Ready To Buy Some Exercise Equipment? Read This First.
Don’t worry, this is not an exposé on bad equipment or faulty products; I’m no expert on exercise machines and products. But I do know a little about human nature and after many chats with friends and family, I’ve come to one conclusion – most people don’t buy exercise equipment to work out; they buy it because they think it will motivate them to work out, and make working-out easier and more fun.
How many times have you walked past a garage sale in your area and seen a barely-used piece of exercise equipment parked on the sidewalk? Or, to be more direct, how many times have you bought a piece of exercise equipment that you used a few times and then put into storage?
I’m guilty of it. I first encountered this phenomenon back as a young boy intent on building some muscle. I bought a weight set (that my dad had to help me carry home – now that’s irony on a base level) and assembled it in my bedroom, ready to make myself look like a young Schwarzenegger. I think I gave up after 10 weeks. The weights were dismantled and stored in my closet. Well, except for one small dumbbell that served as a very handy doorstop.
In college, I bought a pull-up bar and a sit-up machine. This time I was ready to do some serious crunches and build some big biceps. I don’t even think the pull-up bar made it out of the box. But I did do some crunches. Not many, but some. Then it was hidden from view under my bed for three years, before being given away to a friend for the princely sum of one beer. By the way, he never used it either.
When I got married, I bought more weights. They are currently gathering dust in the garage. I also bought a rowing machine, and yesterday I finally pulled it out to start using it. Luckily, I bought it used for $25 – my thinking here was that if I was going to buy something I would only use a few times, at least I had only dropped $25 on it. What kind of mentality is that?!
It's all about motivation
Anyway, after asking around, I discovered that I’m in a huge majority. Most people buy exercise equipment because they have romanticized the idea of working out. They watch the ads and infomercials, and everything looks so easy and so much fun. Plus, people look great after just a few months.
It’s not the equipment that’s to blame by the way. My rowing machine works great. Elliptical machines and exercise bikes work really well. Weights are guaranteed to be effective if you use them correctly. No, what is missing here is a lack of motivation, and it’s something that no amount of money can buy.
Here’s the crux of the matter. Most of us already own a fantastic piece of workout equipment. It’s our own body. We can use our own bodies to work out, using push ups, sit ups, jogging, yoga, pilates and more. I knew a guy in college that was built like a tank and he didn’t own one piece of equipment. He couldn’t afford it, so he worked out in his bedroom by doing a mixture of exercises, including 100 push-ups, every single morning. He had the motivation, and the dedication, and if he’d been given a piece of equipment you can bet your bottom dollar he’d have used it.
The promise of looking great, coupled with slick advertisements and the quest for a better, healthier body, is enough to make us all open up our wallets and drop a bunch of money on the next great hope. But sadly, for most of us, that shiny new piece of equipment will one day become a dusty new bargain in a garage sale.
So, by all means buy your new workout machine, but make sure you have the motivation first. If you’ve sat on the sofa for six hours every night, eating chips and drinking soda, an exercise bike won’t turn you into a new person. But if you get off that couch and start doing something about it, from a walk to a few push-ups every morning, then maybe you are ready to invest in something that will help you out. Remember…there is no substitute for motivation and dedication. And no amount of money can buy that for you.