Determining if Exercise Machines are Worth the Investment.
Questions that need to be asked
To buy or not to buy
that is the question, okay Shakespeare I am not, but in all seriousness that is the question you do or should ask yourself before spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on fitness machines.
Fitness equipment is a huge area to consider. There are treadmills, stair climbers, weight machines, free weights, kettle bells, ropes, and countless other exercise machines large or small. Each has its own specific purpose.
People have been advertising and selling fitness machines and devices that are to help you lose weight and gain muscle. They show fitness models using their equipment and make it appear that just using their exercise equipment a few times a week will get you a body like that fitness model.
Tens of thousands of people instinctively know it isnít easy, but just maybe this fitness equipment will be the one that will finally do it for me. Inevitably they end up disappointed. Some surveys have shown that 92% of exercise machines go unused. Does that mean fitness machines are a waste of money?
NO! You just need to think before you buy.
Motivation is the Key
The most important sole searching questions you can ask yourself before spending the money is about your motivation. What is your history regarding doing workouts? What are your goals and your plan of action this time?
It doesnít matter if you are interested in cardiovascular fitness, total body fitness, or muscular fitness if you donít have the motivation and plan to follow through with a program any machine you buy will be a waste of money.
Our general recommendation would be to start with a very simple workout routine that requires no equipment. If you are successful with that for 60 days you can then think about equipment. We would start small and simple with your workout.
If you have determined that your motivation is good and your plan to follow through is working the next question will be related to your fitness objectives. It is your goal that will determine what machine you will want and provide the justification for that purchase.
The one problem we have with fitness machines is they are often one-dimensional. They are designed for cardiovascular workout or strength training. Some may give you a cardiovascular workout and a lower body strength-building workout. While overall fitness, which includes strength, flexibility, and endurance, is vitally important you need to look at your goals and plan to accomplish that to help determine if purchasing one or more exercise machine will be advantageous.
Let me use treadmills as an example. You may have two legitimate reasons you might want to purchase a treadmill over a weight machine.
First, you might be more concerned about your cardiovascular health and losing weight than your physique and you know you need to do something. A treadmill seems like a good idea because it can help you control your pace, your time working out, and you know you wonít run consistently outside in the winter time. Those are all valid reasons to consider a treadmill.
One other factor you should not ignore is the space you have and the ability of the machine to be conveniently used in the space you have. If the machine you have does fit in the space you have but you feel cramped and canít really use it adequately it wonít get used. If you have to take it down after every use regardless of how easily that happens it is less likely to be used. If it is too noisy for the area you want to use it you also will be less likely to put it to use.
Any piece of fitness equipment that does not get used is a waste of money.
What About Cost?
The final piece of the puzzle will be the cost. This can get technical if you want it too. Other than knowing what your threshold is for cost (if you donít know how to figure that out that would require a different website to teach you) you need to do some basic math.
First, you need to figure out the cost per use. That is simple math. You simply divide the cost by the number of times you anticipate using the machine to get the results you are seeking. For example, if you anticipate buying a $2,500 treadmill and plan on using it 5 days per week and the life expectancy of the machine is 10 years you need to divide $2,500 by (5*52*10) or $2,600. That works out to $.96 per use.
In contrast, if you were going to buy an $800 home gym that has a 5-year life expectancy and you intend on using it only 4 days per week your cost per use is different. In this example, you divide $800 by (4*52*5) or 1040. In this example your cost per use is $.77 per use.
You must remember when figuring these numbers that 92% of all purchased fitness machines do not get used the number of times anticipated Ė the overwhelming majority donít get used at all. The most common reason for exercise machines not being used is time. People are simply unwilling to take the 30 Ė 60 minutes to workout, which is a very typical workout regime for a full-body workout. That goes back to motivation.
Again, motivation for your workout is essential. Time can be a key motivating factor. The less time it takes to workout the more likely you will do it. That needs to be looked at in determining whether you should buy an exercise machine or not. Will that machine help you get the workout you need in a time that increases the likelihood you will use it.
Categories of Exercise Machines
Exercise machines will come in two basic categories, strength or cardio vascular. Strength building exercise machines would be your typical universal gym while a typical cardio machine would be your treadmill. There is a tremendous supply of fitness machines or exercise machines.
You can get more information on cardiovascular exercise machines on our
cardio exercise machines
page. You can also get more information on strength building machines by going to our
strength building page.