Fitness Articles

10 Fitness Items to Splurge and Save On

Tips to Save on Workout Accessories

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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.
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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 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.
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • I have only found sportsbras in my size online and only one brand makes them. Sadly the idea of a sportsbra was a fantasy for me until two years ago when I had to buy one for a bike trip. Amazing what a difference the correct size makes! - 12/26/2014 10:41:37 PM
  • I had shoes that wore out quickly they where a top brand supposedly they where best. So i went back after getting major blisters and lots of cramps. The new shoes where brooks and cost me over a hundred and now no blisters and cramps. I am able to walk close to twenty thousand steps a day . Its great to get out and walk. The gym is expensive but if i chose to get into one i would only pay for one that has a track good equipment and offer water fitness. - 12/6/2013 10:23:45 PM
  • I still think its a better deal when buying free weights to buy handles AND plates as opposed to buying fixed weight dumbells. - 9/10/2013 8:52:29 PM
  • Sometimes when you buy the more expensive clothing or equipment what you're paying them for is the expensive advertising and marketing campaign that convinced you that their product is better. But sometimes the more expensive one is better. You have to do some digging to find out, but don't just assume that the more expensive one is better.

    I don't see the point in treadmills and stationary bicycles. Why not just take a walk or ride a bike outside? I do it all year and I live in Nebraska (you know, hot and humid in the summer and cold and snowy in the winter). Even inside you can run up and down stairs and that kind of thing. All exercise develops some kind of skill, and skill at walking or running over various terrains is infinitely more useful than skill at walking on a treadmill. The same thing applies to bicycling, and it might even save you some money on gasoline. And then there's the Vitamin D you get from not being a shut-in... - 9/10/2013 9:31:13 AM
  • Tracking 10,000 steps a day you need a pedometer. I agree with buying a better HRM as I did buy two cheap ones which wasted money.

    I think a Kettlebell should be added but a small on you will outgrow. Mine is 12k (26 lbs) a little on the heavy side but a good workout. - 4/20/2013 3:51:05 AM
    Not sure I agree on spending money on the home cardio machines. Gym memberships can be under 20 bucks a month, so the money spent to get a decent piece of home equipment can be years at a gym. - 2/12/2013 8:26:28 AM
  • I have found that you can get fitness gear on the cheap at discount stores all over the place. Many of the items are name brand goods. I just got myself a yoga mat last week at Ross on sale for under $10. Great buy and works great too.
    I agree about getting good shoes. If you don't get a pair that fits right and is the right kind, you can hurt yourself. But it is not always necessary to spend a lot for them.
    - 2/12/2013 1:05:55 AM
  • I disagree with this article. Quality and the price of all of these products are different things. My best running shoes were the cheapest I've ever bought and the worst aerobic shoes were quite pricey Nike's. When buying a sports bra, try it on and jump around. Read the reviews, check the quality etc. Some of the high-price stuff is really overrated and there's no actual difference if you compare the quality. - 12/15/2012 4:50:14 PM
  • Quality shoes are essential. - 10/28/2012 1:42:50 PM
  • I've saved a ton by keeping an eye out at Marshalls, Ross and TJMaxx for fitness gear. I"ve not only gotten great workout clothes there (New Balance, UnderArmour and so on) on the cheap, but also weight lifting gloves, a foam roller, yoga mat, knee brace, medicine ball and probably some other stuff I'm not thinking of right now. - 10/28/2012 11:42:48 AM
  • I will second the suggestion about a good sports bra! What a difference it makes! - 10/28/2012 8:56:54 AM
    Hmm. Inherited my stationary bike. Bought my TotalGym on sale. Bought my weights and bench used. Got the heart monitor when my old watch died, on sale. Got the pedometer on sale from the Spark Store. Now, getting used to using them, but after the first 50#, the weight doesn't seem to want to come off. *Sigh* Getting in shape takes time and work! - 10/23/2012 7:47:04 PM
  • Good sound advise! - 10/23/2012 2:55:22 PM
  • I have went cheap on the shoes before, and paid the price later. Won't do that again! - 10/23/2012 11:18:22 AM
    Like the article... thanks! I purchased a great versatile for my home gym for a great price, it doesn't take up alot of space and I can do a ton of exercies with it - love my lebert equalizer. use it for cardio, agility and strength training (i love my dips and pull ups on it!). - 10/23/2012 9:35:14 AM

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