I happen to have a thousand square foot gym in my basement. First, I do know it is a luxury, and I have spent twenty-two years building it. Every year at the end of the year, I would buy something to add to the gym to keep my motivation up for the following year.  But the building of the gym is not as important as a lesson that one of the pieces of equipment has taught me.  

I want to put a disclaimer here, that I am not endorsing this piece of equipment, I do not have stock in the company and right now the company is going bankrupt. I own a Bowflex Extreme SE (with an additional set of 50-pound rods.)  Gym Rats will complain it is not free weights etc. I do have seven hundred pounds of Olympic weights, barbells benches etc. But back to the Blowflex.  

It has these rods that bend to increase load during an exercise. The further the rod bends the more load is added. It is an interesting design not using the universal stacking of weights. But there are some issues. The Rods are not accurate in the weights they have on them. For example, if you do a bench press with the Bowflex at two hundred pounds, if you move to free weights, you will not be able to do two hundred pounds. I am not sure why they did not try to measure the actual weight or make it accurate.  

Second, the rods need to be maintained or treated properly. After each workout I must warp them up with chords, so they are straight up. If you leave them under tension they will not push back with the same force after a while. And every so often you need to take the Bowflex apart and spin the rods around to keep them in the best shape (not bending the same way all the time. With free weights, I can leave them on the ground, on the Bar, I can leave the Bar on the bench etc. I really do not have to think about it. Yes, it is my gym, I do not need to return them to the right spot. There is much less thought about it. And yes, I have on occasion forgotten to do it. 

The tradeoff does not hinder my ability to get a good workout. When I got my Tesla, I spent considerable time reading what others said about it. I learned that while EVs have a lot of plusses there are still some limitations. First the range is not as accurate as advertised (hmm sounds familiar about the rods) and that some precautions are needed to keep the battery lasting longer (sounds like the rods again.) Things like, do not charge the battery regularly over 80%, do not let the battery go below 20% and if possible, keep the car in a garage.  There are other limitations, or for me differences but I am not going to focus on those. 

The rules to keep the battery related to my Bowflex rods perfectly. I did not make the correlation to after my purchase, buy while making the purchase I questions can I manage them. I made the decision that I could, both my kids have internal combustion engine cars, I can use them if needed, I had a garage, 99% of my driving is local thus I can keep the battery between 80/20. Just like when purchasing the Bowflex, the benefits outweigh the limitations. For the Bowflex I enjoy working out by myself, it allows me to do a lot of exercises without taking up a lot of space, as well as no need for a spotter. I can live with the numbers being inaccurate, and the need to maintain it properly.  I have owned it for 15+ years and it is in great shape still.  

As advertisers bombard us with positive reivews of everything they sell, and media (social and regular) rant how awful something is, we must find the truth, and evaluate what is a true limitation.  Nothing is perfect, and our unconscious bias cannot make it that way. Negative rants may have some truth, but they may be edge cases that do not apply to you, or things you have and alternative.  Understanding what we are willing to live with to reap the benefits is an individual decision. I cannot say if the Bowflex, Tesla or your partner is the right pick for you, but what I can do is learn to understand how to weigh pros and cons to make decisions and understand there is nothing that does not have limitations, it is figuring out how to live with them.  


This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain; I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free. I do read all feedback; but it is moderated.

This Blog is a labor of love and was originally going to be a book. With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content. I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip. I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog. AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information. Images for this are my actual gym, taken by yours truly.