Usually about the time when people stop saying “happy new year” as they greet each other, those who resolved to lead more active lives have found themselves at a crossroads. They are either locked in to do whatever it takes to keep their new year’s resolution on track, or they have thrown in the towel. It takes about 21 days to start a new habit so, many may already be wedded to their new lifestyle of health and fitness and ready to raise the stakes by putting money on the line to support their success. Fitness tracking devices, exercise gear, gym access and coaching services are all areas where large sums of money can be spent. How do you know when you are getting a good deal? Here are some tips to help make the most of your money in a few key areas.
Competition for your business has led many popular gyms to offer deals that don’t require long-term contracts. Those same flexible offers may also come with some low entry-level plans that seem too good to be true. Be sure to read the fine print to see what you are getting in return for your money and how that will serve your fitness needs. The lowest rates may limit your access to certain types of equipment or a specific facility. It also helps to get the most of your investment if you show up occasionally. Recent data shows that more than two-thirds of gym memberships are unused, which means that there are a lot of people out there who are pouring money down the drain without making the effort to show up to get their money’s worth. Think carefully about how you will use the gym and what matters most in terms of their services. Also compare the cost of membership to the cost of purchasing your own equipment. A $40 gym fee over a three-year period comes to $1,440 which is equal to the cost of some home workout equipment. Lastly, consider how you may already have access to the same equipment for free or at a deeply discounted price. Taxpayer supported city or county recreation centers, your neighborhood association, your apartment complex or even your employer may provide gym access as a benefit.
The exercise clothing industry generated 181 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2019 with continued growth expected in the foreseeable future. Big profits are made by name brands and the latest trends, but you can often get similar quality for much less if you are willing to give up the labels. A popular name brand short-sleeve breathable running shirt is listed online for the retail price of $19.97. A shirt of similar design and material is listed for sale without the brand name at $10.92 for a pack of two. Similar comparisons can be found for other items of workout clothing, but there is one area where cost is not the only consideration. Shoes should be approached a little differently. While product cost and savings are important, a poorly designed shoe that is cheaply made could lead to injury in some situations. Look closely at reviews and always consult an expert before making a selection for yourself. Many running stores will provide a free assessment to analyze your running style and recommend the best type of shoe for your workout.
Workouts are about progress toward a fitness goal, and data helps you know how you are progressing each step of the way. There is a world of high-tech gadgetry for your consideration if you want to count steps, measure miles, tally pool laps, log sit-ups, track calories burned or keep an eye on your heart rate.
A single fitness wearable can set you back as much as $900 or as little as $20. That variation is as much about the quality of the product and internal technology as it is about the name on the product. As a best practice, it’s always a good idea to research trusted sources for reviews of fitness trackers before deciding which is best for your needs. There are a lot of paid reviews on YouTube and elsewhere on the web that try to appear to be unbiased, so watch out for reviewers who are known to focus on a single brand or who are overly enthusiastic about a product without offering a fair comparison. It may help to go to a store where you can have a hands-on experience with the product to see if it fits your needs.
Most amateur fitness enthusiasts don’t need top-end fitness trackers, so there may be a bargain to be found by limiting the purchase only to the features you need. While there could be even deeper discounts on used items, you need to be sure that the product you are buying is still supported and is in good working condition. Because that last part is often hard to determine, you should focus on items that have a clearly outlined return policy.
Getting what you want for the money you spend is important, so it helps to do some research first before buying anything. This careful approach also means budgeting for your fitness related activities so you can flex your financial muscles too. It also helps to consult a licensed physician before starting any fitness routine to reduce the risk of injury, which can also save you some money on healthcare costs in the future.