Please help me pick out exercise equipment

First off, let me start by saying it is really hard to type with an on-screen keyboard so I might not respond as much as I would like. Or might be seemingly terse when I do.

So, I have decided to invest in a piece of exercise gear and would love everybody’s thoughts and experiences. What are the pros and cons of: a rowing machine, static bicycle or elliptical? What should I look out for in each of these? Ideally I would like something I could balance my tablet on and distract myself by watching Netflix. My budget is around 250 Euros.

I have to go to work now but might post more questions as they come to me. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Exercise bike: Intensity from low to high (you can vary resistance and speed). Works only the legs, obviously, but the main focus is cardio. Be careful with the choice of seat.
Elliptical: Works upper and lower body. Intensity from low to medium.
Rower: Works upper and lower body. Intensity from low to medium: you can’t pull the thing 5 times a second. You may miss some stuff on Netflix because you’re moving away from the tablet half the time.

The general problem is that, with 250 euros, the equipment you get will be “home” quality.

My usual advice is to spend those 250 euros on a gym membership instead, if you can. You get access to high quality bikes, elliptics *and *rowers, and it’s more motivating than doing it at home. You can even bring Netflix if you want.

My answer is likely pretty unhelpful … it’s which one you will use more regularly. Try each out for at least a 20 minute session and imagine yourself with that every other day.

I tend to go with the rower when I want to do more high intensity intervals, never do the stationary bike (as much as love actual biking for exercise) and the (non-motorized) elliptical as my mindless go-to while streaming shows.

The rower is the most fun for me of the three but hardest to watch shows doing.

One can discuss the pros and cons of each as a backbone aerobic machine but whether or not you will actually keep up using it is by far the biggest factor.

Do you own a half-decent bicycle? Because you can get a good, basic, turbo trainer for not very much money [loads available secondhand, sub 50 euro], fit your bike into it and then it’s game on. Stick it in front of a big screen telly with the Tour de France on, dish out the Watts.

A cheap stationary bike sounds like it would be pretty horrible, but I’ve not been on one for years. Maybe you can get better ones these days.

A point about the gym membership that Heracles mentioned above is that a lot of the machines will have readouts of your effort which makes it far, far more easier to train. You can set this up at home but it’s expensive. Just getting on the turbo, say, and pedalling in an unstructured way is actually pretty hard to concentrate on. If you’re on a decent watt bike at the gym then you can set up various training programs that keep it interesting and keep you focussed.

The Schwinn fan bikes are top notch and can be found used very cheaply.

I wouldn’t buy a home exercise machine unless I’d been using one at a gym for an extended period of time and knew that I’d continue to use it at home. Exercising at home, unless it’s a long standing habit, is really difficult to establish. I like the idea of trying a gym membership first, get familiar with their equipment and what you like, then decide.

Or buy a pair of running shoes and get outside more. Staring at a screen isn’t really conducive to a hard workout.

Of the three you mentioned, it’s pretty much impossible to watch a screen on a rowing machine. You would have better luck on an elliptical or bike, but even then I find it hard to concentrate on the screen while trying to get a good workout.

Out of what you have listed, the most “full-body” option is the rower, but it’s also the one that has the most “technique” to pulling. In my experience, most home gym equipment ends up being a clothes rack. I am going to join in with the others and suggest either a gym membership, or moving your workout outside to help keep your interest. If that REALLY doesn’t work, look into following some at home workouts (there are tons that are free on youtube). Look for some HIIT workouts to get a lot of bang for the buck .

Used exercise equipment is phenomenally cheap. Garage sales, Craigs List, thrift stores, etc.

Why buy it new when you can get someone else’s cast off for a fraction of the price?

And it’s a whole lot better than practically giving it away if it doesn’t work out for you.

I was going to say this- I bought a very well reviewed virtually new elliptical matchine for a fraction of its original price from someone who said they bought it for their spouse who only used it once.

I use it all the time in the winter watching tv. In the summer I get outside more. If you get an elliptical and balance a tablet on a built-in book holder or whatever, make sure you fasten it somehow or it’s going to vibrate right off and hit the floor (did this to a kindle; fortunately it didn’t break).

Personally when it comes to indoor exercise devices I prefer standup devices like ellipticals or treadmills to
stationary bikes, which make my butt hurt and go numb. This isn’t the case for me with real bikes for some reason- probably because you’re changing speed, shifting around, and getting up off the seat to pedal faster at times, whereas with stationaries you’re just sitting and pedaling. A better seat, as mentioned, may help.

If you aren’t an exercise expert, then you might spend the money on more than just a gym, but a personal trainer (or a gym that offers classes).

This way, you’re getting a better workout from an expert than just trying to wing it on your own.

Thanks everybody for the replies and suggestions.

I’m going through a personal low period and have zero energy before or after work to do anything that involves exiting my flat again. My plan is to try and combine vegging out in front of the telly/Netflix while getting some exercise.

Plus, I have already been burned by the subscribing (to a yoga class) and then never going (due to the aforementioned lack of energy/ motivation).

Anyway, as was mentioned (here and IRL) my budget wouldn’t get me a particularly good machine so I checked some personal ads (which aren’t a very ‘developed’ area in my country so I didn’t think to check originally, there isn’t anything like Craigslist either) and to my surprise I found a professional calibre elliptical machine for slightly more than my budget (I asked the seller to knock something off so I ended up paying 250 Euros).

It is now sitting on the floor of my living room waiting for the assembly fairy to wave her wand.

So you are half way there!

The next half is finding someone to buy it from you after it is never used … :slight_smile:

Seriously though. Lots of people buy these things and never use them, or do for a short period and then, not. Your plan is excellent. But now you need to come up with a way to force yourself to follow through, when you are talking about doing this at a time of day when you have zero energy. Maybe commit that the first 40 minutes of streaming MUST be while using the elliptical (whatever the intensity) or none at all?

[noodge]So half-elf …have you put it together yet? Have you used it?[/noodge]