When the COVID shutdowns first occurred in March 2020, I, like many people, tried to recreate a semblance of normalcy. This meant (at least partially) re-establishing some good habits, especially those related to fitness. It was about more than simply looking for the means to maintain physical health; I also wanted to maintain my mental health.
I tried walking, hiking, and even jogging regularly, but I soon discovered that everyone else had the same idea. This meant that the roads and paths were quite crowded and felt risky at the time. I also tried calisthenics, aerobics, and other bodyweight exercises, but I didn’t really enjoy them. So, I turned down the second path: buying home fitness equipment. I bought a weight machine, a stationary bike and a rowing machine and set them up in my home. For the first time since the shutdowns began, I felt like I was finally back on track.
I continued to use those machines even when the gyms started to open. I loved them. They gave me the freedom to work out when I wanted and how I wanted, and even pushed me to try things I wouldn’t normally have in a public setting (like the dreaded Bulgarian split squat). I started exercising more often and enjoyed all the benefits I had. For a time, things were really great. Then I decided to move across the country — literally, from California to New York — and my love for home fitness equipment began to crumble.
For the record, this article is not a critique of the home gym equipment itself. I just want to share the real-world experience I’ve had moving that gear across the country and into my new home — and the logistical pitfalls/lessons I’ve learned so you don’t suffer the same fate I did.
1. How you move your equipment depends on the machine
Freestanding machines—like exercise bikes, rowers, and some weight machines—usually require you to move them yourself. However, some companies—especially those that make wall-mounted exercise machines or setups with complex constructions—may require users to contact them to dismantle and disassemble certain machines. There may be an option to do it yourself, but that may also void the warranty. So, before you move, find out the terms of moving your machines.
2. Doing it yourself has its own problems
Home fitness machines can be very large and very heavy. It’s just the nature of how they’re built and used. This means they take up a lot of space in your home and, consequently, in your moving truck or undercarriage. They can also create a lot of wasted space, which is a problem when you’re paying per square foot for a move like you would with a truck or pod.
For example, my exercise bike took up about four square meters of space in my moving bed. And it didn’t just affect the horizontal space. Because of its clunky shape, seat and screen, etc., I couldn’t stack anything on top of it for fear of damaging the bike and injuring anything that might move and fall while moving. In a mobile pod that was only about 6 x 7 x 8 feet, that really limited what else I could pack.
3. The risk of damage to your expensive equipment is very real
Moving can be a bit violent, no matter how well you pack. Trucks are subject to the forces of gravity on the road and, unless you’re some kind of airtight Tetris champion, things tend to move. While I didn’t have anything catastrophically damaged, all of my fitness equipment came out of the moving pods with nicks and scratches that they didn’t have when I put them inside — and I packed them very carefully, wrapping the delicate parts in plastic wrap and being careful about what I packed next to them.
4. You can’t always rely on the help of “professionals”.
During my move, there was one major casualty: my beloved rower. When I first got it, a logistics company (not the rower brand) delivered and assembled the machine. What I didn’t know at the time was that they had neglected to install a vital pin into the device. So when it came time to move, the rower actually snapped in half – yes, broke in two – before I even got it into the mobility pod.
Fortunately, the brand very kindly offered to send a replacement. They informed me that my new device would be discarded, that the logistics staff would assemble it, and that they would collect my broken one. On the appointed day, the logistics company showed up and left the box, still on the wooden pallet, at my front door. They did not mount it, nor did they lift the broken one. I had to contact the paddle brand again, and luckily they sent another team to pick up the broken unit about a week later.
I ended up assembling the rower myself before the pickup team showed up, and thus discovered that the previous team had not properly assembled my original unit. I even compared them side by side to see what went wrong. I was grateful to get the chance to put it together myself rather than risk them getting it wrong the second time. I would actually recommend anyone buying home fitness equipment to assemble it themselves (or hire a handy relative or friend) as my experience with third party logistics companies has been almost entirely negative.
5. The squeaky wheel (eventually) gets grease
As bad as the rowing machine was, the worst experience of my whole move involved my weight machine. The warranty condition is that I had to pay roughly $550 for a third party logistics company to uninstall it, move the machine myself, and then have that same third party logistics company reinstall it at my new location.
I scheduled the uninstall for the week before my move. The day before the uninstall, the logistics company called to cancel my appointment. They offered another date, which was after my move date. After some twists and turns, they agreed to come and uninstall it the day before I moved – not ideal, but I reluctantly agreed.
The day came and, again, the third logistics company called and canceled. I contacted the company that made the machine and was informed that due to my particular circumstances I could do the uninstall myself without voiding the warranty. As the wall unit weighs about 250 pounds, it was awkward, time consuming, and difficult, but I did it.
After I arrived at my new home, the third-party logistics company canceled two more times before finally showing up to reinstall the device. Not knowing the details of how it should be installed, I stayed away from the installer. They finished their work and left. And then I discovered that it was placed wrong – too close to the wall and too low to the floor. The device was completely unusable. I contacted the brand again and they promised to fix it.
That was a few months ago and my device was still installed incorrectly until a few weeks ago. The independent logistics company failed to show up to three separate appointments, didn’t even call ahead to cancel two of them, and the brand that made the device couldn’t seem to get hold of them in any meaningful way. With more persistence than necessary to commit to an exercise program, I finally arranged. Now the device is properly installed in the right position and at the right height — next to a bunch of unnecessary holes in my wall that I need to patch.
Suffice it to say, I’ll be thinking twice before buying another piece of home gym equipment – and you should too, if you’re ever planning to move.
#shopping #home #gym #equipment #move
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