Martin J. Lecker: Are you shopping for gym equipment? Considering a concierge coach? Here’s what you should know | Business


There are a variety of at-home fitness options, including free weights, treadmills, and exercise bikes. But whatever you choose, it’s important to talk to knowledgeable salespeople and try out the equipment before you buy, according to columnist Martin J. Lecker.

In this column, I’ll reveal what experts recommend you look for when buying gym equipment. Along with this equipment, you may want to use the services of a concierge coach, who is a personal trainer who will visit your home. How to choose a fitness trainer from the concierge will also be discussed. Finally, there are many shopping deals happening this month. Read on to find out more.


Is it time for the mountain to come to you?

In my last column, I gave pointers on how to choose a fitness center to meet your New Year’s resolution to exercise more. However, there is another alternative if you don’t believe in the paraphrased adage, “If the mountain doesn’t come to you, go to the mountain.”

In this case, if you still do not have access to a gym (“mountain”), perhaps you should consider bringing the mountain to you by purchasing your own fitness equipment. With so many people wanting to start a workout routine, January is generally when fitness equipment retailers stock up well. It might also be the best time to buy gear at a discount, according to Chris McGovern, to stock up on bullets at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Pittsfield.

If you’re looking for gear, where do you start? McGovern said potential buyers should consider their personal equipment preferences as a first step. This when speaking to qualified experts who can assess your cardiovascular (cardiovascular) or strength goals is important. At this point, they can recommend the appropriate equipment.

McGovern highly recommends trying out equipment before you buy.

Gary Onnen, sales rep for Total Fitness Equipment, has his own list of what potential buyers should be aware of. First, he believes clients should know what type of exercise they prefer. For example, do they like to use a treadmill? exercise bike? Free weights?

Next, do they have any injuries that some equipment might help or aggravate that injury? What is the client’s experience in using different types of equipment? This step is very important and why you may want to hire a sales representative who has the experience and knowledge of the equipment to guide you through the process.

Equally important is the presence of a showroom for testing the equipment, which all Total Fitness Equipment locations have.

Onin also pointed out that there are some misconceptions. For example, some new clients worry that strength training will make you gain too much weight. What they’re missing, Unin said, is that more muscle translates into more weight and that “you don’t have to worry about entering the doorway sideways.”

Another misconception is not to underestimate the amount of space you actually have in your abode. A traditional barbell gym might only take up a 4 by 6 foot space.

Another option is to purchase a folding treadmill. The newer ones, he said, are more classy than they were years ago and are a good option if you don’t want to give up space.

Onnen added another recommendation, consider the WaterRower machine because it covers both cardio and strength training simultaneously. It makes you use your upper body, lower body, which is low impact, enhances your endurance, and is space saving.

Treadmills are also a good choice because they increase your cardio and endurance workouts. He noted that “walking from birth is part of everyone’s DNA, so using a treadmill isn’t scary.”

Onnen’s final recommendation is to see if you can use any apps specifically for your workout. Some equipment includes apps when you buy it, which is another factor you can consider when deciding which equipment to choose and where to buy it.

Donald’s Tea, from Donald’s Fitness Tea in West Stockbridge, has its own list of three top recommendations:

1. Does the prospective buyer have any injuries or any movement they should not make because of the risk of injury or pain?

2. What are the person’s goals or what do they enjoy doing? You want equipment that meets their goals and “it won’t be a clothes hanger in the corner of the room.” For example, Donald is a weightlifter, so buying her a treadmill wouldn’t be fun and useless compared to equipment that would achieve her strength goals.

3. Space is another factor, and it is important to prioritize the type of equipment you can put in the house.

In terms of what equipment to buy, she prefers dumbbells, bands, stability balls and suspension trainers because they are the most versatile. For her clients, she adjusts tempo, repetition ranges, rest times, and adds some isometric holds to create a progressive program.

Donald highly recommends that people see a personal trainer for a few sessions to help with form and choose the right exercises for themselves. A personal trainer can write a program to follow on their own in their own home. If that’s not an option, she recommends finding online resources that help with ideas for at-home workouts as well as form guides.

Added incentives: Personal Trainers from the Concierge

You may find yourself not going to the gym anymore. This might be the time to get a personal concierge trainer who will come to your home.

Again, I asked Shay Donald for her recommendations.

First, she said, “Hire someone with experience, who can know your health and fitness goals and is qualified in these areas.” Recommendations from others are a good place to start but make sure your personalities align. What works for one person may not work for you. Next, make sure that you are completely honest about your goals and limitations with this person and feel comfortable working with them.

Donald pointed out that some personal trainers have their own facilities, as do they, and they won’t do any training in your home. However, they will do virtual training, which is another viable alternative if you don’t want to physically go to the gym and your trainer won’t come to your house.

Whichever you choose, my recommendation is to see if the trainer has an introductory demo so you can determine if this one is right for you before being locked into any financial commitment.

Discounts on gym equipment: Some suggestions

As for sales discounts on gym equipment, Chris McGovern said Dick’s Sporting Goods is offering sales promotions now. Suggest checking their Pittsfield website to see what gear is on sale this month or checking out their website

Gary Onin recommended visiting one of Total Fitness Equipment’s nine locations. The closest one is located in West Springfield. Also check their website for existing sales, as they change sales promotions on select equipment frequently; Many times just to match the competitor’s low price.

Besides Dick’s Sporting Goods, other discounts can be found on fitness equipment sales. One of them is Target, whose weekly ad flyer can be found on their website Walmart will be offering discounts online too which you can check out at

Don’t get carried away: buy lingerie now!

Why wait for Valentine’s Day if you can save money now?

Victoria’s Secret is currently holding a semi-annual sale online and at its retail outlets. According to their company communications, the sales promotions will start to wind down at the end of this month. For online details, see

Is it time to get a calendar?

Now that we’re two weeks into the new year, retailers know that if consumers haven’t bought the 2023 calendar yet, they probably won’t unless there’s a reason to do so. Giving a discount may be one of these reasons.

Office Depot is offering deep discounts online for some of their calendars at Amazon discounted calendars by 75% at Other online calendar discounts can be found at and

I would also check out some local supermarkets or retailers where calendars can be sold.

Annual clearance for CARR tools from the store

Carr Hardware is running a massive annual clearance sale storewide for the entire month of January with savings on select items from 25 percent to 75 percent. Check out their website or go to one of their retail locations.

RX Savings Tip: As Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaches on Monday, many retailers will be holding sales promotions to mark the holiday. Be on the lookout for retail and online shopping deals opportunities.

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