Fit On A Budget Part 2

Earlier this week I delved into the topic of comparing gym memberships as a way to keep your body and your checkbook healthy. Today, we’ll explore the various costs of at-home workout equipment and videos. If we make the decision to skip the gym and workout at home, what is the best piece of equipment for your dollar?

Today we’ll compare four major names in home exercise equipment: Bowflex, Nordic Track, Schwinn, and Body Solid. First off, let me explain that each of these fitness giants have several classifications of exercise equipment. Only two of the four actually have sets of equipment called “home gyms”, but more on that in a moment. A Bowflex home gym can range anywhere from $649.00 to $3000.00. A Body Solid home gym can range from $1195.00 to $1915.00. The main difference seems to be total accessories and the name brand you’re purchasing. One of the most popular pieces of home exercise equipment is the treadmill. A Schwinn treadmill will run you between $1000.00 and $1400.00, while a Nordic Track treadmill runs from $799.00 to $3299.00. The difference here seems to be the amenities associated with each treadmill. In other words, how advanced is the computer, does it incline, etcetera?

Continuing on, we encounter also dumbbells/free weights, bikes, ellipticals, incline trainers, benches/racks, and so on. Each ranges from $300.00 up to $3000.00 in price depending on the equipment and who makes it. Because there is so much to choose from, it’s best if you, the consumer, do your own research to find what best suits you. For example, if you want cardio combined with upper body muscle you may want a Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells set for $400.00 with a Schwinn bike for $200.00. It all depends on what part of your body you want to focus on and what brand name you prefer.

Also, when working out at home, you might want a simpler solution without spending thousands of dollars on a home gym. In this case, some turn to purchasing workout videos. The benefit of videos is we get the motivation of a personal trainer right on our home TV. Some videos come with equipment and vice versa, and other videos are just the videos by themselves. There are literally thousands of videos out there, all promising relatively the same thing, a perfect body in a short amount of time. But I caution, buyer beware. When buying a video just for the piece of equipment they offer, you don’t always know what you’re getting. Are you buying an exercise ball at $20.00 to $30.00 that you could’ve bought at Wal-Mart for $2.00? Is that crunch machine in actuality a plastic old school bicycle pump? Does that fat-burning belt have a chance to electrocute you? These are things you have to consider (and carefully) before purchasing a gimmick. If you are going to buy a video, you’re better off buying just the video alone. Or, at the minimum, do your homework for the as-seen-on-TV stuff. Check the customer reviews before making a decision. As for the plain workout videos, what you’ll want to be cautious of is how many videos are in the series. You may think you’re buying just one then get locked into buying six or so. Read the fine print. For a single video, you’re looking at spending anywhere from $14.98 per video all the way up to $150.00 per video. There again it’s a difference of name brand versus the unknown trainer as well as how many videos come in the series.

In the end, how to choose between a gym membership, a home gym, or just a workout video mostly rests on how you want to get into shape and what motivates you to do so. A social butterfly will probably want the gym membership; less social body builders will probably prefer a home gym; busy career moms may opt for a half hour of Zumba Fitness video. The price tag associated with these options come full circle to the total amenities each option has; be it convenience, technology, whatever. Find what works best for you and go with it. In reality, there is no bad choice; any exercise is good exercise.