“Shake It Off”


No this isn’t a picture of me using this low tech device, but it is an image of the fat jiggling machine that I used at the YWCA when I was in my 20’s. I thought it would be fun to start writing about all the gadgets, classes and advice I continued to hear about when considering exercise. I start with this machine, precursor to all sorts of fad inventions since then.

I went swimming at the Y, doing many laps for about one hour. When I was done, I would sit in the steam room or the sauna, not to lose weight but because they felt wonderful. But this machine was always calling to me, suggesting that it could help me achieve a more “toned” body. “Toning” was and continues to be a goal much touted in magazines. I think it means “no jiggling.”

You stood in front of this machine, wrapped the belt around your “trouble spot” and turned it on. The belt vibrated, making your “trouble spot” jiggle. Yes, counter intuitively, this jiggling was supposed to eliminate jiggling. The machine was extremely successful. But the success was in shaking loose money from the YWCA, not in jiggling off fat!

19 thoughts on ““Shake It Off”

  1. I went to the “lady gym” with my aunt and remember rows of these machines. They also had a contraption build of wooden spindles that you sat on and the spindles turned.

    Great video of women exercising on vintage machines on YouTube.

    Thanks for the memory.


  2. Yes, I remember that crazy machine advertised on tv, too. Do you remember the contraption for exercising at home? It hooked around a doorknob, and had two pulleys. The idea was to lie on a mat near the door, facing it. You’d pull ropes, using the padded handles, and that movement would lift your legs. It was good for abs but a mess to untangle.


  3. I can remember many people buying those, and ‘jiggling’ for hours, to no effect. Also the small wheels with handles, that they used to roll back and forth on the floor. I reckon they were invented by carpet manufacturers, as they left a deep scar in the carpet.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  4. I remember those machines! People educate themselves so much more now about their health that I doubt it would have any success today (except maybe for people who still hope there is an easy way to a toned, fit body).


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