If your New Year's resolution is to tone up and slim down, you have lots of company. This goal is easier said than done, though. Making time for the gym was hard enough when these facilities were still open, but many are now closed or have restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you're thinking a home gym might be the way to go and have been asking yourself, "When does exercise equipment go on sale?" keep reading.
Various shutdowns and permanent closings have also resulted in a higher demand for home workout equipment. Consequently, it can be hard to actually find the proper equipment in stock. Think outside the box, though, and you might be surprised at what kinds of deals you can score with just a little research.
The good news is there are several ways to get the fitness equipment you need without breaking the bank. We tell you about the best time to buy fitness equipment, plus offer tips to help you save on it, so you can stick to that resolution and get in shape.
When Is the Best Time to Buy Exercise Equipment?
Physical fitness is at the top of many people's resolution lists. So it's no surprise that exercise equipment flies off the shelves in January. But around 80% of resolutions vanish during February, according to Forbes. What happens when those resolutions aren't met?
You guessed it! Out the door goes that shiny, nearly new exercise equipment. For this reason, it's a good idea to look online in February for deals resulting from those failed resolutions. You can still shop in January, too, though. Retailers roll out promotions to help consumers meet their fitness resolutions, so you could definitely save.
If you're okay waiting until later in the year, watch for deals in the fall. In 2020, DealNews featured more exercise equipment deals in January than in any other month, but October came in a close second.
How to Save on Exercise Equipment Anytime
What if you're not shopping during the best time to buy workout equipment, or you just want to get the best deal possible? Then check out these eight ways to save on exercise equipment.
A few recommendations for shopping online:
Inquire about the return policy. You'd hate to get stuck with equipment that doesn't work for you after you've spent a ton of cash.
Test the floor model first. If you can find a model of the fitness machine you're considering at a brick-and-mortar location, check it out before making a purchase. This will save you both money for shipping and time for assembly, should you determine later that you need to return the equipment.
Look for free shipping. Online retailers sometimes offer free shipping on purchases over a set dollar amount. If you take advantage of these deals, you could keep $50 or more of your hard-earned cash.
Go for Secondhand or Refurbished Equipment
When shopping online, also be on the lookout for gently used or refurbished equipment. It's always nice to buy new, but why spend hundreds more when you can get used equipment that works just fine?
Contact Gyms or Fitness Centers
Are there gyms in your area that are going out of business? If they have equipment that was purchased outright and doesn't have to be returned to the lessor, they may be desperate to get rid of it. (This is especially the case if new ownership isn't taking over and they're vacating the space).
The gym's loss could be your gain, as you may be able to negotiate a great price on exercise equipment.
It may also be possible to score a good deal if the gym has recently purchased new machines and equipment, and is looking to clear out the old items.
Reach Out to Equipment Manufacturers
Fitness equipment manufacturers — like Precor, Cybex, Life Fitness, ProForm, and NordicTrack — sometimes have a surplus of older equipment models returned from lessees. So it's worth inquiring about taking a machine or piece of equipment off their hands at a discounted rate.
Consider Showroom Models
Planning to skip online retailers and head to the store? If the retailer has showroom floor models, give them a test drive. If they seem like a good fit, ask the sales representative if you can buy the equipment as is from the showroom floor. Their answer may surprise you.
Don't know where to start? Consider sporting goods stores, such as Academy Sports & Outdoors and Dick's Sporting Goods. Also try big box retailers like Walmart and Kohl's. You may also have luck with local small-scale fitness shops.
Stop by Garage Sales
Some of the best hidden treasures can be found at garage sales for a fraction of what they're worth. And exercise equipment is no exception to the rule. So check out garage sales in your area or peruse the weekly circulars for community garage sales. You could find someone who's eager to dispose of a perfectly functional piece of equipment for far less than it's worth.
As with any big-ticket item, you should do your homework to ensure you're getting the biggest bang for your buck. It may take a bit more legwork, but the cost savings will be worth it.
Consider Renting Equipment
The year 2020 hit several industries hard, including gyms and fitness centers. While some have had to close their doors permanently, others are turning to alternative means to stay open. For instance, some gyms are opting to rent out their pricey equipment for substantial monthly fees.
It's important to remember that these items likely won't be cheap. Expect to spend around $100 per month at least to rent an exercise bike, for example, and even more in some cases. But the rental route could still be less expensive than buying a new machine outright. And if you intend to return to working out at a gym, this is a good temporary solution until you can safely do so.
Of course, if you're on the fence about buying a pricey piece of equipment, renting can also be a great way to have an extended trial of sorts in your home. You'll have time to decide if you want to invest in that item or not.
Readers, what other tips and tricks have you used to save on fitness items? And what do you think is the best time to buy exercise equipment? Let us know in the comments below!