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Fitness: Alternative to the Gym

Some of you may be thinking about investing in some home fitness equipment as an alternative to paying gym memberships. There are some real benefits to home training, but it is essential to buy the right products.

So here are a few guidelines to help ensure you get the equipment that’s right for you. The most popular items of home fitness equipment are Treadmills, Cross-trainers, Rowers, and Stationary Bikes. Prices vary, but range between £150 and £2000+. At the cheaper end of the market, the build quality tends to be reflected in the price. If you are remotely serious about using, and getting the best from any home equipment, then anything at the cheaper end will probably leave you feeling somewhat disappointed.
There are undoubtedly good reasons for buying cheap equipment, but unless you secretly know it will only get used once in a blue moon, or will rapidly be finding its way into the free ads, then I can’t think of any. Even if you’re keen to get your home fitness way of life off to a flying start, yet your budget is at the bottom end, my honest advice would be to save a little more money so you can get something half decent.
At the other end of the market there are items costing several thousand pounds, while these tend to have a far superior build quality, for some people, paying this sort of money will also be a waste, as they could buy something more than suitable for their needs at half the price. So, how do you make a good buying decision? Well, as a guide (and it is only a guide) I personally wouldn’t buy a Treadmill for less than £800, Cross-trainer or Rower for less than £600, and a bike for under £300. Then you need to look at the features available on the equipment, decide which ones you need or want, and which you can do without. Size is also something to consider, it’s a good idea to compare the equipment dimensions with the room or space that you will be keeping it in.
In my opinion, perhaps the single most important thing to do before you buy any equipment, is to try it out first. Buying fitness equipment from the internet, a shopping channel, or mail order catalogue, without trying it out first, should be avoided at all costs! There is no harm in buying from these sources, but find somewhere you can go and physically see and try the item of equipment you want to purchase. Fitness equipment can look and certainly feel very different to what a simple picture might convey.
When looking for your equipment, take a bit of time to make sure you get what is right for you. I spent more than a year deciding which brand of fitness equipment to stock in my shop, as I wanted to ensure I stocked the best in terms of reliability and value for money. There is no reason why you shouldn’t do the same. For impartial advice on any home or commercial fitness equipment, feel free to come and ask.


• Ant Watt is the owner of HMF – www.hmfworld.com – and a respected expert on sports equipment and practices. Tel: 01473 226888

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