Home Fitness Equipment: Expert Tips to Buy the Best Machine

How to Buy a Treadmill or Elliptical That You’ll Actually Use to Lose Weight

How to buy home exercise equipment
Invest in home exercise equipment that you'll actually use. Precor

Are you thinking about buying a treadmill or elliptical for your home? Many people start the weight loss process by investing in home fitness equipment.  For some new exercisers, this is a smart plan. But for others, it turns out to be a waste of money. Their expensive equipment sits in a corner and gathers dust.

So how do you make sure that you actually use your fitness equipment to reach your weight loss goals?

The path to success begins when you buy your treadmill or elliptical. I talked to Mike Grant who handles Consumer Equipment Training and Distribution at Precor.  He gave me tips to help you buy the best home exercise equipment so that you reach your fitness and weight loss goals.

Malia Frey: Should I already have a fitness program in place before I buy a treadmill or elliptical? Or will investing in home exercise equipment inspire and motivate me to work out and reach my weight loss goal?

Mike Grant: It is helpful to know what you would like to accomplish before you invest in a piece of fitness equipment, however, it is not necessary. Better treadmills and ellipticals offer features that guide you through your workouts to help improve your overall fitness level and reach your goals.

It's also important to remember that your fitness journey lasts a lifetime. Where you are right now will change the more you exercise.

So, even if you have a weight loss goal in mind for the short term, it's wise to invest in a treadmill or elliptical that has the capacity to push you to new heights as you improve.

Malia Frey: Gym-quality home exercise equipment is a big investment. What are some things that I should consider before choosing a treadmill or elliptical so that it doesn't end up becoming an expensive clothing rack?

Mike Grant: The best way to keep a treadmill or elliptical from becoming a coat rack is to not shortchange yourself on feel or features.  While it's tempting to try and save a little hard-earned money by purchasing fitness equipment with a more digestible price tag, often the most affordable treadmills and ellipticals will not perform up to your expectations or you will quickly outgrow the limited feature set that was included in the console. It's a simple equation—if you like your fitness equipment, you are more likely to use it and keep using it. If you don't, you won't.

Malia Frey: What are the most important features to consider when I buy a treadmill or elliptical?

Mike Grant: Feel is such an important factor to your exercise experience. The better the equipment fits the way your body moves, the better it will feel and the more likely you are to get on, stay on, and come back for more... even on the days you would rather collapse on the couch and dive into the Doritos.

You should also take into consideration your body position and the range of adjustability.

On an elliptical, make note of your posture and take into account how your knees, hips and back feel as you work through the motion. To get the most benefit and the safest workout, you should stand balanced and upright. Your heels should stay in contact with the pedals as you move through the range of motion. Also make sure you pedal backward and forward as that is a key feature of using an elliptical to cross train. High quality equipment will feel great in both directions.

On a treadmill, take into consideration the cushioning and other features that help reduce impact. Your brain registers impact as work. The more you can reduce impact, the less you will feel like you are working. This allows you to workout harder and longer and will likely help you push through the days when you feel like slacking.   

Malia Frey: What about console features? Do all of those numbers really matter if I just want to lose weight?

Mike Grant: On both a treadmill and elliptical, features on the console should help motivate you when you work out. This includes lots of feedback as to what you are accomplishing during each exercise session. The more personalized the feedback the more likely you are to reach your goals.

Also make sure the preset features will not only help you accomplish your current goals, but also will be useful as you set new goals once your current ones are attained. A console that is easy to read and easy to use will likely keep your interest much more than a console that has too many buttons and requires a software engineering background to navigate.

Need more specific advice about buying home exercise equipment? Visit the Precor website to watch videos about how to buy a treadmill and how to buy an elliptical and to check out the new Precision and Energy series lines of home fitness equipment.  In the meantime, start working out at home with a simple home strength workout or a celebrity-inspired total body blast to jumpstart your fitness program.

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