Fitness Equipment Buying Guide

 Fitness equipment buying guide


It's now more than ever that most people have put their concentration in weight loss and keeping fit. One good long-term strategy that many choose is moving the gym to their home. Buying home equipment has become more popular as time has gone by. It reduces cost and also saves time especially for busy people. There are many choices for equipment you can consider when creating your home gym. However, there are also significant things one should consider before making them. Of course, it's hard to know where and how to begin, and that's why we’ve created this guide. We will highlight everything worth considering and answer all the burning questions you may have.


Main Considerations


One of your first considerations will be safety. Is it safe for you to have equipment at home? How is your health? Do you have children? If you happen to have health problems, check with your doctor and make sure that introducing a new training program is safe for you. Some equipment is substantial; consider if you’ll need to move it regularly, as this may be stressful on your body. If possible, try it (or similar equipment) out first before purchasing. It may be worth asking the opinion of a personal trainer before committing.


Be wary of rumours

Be careful about what people say on fitness equipment, not everything is right. Some people have a bad experience with one piece of equipment and shun the whole brand. Some people form their opinion based solely on what they’ve heard. The best solution is to do your research and if in doubt, contact us before purchasing.


Consider space?

Of course, you need to consider the space you have available at home. Some buyers forget this critical consideration. Consider where to place the equipment before buying. Your home might not be able to accommodate the equipment. Makes plans and make sure that the machine will fit comfortably in the space you have. If in doubt contact us, and we can advise you on necessary space for any particular piece of equipment.


What is your Budget?

Always consider how much money you have and how much you are willing to pay for the equipment. We normally recommend investing in the best equipment you can afford as you’ll be more committed to the purchase and also will enjoy the equipment more. Some recommend buying cheap as it’s less of a risk, however often when you buy cheap you’ll have a poor experience and will regret the purchase.


Do you need it?

This is a critical question. Is the equipment necessary? Does it suit your fitness goals, the activities you want to do, the body part you are focusing on or any recommendations given? Exercise should be challenging but enjoyable. Even the best fitness equipment will only work if you use it regularly! A lot of our fitness equipment is very versatile, so you may be able to save money by buying something with more features rather than purchasing several items of specific function.


Try before you buy

Before investing in any equipment, consider visiting a gym first and trying the same piece of equipment to see if you enjoy using it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be York Fitness equipment, as it’ll still give you an idea of the movements and uses. Many gyms offer drop in sessions for a small fee, allowing you to experiment with different pieces of fitness equipment in one session.


Consider calling customer service.

If you have any doubts or questions at all don’t hesitate to call our customer service. The York Fitness team is knowledgeable in all of our equipment and could give you some good ideas on how to save money and get the most out of your home gym. Our goal is to give you the best experience possible when you purchase fitness equipment from us.

So let’s now look at the categories of fitness equipment that are available to you from York Fitness.


Exercise bikes

Why buy an exercise bike?

An exercise bike is a fantastic piece of equipment for cycling specific training. If you’re a mountain or road cyclist, then it will allow you to train cycling-specific muscles at any time, in any weather, from the safety and comfort of your home. However don’t be put off by the specific nature of an exercise cycle. They still make for an excellent low-impact workout, if you have joint problems, or are looking to rehabilitate from injuries caused by other training. If you can’t run due to an impact-related injury, then using an exercise bike in the standing position, offers a similar workout to running without the impact.


Types of exercise bike

There are three main types of exercise bike:

Upright exercise cycles – Have seat similar to a mountain bike, with an unsupported back. They are preferred by most users since they offer cycling position more similar to an actual bicycle. They are comfortable and still offer a range of fitness programs and resistance levels to suit everyone. The York Fitness Active 110 Exercise Bike is a good example of an upright exercise bike.

Recumbent exercise bikes – Have a lower, wider seat and back support. They are generally more comfortable than upright bikes and your body will be in a more relaxed position. They are generally better suited to rehabilitation and exercisers looking for more relaxed training. It is easier to read a paper, or watch TV while exercising on a recumbent exercise cycle. They are popular with elderly fitness participants for these reasons. However, if you are looking for a cycling specific workout then they are not so suitable. They sometimes require a bit more space than upright cycles and can be a bit more expensive. The York Fitness Perform 215 Recumbent Bike is a great example of a recumbent exercise bike.

Spin bikes/Indoor Training Bike – Can produce the most intense workouts, with an almost unlimited level of resistance. Most people choose this bike because it has a higher seat with low handlebars, so it matches a road cycling position most closely. It is suitable for those with joint and back problems. Before buying this bike, you should consider the weight of the bike because this bike tends to be quite heavy. They are also more expensive than upright cycles. Generally choose a spin bike for the most intense, cycling-specific workout. The York SB9000 Indoor Training Bike is one of our best spin bikes.

Advantages of exercise bikes:

• They offer cycling specific training
• You can cycle indoors without a lot of space
• You don’t need to worry about the weather
• They offer a low impact workout
• They can be used for low to very high intensity workouts
• Exercising whist seated allows for other activities such as reading

Potential disadvantages of exercise bikes:

• They only work your lower body
• You don’t get to experience the outdoors
• They’re a lot less mentally stimulating than cycling outdoors

Considerations before buying an exercise bike

Because of the many types of bikes available, you need to know what you want before buying a bike. Things you need to keep in mind when getting an exercise bike are:

What are your exercise goals?

How often are you going to use the machine? What level of cyclist are you? How long do you expect the equipment to last? Which of the three types of exercise bike are best for you? Putting this into consideration will enable you to select an appropriate model to suit your needs.

What features does the bike have?

How high is the seat of the bike? How comfortable is the bike? The cushioning of the seat, how are the pedals? What exercise programs and levels of resistance does the bike offer? Consider the bike's stability. Heavyweight bikes are more stable if you’ll be standing and sprinting on the bike. Does the bike offer heart rate measurement? The type of display, programming options, bottle holders and other features. What is the maximum user weight of the bike?

What is the product's warranty?

The warranty is another factor to have in mind, this proves the value and durability of the equipment, in case of a fault. The warranty is specific to the environment the bike is designed to be used in, as well as the cost of the bike.

What is the cost of the bike?

A bike’s cost can be significant. Bear in mind the cost shows the build quality of the product. We always aim for a high build quality, however a more expensive product will naturally use better components and will last longer under strenuous conditions.
We stock a good range of exercise bikes, to offer something for everyone.

Cross trainers

Cross trainers have, a smooth flowing movement like running on air. They are fantastic because you will use both your upper and lower body during exercise. They offer a very low-impact, safe workout and they can also be used for one of the best all-round warm-ups.

Advantages of Cross trainers:

• Very low impact workout
• Excellent Cardiovascular workout
• Similar natural motion to running
• Works your upper and lower body together
• Great all body warm up for weight training

Potential Disadvantages of Cross trainers

• Low impact can result in less bone conditioning
• Not so good for building muscle
• Not so good for high intensity sessions
• The stride length is not adjustable

What features should I seek?


What resistance levels does it offer? The higher the resistance level, the harder you will exercise. As your fitness increases, it is good that the trainer will still offer challenging resistance for you.

Number of programs

You should make sure that it has a variety of programs to use in your exercise schedule. This will keep you motivated and make your activities fun.
It should have easy, clear controls and should be quick to understand, all of our cross-trainers tick these boxes.


The trainer should be comfortable to use, with soft grips, large foot plates and water bottle holders add extra convenience.

Weight Limit

Every piece of cardio equipment will have a maximum user weight limit, for safety reasons. You can check this on the product page of each of our products.


Not all our cross-trainers are the same size, make sure you have adequate floor space to accommodate the footprint of the equipment, plus allow extra space (we would recommend adding at least 50 cm in all directions around the machine) for you to comfortably get on and off the cross-trainer.
Check out our range of cross-trainers today.


Treadmills are static running machines. They allow you to run against resistance without needing a lot of space. Basically they allow you to run as naturally as possible without leaving the comfort of your home.
Probably the most popular piece of home training equipment, you might be lured into buying a treadmill simply because of their simplicity and popularity. However, it’s worth bearing in mind the other fitness equipment types before automatically choosing a treadmill. If you still think that a treadmill is the best investment for your fitness then here are some tips worth considering first.

Advantages of a treadmill:

• You don’t need to consider the weather
• They offer a lower impact workout than road running
• You can run as far as you like within a few meters of space
• They automatically measure how far and fast you are running
• You don’t need to carry a drink, snacks or worry about what you’re wearing
• They eliminate the embarrassment some people feel when running outside
• Exercise in the comfort of your home, you can even watch TV while running

Possible downsides of a treadmill:

• They require mains power
• You can’t run with friends on a treadmill
• You don’t get the feeling of escaping into the outdoors
• When flat they offer slightly less resistance than road running so the workout is easier.


Remember, you get what you pay for, cheaper treadmills may not even have a motor. Manual treadmills won’t offer the same running experience as a powered treadmill as you have to move the belt yourself by running on it. Lower priced treadmills will also have a smaller, narrower belt and less powerful motor. By increasing your budget, you’ll be making more of an investment in a high quality piece of equipment that will last for years. Bear in mind how many times a week you intend on using it and how many miles you run, if you are a regular runner (more than twice a week) and exceed 10 miles a week then consider a higher specification treadmill such as the York Fitness Active 120 Folding Treadmill, otherwise you may be disappointed.

How much space do you have?

Even a folding treadmill will need a reasonable amount of space, primarily when they are in use. During training, you will need to leave a clear space behind the treadmill to reduce the chances of injury in case you fall off the machine. We recommend 1.3 meters of clearance behind the end of the belt. Although treadmills have transport wheels, they are still best left in one place, so ideally consider a fixed location with a power outlet nearby. It is also important to keep it away from children and pets to avoid injuries at home.

Weight Limit

It’s important to check the maximum weight limit of the treadmill you intend on buying, if you exceed the maximum weight limit it’ll put excess stress on the belt and motor, which will eventually break the treadmill, you may also find the belt slips, which will ruin your running experience.


Consider inclination angle, if you want to be able to increase resistance to give a hill running effect. Consider the maximum speed, again testing the speed you would normally run on a treadmill in a gym will give you a good indicator of the sort of speed you’ll want. Allow for a higher speed if you intend on progressing your running or like to add sprints to your session. Do you need a range of running programs to keep you motivated, or are you happy simply running at a fixed speed for a set period of time?

Rowers/Rowing machines

Rowing machines simulate the intense, leg burning workout that rowing offers. They provide an excellent all-round cardiovascular workout and for this reason are favoured by many Crossfit athletes. It’s one of the only ways that you can work out your abs, arms, legs and back at the same time. However care must be taken with technique, otherwise you can put excess strain on your back. It’s important to lead the stroke with your legs, rather than your arms.

Advantages of rowing machines:

• Fantastic Calorie burner
• Full body workout
• Low Impact exercise
• Less expensive than other cardio equipment
• Much lighter compared to other piece of fitness equipment

Potential Disadvantages of rowing machines:

• They can be quite noisy
• They require a fair bit of floor space
• Incorrect technique can put stress on lower back

Types of rowing machine

There are four main types of rowing machine, determined by how they offer resistance to the user:

Air Resistance

Here a fan is used to produce resistance. They also have the advantage that the airflow you produce provides a cooling breeze! Their main disadvantage is that they can be quite noisy when in use.

Magnetic Resistance

Magnets are used to offer smooth, adjustable resistance. This is the most effective rower that you might consider buying. Some of our rowers, such as the York Fitness R301 Rowing Machine combine magnetic and air resistance for the ultimate experience.

Hydraulic rowing machine

Oil is used to produce resistance. They are lightweight, inexpensive and easy to store. However they offer a less natural feel compared to air and magnetic resistance types.

The water rower

In this machine, water pressure is used to produce resistance. They are very smooth during a workout and create a perfect resistance. However, they are more substantial than usual machines, and the water in the cylinder needs to be changed regularly.

Other than the type of resistance, there are a few other factors to consider when choosing your rowing machine:


Space is a key consideration when buying any fitness machine. All our products descriptions include dimensions and unlike treadmills, you don’t need to allow for a run-off area, just a little bit of extra space behind the rower to allow for the occasional ‘lean back’ when you’re rowing. Will you need it to fold for storage?

Your fitness

It is also key to consider the person who is going to use the machines since different users have different requirements. A simple hydraulic rower won’t suffice if you are already a very fit person, while a top-end magnetic rower may be a bit excessive if you are just getting into exercise.


Buying fitness equipment may seem intimidating at first, but we are here to help, if you have any questions or simply want to discuss your needs then contact our friendly customer service team. If you are looking at building your own home gym, then take advantage of our wish-list function.

Spend some time planning the area where you will place your equipment, take care looking at the dimensions of the product and always aim for some spare space around the equipment, particularly with treadmills.

You’ll always get what you pay for, a cheaper product is not necessarily a good deal. This is particularly the case with fitness equipment, bear in mind that fitness equipment wears out and cheaper equipment wears out more quickly and is less durable.

If you have any health issues then we always recommend consulting your doctor about your fitness intentions, particularly if you are pregnant. Ensure that you always follow the instructions that come along with the fitness equipment.