Avoid the department stores when buying fitness equipment

“You get what you pay for” is never more true than when shopping for fitness equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes.
Too many times people go to a department store or national sporting goods chain, fork down $500-750 or so for a cardio machine thinking they got a great deal and are disappointed within a year, if not months.
The cheaper machines either break down, are flimsy to use, or most often, both.
What many people don’t know about purchasing fitness equipment is that there is a HUGE difference between products. People are almost always more satisfied if they buy from a fitness store that specializes in fitness equipment.
Here are the top six reasons to buy treadmills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes from a specialty store such as At Home Fitness in Arizona:
QUALITY – The better, more expensive cardio equipment will have a better performance because it’s better engineered. This is especially noticeable on an elliptical machine, where the elliptical pattern will be better on better equipment. Treadmills and exercise bikes will also have much smoother, sturdier feels to them on better models.
SELLER EXPERTISE – Stores such as At Home Fitness in Arizona – and its online site athomefitness.com available nationally – specialize in just fitness equipment. They have deals in place to sell the top fitness lines available.
The AHF sales associates know the products in and out and will be able to educate customers as to the best products to fit their needs.
They don’t rotate from folding sweaters, or selling camping equipment to trying to act like they know about treadmills, like a salesperson in a department store might.
LONG-TERM USE – An AHF sales associate will tell you that one of the biggest keys is to purchase equipment that you’ll enjoy using. Too often department store treadmills or ellipticals develop sticking points, or feel flimsy not long after people start using them. Some treadmills aren’t even made to be run on, which is something a lot of people don’t know or aren’t told.
WARRANTY – While you’ll pay more for quality fitness equipment, you’ll usually wind up saving money on that type of investment. How is that possible?
Many top-of-the-line fitness manufacturers offer warranties that will replace broken parts. You’re not likely to find that in department stores.
Also, if you need service the turnaround time from a store like AHF is only a matter of days instead of weeks or months from department stores.
The more durable products will last for many years. That will save you the trouble of having to buy a new one or getting a health club membership because your cheap home treadmill or elliptical sits unused – except for turning into a clothes rack.
FIND THE REAL VALUE – When an inexperienced consumer walks into a department store and finds a $300 elliptical or $599 treadmill, he probably thinks he’s found a real value.
Don’t expect the same durability that you’ll find in quality fitness equipment, though. Top equipment is simply not going to be sold for less than about $1,000.
That’s a lot of money, but if you think in terms of many years of great use out of a top product, then that’s where the real value is.
And if you go to a store like At Home Fitness because of the volume of equipment they sell, you can actually find great deals on high-end fitness equipment.
TRY IT OUT – Go into a specialty fitness store with a pair of running shoes and try out the equipment you’re interested in and find something you‘ll use for years to come.
When you think long-term it will make even more sense to avoid the quick fix of a department store special, which it turns out really isn’t so special.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com