How to Buy Your Equipment
We know that buying your next, or maybe your first, piece of fitness equipment can be stressful, cofusing, and possibly frustrating.
We try and take as much of the hassle out of buying as possible. Instead of selling you the most expensive thing in the store, we talk with you about your goals, limitations, past experience, etc before trying to put you into anything. We do this because we want you buy a piece of equipment that you will use and get the most out rather than something that will sit in the corner. Here at American Home Fitnes, we are more concerned with you meeting your goals, not us meeting sales goals.
We as human beings love to seek out deals. It's fun and exciting. I personally feel a sense of victory when I go to a local store like Target or Bath and Body Works and find a candle which was full price just a few months earlier for half off. Deals like that are GREAT!
However, picking a quality treadmill does not work like that. There are many things to factor in when being a treadmill. Runners world published a great article discussing just that: The Trouble With Buying Cheap Treadmills.
Here are a couple of questions you should consider before purchasing your ideal exercise bike. Exercise bikes are like shoes; one size does not fit all. Finding the right piece of workout equipment for YOU is our goal. We won’t let you walk out of our door (or online store) with a piece of equipment that doesn’t fit all of your needs.
Things To Think About Before You Buy:
- How much room do you need?
- Do you want an upright or recumbent style of bike?
- Heart-rate interactive or not?
- Number of programs and if they fit your need?
- Is it media compatible?
- Is it self-generating for corded power supply?
- Do you want adjustable or fixed back support?
- Is there a warranty with the bike?
Here are a couple of questions you should consider before purchasing your ideal strength machine. Strength Machines are like shoes; one size does not fit all. Finding the right piece of workout equipment for YOU is our goal. We won’t let you walk out of our door (or online store) with a piece of equipment that doesn’t fit all of your needs.
Things To Think About Before You Buy:
- How much room do you need, including ceiling height?
- What type of strength training have you liked doing in the past?
- What are your favorite muscle groups you like to workout?
- What is the one area on yourself you would like to improve?
- How much of your workout routine is strength training (as opposed to cardio or balance)?
- When you think of a strength workout, what part of it seems easy and what part seems more difficult?
- Are you training for a specific sport?
- What are your goals?
- How many workouts do you plan to do a week?
As the Baby Boomer Generation continues to age, more and more people are enjoying training on low-impact elliptical trainers as a cardiovascular exercise alternative to treadmills. While the Elliptical trainer (aka Elliptical Cross Trainer) has been the fastest growing product segment of the fitness industry for the past 15 years, it can also be the most frustrating purchase decision for the fitness enthusiast. Let us take the mystery out of selecting the right machine for you.
Unlike other cardiovascular exercise equipment, the elliptical machine puts the user’s lower body through a pattern of motion that is unique to each brand. For example, the motion of the pedals on a Precor elliptical, with its patented Cross Ramp Technology, has a feel that is very different than the motion of another very well-known and popular brand, Octane Ellipticals. Often these differences are communicated by the length of stride of the elliptical pattern, which can range from 18 inches to 21 inches on standard units and from 18 inches to 26 inches on adjustable stride machines (described below). While there are other unique features to every elliptical, first and foremost, the user must feel very comfortable with the motion that the elliptical is putting them through if they expect to benefit from the long-term use of the equipment and the other features it offers.
Given this unique feature, you should always visit an American Home Fitness store to try out different ellipticals before making the purchase for your home. Come in equipped to get a workout and introduction to the machines you’re considering and you’ll go home knowing that you’ve picked the machine that’s just right for you and your body. Plus you might have gotten a little bit of a workout too.
If you’re living in a house with others that want to keep up with you and you’re fitness goals, you better believe that they’re not going to sit around and watch you get fit by yourself! Therefore, if others plan to use the machine, you should probably bring them along with you to try out the ellipticals you’re considering so that the all-important elliptical motion fits them as well.
With this in mind, the most recent and popular development in elliptical machines has been the arrival of the Adjustable Stride Elliptical (ASE). The ASE feature allows the user to adjust the length of the stride in the elliptical motion to best fit their natural stride length. In a multi-user home, an elliptical with the ASE feature can be adjusted to comfortably fit the 6’5” budding high school athlete or his 5’5” mom!
Speaking of height, there is often a concern that our customer will hit his head on the ceiling when they get the machine home. While each elliptical brand has a unique step height, it is conservative to estimate that you will need approximately an additional 12 inches of clearance above the head of the tallest user in your home. For instance, a 6 foot person will comfortably use a Precor Elliptical with a 7 foot ceiling height. Other models may need even less space.
Many times we hear our customers say that “I don’t want any fancy bells and whistles – I just want to get on it and get it done!” Well, unlike a treadmill where the user has to keep pace with the machine, an elliptical machine is dependent upon you, its user, to determine the intensity of the workout. A variety of programming can keep you working at an appropriate level to make sure you’re getting the most out of your precious workout time and moving towards your goals.
For instance, is your goal:
- Weight Loss? If so, let’s look for an elliptical with weight loss and interval training programs to help efficiently burn fat for fuel.
- Improved Cardio Vascular Health? Focus on elliptical machines that are equipped with wireless heart-rate receiver and transmitter belt. These machines will most accurately provide you with a heart rate read out as you workout as well as programs that adjust the intensity of the workout based upon your real time heart rate readings.
- To get ready for a race? Let’s find a machine that has specific programs based upon common road race distances, such as the 5k and 10k race programs on the Octane ellipticals. This is a great way to get your heart and legs ready for the run without additional impact on your joints and feet!
As mentioned at the beginning, choosing the best elliptical machine for you and for your home can be a challenging decision. Regardless of your goals, objectives and unique personal characteristics, it is most important to visit an American Home Fitness store to physically try them out. As we’ve discussed here, each elliptical brand and each model within the brand are as unique as you are. Our staff of experts will help fit you with the product that will improve your life and fitness lifestyle. So come on in and let’s find your stride!
For a large number of people, a treadmill can be the ideal choice for a fitness tool in the home. If you like walking, jogging or running, the treadmill can help you achieve your fitness goals quickly and efficiently in the comfort of your own home. Walking and running are two of the most efficient form of exercise due to the fact that in order to do them, you must move your whole body and bear the weight of your whole body (thus the term weight bearing exercise). This causes you to do the most work possible in the shortest period of time, burning a maximum number of calories and improving the condition of your heart and complete cardiovascular system. For most of us who have very busy lives, achieving these goals in the shortest time possible, make the treadmill ideal.
Like most mechanical devices, a treadmill is a tool that can help you accomplish a task. Therefore, the kind of tool you choose should be determined by exactly what you want to be able to do and what your expectations are.
Here are a few things that you may want to consider before you start shopping.
- Are you going to use the treadmill to run, walk or both?
- How many people will use the treadmill?
- Are you a large, small or average sized person?
- Where are you going to put the treadmill?
- Do you currently use Heart Rate when you work out?
- Do you have any impact related ailments, like knee or back pain?
- Do you like to use technology to help you achieve tasks?
- How much “maintenance” are you willing to do?
- These are just a few things to think about as you get started. In fact, you will probably hear these same questions from one of our fitness experts as they help fit you properly with a treadmill that will meet your needs.
Key Treadmill Features to Consider:
1. Frame size and weight:
Basically, bigger heavier treadmills can handle more work and are more comfortable. A simple rule of thumb is that the treadmill should weigh more that the largest user. If you are planning on running on it and it is lighter than you, it will bounce around and feel unstable while in use. That will make it uncomfortable at the very least, but it also shortens the life of the unit due to the fact that excessive vibration will wear out parts faster. Clearly, if you are walking, this is less of an issue.
Some treadmills are designed first to be inexpensive. Others are designed to stand the test of time and daily use for hours at a time. A simple way to tell what the manufacturer intends, is to look at the overall warranty. There are a few parts that are quite durable and the maniufacturer can warranty these items for a long time without much risk. For instance, the frame and motor, often carry very long warranties, up to and including “Lifetime.” Conversely, the parts that are most susceptible to problems and have the highest repair costs typically have the shorter warranty coverage. These items, referred to as “Parts” consist of items such as computer, belt, deck, rollers and other wear components. In less expensive treadmills, these parts are typically covered for 90 days or less. With higher quality machines, typically found in specialty fitness stores, the parts are covered for 5 or even 10 years of ownership. A look at a brand’s warranty coverage is a good indicator on the value of that particular product.
3. Shock reduction:
Most treadmills today have some kind of technology designed to reduce impact. Unfortunately, they are not all the same. In order to be truly effective the impact of running needs to be dispersed rather that “rebounding” the energy back to you and feeling bouncy. We recommend that you thoroughly test a number of treadmills before you buy anything, as you will be able to tell the difference.
Treadmills, like other advanced-technology equipment, come with many distinctly different options. We suggest that you work with an American Home Fitness expert to figure out what tools will help you achieve your goals. For example, many treadmill purchasers want to loose weight. For them, simply utilizing a treadmill 3 or more times per week will be beneficial. In working to reach their weight loss goal, they may also want to consider programming tools that utilize heart rate, for example, or a customized “weight loss program” that is part of the treadmill’s programming. This may help the user achieve their goal more quickly and provide them a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. When you’re in the store trying out the treadmill models, make sure you take the time to play with the console buttons and start different programs to ensure that you are comfortable with how the console works and understand the benefits the programs can provide. If you have any questions, just ask your America Home Fitness expert.
The treadmill has the unique distinction as the hardest working machine in any gym. This is due to the fact that it has to be able to pull a human (weighing anywhere from 100lbs to 300+lbs) across its deck surface on a fabric belt, which creates a lot of friction. Some machines require routine maintenance adding a lubricant between the deck and belt surface, usually 1-3 times per year. This can be a fine system, providing that it gets done on a timely basis. Some premium treadmills have technology that takes care of this by itself and are labeled as “No Maintenance”. Both systems can be effective. However, we do find that statistically, units that require maintenance fall victim to our busy lives and neglected maintenance, and consequently tend to require more service calls on average.
6. Service life:
There is a wide range of quality in treadmills, and that holds true service as well. As with anything mechanical, treadmills may occasionally need the attention of a qualified technician. A big question to ask before you buy a treadmill, is WHO does the service? There are retailers that essentially have no service network. Purchasing from a fitness specialist like American Home Fitness will give you added peace of mind. We provide service and support long after the sale on all the brands we sell.
How many things do you do regularly that bore you? Probably not many. Statistics show that variety in your workout leads to greater satisfaction and a higher success rate of meeting your goals. If at all possible you should enjoy your experience as you are training or working out. Ask your friends and family who own treadmills how they like them. If they say “its alright”, it may not be an enjoyable experience for them. If they respond, “I love my treadmill”, which one do you suppose gets utilized more? Don’t underestimate programming options that you might not be familiar with. They may offer a fresh experience that keeps you active and motivated for a long period of time.