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I Worked Out On A 1950s Fat Jiggling Machine And Here's What Happened

Jiggling away fat like it's 1956.

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Ellie Sunakawa / Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

As a lazy person, the concept of passive exercise is very attractive to me. I’ve always had the goal of getting “fit” by “exercising” while scrolling through Twitter, but in my search for workouts that feature minimal exertion, I've come up empty.

Even beginner yoga was too high-intensity for me. So when I heard about Fat Melting Jiggle Machines, I had to try them. The only problem? They no longer exist.

Since the 1920s, vibrating “slimming” belts have continually popped up as exercising fads. Most gyms used to have an exercise belt machine, though heaven knows why, because this shit sucks. More on that later.

This woman from the 1960s is exercising using one of these "slimming" machines. She DOESN'T EVEN NEED WORKOUT CLOTHES — that's how easy this "weight-reducing" system is.
H. Armstrong Roberts / Getty Images

This woman from the 1960s is exercising using one of these "slimming" machines. She DOESN'T EVEN NEED WORKOUT CLOTHES — that's how easy this "weight-reducing" system is.

Fortunately you can still find vintage jiggler machines being resold at vintage stores, eBay, and Craigslist.

That's how I got my stout fucking fingers on the Queens-Aid Slimming Machine. Somebody in Williamsburg had one, probably as some sort of ironic conversation piece. I brought it home, and it was mine.

After fiddling with the plug for a few minutes, I finally plugged it in, and boy did this baby purr.

Sarah Burton / BuzzFeed

At first, I was hesitant to put the belt on. Was this thing even safe?

The machine violently shook. It was the kind of power I would look for in a vibrator, not an exercise machine. Nervously I put the belt on and let it shake various areas: stomach, thighs, arms. It felt weird, but not unpleasant.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

It didn't come with a instruction manual, so I had to find old ads to figure out how exactly to use it. This particular machine appears to be far superior because it has two belts. But did it actually do anything?

JCPenney

Here's how to use it: First, daintily place the belt around your body and turn your pseudo-fitness machine on.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Place the belt around your bicep and shake until you are ready to wave at a beauty pageant.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

For a six-pack, put the belt around your stomach. DO NOT try this right after eating.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

It's closer to shaking a six-pack of soda: Sooner or later, it's gonna explode.

You can also work out your butt by placing the belt and turning it on.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

I quickly realized I wanted to keep what's left of my butt, so I only tried this particular exercise once.

In a moment of truth, I tried to scroll through Twitter while "exercising." It was a success — but I still was restricted from completing other phone tasks. The shaking made it far harder to throw Poké Balls.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

So did it work?

No. Definitely not.My weight fluctuated between three pounds, and after using it consistently for three weeks, I was a half pound heavier, possibly with all the new muscle I had shaken up. Then again, probably not.So if these do nothing, why were they so popular?
Sarah Burton / BuzzFeed

No. Definitely not.

My weight fluctuated between three pounds, and after using it consistently for three weeks, I was a half pound heavier, possibly with all the new muscle I had shaken up. Then again, probably not.

So if these do nothing, why were they so popular?

As recently as 2002, marketers were falsely advertising that vibrating belts like “Ab Force” caused weight loss and well-defined abdominal muscles.

In 2009, the marketers had to pay $7 million for exaggerating fitness claims to consumers. That's not to say vibration machines and their forefathers, like the one I bought, couldn't serve a different purpose. They were once thought to help improve bone density when coupled with exercise, but that claim is dubious at best.

I'm sad this "passive exercise" isn't a real thing, but if it were, I would really like it. Unfortunately, like most sad truths in life, if you want something (like a fit bod), you have to work for it.

Since the machine was essentially useless to me, I hoped it could serve another purpose. I tried shaking a martini, tossing a salad, and mixing paint.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

On all three counts, the machine failed.

Remember to be skeptical of any "health machines" that claim to do all the work for you.

Trust me. It would have saved me $50. But at least now I have a great ironic conversation piece in my apartment.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed