item_id = 73; $co->template_variables['main_title'] = 'Buying Fitness Equipment Online'; $co->template_variables['page_title'] = 'Buying Fitness Equipment Online is a Growing Trend | Smooth Fitness'; $co->template_variables['description'] = ''; $co->template_variables['content_area_class'] = 'blue_barred'; $co->include_left_nav = TRUE; $co->start(); ?> Reprint from Herald News Dayton, TN

Fitness Equipment Maker Packs Machine with High-End Features for Multiple Users

Many activities that traditionally have been done "someplace else," including such things as shopping and working out, are being done more and more from the comfort of "home sweet home."

Add to that the fact that consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with high-end purchases on the Internet, and you have a potential recipe for success. Research and comparison shopping can be done online, some retailers let potential buyers browse their aisles in a virtual setting, and in some instances, customers even have access to advice from experts, all without ever backing out of the driveway. For all these reasons, many people are buying expensive equipment sight unseen and saving a bundle in the process.

A good example of this trend is in-home fitness equipment such as treadmills, home gyms and elliptical trainers. "Many Internet shoppers are discovering the benefits of online purchases of these items," says Joe Alter, president of Internet Fitness, a leading seller of fitness equipment online. "Benefits can include lower prices due to decreased overhead, shipment directly to the customer's door, and in some cases, factory-direct, customized equipment," he points out.

But as with any big-ticket item, when you buy fitness equipment online there are some key questions to ask to make sure you're getting what you need, in its proper condition, and with a warranty protection your investment merits. After all, you want to purchase equipment from a company that backs up its claims and will be there in the long term for service or advice.

Some key information to gather includes the length of time the company has been in business, whether they own their own warehouses, the quantity of equipment they sell, the average number of returns and any customer testimonials or third-party endorsements they've received.

Any equipment you purchase online should come with a 30-day "no questions asked" return policy in case you decide the equipment is not right for your needs or arrives damaged after shipment. All risk of purchase should be placed on the vendor.

Since most pieces of home fitness equipment are large and heavy, it is important to find out what in-home repair services are available and covered by the warranty. Ask the vendor if there are certified technicians who are trained to repair your equipment and a service representative who is available by phone to walk you through any repairs or maintenance that can be done yourself.

When buying online, make sure the company has a proven track record in shipping its equipment. Companies experienced in shipping will have found the best methods for packaging their equipment to minimize the possibility of damage.

Although some shoppers know specifically what they are looking for in fitness equipment, others will have questions and want professional advice. Some sites offer only pure e-commerce, while others provide expert contacts who can answer questions and guide buyers to the right equipment.

One site that offers quality fitness equipment, a proven track record and expert advice is, which features Smooth brand fitness equipment. Whether you're looking for a treadmill, an elliptical trainer or a complete home gym, Smooth is one of the most popular brands available on the Internet. In fact, Runner's World magazine rated Smooth treadmills as one of the top 10 treadmills on the market.

A popular and unique feature of the Web site is its build-your-own function for Smooth treadmills. Because people have different requirements and needs for instance, height and weight differences, or different training requirements the Smooth site lets buyers customize treadmills, selecting options including a stretch model for taller users, or a heart rate option to monitor and control treadmill workouts.

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