Chances are someone you know has tried a weird weight loss product. From the 1990s' ThighMaster to the 1950s' vibrating belts, entrepreneurs have long known that the public is willing to look a bit silly in order to lose weight.
Now, with 21st-century technology, people have only found more mesmerizing exercises and unusual weight loss products.
The following is a list of the most unusual, but catching fitness trends, along with comments from physicians and personal trainers about the merits and the dangers of each product.
Dance-exercise classes, such as Kukuwa dance, or Zumba, have gained traction in recent years. But one company hopes people who don't want to haul themselves down to the gym may want to sit in the Hawaii Chair for an exotic dance workout.
The Hawaii Chair, also popularly known as the hula chair, made its debut in comedy programs such as "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in early 2008. DeGeneres tried to pour a drink of water and conduct an interview while using the Hawaii Chair on its highest setting.
A person has two choices once they're sitting on top of the patented 2,800 RPM Hula motor made by T&L Perfect USA. They can either be thrashed around in an amusement park ride fashion or attempt to keep their head straight while the chair swivels their hips about.
Dr. Steven Blair, a professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina, admitted he hasn't tried the Hawaii Chair, but he had some doubts.
"Obviously, it is possible to sit in a recliner and scarcely move at all. It's also possible to sit in a regular office chair and twirl around and around and you'd be burning calories, too, for free," Blair said.
Blair thought the chair might burn more calories than lying down, but he wasn't quite impressed and pointed out there are cheaper ways to burn calories while working.
"Standing, you'd be burning even more calories, and standing on one leg, you'd be burning even more calories than before," he said.
Instead of buying specially designed chairs, Blair recommended going out for a walk.
Go to a gym in California, and you might see people standing around on curious fitness machines -- pedestals with platforms that look like they don't move at all.
The Power Plate is priced at $4,500, or $2,499 for home models, and its manufacturers assure customers that the platforms only look like they're stationary. In fact, the plates are vibrating millimeters in distance back and forth under your feet.
"A person can stand on it and do a simple squat and still get a benefit from the vibration," said Julie Devin, marketing coordinator for Power Plate. "But it's intended for people to do exercises on it."
Devin explained the vibrations force the body's muscles to contract in order to keep the person's balance -- adding another level of work in addition to the muscles required to do a pushup, squat or stretch on the machine.
Standing on a whole body vibration platform as a way to shorten workouts has already spread through Europe and now is hitting California.
But Blair, the exercise science professor from South Carolina, remained cautiously skeptical.
"I don't demean sitting less and standing more," said Blair. "But you'd spend a lot more calories, I think, even going for a walk than by standing on the vibration."
However, Blair did support the vibration plates for reasons beyond calorie burning.