I have been training at the Monster Gym here in the West Island for seven years now and been renewing my membership on a yearly basis. This year however, I will be ending the renewal as I am finally moving to a home gym setup. The main reasons behind this move is because of several factors. First, the total cost of a home gym setup is much cheaper than paying a yearly fee in the long run. I have been training at the Monster for 7 years now, and have been paying a fee ranging from 300 to 360$ CDN (student pricing to regular). While I have no complaints about this gym (it’s the BEST in Montreal, hands down) it does lead to my second concern: it’s overcrowded. Simply put, the gym has never been this packed before… it’s a friggin’ zoo! The squat racks, once empty, is now home to the bicep gurus and amateur lifters. The treadmills, elliptic and biking machines are constantly packed with no time slots available for the entire night. Quite simply, the whole gym experience has been tainted for me these past 2 months. A lot of these people are in for the holiday rush mind you, and should disappear within a month or two (three if they’re dedicated…). Regardless, I’ve had enough of the overpopulated facilities… it’s time to move on!
Shopping around for a home power rack was quite simple with friendly old Google. I found numerous brands and models with different price points. My search was most likely going to take a few days (if not weeks) to figure out the right model for me. It was until I came across the Powertec Power Rack System that really got my attention. There were a few sites advertising the item, but almost all of them were too expensive, high shipping costs or surprisingly out of stock. Reading some body building forums brought up to my attention that these units were pretty scarce, with backorders ranging from 1 to 2 months. I didn’t want to wait that long for a power rack, so I started looking at other brands such as the Body-Solid and Powerline units (same company mind you). A lot of online stores were carrying these brands with plenty of stock. I read that they’re pretty decent machines, but not as durable as the Powertec in terms of construction. They were also lacking the dip arms, something that was a standard on the Powertec rack. Anyway, I figured it wouldn’t be such a big deal… the Powerline rack was cheaper too. I was now considering saving on the shipping costs (around 200$) by simply driving down to Kingston (3 hour drive, one way) and pick the equipment up from a retailer. The next step was calling up the store, when I told myself I should try Fitness Depot down by the road from my house. I knew right away their prices on the equipment they had was outrageous, but for comparison reasons and to save some possible time, I visited them just in case. The brand they’re mostly known for is Northern Lights. I assumed the brand was good, since they’re so expensive and all. Anyway, checking out the squat rack and the bench that Fitness Depot was selling turned out to be a disaster: the squat rack was cheap and flimsy, and the bench was made out of hard foam rock or something because it was utterly uncomfortable to lie on. The quote for the whole system came up to 1,800$ which was totally not worth it, since the Powertec system was half that. Reading online reviews about the Northern Lights system was never positive; almost everyone had a complaint about them, from the hard rock bench to the flimsy chassis construction. So, with Fitness Depot out of the way, I was just about to call the Kingston store for the Powerline equipment when I decided to try one more time in finding another local fitness equipment store in the Montreal and Laval area… just one more try!
There and behold, I came across Fitness Nutrition, a fitness equipment and supplements store with 12 years of experience located in Laval. This place was literally 14 minutes away from my office! Without thinking twice, I got in my car the following morning and visited the place right before heading to work. A rather large and white building, this place is easy to find on St-Martin street. Upon stepping inside, I was greeted by a worker there who showed me the Powertec equipment right away. And what do you know, they had units in stock! Before I busted out the AeroGold to pay for the unit, I promptly asked for a quotation on the rack (with lat attachment), bench and bar. “Make me a deal” I told the worker. He nodded and proceeded to crunch some numbers down. This gave me an opportunity to go back to the power rack and observe the construction in greater detail. Simply, it felt damn solid and did not wobble whatsoever. The arms and supports were decent, but not the best I’ve seen (I can replace them if ever). The Powertec rack was quite superior to the Northern Lights garbage I had seen the other day. So, the final package prices with taxes in came up to 1,800$ CDN (utility bench, bar, rack and lat attachment). I thought this was a bit too high, but I didn’t say anything just yet. I thanked the worker and left with the quote and headed to work. At the office, I did some quick comparison with online prices and noticed it was 400$ more expensive without the shipping fees.
That night, before going home, I decided to stop by Fitness Nutrition and see if I can bring the total price down. I showed them the competitive website and they brought down the price by 220$ which was pretty decent considering they were taxes in. After weighing all my other options, I agreed to the final price: 1,715.00$ taxes in (with some 4×6′ mats thrown in too). Since it was closing time for them, I offered to pay a deposit and pick up the equipment the next day.
Part 2 of this article.