It was not an easy conclusion for them to arrive at.
Early in 2015, Flaman Fitness loaned a Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE home gym and a TC20 TreadClimber to a 4thyear University of Saskatchewan College of Kinesiology class. The class was divided into two groups and they were to assess the two products.
In the end, both groups said they would recommend the products to their parents as a good piece of fitness equipment.
This was not an easy conclusion for them to arrive at. In university, we (yes, I was one of them) live in a world of pure thought that tends to shun commercialism. Things advertised are assumed untrue and need to be proven true, not accepted as true. And, this is magnified in the fitness industry where historically some notorious claims have been made by some unscrupulous companies.
The two Bowflex products are probably two of the most advertised pieces of equipment in the world – so the "prove it true" thought pattern has a deep rooted power in this scenario.
The natural comparison for the TreadClimber was to walking, treadmills, ellipticals, and the like. It's a machine with only one real adjustment – "how fast" – after that it's how long you want to go for.
The initial view of the machine was obvious skepticism. When we delivered and introduced the piece, the students' expressions were clear, however once they tried it, things changed.
The student review arrived at: "There isn't a whole lot to the TreadClimber, it is relatively easy to use, easy to set up, and once you get the hang of things, it can really give you a good workout."
In short, regarding the TC20 ". . . ultimately, it gives a great workout in a short time."
The Xtreme 2 SE gym was both a commercial and a conceptual struggle. You have university students studying kinesiology (who are accustomed to the best gym equipment available) reviewing a single item costing less than $1,900 that can do more than 70 strength training exercises. Remember they are accustomed to items costing $2,000 each, or more, and these machines sometimes only do 1 or 2 exercises each.
On some random level, strength exercise motions on a Bowflex Extreme 2SE cost less than $27.14 each ($1,900 divided by 70 exercises), with the 'gym' equipment at $2,000 per exercise.
Or, "let's compare an item costing 74-times as much to something else."
Sure, there were short-comings noted. As an example, they said "it requires too many adjustments to move from exercise to exercise" but then they said "it would be better if you could adjust . . . ."
In the end, the students said "we would recommend the item to our parents."
So what to take from this, beyond the equipment review? Here are a few items:
- The world's not perfect nor are things always black and white on it – doing something or anything is far better than nothing.
- Just because something sells well and is advertised, doesn't mean it doesn't work – it can mean that it's popular for years in a row because it does work and the company lets people know about it.
- All gym equipment has a price and is 'sold' to someone before it is used – so commercialism in itself isn't bad, it's reality.
- Commercialism doesn't make something bad, but it also doesn't make something good – how it works is the true test.