Increase Cardio to Gain Strength While Losing Weight

Treadmill, bike, stair climber, elliptical...which is right for you?Cardio exercises assist you to increase your heart rate by targeting the large muscle groups. This is why most cardio workouts involve upper thigh workouts – even as simplistic as walking and running. Once a moderate level of fitness is reached, we can’t get the same cardiovascular benefits just through leg movements and so the arms are engaged to keep your heart pumping and calories burning.

The categories of home exercise equipment we use for cardio exercises are listed below. If you own these machines and aren’t seeing as much progress, try incorporating arm exercises or increasing the speed of use to take your fitness to the next level.

  • Treadmill – Studies showing that exercise on the treadmill is superior over most other fitness equipment. You can adjust the settings to suit your fitness level or energy level in the workout. You’ll be able to walk, jog or run from the comfort of your own home regardless of the weather outside your door.
  • Stationary Step Machine – This class of home gym equipment burns calories, tones and enhances hips, legs and butts. You’ll also hear them called stair climbers and some come with an electronic display showing you (amongst other things) how many calories you have burned during your workout. Not recommended for the overly obese range or for those with weak joints.
  • Stationary Bike – Bikes without wheels that you can plant in front of the television set or computer to get a quick workout in at any time. Perfect for the home gym that doesn’t have much room to spare. According to recent studies a 30 minute workout on a stationary bike per day will maintain your current fitness level while conditioning your heart for more.
  • Elliptical Trainer – One of the most popular home gym exercise equipment available. The perfect home workout for anyone with stiff or weak joints.
  • Rowing Machine – Intense cardio workouts for moderate to hard core athletes. Easily folded and stored under a bed or in a small closet making them an excellent choice for a home gym. Some models have electronics to display and store calories burned, intensity of the workout or speed.

If you’re setting up your home gym for the first time and you aren’t sure which piece of equipment you want to buy first, I suggest getting a visitor pass to a professional gym or a one-month membership. Try out the equipment and see which one suits your style and needs best before committing to the purchase. Be sure to read our reviews (currently we are working through the treadmill models) and check out our current sales. Pedometers.org checks for the best deals online and factor in shipping costs and warranties to ensure you get the best value at the lowest final price.

Defining Factors For Home Fitness Machine Purchases

For many of us there are two primary places to work out – through a gym membership or in a home gym with fitness machines.

When you first contemplate taking control of your health and fitness, the thought of working out in a public gym with all those muscular and able bodies is daunting. So why not buy some home fitness machines and begin your weight loss at home?

But wait! Before you shell out a big investment in equipment there are a few points I want to warn you about to help you make the best selection for your needs and goals. And, I’ll even save you future hassles and money in the process. Every week I watch the national flyers and evaluate costs and products, factoring in shipping or delivery, warranties and durability. That is why you’ll find my purchase recommendations change so often – I’m looking after you.

Let’s first cover the basics and then I’ll show you the best deals based on my review.

  1. Performance and Quality – Even though I can help you find the best price, based on manufacturer’s suggested retail, you will always get what you pay for. Home fitness machines are available in three levels of quality but the variances in price between mid-range and top-notch aren’t drastic. So I suggest you buy the best that you can afford and end up with equipment that lasts or has resale value once you decide to start working out at the gym. Suggested Treadmills: Nautilus T514, (more coming soon).

  2. Intended Usage – When you buy an exercise machine, choose the one that you’ll be most excited about to use. Do your best not to let price, color or salesmen sway you. With a firm budget and necessary features in mind, don’t sway or be persuaded by commercials.
  3. Home Gym Space – If the area you’ve designated for home gym space is restrictive, make sure that your new exercise equipment will work in that space. Look for machines that fold away (and be sure to check the folded size) so you can do other exercises like free weights or yoga as your body transforms.
  4. Based on Your Personal Needs – Are you a senior? Morbidly obese? Suffering from past sports injuries? These are all factors to consider before setting up the home gym. Previous injuries and other health situations may require a pre-consultation with your medical doctor or at least a fitness trainer. As an example, if you have weak knees you might not be suited for a stair climber. Another? Those with bad backs probably shouldn’t jump right into cross-country ski machines or rowers.
  5. Safety Features – Aside from built in heart rate monitors and such, consider other safety features if children will ever have access to your home gym.
  6. Difficulty Factors – It can be tricky to match the machine to your needs today and your needs in the future. You don’t want to choose expensive exercise equipment that is too difficult to master but on the other side of the coin you don’t want to choose one that you’ll outgrow in a month’s time. Shop for, and purchase, home gym equipment that matches your current skill level but has enough features to challenge you later as well.
  7. Warranty – I can’t stress this point enough. Home gym equipment takes a beating when you’re dedicated to being fit or losing weight. It has to be tough enough to stand your eagerness or at least well warrantied to have the equipment fixed for free if it breaks down. The only items Pedometers.org approves of has a minimum 5 year warranty on frames and motors. I don’t suggest settling for anything less.

The Right Fitness Equipment for You

When I first started on my quest to get into shape I bought DVDs, running shoes, a pedometer, a treadmill, and had to hold myself back from purchasing all the late-night advertised fad equipment on television. Now that I’m in shape I realize that I could have saved myself a lot of money if I’d just started out with some good shoes and a pedometer.

If you’re just starting out on your own weight loss or quest for fitness, you’re probably in the same boat. Which equipment should you buy? Which is the best deal? Which will be the most suitable for your goals and current level of fitness? After all I’m sure you’ve heard the stories of friends buying expensive treadmills only to have it collect dust and laundry in their bedrooms for years afterward.

For these reasons, choosing the right fitness equipment is for you is an important topic to consider. We can save a lot of our time and money by doing a little bit of research and understanding our goals before we whip our our wallets.

So let’s have a look at the various types of equipment and see how they fit with your budget and your workout style.

Home Weight Set

If you want to burn off fat and tone your muscles you’ll need to incorporate some weight training into your exercise routine. However you might not be ready for, or have room for, a full bench set. You can start small with just a few dumbbells in various weights to strengthen arms and abdominal muscles. These workouts help with posture and balance and your body’s ability to burn fat (metabolism). Light weights are also a good place to start in your fitness regime as nothing is more pleasing than seeing your arms toning up and your pants fitting looser as your abs get toned.

Treadmills

Out of my top 10 friends I think I am the only one to use my treadmill regularly. The treadmill helps you to run or walk while staying in one place during inclement weather, potentially dangerous outdoor surroundings, or if you just want to exercise in solitude. Running or walking on a treadmill is an effective way to get your daily 10,000 steps in easily. You can watch television while you walk or run, you can surf the web, or you can crank it up and run hard without the shock and strain on your ankles, knees and lower back. Make sure you have tried a treadmill before you buy one though. In my experience people either love them or hate them – and I don’t want to see you spending $1,000 or more on a piece of equipment that does nothing but make you feel guilty for not using it.

Rowing Machines

Rowing machines aren’t my favorite fitness equipment but many of my friends swear by them. They offer the benefit of an all-over workout with minimal joint impact. In fact they are excellent for the clinically obese and senior citizens. You can start at an easy pace and as your grow stronger, increase your row speed. Fast rowing is great for burning off calories and increasing your heart rate while strengthening your arms, abdomen, back and shoulder muscles.

Stationary Exercise Bikes

They’re everywhere and they come in all sizes and price ranges. You’ll find old ones at yard sales or even in your parents basement, as they are one of the best low-impact cardiovascular machines available. These exercise bikes don’t do much for your arm strength or toning but they are great for your heart and legs. You can watch television while exercising and you don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car or inclement weather. Stationary bikes are easy on your joints and are perfect for people who have more than 20 pounds to lose. Most bikes have varying levels of difficulty so you can crank up the workout as you become more fit.

Pedometers

My pedometer has been my best fitness friend for years. It keeps me accountable for activity during the day and inspires me to get walking on less active days. This is one purchase that I have never regretted. Even today I own a few different models and keep one in my purse, one in the car and one in the house – charged up and ready to go whenever and where ever I am.