Personal Fitness Roundup

I received some new skis for Christmas. I recently took them down to Sports Authority at 10th and Broadway (formerly the Gart’s Sports Castle) to get some bindings installed. And guess what happened? I got the deal of a lifetime. Jason in the tech shop managed to track down some new clearance bindings (a year or two old) for TWELVE dollars. These originally sold for just over $200. Unbelievable – I thanked him and his boss for going the extra mile for me.

With this savings bonanza I purchased some new boots, which I needed anyway because my vintage mid-90s Koflachs were so worn down the shop guys wouldn’t even mount them. I had some time to kill while they were finishing the tune-up, so I meandered around the fitness section.

I don’t profess to be a personal trainer, but I hit the gym a few times a week. It keeps me energetic, healthy, and with my bike commute (nine miles each way,) its a perfect balance between weight maintenance and cardio.

I get a kick out of fitness infomercials, but never paid attention to how much garbage is available for retail sale too. Much of it is overpriced, and only targets one specific exercise or body part.

What I would and would not purchase. Here we go:

This angry man punching bag sells for $199. Next to it is a standard punching bag for $99. $100 to punch the rubbery form of a human? You can print out a photo of your hated one for free and glue it on – savings of $100. I don’t have anyone in life that I hate, so I would probably print out my latest 401k statement and tack it up.

These medieval looking ab getups (above right) are $199 and $279 respectively. I’ve seen these in dumpsters three months after Christmas. They don’t even look comfortable as camping chairs.

These weights (below left,) are adjustable, and cost $300. They are actually pretty ingenious, as you can swiftly switch and lock between different weights, and they take up far less space than a full rack. However these hexagonal ones are only .50 a pound. And you really only need a group within your range. i.e. I mostly use 25 – 50 lb weights. So I’d have no use for a five or 200 pound weight.

I have no idea what the difference between a “pilates mat” and a regular mat is, except that a pilates mat retails for $26.

These benches (above right) are a good deal. They’re sturdy, simple and perfect for doing upper body exercise, and the $119 one is adjustable for crunches and gives back support while doing arms and shoulders. This one (below left) is even better at $119, which includes a barbell bar. That’s a good deal, and an solid piece of equipment that serves multiple uses.

Not a good deal? Some sort of balance ball (below right) for $119. Doing calve raises on a street curb is free.

Whatever tubular contraption this is (below left) costs $900. Unless you’re just going for sheer bulk you can get a BETTER workout with the bench and free weights. Why? By when using free weights your body is forced to maintain its balance, thus giving a better workout of the targeted area (i.e. shoulders, triceps, etc.) (This isn’t my opinion, it’s repeated all over.)

Ok, so the other gear is actual equipment, even if high priced. But I’m appalled Sports Authority would even sell the “Slendertone” ab shocker. (above right.) This is one of the hilarious devices people wear (in infomercials,) around their house while watering plants or watching TV. They promise rock hard abs without moving a muscle. (Because the jolts of electricity move the muscles for you.) Yeah right.

Speaking of moving, now that it’s snowing today I need to finally get up to the slopes and test out my new skis. And boots, and bindings…

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