In light of the pandemic, many people are choosing to set up a home gym as a way to stay in shape without coming into contact with others. However, in some cases, the equipment or programs can stretch the budget. BBB has some tips on what to know when considering gym programs and equipment so you can stay healthy and within budget.

“If you’ve opted to set up a home gym or purchase one of the many exercise programs offered online, plan ahead and do your homework,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB serving Central East Texas. “That way, you can ensure it’s a plan you can maintain while staying within your budget.”

BBB provides the following tips on setting up your home exercise program:

Consider your physical needs. Start with your fitness needs and goals. Any equipment or program you purchase should match up with your objectives and interests – otherwise, you may not continue to use it after the initial excitement wears off. If you have any existing health conditions, always check with your doctor about which exercises and equipment are safe for you.

Set a budget. With such a wide variety of programs and equipment on the market, it is relatively easy to set up an effective home gym on just about any budget. Review your budget on how much you can afford to spend. The National Academy of Sports Medicine and Consumer Reports have useful guides that can help you choose the right equipment for your specific budgeted amount.

Measure your space. Decide how much space you have to dedicate to your home gym. Measure the workout space carefully to see if specific pieces of equipment will fit. Remember to measure any entryways the equipment must fit through to reach your home gym space as well.

Read reviews. Once you’ve found a program or piece of equipment which matches your fitness objectives, is within your budget, and physically fits in your designated space, it’s time to start reading reviews. Consider multiple reviews from several retailers, and pay close attention to any comments about the quality of the equipment and the experience with the company.

Beware of “get fit quick” solutions. Don’t give in to the temptation to buy equipment or programs which promise miraculous results with little to no effort. Maintaining physical health is an endeavor that will require time and effort.

Try before you buy. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends wearing exercise clothes and athletic shoes to try out exercise equipment prior to purchasing. Many brick-and-mortar stores have display equipment you can try before you make a purchase. Make sure you can operate and feel comfortable using any equipment you plan on adding to your home gym.

Compare prices. You may be able to find the same product for a lower price at a different store or manufacturer. Consider purchasing used equipment, but proceed with caution. Most second-hand equipment is purchased “as-is,” and sales are often final with no option to return.

Inquire about fitness equipment delivery, returns, refund policies, and warranties. New home gym equipment usually comes with a guarantee or warranty program, but some retailers may have altered these due to the pandemic. Retailers may now have special restrictions for delivery and returns, so before placing an order, find out if when and how it will be delivered, if a retailer has a return policy, if refunds are available and how they are issued, what the return process is, who pays for return shipping, how much it costs for heavy gym equipment, and if you will be charged a restocking fee.

Understand financing and monthly fees. Read the contract carefully. Find out how long the financing lasts, how much interest you will pay, and whether there is a fee to pay the balance in full early. If a retailer offers you a rent-to-own plan, read the FTC’s advice on renting to own

For More Information:

See the article BBB Tip: Smart Online Shopping if you plan to purchase gym equipment online. If you prefer to find a safe gym to work out in lieu of setting up a home gym, see the BBB Tip: Joining a Gym. For other tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org.

About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.