Editorial Guidelines: How we Write and How We Get Paid here at Fitness Review


Mark’s Summary:

You’ll find editorial policies around the web full of fancy words about integrity, unbiased reviews and so on. I prefer to cut the fluff and get to the point.

Here at Fitness Review, you’ll get straightforward guides, built on my 8 years commercial fitness industry experience. If a product is rubbish, I’ll say exactly that (or will refuse to include it). If a brand makes claims which are nonsense, you’ll hear it – loud and clear.

I’ve worked with plenty of writers over the years that practically grovel when it comes to explaining the benefits of different fitness machines… they are all ‘wonderful this, amazing that.’

It won’t surprise you to see that none of their work is published here.

Here are my key editorial guidelines, they are non-negotiable, and explained below:

  • Knock off brands have no place at Fitness Review (a short rant!)
  • Choosing only Quality Products from Quality Brands
  • If it Walks Like a Duck (honest assessment of any drawbacks)
  • Understanding that People Have Varied Budgets
  • Understanding that Not Everyone Wants to be a Super-Fit Gym Bunny (we are all different shapes, sizes, and fitness levels)

After these guidelines, I have explained how I get paid for my work here at Fitness Review – and how it is probably much less money than you think.


Knock-Off / Bad Brands Have No Place at Fitness Review (a short rant!)

When it comes to fitness equipment, that no-brand knock-off trash is shockingly poor quality.

You may have come across them. These brands have odd-looking names, often a seemingly random collection of capital letters. Anyone looking to get fit should not waste their money on treadmills, bikes, or gym setups that are called IOPRET (made this up, but you’ll get the idea).

At best they are toys, at worst they are dangerous.

Anyone following them on Amazon and other retailers will see that they start off with a ton of five-star ratings. Over time (as the truth gets revealed) the scores plummet. Then *as if by magic* that unpronounceable brand disappears – only to be replaced by another with identical products, a new name and… well, wouldn’t you know it… a ton of perfect five-star reviews.

Yes, it does make me angry.

The ‘expensive’ alternatives created by real brands with real support teams can last for years. Good luck getting those no-brand items fixed a few months of light use down the line.

Mark’s Editorial Rule: Don’t include no-brand products on the fake five stars / replaced shortly after cycle.


Rule #2 – Quality Products from Quality Brands

This is the inverse of the guideline above.

Choose brands with high quality products and trusted track records for after-sales support.

For the higher priced products this is simple. The likes of Sole Fitness, NordicTrack, ProForm, Reebok and Concept2 have built their well-deserved reputations over decades.

When it comes to middle and lower priced products there are some excellent brands – though in this category, it is important to dodge the hit-and-run ‘no brand’ items (which can look convincing). I look for a real presence in the UK and a history of 5+ years. This is enough time for drawbacks to reveal themselves.

Add a long warranty – I choose brands with at least a year of full parts and labour coverage, and preferably more for motors and frames.

Of course, innovative products appear without this track record. While I’ll give them a shot, this will be disclosed in the review.

Editorial Guideline: Pick brands with a UK presence, and a 5+ year track record where at all possible.


Rule #3 – If it Walks Like a Duck (Honest Assessment of Drawbacks)

I will never pretend that a no-brand treadmill (for example) which is 1/3rd the size of a commercial is the same thing as something you’d get from NordicTrack.

There will be no creative editorials emphasising the compact nature of rubbish fitness equipment. In fact, you’ll have the sizes and fair comparisons between models wherever possible. You won’t find these drawbacks hidden at the end of long, dull paragraphs of technical information here at Fitness Review.

Fair criticism is at the heart of this website, if you want glowing reviews only, I recommend checking those obviously sponsored pages in national newspapers (being cynical here).

Editorial Guideline: Honest coverage of drawbacks in every review.


Rule #4 – Understand that People’s Budgets Vary

This guideline springs from my annoyance with other review sites.

Everyone would love a Peloton, Concept2 Rower, or Life Fitness Treadmill… but we don’t all have the budget to buy one.

I’m careful to cater to people that can’t justify a thousand pounds or more for their home fitness equipment. In fact, it is the budget-friendly end of the spectrum that needs even more work to differentiate the real value from no-brand ‘toys.’

You’ll find a range of equipment on my ‘best’ pages which cover different budgets. If a product is better than a more expensive option, I’ll say so.

One editorial caveat here is that readers should be realistic. I see in comments at retailers all the time skewed expectations. Something less than three hundred pounds (for example) will never be close to what you find in your local commercial gym.

It is navigating these kinds of expectations which separates Fitness Review from the other sites.

Editorial Guideline: Cover options for all budgets, while setting clear expectations of what you’ll get in each category.


Rule #5 – Understand Different Products Fit with Different Fitness Goals

Fitness Review is for real people, not exclusively for ripped, lean gym freaks.

People of all sizes, shapes, ages, and fitness levels are included here. In fact, that is the whole point of this site. Get moving, find the right fitness equipment for your goals and go from there. Going from having unwanted weight to fit is a journey – and seeing content that caters for Instagram model types is not useful to regular people.

Exercise is a wonder-drug. It has health benefits for people of any age, any size, and any starting point. Fitness Review has you covered.

Editorial Guideline: Ensure that people of all ages, sizes, fitness levels and goals are covered – not just the gym-bunnies.



Getting Paid: Fitness Review and Affiliate Links

If you click links here on Fitness Review that go to retailers including Amazon, NordicTrack and more – I may get paid.

The word ‘may’ needs further explanation.

Amazon (bless ‘em) only pay for products bought within 24 hours. I have no idea how many people ponder their purchases for a couple of days, meaning that the megacorporation pocket the cash they might feed to website owners… I’m sure the balance is massively in their favour. Then again, they do have excellent customer protection and a vast range of fitness equipment – perhaps it balances out in the end?

Other brands have 30-day cookie setups, though often come with super-low commissions. 2% of £24.99 anyone? (Don’t you spend it all at once now!).

I’m not grumbling here really. It is a pleasure to create the guides and non-commercial articles here at Fitness Review. The reality of my modest payments does need a disclaimer, though if anyone out there thinks I’m ‘raking it in,’ then some sarcasm about this might just get you closer to understanding the reality.

Everything here is performance based, I have zero pay for views style ads, zero paid links and will shout loud about freebie products I’m sent to review.

All the best!