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Even if you've traded in your gym membership for free workouts in the park or at home, it's easy to go overboard on workout gear. It's a multibillion-dollar industry that includes everything from yoga mats to medicine balls.
So for some savings strategies, I tapped Fitness magazine's Argy Koutsothanasis. She breaks down what's worth it and what's not in this FinFit edition of Buy This, Not That: Workout Gear.
Buy Compact Cardio
Equipment like treadmills and stair climbers are not only bulky, but also expensive. "Consumer Reports found that about 40% of people who purchase treadmills use them initially then stop - if they use them at all," says Koutsothanasis, adding yet another reason to avoid buying them. As an alternative to a $1,000 treadmill, you can piece together a comparable workout with the Gaiam Mini Stepper. At just $79, it is a fraction of what a larger machine costs and lets you workout your legs and even arms. "It's super small and compact," says Koutsothanasis. "You can slide is under the bed, pull it out while you're watching TV. You can do bicep curls, get a little cardio in and you get a good workout."
Track for Cheap
Next, tracking and GPS watches are popular right now, but they can be pretty expensive. Which to buy and which to skip? Avoid complicated tracking watches, says Koutsothanasis. Runners, cyclists, and anyone who uses tracking devices for their training knows how important it is to monitor progress. It keeps you on track, for both weight loss or training, and bonus - most of these have GPS now so you can run or cycle for miles without getting lost or carrying around your phone. Koutsothanasis suggests picking up the Garmin Forerunner 10. With the device, she says you push one button and its ready to go. And at just $130 by Garmin, she says it's a great value.
Buy No-Slip Earbuds
We all depend on our earbuds to keep us motivated during long and hard workouts, but some are better than others. Ever been working out, only to have your usual earbuds slip out of your ears with all the sweat and motion? Instead, Koutsothanasis says splurge on a quality pair of Yurbuds, developed specifically for athletes, at $30. "They mold to your ear and they stay put," she says. As a bonus, Yurbuds come in tons of colors and are a great stocking stuffer.
Run To These Sneakers
Finally - sneakers. We've discussed on the show before how barefoot running shoes are all the rage but Koutsothanasis says they're not for everyone. "If you're used to running with a lot of cushioning in your sneaker, the worst thing you can do is go to that barefoot running shoe," she says. If you want a lightweight alternative, there's Saucony's $100 Kinvara 3 sneaker. "It weans you off the extra cushioning you're used to having so it changes your stride but slowly," says Koutsothanasis.
And, as always, we want to hear from you. How are you keeping your fitness goals on track? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh, and use the hashtag #FinFit.