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If you buy exercise equipment, you can get great performance on a budget

No need to spend thousands on treadmills, bikes and other equipment if you purchase used.
Detail of legs of woman running on treadmills gym
Posted at 5:00 AM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-04 07:12:29-05

Do you have that "new year, new you" mentality right now? Many others do too.

If so, you might be considering new exercise equipment for your home.

But you don't have to pay thousands of dollars to have that home exercise area.

January is a busy time at Play it Again Sports, a resale chain with locations all around the country that sells used sports equipment.

Shoppers like Elizabeth Turner are looking for a new start to the new year.

"I don't really want to go outside in the early morning to go to the gym," she said. "I would rather be at home."

This time of year, many well-intentioned people sign up for gym memberships based on sales pitches but let those memberships go to waste in a few months.

A good used bike or home treadmill might be a better option.

Saving money with used equipment

Trainer Victor Gondin says used benches, treadmills, and ellipticals can cost well over $1,000 new.

At his store, he says they "typically try to price anything that is used at about half."

He showed us some treadmills selling for well under half their original price.

"This NordicTrack treadmill we have going for $229.99," he said.

Kevin Loria of Consumer Reports cautions when buying used equipment, you should always ask for a test run.

"Try to go for a walk or a jog on it," he said. "Listen for any odd sounds."

Consumer Reports suggests that people:

  • Prepare for more risk with your purchase with machines that are over a decade old.
  • Beware of machines that come from a commercial gym, where they likely had heavy use for years.
  • Check for frayed or misaligned belts with any treadmill, which could lead to an expensive repair that wipes out any savings.

Saving money with new equipment

If it is something new you're looking for, you don't have to pay top-of-the-line prices. Consumer Reports regularly tests treadmill performance and finds some moderately priced models work well.

"We have recommended treadmills, really nice machines, that are great. Even for avid runners that come in at $1,000," Loria said.

He says more expensive models likely have newer features, like phone connectivity and interactive programs. He says get the less expensive model if you can do without those features.

If a treadmill is too big for your space, you can buy inexpensive barbells or a stationary bike that takes up less room in your home.

Consumer Reports recently posted a report on how to set up an affordable home gym.

The most important thing to remember is to buy something you will use.

"Something that's not gonna be an expensive coat rack," Loria said

That way you stay fit and don't waste your money.

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