Home exercise equipment. Recommendations?

Having recently turned 30, I’ve gotten serious about working out.

(Well, the photo my hubby dragged out of myself in a thong bikini when I was 25 helped a LOT. ::sigh:: )

The problem is that I’m the mother of a two year old. While the club I’ve joined has a supervised kids area, my daughter isn’t really keen on staying in there for an hour while I sweat away the pounds. This means that I can only get there 3 days/week, when the nanny is here, and only at night.

My husband has suggested getting some sort of machinery at home and has suggested one of those “elliptical” things. I was thinking more along the lines of a a climber thing (never been on one tho’). We definitely don’t want a treadmill.

Any recommendations, comments, critiques?

[sub]Please don’t recommend more sex with me on top, my hubby did that and I didn’t find it funny then either.[/sub]

I would not recommend a climber thing. Those things are boring. All you end up with is a sore butt. My mom has one of those machines that’s really versatile, you know the kind Elle McPherson (I think) and Walker Texas Ranger are promoting on infomercials. It’s not really a cardio-workout, but she likes it. I’d say, go to the gym for a while, try out all the machines there and decide which one is your favorite. Or get really good shoes, put ToddlerNym in a stroller and walk. Seriously, walking is really underrated as a workout. And it’s free too.

cough nanny…cough… gym…cough 3 days a week cough bitch cough

Ok seriously… I’m interested in this too. I’ve been thinking about getting one of those BowFlex knockoffs… anyone have any luck with them? I’m actually going to start trying to maybe begin to potentially improve my lifestyle in an attempt to possibly lose weight. Or that is the plan, anyway.

Weight set and bench. Resistance training burns calories,helps with bone strength,can be cardio(light,fast reps)versitle,cheep,safe(if toddlerNym can move a 5 lb plate, more power to them)Any program should start with a trip to your Dr. Good luck to you Sue!

I use a plain ole exercise bike. Its great, pull it in front of the t.v. or ride while reading a book and you get some “you” time as well.

I belong to a gym, and I work out at home also. I have a step and a series of workout videos from Kathy Smith, Reebok, and The Firm. Some of the tapes are aerobic, others are weight trainers, and I alternate tapes so I never get bored and my body doesn’t get used to the same routine. I have a set of hand weights ranging from 2-8 pounds, and I am going to invest in some ankle weights soon. I LOVE working out at home to those tapes, especially the Firm ones. I can honestly say that they have worked very well for me. I used to have visible cellulite in my thights and butt, and I don’t anymore. In my opinion, the elliptical trainer is better than a bike, and I enjoy doing that when I go to the gym. If you can afford to buy one, go for it. But you need to balance cardio with weight training for maximum benefit.

On the days I dont have karate classes I do my yoga tapes and I think they are the greatest. Small, compact and fit under your bed. Seriously, I find yoga very challanging, but it doesnt require too much room in my lil’ apartment.

I’m kinda anti-equipment cause far too often I see it not getting used. I had a roomate with a few pieces of equipment and it just took up space. Conversely, my parents have an expensive treadmill and they use it often. So, I guess it depends. Same with the gym, I know I’d just be wasting money if I signed up.

Over the years, my wife has bought two exercise bikes, an ab-roller, two trampolines, a rowing machine, bicycles, roller blades, ice skates, and some hand weights. She’s used each of them maybe once or twice. The most important thing about equipment is that it has to be something you will use.

I’d be careful getting an exercise bike; make sure there are no spokes for ToddlerNym to get fingers stuck into…

What I’m wondering is how much exercise do you want to commit to at start? You’re willing to go to the gym three nights a week, and you want to be able to do something else a few more days a week. Past (mumble) years old, you don’t want to startle your body. It really hates that. Sneak up on it with the exercise, or have what you do at home be relatively minor, like light exercise videos, or a trampoline, or an ab workout.

As Arnold Schwarzenneger said when he was shilling for money for school physical education programs, “It doesn’t cost anything to do pushups. I do pushups every day, and nobody’s ever asked me for money.” You can fit basic exercises into slothful TV watching. At the first commercial break, do 5 pushups. Rest for ten breaths. Do five more. Repeat until the commercial’s over. Next break, crunches. Etc.

Then there’s Covert Bailey’s 8-year-old exercise plan. Go to a park. Find an 8-year-old. Do everything he or she does for half an hour. You WILL get a workout. You MAY NOT walk the next day.

What racerx said. BUT . . . having had to drop out of martial arts classes for a while (too much business travel), and not having the gumption to push myself hard enough in solo training, I’ve developed a little (a lot) more around the middle than I like. So I bought a little ab-roller-type thing called the Ab Mouse. You assume the position (you’ve seen it on TV) and push it back and forth over a slick mat (which they call the Mouse Pad - cute). You do have to consciously NOT use your arms too much, and focus on the abs; but it’s fun, and it works, and it’s cheap (less than $20 from Galyans). Also seems to help butt and thighs.

I would definitely recommend the elliptical trainer. That is my absolute favorite at the gym. I love it. I hop on and do a 30 minute thing and usually burn about 500 calories (30 minutes includes a warm up and warm down). A weight set is good, too, though. I think dumbbells are better than bars, however.

But Ethilrist it has to be something you really enjoy and will do consistently. The thing I’ve found about exercising in the house is that there are often a lot of distractions.

Oops, I meant to say that Ethilrist is right, that you need to find something you’ll enjoy.

I’m a big fan of dumbbells, and the best, IMHO, are Powerblocks. Powerblocks are dumbbells you can adjust in about 2 seconds by just moving a metal pin, from almost nothing to serious strain. The Sport set (for the ladies, I suppose) adjusts from 3 to 21 pounds in 3-pound increments. The “pro” sets can go as high as 120 pounds per hand.

The Powerblocks are the best thing for people who, like myself, don’t have much storage space. They’re really cool, and whatever else you might get, resistance training should be a part of your routine.

Well. I haven’t posted in about 6 months…

Consumer Reports just did a review of home gym equip this month. The Body Solid EXM-1500S, a multi-station weight stack home gym got a “Best Buy” rating - but at $700.00 it may be a bit steep. For those with limited space and a realistic budget, they recommended the Total Gym - the one infomercialed by Christie Brinkley and Chuck Norris. It uses your body weight to provide resistance so is limited to about 50-60 %, but provides a good and fairly comprehensive workout for all, save those looking to add serious muscle. See the March issue for a good overview of various options.

I just started getting back into shape about a month ago, jogging and using free weights . That’s fine for me for now and didn’t involve much of an investment (if I stick with it for 6-9 mos I’m rewarding myself with the above Body Solid gym).

Good Luck,

Shaky Jake

Whatever kind of equipment you decide to buy, hit a place like Play It Again Sports, read the classified ads, or start cruising second-hand stores. Exercise equipment turns into clothes racks in a LOT of homes, so frequently stuff can be purchased very lightly used for next-to-nothing. For example, a new Soloflex with all the attachments will set you back well over a grand, but you can usually find 'em used for about $250-400. Stationary bikes are a dime a dozen - 'round here, consignment shops sometimes won’t even take 'em, but every thrift store usually has one or two.

From personal experience, I can tell you that a Soloflex is much more versatile than a Bowflex - they take about the same amount of floor space, but there’s a lot more space for hanging clothes on the Soloflex.

If you’ve already got a bicycle, add a child seat or trailer and take the kiddie for a tour of the neighborhood. Add a turbo-trainer for riding indoors when the weather or light conditions aren’t good.

My $.02…

What are you using at the gym now? What ever you get should complement what your gym workout is.

I use my gym primarily for swimming and weigh-training and have a treadmill and spin bike at home for weekends, bad weather, variety, whatever.

If you already do cardio at the gym then weights might be a good way to go at home. You can chase around a two-year old between sets. If you don’t want to go the weight route, then choose a piece of equipment that works out a different set of muscles then whatever you use at the gym or on an area you want to focus on. If you use the gym for weights, then a piece of cardio equipment would make sense at home (hop on during naptime…a tip from mrs. rundogrun).

Either way the best piece of advice I can give is buy quality. Any cheap, poorly-made piece of equipment is bound to break/under perform and leave you unmotivated. Be sure to break it in slowly as well…fitness is a long term process, no need to kill yourself on the first day!

I converted a spare bedroom into an exercise room, and, although it goes in spurts, I do use it fairly often.

I bought a Schwinn Spin bike. Does your gym have Spin classes? If so, go take one and see how you like it. IMO, a Spin bike is a much superior workout to a standard exercise bike. It more closely approximates real bicycling, and you get a better workout as well.

I also put a TV/VCR in the room. Trust me, if you’re going to be sitting on a stationary bike (or ANY kind of exercise machine for that matter) you want something to keep you entertained. It’s bloody boring.

I also have a whole pile of tapes - mostly The Firm. They’re a little more interesting than the bike, and they do give a great workout. To go along with the tapes, I have a set of weights, from 2# to 25#. Also, a weight bench, for when I feel motivated to lift on my own.

Very important - if you decide to buy exercise equipment, you are going to have to put money into it…I will ride a Lifecycle at the gym for 45 minutes to an hour. If I try out the cheap-o bike at my apartment complex, I cannot stay on for more than 5 - even though the atmosphere is just as conducive to working out. I have just one piece of equipment at home that I have been able to keep at it with, and have felt results from - the torso-track. It is small enough to store, and sturdy enough to actually use. If you have the room, an aerobic step with a few different video tapes is also a good idea. I have found with that, however, that after the first few times of doing a tape - after you can pretty much keep up without the voice, make your own music to go along with it - listening to their soundtracks is a real bummer.

That’s a friggin’ great idea, I hadn’t even thought of it! Thanks a ton, I’m stopping by one todday!


I think I’ve decided to go for the elliptical thing, my hubby is a jogger, so this will work for him, and I’ll just use it when I can’t get to the gym.

As far as weights go, I do that at the gym, and prefer to. I’m not all that self-motivated to come up with my own exercise plan, so I prefer to use the weight machines there. If I do anything at home, it would be cardio.

For all of you that suggested getting out with my kid, I do. We take walks in her jogging stroller (though I don’t jog) and I’m planning on buying a bike seat for her, but it’s the rainy season here, not much fun for anybody to be outside!

Thanks for all the input folks!