By Fitness Manager Matt Struemph
The American Institute for Preventative Medicine has declared February as National Wise Health Consumer Month. This broad declaration can cover anything from taking the proper medication for certain ailments to finding the proper running shoe to fit your natural stride.
In the fitness industry, there are a plethora of products that are marketed with the overall message of getting you, the consumer, in shape. It is important to educate yourself about the many different types of equipment and miracle food supplements for sale. Seek information about the products other than what is seen on the late night infomercials. When it comes to fitness equipment, there are some questions you can ask yourself before buying that “guaranteed to get you in shape fast” piece of equipment:
What are my personal fitness goals? This is probably the most important question. When you see a spokesperson raving about a piece that is designed for working only one muscle group in the body (ie: abs or thighs), you need to be sure that this falls under your specific needs. Is strengthening the abdominal area your only goal? If so, and you are looking for another option other than the variety of abdominal exercises that can be done without equipment, then the product may be beneficial. In addition, if you’re main priority is to increase overall strength, then a cardio piece (although it holds its own benefits) probably shouldn’t be your first choice. Evaluate your fitness goals before jumping into a purchase.
What type of equipment will work best for me? Although this question depends on your goals as in the previous question, the simple answer is the type of equipment that you will adhere to over the long haul. If your primary goal is to increase cardiovascular endurance, there are several different types of cardio equipment. They will all succeed in increasing heart rate and burning calories. Whether it’s an exercise bike, treadmill, cross trainer, stair climber, or a number of others, the key is finding one that you will stick with. Taking the opportunity to test drive different types of equipment is always a good idea. You probably wouldn’t purchase a car based solely on an advertisement, so seek out the equipment and see how it feels.
What is the service policy? Having a piece of equipment break down may not be a thought you want to deal with, but it should be a consideration. An important aspect of this is the warranty offered. Look for multiple year warranties on parts. A company offering 3 or more years is not only standing behind the product, but is confident in its durability. Labor warranties of 1 year or more are also a sign of a company confident in its product.
What is the return policy? Again, this may not be the kind of positive thinking one needs to have when entering a exercise program. Checking out a company’s return policy on equipment is, nevertheless, important. Getting a piece home and then realizing that it’s not what you had in mind does you no good in maintaining your fitness routine. Look for at least a 30-day policy to give yourself the opportunity to really use the equipment.
Having the option of working out at home is a convenient luxury. Taking a step back to educate yourself and evaluate your needs is essential before purchasing equipment for your home. Become a wise consumer and avoid being a household with an expensive piece of fitness equipment that morphs into a clothes hanger.