Getting fit can be a pricey endeavor. From having the proper footwear to the right sweat-wicking apparel to the gadgets, gizmos and equipment that promise to help get you to your fittest and healthiest, you can spend a small fortune on working out. But—and this is a big but—you don't have to! Whether you're trying to find the gear you need to hit the gym or are looking to outfit a whole workout room at home, here's what you need to know about splurging and saving on fitness equipment.|
Splurge: 5 Fitness Items Worth Spending More On
For many, money is tight. But when it comes to these items (assuming you're in the market for them), skimping for a cheaper model might cost you more in the long run.
Shoes. If you've ever bought a pair of cheap sneakers and tried to run in them, you know a good pair of workout shoes is worth every cent. The proper footwear isn't just a matter of comfort—it's a matter of safety! Wearing shoes that don't correctly support the activity you're doing can lead to muscular imbalance, decreased performance and even injury or overuse. If you're just starting out with your fitness routine and aren't sure what type of kicks to buy, try on a variety of cross trainers (these are designed for multiple activities like walking, boot camp, lifting weights and being on the elliptical). Stick to the name brands and splurge a little on the pair that feels the best on your foot! Get more sneaker-buying tips.
Sports Bras. I know, ladies, sports bras are almost as expensive as your regular bras! But, they're actually almost more deserving of the price tag because the difference between a cheap sports bra and a quality one is huge. Most department stores now have a sports section for bras, so try on a variety of options and find one that fully supports you and is comfortable (jumping up and down in the dressing room is encouraged!). It's worth it to pay a little more for a sports bra with adjustable straps, so that it can size down as you do, too! Find the best fitting sports bra with this shopping guide.
Pedometer. Sure, you can buy a pedometer for $5, but it won't be very accurate—and it will probably only work for a few months before you need to replace it—not a sound investment, even though it may seem like a good deal. If you want to count your steps, plan to spend at least $25 on a more expensive pedometer that comes with instructions and requires calibration. This is the only way it can truly be accurate! Or, go for one of the technological activity monitors that track so much more than steps, such as the Fitbit or BodyMedia devices.
Gym Membership. While there's no reason why you have to pay for a big health club with every amenity under the sun (unless you really want to, of course!), you definitely don't want to join any old gym just because it's the cheapest option. Always ask for a 5- to 7-day trial membership first (which should be free). While some chains do have low rates that offer good-quality equipment, it's best to shop around. From having old equipment that doesn't get repaired, to not being clean to not being properly staffed, most of the time you pay for what you get. So pay for what you want. Psst—here are even more tips to save on your membership!
Home Cardio Machines. It may be tempting to pick up the cheapest elliptical or treadmill when you're on a budget, but when it comes to buying a cardio machine for your home, you definitely want to invest in a quality piece of equipment. Do online research, go to a fitness equipment store and try out a variety of models to find a piece of equipment that is sturdy, feels strong and has a warranty of more than a year. Check out consumer reviews and even ConsumerReports.org. Buying a good cardio machine the first time is far more cost effective than having to buy another model after the cheap one breaks down! And a high-quality model will last you for years and years to come, making its per-use cost much lower than a cheaper model.