Fitness Tips: Purchasing Exercise Equipment

April 6, 2011 By: afeldman 14 Comments

When it comes to buying products in the fitness marketplace, there are many choices.  It can be overwhelming!  There are new fitness gadgets on the shelves every month.  A lot of these items can be seen on infomercials or you’ll hear about these latest “fitness trends” when you’re at the gym.  The question is: How can you tell if a product is reliable or if it is just a fad?  I’ve come up with a little acronym that I would like to share; “N.O.F.I.T.”  Each letter asks a question related to the product to see if it’s a good fit for your fitness routine.  Next time you see something in the stores or in commercials, ask yourself these questions to decide its value.

N: Is it a Necessity?

The first question to ask is: Do you actually need this product?  When you get into shopping mode almost any purchase can be rationalized, but think about your fitness.  Will everything improve at a faster rate if you use this product?  Will all of your progress stop if you do not make this purchase?  You may believe that you need this new workout DVD series until you truly stop to think about whether it really will fix all of your problems.  The ultimate question is this: Will the product move you any closer to your fitness goals compared with what you’re able to do without it?

O: Is it a One Hit Wonder?

Thigh Master

Some pieces of equipment can be considered a "one hit wonder" and will not always stay on the fitness market.

So, you don’t necessarily need the product, but you still want it because it’s the new craze.  A new question asks: Will this product still be around tomorrow?  Think about some of the fitness trends from the 90’s such as the electronic ab belt, the thigh master or the sauna apparatus that supposedly melts fat.  If you happen to know of these products, then you are aware of their short lived popularity followed by their disappearance from the marketplace.  If you’re wondering how you missed these products, there is a reason; they were here one day and gone the next.  These items did not return the results they promised.  Before you purchase your product, think about if it could be just another one hit wonder.

F: Is it used by Friends?

I’m not talking about the cast of the popular show.  I’m referring to people in your social circles.  Whether they are school mates, neighbors, coworkers or acquaintances, they could be your best sources of information.  Ask any friends who may have used the product whether it worked for them and if it was worth the purchase.

I: Is it Infomercial Magnified?

Ab Belt

It's important to carefully evaluate whether a piece of equipment can be an essential part of your fitness routine.

To understand infomercial magnification, think of the most repetitive infomercials you see on late night TV.  They promise you the moon and all the stars to go along with it.  If you order in the next 10 minutes, they throw in little extras.  These commercials show happy actors portrayed as customers using the product to convince you of its value.  When you add up all these commercial tactics, you get an aggressive sales pitch.  Look for hints of this sales pitch when you are shopping for fitness merchandise.  Read the box or descriptions on the website and look for some of those same commercial tactics.  When a product is “guaranteed to give you the hips you have always wanted,” it should be an instant turn off because at this point, the advertiser is only trying to tell you what you want to hear.

T: Is it Too Good to be True?

This is the last question and it can also be tied into the others.  Are your expectations of this product too good to be true?  If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.  Whether your expectations came from listening to others or from the website itself, a product will not completely cure all of your problems.  Even a good piece of fitness equipment is not a magic fix; it is a tool that will help you achieve your goals.  Remind yourself to be realistic when you are looking for something new to get over that fitness plateau.  A fitness DVD will not magically whip you into shape; it is your drive and commitment to a healthy lifestyle that does the trick.  If you shop wisely, a new product might show you some new tricks to help.

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