Is Your Purchase Trigger Finger Always Ready When It Comes To Fitness Equipment?
You’ve made your New Year’s Resolutions, rounded up your holiday gift cards, and you’re ready to spend in the name of fitness.
But wait. Remember your other New Years Resolutions? To be more productive, save more money, and erase clutter from your life?
I don’t know about you, but buying fitness equipment is one area where I go crazy. And the disappointed (and very expensive) realization I came to: buying the thing isn’t what’s going to make me fitter. That’s only half the battle. The easy half.
A savvy approach to shopping for fitness equipment and accessories can make all the difference in a new regimen. It’ll keep you from getting overwhelmed, bored, or just plain bothered by exercise.
So how can you buy only the equipment destined to become a permanent part of your workout routine?
Simply ask these 5 questions before you buy:
#1 – How often will I use it?
Pleasure will always trump guilt. Sure, kettlebells may be the latest fitness must-have, but ask yourself whether they fit in with your fitness program—and whether they really suit you. Maybe a body bar would be more your thing (it’s definitely mine). Lots of people buy a gym membership or sign up with a personal trainer thinking it will force them to go often. It doesn’t. If you just aren’t that into it, you aren’t going to do it, no matter how many calories it burns or how much it cost.
#2 – For how long will I use it?
One month? One year? Ten years? This is where a splurge can be a much smarter buy than a sale item. Trends and too-good-to-be-true items like vibration machines and diet pills usually wind up in the fizzle category. So do items that really are amazing—for some people. If resistance bands simply aren’t your thing, they will soon be collecting dust at the bottom of your gym locker. But for you, maybe a bike or set of dumbbells will turn out to be a great long-term investment—and if you think so, go high quality.
#3 – Will it improve my quality of life?
Consumer spending experts say anything that will truly enhance your pleasure or productivity are worth swiping your card for. So, if a good pair of trainers lets you enjoy walking on your lunch break, thus making you a better worker—not to mention improving your form and comfort, they’re a better buy than a pedometer that won’t enhance the pleasure you get from your walk. By the same token, if a personal trainer or fitness retreat will make you a smarter, more productive exerciser, worth it.
#4 – Do I already have something similar?
Like two other yoga mats or three Nalgene water bottles? Sometimes we see a new model or cooler color and think it will revolutionize our workout. I always imagine how much more fabulous I’ll look in a new exercise outfit, and while it may be true, these “upgrades” add up fast. Other times, seemingly redundant buys can be great: I bought an iPod Shuffle even though I already had an iPod classic, because it’s easier to use on-the-go and it’s lightweight (the armband is a drag, right?). Plus, it’s hardy. My dog makes sure it hits the ground at least once per walk, and I’d much rather break a $30 iPod than a $300 one.
#5 – What’s the price?
The shopping pros say this one should be the last to figure into your fitness equipment choice. So don’t automatically buy something because it’s cheap, or discount it because it’s a splurge. Buying items that fit in with your overall fitness plan and personality almost always save you money, even if they come with higher price tags.
Next time you feel the urge to stock up on new fitness gear, even if it comes highly recommended by fitness professionals—even if I tell you you’re crazy not to buy it—run it through this checklist first.
You deserve to start 2011 with only the best, most useful gear in your fitness arsenal.