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Are these infomercial exercisers worth buying?

Reviews of Jay Glazer’s Perfect Punch, the Rhythm Rocker, and the Nautilus CoreBody Reformer

Consumer Reports magazine: February 2013

Don’t wait! Call now! Supplies are limited! But do those fitness products really work once you start using them at home? We put Jay Glazer’s Perfect Punch, the Rhythm Rocker by Kymaro, and the Nautilus CoreBody Reformer to the test with a panel of Consumer Reports staff. Plus we had a fitness-industry expert evaluate the devices based on manufacturer claims, training materials, range of motion, and exercise variety. We also had our in-house nutritional expert analyze the CoreBody Reformer's and the Rhythm Rocker's diet plans.

Jay Glazer’s Perfect Punch

This device, rooted in mixed martial arts (MMA), features one-size-fits-most MMA gloves connected by a resistance band. The website invites you to “train like a MMA pro” with Jay Glazer, who leads a man and a woman through punches and other exercises.

The Perfect Punch ($30 plus $14 for shipping and handling) comes with the claim that it’s “the ultimate fat-burning workout!” But our tests found that you can burn about the same number of calories jogging at a fairly slow 4.5 mph for 16 minutes as you can following Perfect Punch’s “3x3” 16-minute regimen. It offers a decent interval workout that allows you to exercise more efficiently in less time. But the “heavy duty” resistance band that connects the gloves was a bit of a lightweight: A tester broke one while working out with it.

Bottom line. There are better ways to get your cardio. Our expert said that the workouts were too intense for beginners and lacked warm-up and cool-down moves. And most panelists found the resistance band uncomfortable because it rubbed their arms.

Rhythm Rocker

The Rhythm Rocker ($99 plus shipping and handling) is pitched as a multipurpose exerciser. It can help “tighten and tone abs and obliques, your shoulders, arms.” It can “strengthen your lower back.” And you do this “all while learning some of the hottest dance moves!” according to the company’s website.

It has a diet plan and workout DVD; a Deluxe Workout DVD costs another $29.95. Satisfaction is guaranteed within 30 days or your money back, excluding shipping and handling.

Bottom line. If you think you can sit-dance your way to a leaner body using this device alone, think again. The 11 ½-minute Dance Blast workout on the DVD we bought burned calories at the same rate as a 2-mph walk on a treadmill. Furthermore, if you have back problems, think twice about such a machine, our medical adviser says. True, most people could lose weight on the diet, but it offers limited options and no maintenance program.

Nautilus CoreBody Reformer

Photo: Manufacturer

It’s yoga, Pilates, and dance in a single workout, according to the company’s website. Marketed to women, the machine comes with a DVD that features female models, and an accompanying diet plan that makes quick mention of limiting calories. We found the CoreBody pretty easy to put together, and it weighs just 17 pounds.

Our fitness expert found that the machine can help users increase fitness and flexibility, and burn more calories through relatively well-rounded routines. Plus, you can tone without bone-jarring motions or muscle-popping weights. The DVD offers options for using the machine in a number of ways and with different resistance levels. There are cards with instructions for dozens of exercises. Some of the balance exercises can be a little tricky, our testers said, and a couch potato might find them challenging. If you’re taller than 5 feet 10 inches or wear a women’s shoe size 11 or larger, the device may be too small for you to do every exercise.

The six-week weight-loss program—which recommends losing about a pound a week using its reduced-calorie diet—is easy to follow, according to our nutritional expert. The device costs $250 and shipping and handling are free if you pay up front instead of in installments. Satisfaction is guaranteed within 30 days or you can get your money back (excluding shipping and handling).

Bottom line. If you’re somewhat fit and looking to improve your strength, endurance, and flexibility, consider this device. If this is beyond your budget, consider working with a Pilates or yoga DVD.

Editor's Note:

A version of this article appeared in the February 2013 issue of Consumer Reports magazine with the headline "Infomercial Exercisers."

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