sell you the latest and greatest gadget to make you better.

But if you’re looking to go faster on your motorcycle, I'm here to tell you there are no free lunches. The only way to improve is to work on balance, strength, flexibility, and mental toughness. And the only way to improve those features is to get your butt in the gym and do some work. And preferably more than 5 minutes worth!

.....Turns out size, strength and talent to go really, really fast on a motorcycle can't be sold in stores. I stole that line, but man do I love it!

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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  1. Gravatar
    fiveseven December 09, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    think it is the same with the bike.... many think they go much faster with a pipe and some decals, us that money to ride one more day.

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