My History With These Was Tarnished

From the time of my marriage to now I’ve spent approximately

Exercise bike: $170.00

1st Treadmill: $300.00 (used)

Richard Simmon’s DVD set of 6 $50.00

2nd Exercise Bike-Glider: $250.00

2nd Treadmill: $700.00

TOTAL: $1,470.00 on gym equipment I no longer have.

Where are they now? The first and second exercise bikes ended up in our bedroom for us to throw clothes on until we sold them for a few dollars at a yard sale. The videos were never opened and sold for $3.00. The 1st treadmill I actually used a bit when I was losing weight and it broke. The last treadmill we bought here, but for some reason it hurt my back when I used it, so I sold it to my friend and her husband for $300.00. Yes – they got a deal!

You would think that over the years I would have learned that I don’t do very well with equipment purchases, but I didn’t. In addition to those I listed, I bought numerous books, “as seen on TV” packets of information and joined many classes.

I wasted so much money throughout the years it makes me sick to think about it. I still remember buying those first exercise bikes. I convinced John that I would ride them. They were easy to use, seemed fun in the store and didn’t put stress on my back. I know I rode the first bike once and the second bike three times. I felt guilty every time I looked at the bike so just kept covering them up with clothes.

The videos were easy to stuff in a closet and I learned to ignore the treadmill taking up half the floor space in our bedroom. I ignored them all. And except for the last treadmill, I got annoyed every time I looked at those pieces of equipment.

So I got rid of them. In a strange way every time I got rid of them it was like I was giving up one more time. Fortunately I kept buying equipment and kept trying, because eventually I did find a piece of exercise equipment I enjoyed.

My feet. Once I finally gave it a chance, I discovered that I really enjoyed walking in the fresh air.

So after all that money and all those years of feeling guilty because of dusty exercise equipment I found I had all I needed all along. My feet. I can use my feet on the elliptical or the treadmill, but my favorite way to exercise is to hit the pavement and walk down my road.

How about you? Any exercise lessons learned with equipment purchases? Diane


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  1. I do not have this problem though. I bought my treadmill, weight training equipment and still use them till this day. I do run on my treadmill but also take 2 runs per week on the road though to stay road fit as well for races. So no, I have not encounter this problem before.
    I’m glad that you have realised what works best for you – the pavement and your feet.
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  2. Yes, the best piece of exercise equipment is free – our feet! LOL! I do pay 46 euros a month for my gym membership because I need to be able to work out and run indoors due to the weather here throughout the year, and to me that is a good investment. I know my aversion to cold and rain would prevent me from getting outside on many days, whereas I enjoy going to the gym and getting hot and sweaty! I am mindful about making sure I get in at least once every week to make it “worth it” – otherwise it bugs me to be spending the money and not using it.
    Amy recently posted…Winter in BrusselsMy Profile

  3. INDEED.
    we have a closet full here and, uh, the stuffs isnt mine.

    another member of the domicile is still learning :)

  4. I have a good eliptical machine that I spent a lot of money on, but do have to say that I use it all the time. I own a Bosu, exercise ball and some free weights and have not used the Bosu or free weights pretty much since before my surgery. *really* need to get back to the weights!

    However, as you said, I have discovered, especially lately, the best equipment is free…my legs and the outdoors!
    Julie Lost and Found recently posted…Keeping At It While TravelingMy Profile

  5. I miss my treadmill! It is in three pieces in an extra closet. No room for it in our current house after having our second child. Our next house will have a room for it! :)
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  6. Every morning of my life I ride my bike past a thrift shop on my way to work. At least 2-3 days per week, I see that overnight, somebody dumped off a treadmill, bike, or elliptical machine by the front door of the thrift shop.

    I think at the root here is that many feel success in fitness can be bought, not earned. Once they realize there is work involved in using thesdeviceses, they become less glamorous than the 3 minutes they tried it in the store.

    You took to walking and I’m glad. It has served you well. But at the end of the day, we all know it’s 80% about food and (maybe) 20% about movement. Walk on Diane!

  7. I have wasted thousands of dollars on weight loss programs and some exercise equipment. Most guilt provoking is my gym membership, which has largely gone unused. Nowhere I have to make my intentions good!

  8. I am huge fan of running and walking because all you need is a good pair of shoes, and I too love being out in the fresh air. When Glenn & I first got married I bought a gym quality stairmaster for $1,400. I knew that eventually I would have kids and I always wanted a good way to work out from home.

    I don’t like gyms, I wish I did but I don’t. I like getting up, getting dressed and literally starting my workout outside or jumping on the stairmaster. (it happens to be in my post this morning) I have definitely gotten my money’s worth out of it, I use it all the time.
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  9. I always exercising outside if possible, or at least some of the exercise.

    My place is like that mythical elephant graveyard where exercise machines go to die! Every one I’ve ever had, I’ve used until they were no longer functional. (Two exercise bikes, two steppers, and one treadmill)

  10. I had one exercise machine at home. I don’t even remember what it was. I bought it on Craiglist for $50 and used it a dozen times. Then it sat in my living room for a few years and I just put my jackets on it. :P
    Lisa recently posted…My Poor Little MayaMy Profile

  11. I always thought that those machines were emblematic of modern life in some unpleasant way: climb 120 flights of stairs, and you get off and you’re still on the ground floor. :-P

    I’m like you. I like getting blue sky over my head to exercise. Prisons used to parade inmates in circles mindlessly and make them walk on treadmills connected to nothing as a form of mental submissiveness conditioning, and now we pay money to do it.

    The best exercise equipment in the world is feet and the great outdoors.

  12. We use most of ours. We have a treadmill, the second one. I had to talk my husband into it after the old one died but he uses it a LOT. We have an elliptical that was a treat to myself when I turned 40 and was diagnosed with foot issues and need less impact. Hubby has a Bowflex that he uses in fits and starts. But, there are some smaller things that are collecting dust. Like some DVDs.
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  13. My house looks like a cardio equipment shrine. I have now, in my possession, a treadmill, an elliptical, and my beloved recumbent exercise bike. All items are well-used, although the bike is getting the most use at the moment. The treadmill is over 10 years old. It was basically a clothes rack for several years in between weight loss attempts, but it’s been in fairly consistent use for the last 3 or so years until recently.

    We got the elliptical so I could go faster than I can on the treadmill. My knees are not in great shape (my right one is especially bad due to some soft tissue damage suffered in a car wreck a couple of decades ago), and although I keep trying to run it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. I’ve done incline work on the treadmill, but again too much speed there and I come down too hard on my Stupid Knee, so we figured the elliptical would be perfect. We weren’t exactly wrong, but it still aggravates my knee. I tried out several and I know that the motion on this one is the best for my particular issue (it’s more of a horizontal ellipse than a vertical one), but even so my knee gets really peevish with how high it has to go.

    So, after over a year with the evilliptical, we finally moved to the recumbent exercise bike, and that sucker has been a godsend. I’m on it almost every day. And the other equipment is still being used as well — my husband is bonding with the treadmill and my boys adore the elliptical!

    I’m just relieved it’s all still in use. Whew.
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  14. We bought a treadmill that went unused for a couple years, but then when I decided to start walking every day, it got used frequently. We like walking outside, but in Colorado, the weather sometimes didn’t allow for that. Now living in Texas and I know there will be days that it’s going to be too gross outside to do ANYTHING! (I don’t handle heat and humidity well at all.) Unfortunately, the move broke the sensors on the treadmill so I can’t tell my speed, time or distance, but can use my pedometer for that. Got a free recumbent bike from friends and it’s been used a lot as well. Hubby had a total hip replacement, so there were times when both things came in handy. There are a few videos I used frequently, got a couple dvds I don’t like, but only spent $1 each on them at Walmart. :-)
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  15. For a long while, yes, that was me…buying machines and gadgets in hopes that they magically make me skinny…and once I was ready to get active, I started out slowly and deliberating, and would then add DVDs, machines, or other equipment as I progressed. Over the years I have fully used and taken advantage of these items…some I got tired of and sold and moved on to something else.
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  16. I’ve had many pieces of equipment and DVD’s that have sat unused and then were sold for next to nothing. I bought a treadmill a year before I got serious about losing weight in 2008. It waited for a whole year for me to finally use it. I lost 133 pounds walking on it five days a week. When it died I moved my walking/running outside. I enjoy being outside so much more!
    I did get a new treadmill a few months ago. I use it when the weather is really bad and those days when i can’t get a workout in until after dark. My dog has probably been the best exercise accessory ;) she loves to go for our walk/runs and makes it more fun for me too.

  17. LovesCatsinCA says:

    I have similar stories with things like this although I have a few successes that I have and actually use. I too like to walk, and I also like to use ellipticals at the gym while reading my kindle (I’ve been a bookworm since 4th grade, which is almost 40 years ago and ellipticals don’t aggravate my knees and back…)

    However, sometimes things get in the way–like foot pain or at the moment, vertigo which makes it difficult to walk 10 feet let alone around the block.

    So I have two exercise items for either the “no time” excuse or injuries. I have a mini-rebounder for when I’m injured. It’s low impact, doesn’t bother my feet when walking on cement or even a track would–and I try to pull it out at least once a week for 10 minutes irregardless because as you might know, the lymphatic system doesn’t have its own “pump”–but bouncing even lightly on one of these helps stimulate it flushing out stuff.

    I also have an Xiser mini-stepper which works well in a slow, low key manner if I’m injured or having vertigo, –I have it up against a wall and it’s a low step height so it’s good for something when I can’t do other things. And of course, what it’s really great for is doing a 4 minute Tabata workout of intense intervals so my legs feel like they’re going to fall off, I’m panting, and I know that in 4 minutes plus warmup and cooldown I’ve done an increase in my metabolism for the next 12 hours or so equivalent to a much longer workout at lesser intensity.

  18. Diane, I think the lesson learned is to find what you like & what works for you & not try to do what the other person is doing! :-) Not meaning you but in the general sense. I love the gym for me BUT I always tell people to find what works for the. The gym is not for many & I go when it is quiet. I would not be able to handle the old days before 24 hour gyms now! ;-)
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  19. I go through phases. For a while, I really enjoyed playing DDR and workout videos. Now, they’re a last_last_last_last resort, and I’ll usually just skip and reschedule my workout if I can’t make it to the gym or on the road in a timely manner.

    We are going to get bike trainers this year so we can set up our road bikes and a movie and pedal away. Looking forward to it!
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  20. I rarely make impulse buy but I did buy a “Buns of Steel” video once and it was terrible. It was SUPER easy and didn’t work. I ended up giving it to a friend. I LOVE going to the gym and if anything it would have been cheaper to figure out that I Loved running earlier!
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  21. We only purchased one major piece of fitness equipment. A NordicTrack ski machine in 1995. We used it for about 6 months and packed it away. 3 winters ago, it earned its keep. It got too cold and icy for me to continue walking outside as I had for the prior 8 months. I decided to try couch to 5k but on the ski machine. By the time I completed the program, I was hooked on the high and wanted to try running. While I have only been on it once since then, if I had not had a low impact option in my house, I probably would have never started running.

  22. Bought a NordicTrak ski machine in 1994 and have used it at least 6 months at year for the last 18 years (I walk outside the other six months or so). Bought a Nordic Gold weight machine at the same time and use it all the time also. Just wore through the cord on the weight machine for the second time so need to replace it (the cord) and it should last another 18 years. Never joined a gym. Have a couple of DVD’s (30 Day Shred and Pilates) that I use occasionally and feel I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth.
    Siobhan recently posted…on the road again …My Profile

  23. Buying things you don’t use (or gym memberships/food etc) is all part of the weight loss process. I’m certain of it. I haven’t been to the gym in about 3 months, and I’m running outside, but I still want that membership “just in case”. I’ve got an Xbox 360 Kinect and exercise disk I’ve never used. It’s there if I need it.

    That’s what I keep telling myself.
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  24. We did have one of those home gyms tha took up half of our bedroom and really didn’t help the decor! We got rid of it and I was so happy. Like you I prefer to walk outside but I do have a treadmill for those cold rainy days when outside just won’t work.
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  25. I was just cleaning out the room that houses my elliptical I bought last year, that I used 4 times. I have a stack of workout DVDs (P90x, TurboFire, ChaLean Extreme, Biggest Loser BootCamp, to name only a few) that sadly have been used a few times and free weights and bands that are collecting dust. I paid for a family gym membership all year last year for us to go a few times, mostly for the pool. I am really saddened by the expense of these and the countless diet books and cookbooks sitting on the shelf. It is a testament to my numerous failed attempts at weight loss and fitness. I am not sure what is going to get me to stop the madness and really motivate me to get off this excess weight, but I am truly sick of making excuses.
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  26. I bought a bike once years ago. I used it a bit, but then it became a coat rack. ;) Now I prefer to go to the gym where I have everything, and I go to a really cheap and nice one .. and then there’s our joint favourite: our feet :D
    Maren recently posted…I love myself.My Profile

  27. I spent $500 and I have for sure gotten my money back!!! But diet books, internet weight loss scams, Jenny Craig start up fees, joining Weight Watchers numerous times and buying EVERY single silly thing in their lobby, sheesh

    And double sheesh

    A zillion dollars wasted…..

    It is like shooting fish in a barrel for marketers……

    Karla recently posted…3:30 in the morningMy Profile

  28. Been there. Done that. Bought, used as clothes rack, sold for peanuts. And you’re so right about the feet. God’s original exercise equipment. I did and do like the Richard Simmons Sweatin’ to the Oldies DVDs. I use them when I can’t get out of the house (weather or kids napping).
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  29. Same thing here; money wasted ad infinitum, all I needed was my own two feet and the will to use them. Great post as always, Diane!
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  30. I can tolerate my rowing machine and my nordic track, although I prefer walking either outside or at the mall. I cannot stand stationary bikes or treadmills. I think I either need the distraction of something interesting to look at, or equipment that occupies both my arms and my legs. It’s the only explanation I have…

  31. My favorite way to exercise is to walk long distances outside with my dog. I love to run outdoor too. I still go to the gym on days of cross training and yucky weather. I have learned too that do not buy equipment for the house, it just collects dust.
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  32. If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn’t get a Wii. I’d rather have a Body Bugg instead but I just didn’t think about it at the time…

  33. I have had a similar experience. I’ve bought all the videos and all the equipment only to sell it or give it away. Of course the treadmill would work if I actually got on it!! Now I’ve decided that I have to earn any equipment I buy from now on by exercising consistenly enough that I can prove to myself the purchase is worthwhile. In the meantime, I’ve been walking outside. I will say that I own a lot of Leslie Sansone videos and they’re the only purchase I ever made in this area that I actually used!

  34. Some have been good buys, some haven’t. I have had hundreds of miles of use on my exercise bike and will continue to use it on and off as I feel inclined. Most of my exercise DVDs have gotten decent play, some more than others, a few were used once (thirty day shred, anyone?) and were way too rough on my body.

    My resistance bands have seen some use and are excellent, but free weights would work better with my preferred weight training style. Still. I am not chucking the bands OR buying free weights right now, as body weight exercises are currently fitting best.

    For me, few things don’t get use, it just depends on the season of my life. Walking is tough in our weather and neighborhood, especially since I can’t leave the kids home and neither can I safely pack all three at this point. So though I do thoroughly enjoy a brisk walk with music, it’s not something convenient for me right now and DVDs are. It’s just a continual evaluation and adjustment process :)
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  35. If I were to add up all the $$ I’ve spent on equipment and DVD programs, as well as months and months of gym memberships I paid for and didn’t use, I would die of embarrassment (literally). That being said, I still have a gym membership and now that I use it I consider it a necessary part of my budget. I still get sucked into at home DVD’s which is a little annoying as I know I’m much more likely to exercise if I get out amongst the people and fill the need to socialize at the same time.
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