Shed Pounds and Dollars

Friday, June 07 at 09:25 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Home exercise equipment can be a great way to shape up — but only if you use it regularly. Ads promising quick, easy results are selling a line, not a reality. Here are some claims to watch for.

It's quick, easy and effortless.
Whether they're promoting shoes, clothing or equipment, some advertisers say their products offer a quick, easy way to shape up and lose weight — without sound science to back it up. There's no such thing as a no-work, no-sweat way to a fit, healthy body. To get the benefits of exercise, you have to do the work.

We promise to fix your problem areas.
Promises that you can effortlessly burn a spare tire or melt fat from your hips and thighs are tempting, but spot reduction, losing weight in a specific place, takes regular exercise that still works the whole body to burn extra calories.

Look at these before-and-after photos.
They may be "satisfied customers," but their experiences may not reflect the results most users get. And celebrity endorsements? They're no proof the product will work as claimed, either. As for the chiseled models in the ads, is that six-pack the result of the product they're promoting, months in the gym and years of healthy habits, or an altered photo?

What to Do Before You Buy Exercise Equipment
You've done your job and looked at any claims with a skeptical, savvy eye, but you're not quite finished. Before you buy any equipment, here are a few tips to make sure your new gear won't wind up collecting dust.

Start working out.
Don't expect the equipment to change your habits. Are you ready to act on your good intentions? If you're not active already, then start now.

Find the right equipment.
Take a test drive. Before you buy, give different equipment a test drive at a local gym, recreation center, retailer or even a friend's place.

Read reviews.
Check out consumer and fitness magazines that rate exercise equipment to get an idea of how a product performs and whether it's likely to help you achieve your goal, whether it's building strength, increasing flexibility, improving endurance, or enhancing your health. You also can check out user reviews online. Just don't put all your trust in any one review. Try typing the product or manufacturer's name into a search engine, along with terms like "complaint" or "problem."

Find the right price.
Find out the real cost. Some companies advertise "three easy payments of $49.95." Break out the calculator and figure out what you'll really pay. Don't forget sales tax and shipping or delivery charges. Find out about warranties, and whether shipping or restocking fees apply if you decide to send it back.
Shop around. That one-of-a-kind fitness product may be available at a better price from a local store, or you might get a better deal online, but don't forget to factor in delivery costs.

Watch your wallet as well as your waistline when deciding whether or not to purchase home exercise equipment.

The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert when specific advice is needed.

Tags: Financial Education
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