Buying Exercise Equipment Is A Terrible Idea

It’s a New Year, and we’re all ready to get in shape, right?  There are many ways to get moving toward that goal.  One thing I want to recommend that you don’t do is buying exercise equipment.  In short, I think it’s a terrible idea!

Don’t get me wrong.  Getting in shape is a great idea.  It’s a necessary idea if we want to live a long, healthy life to our fullest potential, but I have learned that buying equipment is just a bad idea, and I’m here to give you four reasons why.

It’s Too Expensive (Or Maybe Not Expensive Enough)

One thing I’ve learned is that the cost of buying exercise equipment is unjustified.  One might point out that you can purchase affordable equipment, and while that’s true, when it comes to exercise equipment, the old axiom of “You get what you pay for” is completely true.  If you go out and buy the ‘basic’ treadmill for $400, it’s probably not going to last.  On the other hand, you could go out and get a great treadmill, but it’s probably going to set you back at least $1,500 to get one that’s worthwhile and will be long lasting.  So, either way you look at it, the cost just doesn’t make much sense.mb-2015-01-treadmill

Maintenance: The Dirty Little Secret Nobody (Except Me) Tells You About

Most sexy exercise equipment has some moving parts.  Moving parts break or wear out or need regular work.  This costs money, but they never really tell you about this when you’re in the store or online about to fork over a few hundred bucks.  Only when it breaks the first time (or when you get to page 82 of the instruction manual for the few that actually read the things), might it dawn on you that your shiny piece of equipment is going to cost you a lot more than just the up front charge.

A fitness club can spread out their costs because one service call can address multiple pieces of equipment, but many owners of home equipment will be startled to find that keeping the equipment working can cost just as much or more as it did just to buy the thing.

It Will Get Boring

Most equipment will offer you one thing to do.  While it’s true that many equipment types will let you do different variations, the basic fact is that you’ll be using the same machine over and over again.  Unless you can afford to drop a few grand on a full gym setup, chances are you’ll be bored with your one piece of equipment before the tulips come up.

You Might Fail

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but not everybody keeps their New Years resolutions.  Shocker, right?  In many cases, breaking your resolutions doesn’t cost you much or anything at all. If you find yourself swearing as much as you were last year or still watching too much TV, that’s surely unfortunate, but at least you didn’t drop $1,000 that you’re not going to get back.

I Learned From My Mistakes

Readers, I didn’t write this post based in a vacuum.  I actually have owned three different pieces of equipment at various points.  First I purchased an elliptical machine.  This was great, but I ended up leaving behind when I moved a few years ago.  Why?  I had no interest in trying to take it apart.

I later bought a treadmill, which I used often until it broke down in such a way that it was not repairable.  Thankfully it was under warranty so I got a credit toward a new machine, which I used toward an exercise bike that still sits in my basement today.  There’s nothing really wrong with the bike, at least I assume not because I haven’t used it in over three years.  It simply bores me to tears.

After having gone through all of that, I realized that it’s time to get rid of the bike and to swear off buying equipment for good.  Hopefully my experience and this post keeps you from making the same mistakes.

Readers, what is your experience with owning exercise equipment? Am I the only one that has come to the harsh reality that it’s a complete waste or time? Or have you actually found a way to make it work (in a long lasting way)?  Share below!

17 thoughts on “Buying Exercise Equipment Is A Terrible Idea”

  1. We bought a good quality treadmill about 5 years ago and love it. I use it all the time. It was especially helpful when I had a newborn at home and during bad weather. We’ve luckily not needed to replace anything, just oil the belt. The moter came with a lifetime warrenty too. It was $1800 on sale for 799. If it broke tomorrow id go buy another one!

    • Glad that’s working out. I guess I still look at it from the perspective of my $10 per month Planet Fitness membership. Even adding in the $29 per month annual fee, that’s still 5 years of payments to match the purchase price of your treadmill. Which I guess works out even, but from my experience and what I’ve heard, five years problem-free is pretty rare.

  2. We have an elliptical that my husband’s ex-boss gave him. We use it occasionally but right now it’s sitting under a pile of tools and coats. We have 80s vintage exercise bikes, in the garage. We have a weight bench, a BowFlex, a ski machine, and a rowing machine…disassembled in the basement.
    This is all my husband’s stuff, and I don’t think he paid for any of it. It can be easy to pick up exercise equipment used or even free from folks who paid full price and found they bought an expensive bulky coat rack.
    On the other hand, while I’ve only had it 3 weeks, I am loving my Fitbit. It takes up almost no room, and has done a great job of motivating me to move more by showing me how little I was moving. Maybe it too will end up taking space (in my nightstand drawer) someday. But for now, wearing the FitBit has been fun and motivating.

  3. In the past I have bought an exercise bike and a treadmill. I didn’t use either very much. Now I do a lot of walking. It’s free and much more enjoyable.

    • True. Here in Michigan it’s been in the teens…for highs…and weather like that just doesn’t lend itself to walking regularly. Plus, there’s the whole issue of daylight, which is improving now but still at a premium past 5pm!

  4. The exercise cycle bores you to tears? I can totally understand that. We used to own a treadmill and it was all fun and games for about 6 sessions, and after that I had to keep myself distracted while using it to avoid getting bored. We’re so fickle sometimes 🙂

    Unless you’re a hard core workout addict, who cannot function without burning thousands of calories each day, there is little use in buying a machine, even if you can afford it. It’s better to test the waters (i.e. your motivation to exercise regularly) by joining a gym first.

    • Exactly. Me, I can do the treadmill and it keeps me interested, but not the bike. Sounds like everyone has their piece of equipment that just can’t inspire motivation, and I guess the point is not to get stuck having it sit unused with a big hole in your wallet!

  5. I just bought a pair of dumbbells and an ab exercise equipment. I don’t think I would get bored using it because there are lots of exercise I can do with it. One thing that motivates me in exercise is that I do and follow the exercise I watch online and I think what helps me to exercise more is that I have a goal I want to achieve by the end of this year.

  6. I picked up a total Gym (Chuck Norris) and BowFlex for free after they failed to sell during a garage sale and the homeowner didn’t want to disassemble and move back into the house or donate it. I use them 5 days a week. Their experience of buying with big hopes and then failing worked out great for us. We did buy a Stationary Bike that we use when the weather isn’t good enough for us to go hiking or for a long walk. We prefer being outdoors. So it does sit idle during good weather months. I still do not regret buying that.

  7. LOL! We used to call those things “bedroom sculpture.”

    I found a great piece of exercise equipment. It’s called a sidewalk. You use these things called “shoes” to go with it. 😀 Works fine, and believe me…in my neighborhood, there’s never a problem with boredom!

    It’s never too late to move to Arizona…

  8. I’m trying to remember what I’ve bought. The only thing that’s coming to mind right now is my yoga mat and 2 yoga dvds. I did really well using them at home for maybe six months a few years ago. Sadly they have been collecting dust.

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