Running, cycling, lifting weights, or doing cross-fit…The fitness craze, for better or worse, relies heavily on equipment. Regardless of what activity you decide to enjoy, chances are you will need a specific type of gear. And while you can get away with just a pair of shoes, there are some activities that require a hefty sum of money to be spent on fitness products.
If you are a fitness store, the future ahead is very bright. Different types of activities emerge out of the woodwork, and trends rise and fall along with the wind. Suppliers cut on prices, racing down to the bottom in order to remain competitive, and margins grow by the month. If this is your industry of choice, all I have to say is good speed!
But note also that customers are enjoying the industry growth as well – thousands of fitness products to choose from, all fighting to become affordable and easily accessible. Regardless of whether you decide to order a pair of shoes, or a piece of fitness technology, there is no need to wait for the Christmas season. Prices are slashed left and right, and weekly discounts are becoming the norm.
But before you go ahead and type in your credit card number, I’d like to provide you with a checklist of sorts. A step by step guide if you will, for making the purchasing decision. If you shop the smart way, there will be less headache, no need for returns, and certainly more satisfaction with your product.
What follows ahead is a product buying manual. Make a habit to follow most of the steps, and you will shop fitness products with more awareness, confidence and conviction.
The questions you need to ask before buying a fitness product?
Forgive me for raining on your parade, but common sense is necessary before opening the wallet. You will, however, find a disparity between my suggestion, and the fact that we are an Amazon Associate. We run a list of curated products titled as fitness shop, accessible right there in the navigation bar. Yet I’m urging you to reconsider the necessity for buying fitness equipment. Strange indeed!
But satisfied visitors outrank profits nine ways to Sunday. And the first step to having a satisfied visitor is being honest. So this is a personal question that you must go over by yourself.
Is the product I’m considering necessary?
This boils down to a series of questions, but answering them before each purchase makes sense. Ask yourself about the necessity of the product? Is it something you can do without? If so, and the price is rather high, perhaps consider postponing your purchase until you feel otherwise.
Will the product be part of your routine? By all means, if you plan on doing series of pull-ups buying a pull-up bar is mandatory – unless, of course, you can find a sustainable alternative. So, observe your routine, examine your schedule, and be honest with yourself.
You can even try the activity you are planning to incorporate in your schedule, and then decide whether you need extra gear or not. Cardio, for example, has the minimum barrier for equipment, yet many people are buying products they obviously don’t need. Try the activity first, and then decide!
Is there a better alternative?
Depending on your goals, sometimes, a simple mobile app will do more or less the same as a fitness tracker. Spending money on equipment, therefore, is not always the better option. I mean what would you say if someone buys a heart rate monitor, and all he wants to do is run a single mile twice a week?
However, a rowing machine is hard to replace with another fitness contraption. If you don’t like going to the gym, but still insist on doing a specific set of exercises, then by all means find yourself the right equipment.
Years ago, as I was young and broke, I used to look for alternatives in any direction. So here is an advice I always like to rant about – there is no alternative for buying weights if you are into weight lifting. It’s either the gym, or a set of plates and a solid barbell. Dumbbells, if you like to work primarily on your arms are fine as well. The adjustable, even more so.
If you have ever expressed interest in weight lifting, do consider buying yourself a nice pair of dumbbells. They can complement a broad palate of exercises, and you can find out whether you like working out with resistance or not.
Learn about the product you are about to buy
While I encourage reading fitness reviews (I write a ton of these myself), there is another step you ought to consider first. Buying guides, by and large, are more informative, since they teach you about the specifications you need to pay attention to.
You will learn the average price, the flagship models from each brand, and some personal recommendations.
Then, once you sip in all of this info, you can search for a specific product.
Where to buy fitness products?
In case you didn’t notice, there is a tab right there in our navigation bar, saying Fitness & Sports Shop. It is perhaps the finest curated collection of the most affordable, yet premium quality fitness products sold on Amazon.
So the obvious answer to the question of where to buy fitness products, in my opinion, is definitely Amazon.
If it’s not on Amazon, chances are that it’s not worth considering at all. Competition there is fierce, so if it’s not listed in any of the categories, it’s likely that the product is subpar.
Local retailers are another obvious option, but they won’t save you the legwork – many of these, depending on size, don’t have online shops, so you will have to knock on doors. And while they tend to offer discounts, the prices are often similar to what you’ll find online – sometimes even much higher.
Searching online is probably the best option you have, since it will return lots of results from different sources. And while it is best to go directly on Amazon, and buy there, many websites have much richer description of products, and do reviews by themselves (Again, check the fitness shop tab in the navigation bar where we point to a curated list of products).
Another thing you might try is looking for coupon codes. Many online retailers offer these, and if they exist you are likely to find them with a single Google search.
Consider the reputation of the store
While many people still remain skeptical when it comes to online shopping, the industry has rapidly evolved, making doubt obsolete. Even if you cross ways with a spammy website, it is noticeable right away. There is also a final line of defense against fraud, which is your bank or card provider. A single e-mail complaint can, and mostly will, trigger a refund.
Note, however, that if the website is decent looking, and has some social proof, it is probably legit to buy from.
Another check you can do is look for their physical address, or see whether or not they are an Amazon Associate (in which case you will be dealing directly with Amazon when eventually ordering the product). Such information is mostly available somewhere in the footer of a website.
Another check you can perform is sending an e-mail to see how fast the customer service support team replies back. Delays are indicative of a less serious retailer.
Read reviews about the fitness product you are about to buy
While customer reviews are available on Amazon, and they come from verified customers, they sometimes lack the length and editorial quality in order to be sufficiently informative. Sometimes, depending on the product, a more comprehensive review might be available on niche websites.
If you want to know how a comprehensive review should look like, you can check our extensive write-ups on Beachbody On Demand, Best Rowing Machines and Best Home Pull-up bars. All provide pros and cons, and delve deep into the specifications, in comparison to other models on the market.
Doing a Google search will bring you a series of results, so make sure to open the first 3-5 listings. If they reflect what some of the Amazon reviews are saying, keep reading.
By the end of the first review, you will have a solid understanding of what to expect. Repeat this process one or two times, depending on the price tag you are asked to pay, and you are ready to make your purchase.
Be sure to read about durability, as well as comfort of use. These two are crucial when buying quality fitness gear. Also, if you shop for more robust fitness machines, check how easy it is to transport and store them – fitness, for many, can become a seasonal flick, so it is inconvenient being stuck with a massive fitness contraption in your living room.
Whenever you buy, make sure to look at the top of the website, and inspect the URL address. If it doesn’t have https before the web address, it is risky to write down your credit card number and place your order. The https protocol offers safety, and most webmasters are already using it.
So there you have it – a step by step guide on how to buy the fitness product that you like. Going over the checklist once or twice will become a habitual experience, and you will begin to search more intuitively for any product on the net. Till then, enjoy researching for your next purchase, and good luck with buying the perfect fitness equipment.