FAQs

Here is where you will find answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions regarding FitnessProfessor Review and specialty fitness equipment. Simply select the question to view our answer.

How is FIT PROF different from the other reviews?

Although all equipment reviews offer a certain level of informational value, FitnessProfessorReview was created to be the leading source for complete, unbiased, and independent fitness equipment reviews. In order to accomplish this, we follow on three key guidelines;
i) A complete and effective fitness routine requires cardiovascular, strength, core and flexibility training. This is why FIT PROF includes them all in our reviews.
ii) Reviews had to cover more than just the specifications of each machine. The overall aesthetic design, construction, ‘user friendliness’ and versatility all had to be considered. That is why our Review Board has such a diverse and extensive background.
iii) FitnessProfessorReview could not profit from the sale, service and or maintenance of any of the fitness equipment reviewed.

Does FIT PROF receive any payment from manufacturers of products reviewed or from any sales directly attributed to its reviews?

FitnessProfessorReview does not gain from the direct sale, service and or maintenance of any of the products reviewed, nor do manufacturers have to pay to have their products reviewed.

If FIT PROF does not profit from the sale or service of the equipment reviewed, how are the reviews and website funded?

What is unique about FitnessProfessorReview.com, is that the livelihood of everyone involved is not dependent upon the sale, service and or maintenance of the equipment we review. This unique approach allows FIT PROF to offer an industry leading level of independent and unbiased reviewing. That said, there are costs incurred with reviewing products and the continual operation of the site itself.
Those costs are partially offset through donations we receive from site visitors who appreciate our efforts as well as through the licensing of our FitnessProfessorReview trademarks (Best Buy seal) and the support of the companies showcased on the right section of the screen. It is also important to note 1) that all reviews are completed and posted BEFORE manufacturers are given the opportunity to participate in any of the above mentioned programs, and 2) none of the supporters shown at the right are included in our annual reviews.

How can I support the efforts of FitnessProfessorReview.com?

For those who appreciate our efforts, they may choose to become a fan on Twitter or contact us to donate.

Why are there pictures and bios of the Review Board members?

We at FIT PROF believe that it is important to be as transparent as possible with our reviews and website. It would be easy to sit in a room somewhere hiding behind a computer while posting reviews but that is simply not our style. We want the public to read our backgrounds, see our faces and know that we are fitness enthusiasts who live the fitness lifestyle. If a consumer is going to base one of their most important purchasing decisions of their life on our reviews, we feel it important to honor that trust by being up front and personal.

Which member of the Review Board is a professor?

The ‘PROF’ is simply a name based on our cartoon character / mascot. This is similar to other such characters used in marketing commonly known as a Captain, Count, Doctor or King. Although each member of the board has their own unique background in various fields of expertise, none have received a ‘Professor’ designation.

How are products reviewed?

In those categories with a larger number of units, products are graded using an average of 5 key characteristics each worth 100 points. Each score is based on how that specific unit’s characteristics compare to other units in its category as well as all products reviewed. That is, a product which receives a top score of 100 points in 3 characteristics, 75 points in the 4th and 50 points in the 5th, earns a final review score of 85 points (100 + 100 + 100 + 75 + 50 = 425, divided by 5 = 85).

Each score is based on each unit’s own merits, as well as how it compares to other products in its category, as determined by the review board’s evaluation of the product at retail locations, manufacturer’s facilities, trade-shows as well as the information received from our trusted network of industry insiders (residential / commercial sellers, service providers and end use consumers). The highest graded unit per product type and/or price range earns our Head of the Class BEST BUY award.

From 2008 through to 2016, every product reviewed for that year was posted to our website. For the 2017 season, we chose to only post products that, after our review process, had earned our BEST BUY award designation. This focus on only the “winning” products allowed us to post expanded written overviews of the products (rather than just a few short quips).

What scoring characteristics does FIT PROF use?

The five characteristics used for reviewing products are:
Aesthetic – how ‘clean’ the unit is constructed, designed and finished, how it looks standing alone as well as in someone’s home
Construction – quality of components, construction and overall reliability (historical)
Ergonomics – adjustability, comfort and overall ease of operation
Versatility – number of exercises, programs, variables, etc
Warranty – how long the manufacturer is willing to standing behind the frame, parts and labor

How do I know that the reviews on FitnessProfessorReview are fair and honest?

When FIT PROF was in its initial stages of development, many equipment manufacturers and specialty store personnel asked us that very same question. It would be easy to ‘swear on a holy book’ or ‘invoke scout’s honor’ as to the fairness of the reviews however those would just be words. Instead, consider this. Even though one of the review board members had his employment unceremoniously terminated by a certain company a few years back, that same company has received multiple BEST BUY Awards each year. Many people ‘talk the talk’ of fairness.  FitnessProfessorReview ‘walks the walk’.

What is a Head of the Class BEST BUY Award?

The Head of the Class BEST BUY Award is the designation FitnessProfessorReview uses to indicate which unit we believe is the very best of its type and group (class / price category). For example, the 2013 Head of the Class BEST BUY winner for Treadmills under $3,500 was the Vision T40 Elegant. Depending on the quantity and price range of units available within a specific category, over one hundred units may be reviewed with winners selected at certain price points or a single unit will be selected to be our Head of the Class BEST BUY winner.

How does a product win a Head of the Class BEST BUY Award one year and not the next even if the product remains unchanged?

The grading system used by FIT PROF is based on the merits of each individual unit as well as how it compares to other units in its category. Therefore, if a unit from Company A remains the same while a unit from Company B changes in size, shape, features, warranty and or published Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), the comparison between the two will be different.

Why does FIT PROF use MSRP and not ~ street price ~ for its reviews?

There has been a trend recently where manufacturers (and some stores) artificially inflate their retail price so that they can offer the consumer what appears to be a larger discount. FitnessProfessorReview will never tell anyone how to operate their business, however, we believe that products should be compared using the value which its own manufacturer believes it to be worth. i.e.: Their published Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price.

Are the reviews found on FIT PROF the “end all be all”?

Absolutely not. No single review or opinion is the complete answer for everyone. This is why FitnessProfessorReview recommends that consumers use multiple sources of legitimate information to help them choose the best product for their needs.

Why are there so few FIT PROF reviews of the fitness equipment sold online or in department and big box stores?

Generally speaking, most people do not trust their health to just anyone. They seek out a professional to get the best information, products and treatment possible. With that in mind, FitnessProfessorReview  truly believes that a specialty fitness company is the best place to go for your fitness needs. Although the products offered in department / big box / online stores can be a good starting point for some consumers, simply reading the outside of a box or looking at a machine on website or warehouse shelf is not enough. Specialty stores offer machines in all price ranges ready for you to try and most importantly, their staff is there to offer expert advice and answer your questions both before and after your purchase.

I am looking for a review on a specific product I saw in a specialty store but cannot find it on your site?

FIT PROF does its very best to make sure we cover all of the bases. However we do rely on the manufacturers to confirm certain product information to ensure that our reviews are as accurate. If for some reason we are unable to properly complete our review process, certain products may not be included in the annual review. With the above in mind, it takes a great deal of time and effort to review so many different products in some many equipment categories. Therefore, be sure to check back on a regular basis to read our latest reviews, follow us on Twitter or feel to contact us and we will do our best to expedite our overview of the unit you are searching for.

What is the difference between an elliptical and a cross-trainer?

When elliptical machines first hit the market in the early 90s, many were touted as ‘elliptical cross-trainers’ as their motion was a cross / hybrid between a stair climber, skier, and treadmill. However a machine is an elliptical where the primary motion is ellipse or oval shaped. Although various machines allow their ellipse motion to be stretched or tilted (with an incline), its base shape remains the same.
A legitimate cross-trainer is a unit that allows for completely different motions to be performed on the same machine and or allow different body parts to be incorporated together or individually. Believe it or not, the ‘original’ cross-trainer is a dual-action bike as it allowed the legs and arm to work together or independently.
With the above in mind and now that more companies continue to create new and innovative machines (other than ellipticals), FitnessProfessorReview felt that it was time for cross-trainers to have their own category . . . so be sure to check them out.

What ever happened to the stair climber?

In the 80s, stair climbers were the hottest machine in the health clubs. Nearly 30 years later climbers are still around however with the introduction of elliptical and cross-training technology, they have fallen from favor both in the clubs and from the home market.
Stair climbers can offer a very intense, heart pumping workout and depending on their biomechanical design, they may also play havoc on those with sensitive knees. This coupled with the introduction of new machines resulted in most manufacturers stopping production of stairclimbers.

What is the difference between a home gym and a functional trainer?

The original home gyms used a weight stack attached via a cable to a fixed path moving handle / apparatus. That is, pressing bench press handles along their fixed path and they lifted the weight which was pulled by the cable attached to them
The primary downfall with this type of design is that it forces a person to move within the machines path and not their own natural path. Unfortunately, the human body does not move in a straight line. It arcs and rotates and every body moves in a slightly different way.  Designers have spent years trying to create machines that mimic this natural motion. The result has been to remove the machinery and simply have the user pull on the cable itself.
They are now numerous cable driven machines that allow the user to dictate where and how their limbs move the cable handle and therefore the weight. However these machines fall into one of two categories; cable driven home gyms or functional trainers.
The two main differences are that functional trainers can be used with an exercise ball, weight bench or nothing at all and their pulley positions can be adjusted vertically and or horizontally. These differences allow for a wider scope of exercises and can be used for more sports specific and rehabilitation based workouts than a basic free cable machine which has fixed or less pulley positions / versatility.

Why are the different types of vibration plates (vertical, oscillating, and elliptical) not discussed in the reviews?

Each type of vibration is generally recommend for different training / therapeutic benefits. That said, most manufacturers do not produce units that offer all three and focus solely on the one they believe is best. FIT PROF recommends that anyone considering investing in a vibration product research the various types and discuss them with their health care professional

Why do the reviews for vibration products include “As with any exercise regime, please consult your health care professional before beginning vibration training”?

Although the history of vibration training is lengthy and there have been numerous studies on its benefits, there are those who may not feel it appropriate for everyone. This is why we recommend anyone considering investing in a vibration product research the various types and discuss them with their health care professional.

After reading your reviews and visiting a few local dealers, I am still unable to decide between two different machines. Do you have any suggestions?

A great way to help you decide between two comparable machines is to find out how well each manufacturer’s service department operates. Simply pick up the phone and call the manufacturers of both units you are considering and ask to speak with service. Make note of whether you speak with a ‘real person’ or if you are directed to voicemail. If you are directed to voicemail, be sure to leave a message and see how long it takes to receive a call back. How well and how quickly a manufacturer responds to service calls / issues is indicative of their overall business and something that should be a very important aspect of your purchasing decision. (Please note: Most product sold in specialty fitness stores is of good quality and should last for many years without any problems however, fitness equipment is mechanical in nature and may need service on occasion.)

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