You may want to purchase fitness equipment like a treadmill, elliptical trainer or a strength training machine but there is a good chance that you don’t know where to start and are not sure what to look for.
The right criteria to use to evaluate fitness equipment before you buy might surprise you.
If asked, quality might leap to mind. Or maybe budget, or safety. All those qualities and more are important.
But the most important criterion of all is represented by the question: will you use it? 🙂
That’s not just a question about your personal motivation or commitment to fitness. Not in this case, anyway. It’s a question about whether the gear will do what you want and need, so you’ll be motivated to continue using it.
Quality is a must for that purpose, even though it’s only a starting point. Any ad claims that imply ‘results without effort’ are just a con. There’s no such thing. Even if there were, we would all be slim and trim.
A large part of the zing that comes from working out is exactly the effort you put out to get the result. Not only do those electric ab exercisers not work, they’re boring.
Those devices are a good example of another important thing to watch out for. Any ad that says you can get spot reduction of fat or develop only one set of muscles is simply misleading. You’ll see many of the “infomercials” on late night TV with all their models sporting beautiful, hard bodies stating that they got that way in only a few workouts. Although some of these products may work (the ones where you really sweat and have to do strenuous exercises with it) on average, you are not going to get the results that the models have.
Plus remember you can’t “spot” reduce. The body only preferentially reduces fat more in one area than another such as around the waist if that’s where the majority resides. Of course, if you reduce body fat it will be most obvious where the largest section was stored.
Burn enough calories and the body will go after stored fat to make up for an energy deficit. So, the results will be the most visible in areas where the body got most of that stored. How could it be otherwise?
Also, whenever you use one set of muscles you can hardly avoid using another. So, the moral is: beware of hype that insists you have to get this or that piece of gear in order to work muscle X. There is always more than one way to develop and always some overlap in how equipment develops your body.
Reviews of equipment are important. If other people are satisfied, probably you will be too. But beware of glowing testimonials that, like those ads, promise more than they could ever deliver. Before and after photos with captions that tout the results gained from using item X are suspect. Your results – because of your unique effort, body type and other factors – can differ widely.
When considering costs, be sure to consider all the costs, not just the advertised price. What sounds like a great deal may not be so great when you include shipping, taxes or other add-on amounts.
Look into the warranty and return policies. If you have to return a piece of gear, paying for return shipment is normal. But look out for re-stocking fees that can run as high as 15%. A 30-day return policy is fairly standard, but not universal. The equipment still may be worth the price. You have to judge on a case by case basis in light of your personal circumstances.
Warranties can vary greatly. Due to the economic downturn many companies have increased their warranty length so check their site for the latest information. You may see someone advertising a certain treadmill or elliptical and mention a 6 month warranty but when you go to check out you may see that the warranty is now 1 year or longer.
Although these economic times do suck, lower pricing and longer warranties are pluses for the consumer.
Once the item has passed all those tests, you can judge whether this particular piece of equipment is going to meet your workout goals. Will it help you reduce weight, or build strength or develop cardiovascular health? Will it be fun to use while you meet those goals? Will the piece of fitness equipment fit well in your room?
A lot of home fitness gear will do all those things and do them well. When you find one that will, buy it. And be sure to use it!