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Get the skinny on athletic equipment

CHICAGO — After enjoying the lazy days of summer, many people return to a more consistent workout routine. With the marketplace filled with different athletic equipment, it is important to invest money wisely in products that will help achieve fitness goals. When you make the decision to get back in shape, it is easy to get distracted by different advertisements that claim fast results, but it is important to make cautious decisions when making purchases.

“Consumers often buy into products that promise quick results,” stated Steve J. Bernas, president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB). “But it is important to do research first and find a product that will fit a personal lifestyle and bring positive results.”

The BBB offers these tips to consumers when purchasing athletic equipment:

• Avoid products that claim to focus on one certain area. Some products claim that they can burn off belly fat or tone legs. Be skeptical of these types of work out items. Experts advise only with a consistent routine that works the whole body can results be achieved.

• Buy what you will use. While the “newest and trendiest” work out machine may seem like a necessity, if it is not practical for everyday use, it is probably not worth the investment. Make sure that buying decisions fit with your personal daily routines and help you reach the results you want.

• Read the fine print. It is important to do the math when looking into purchasing workout equipment. What does “three easy payments” really add up to, or be aware of deadlines when trying a “free trial month.” Also, look for hidden fees that may not be included in the cost like shipping and handling or restocking fees.

• Don’t be fooled by the fit models in the advertisements. Be aware the “satisfied” customer in the advertisement may be a result of the product in conjunction with a good exercise routine and healthy eating habits. The before and after results may not be proof that the item works.

• Check every business with the BBB. Research the company that you are purchasing from and make sure that other customers were happy with their product.

Look for the BBB Accredited Business seal on both websites and only purchase with businesses that have a good rating with BBB.

For more consumer tips, visit www.bbb.org

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