DennisBeaverSeptember 01, 2012 (Original publish date) • By Dennis Beaver

“I’ve always been a big boy, but then it was clear that I had to do something about my out of control weight,” Greg’s email stated. “I’ve got a real problem. I’ll be in Bakersfield in a few days, and need to talk with you.”

Shortly thereafter, on one of the hottest August days of 2012, a worried 35-year-old man walked into our office, holding a diet soft drink. With a big smile, the ex-Navy resident of Lemoore said. “I always thought these were for sissies, but then, about 6 months ago, my doctor told me something that, in my mind, only happens to other people.”

“Your family loves and depends on you, Greg, but you are killing yourself. It is difficult for you to walk because you weigh over 350 pounds, have high blood pressure and are a Type 2 diabetic. You have to cut out the excess calories, the sugar, the junk, get real and start exercising at home. I want you to buy a treadmill and walk till you almost drop!”

“My doctor also told me that I was becoming grotesque and reminded him of the horribly obese people you see in Costco or Sam’s Club, shopping carts filled with chips.

“But I am one of those people, Mr. Beaver, and I was so scared by what the doctor told me,” my reader whispered.

“That day I researched websites and found a treadmill which I bought in the sporting goods section at a Hanford department store for $412. I used it every day, walking and running as much as I could and lost weight! But then, the treadmill just fell apart while I was running on it!”

“The store refuses to do a thing, saying that the 90-day parts and labor warranty has expired. They will only sell me a new one. But I don’t have that money. Can you help me?”

So many overweight people are in denial, refusing to help themselves, and then here is a guy who is trying and was almost in tears. Of course, we would help, and the first step was exercise equipment education.

Beware of exercise equipment websites — read the warranty before buying

If you ask any speciality fitness equipment retailer to name one of America’s premier manufacturers of commercial and home exercise equipment — and we asked several — you’ll hear: True Fitness Technology, based in St. Louis, Mo.

Their treadmills are considered as among the best available. True Fitness put us in touch with Regional Account Manager Brian Jamison. His advice is relevant and important to anyone looking to buy home exercise equipment, especially treadmills.

“Your reader is like so many people across America who have spent good money for what amounts to poor-quality exercise equipment, often as the direct result of recommendations from what are known as affiliate websites.

“Currently, there is no government body which fairly tests or evaluates exercise equipment from an unbiased overview. Many of the websites on the Internet today are paid by manufacturers to misinform the public as to the quality of their products through fictitious ratings. Our company does not sponsor these sites,” he points out.

“It is a very sad and very challenging part of our industry today, as there are so many people who rely on the Internet for good information, and in the fitness industry, it is not there,” Jamison stressed.

“A treadmill can easily become the most-used appliance in your household. Buy a high-quality treadmill, and it is virtually impossible to abuse it. It will not fall apart. But a poorly made product will not last. Like many first-time buyers of home exercise equipment, Greg did not know what questions to ask of the salesperson, or how to match his own needs to the treadmill he purchased.

“Greg had very specific needs in a treadmill, given his 350-pound weight and doctor’s orders to exercise daily. If he had visited a store that specializes in home exercise equipment and met with a well-trained exercise consultant, you would never have had this story,” Jamison maintains.

“But hardly anyone gives a thought about the warranty, and that is a giveaway as to the quality and value of the treadmill,” he points out.

“If you see a 90-day warranty, run in the opposite direction, as this is an indication of an inferior piece of exercise equipment. The better manufacturers have a lifetime warranty on the frame and five to ten years parts warranty.”

Next time: We look at the right way to find exercise equipment, what it will cost, and tell you why Greg is smiling more, and losing weight, on the new, quality treadmill the department store was only too happy to provide after our little talk.

Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.