Treadmill and Elliptical recommendations
January 3, 2017 4:24 PM   Subscribe

We are thinking of buying a treadmill and/or an Elliptical

So it is that time of the year to get some exercise into our regime and we are looking into either a treadmill or an elliptical (although we are leaning towards the elliptical more). Need something that can take at least 200lbs of weight, with some resistance/incline abilities. Other than that not anything toooo fancy. Simple, durable and without too much frills would be good. (we will try craigslist first to check some out but looking for more recommendations)
posted by metajim to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
What's your budget? I bought this one in September, and have regularly beaten the heck out of it for an hour, three-plus days a week since then. I was over 200lbs when I started on it, and my husband is still over 200lbs, so the weight requirement is no problem.

The programmed regimes are easy to tweak for more incline, more speed, longer time, etc. It inclines way up there, and speed gets way higher than I can run as well. I like it very much.
posted by Verdandi at 4:49 PM on January 3, 2017

I bought the Sole E35 years ago, and have been using it about 3 or 4 times a week on average since then. It is middle of the road expensive. I also bought a TV and a 500 gig hard drive to hook to the TV via USB cable and watch action movies for 20 to 35 minutes while exercising, finishing a movie about every 3 or 4 sessions. I find that action movies are the best distraction from the workout. FWIW.
posted by forthright at 6:43 PM on January 3, 2017

We've been happy with the Nordictrack.

You can find them on sale here and there.. it has multiple modes, the incline is automatic, and has been pretty solid.
posted by rich at 7:05 PM on January 3, 2017

We've had a Precor elliptical for about 6 years and it's been great. We use it a fair amount, and I at times (including now) have been above 200 pounds, with no issues whatsoever.
posted by primethyme at 7:17 PM on January 3, 2017

I have bought this elliptical twice-- once new, and then again used (regretted getting rid of it for a cross country move).
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:49 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I did a lot of research last year and finally bought the Schwinn 470 Elliptical. Use it most days of the week, it's sturdy and smooth. It's a bit complicated to put together so worth the add'l $82 to have it assembled.
posted by mono blanco at 9:22 PM on January 3, 2017

We did this recently, so some things you may want to consider:

1. Ellipticals are better for calorie burning for the same level of effort (no scientific study - 30 minutes at Level 1 on both the machines results in more calories burned in the elliptical). that said, Treadmills are more versatile - you can walk slowly/quickly on flat or inclines, jog, run etc

2. If you do decide on the Elliptical, make sure you buy one that has the flywheel in the front. Also, get a model with as big as the flywheel as possible. this reduces "jerking" when you work out on it

3. Try to get a model where resistance can be changed electronically and through manual crank. For treadmills, ensure inclination change is electronic

Sorry, don't have model recommendations but Precor seems to be widely used in many swanky Gyms, so its a good one to consider.

And oh, please get installation service - those things are tricky/heavy to assemble and come with useless manuals.
posted by theobserver at 10:00 PM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Elliptical models are not interchangeable. Go to sporting goods stores and personally try out as many brands and setups as you can. Do you feel secure when getting on and off? Do the stride length and separation of the pedals feel comfortable? Are the footpads well-sized? Are the handlebars set at a good angle for you? Are the controls responsive? Will it fit in the space you have? It's surprising how different the various units can be. The one that “fits” you best may not be the “highest rated” or the most expensive.

Each of you should try out the units. If you are lucky, the same one will work for both of you.

After you have identified good candidate brands and models, then it's time to look at ratings for durability and ease of maintenance.

Absolutely do have the professional installation. If a maintenance contract is offered, take it. Both are worth the money. It may take two or three tech visits to get the unit fine-tuned for best performance. Also, ellipticals like to develop loud squeaks and clanks that will drive you buggy if not fixed. You will get to know the tech well!
posted by Weftage at 6:24 AM on January 4, 2017

The stride on different elliptical machines varies greatly. I love mine (a Horizon that I've had for 14 years), but can't stand some of the machines I've used in hotel gyms which have a shorter stride. So, I second the suggestion of trying out different machines.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 6:54 AM on January 4, 2017

Sorry, I don't have a specific model to recommend, but I need to add my voice to the other people saying all ellipticals are not the same. Too shallow/long of a stride can feel awkward and make you hate your machine. At the gym I go to, there's 4 different elliptical models, and I'll only use two of them, and both of the ones I use are not my dream machines. As you're a couple looking to use the same machine, look for ellipticals with adjustable stride length. The exact motion of the stride is still something that you need to try out on the exact model before buying.

I'd also recommend getting an elliptical over a treadmill - if you want to run, you can still do that outside. Yes, there's weather, but it's always an option. If you're recovering from a running injury, if you bought a treadmill instead of an elliptical, you're out of luck until you're back to running. As someone who's an adult-onset runner I've had more times than I like being forced to take 2-8 weeks off of running. I've got a cheap gym membership primarily to be able to use an eliptical from time to time to get some cardio work that's lower intensity. Elliptical's feel more time efficient than biking does to me (I.E. a two hour bike ride feels like the effort of a 60 minute elliptical session which feels like the effort of a 40 minute run).

If this isn't going into your basement an elliptical will contribute less wear and tear to your house than bouncing on a treadmill will. Similar if you're in an apartment, your downstairs neighbors will hate your treadmill.

Features you might want to look for is an ANT+ receiver for a heart monitor, and then get a cheap Wahoo TICKR and you never need to worry about touching the usually inaccurate on-board heart monitor. Any elliptical with adjustable stride should probably have this option.

Beyond that an annoyance I have are "maximum workout time" features. Sure, one just hits clear, and then quick-start and only loses 10-20 seconds, but if you're watching for maximum time/distance/ergs (calories burned is usually high and not worth monitoring), losing that data, or needing to record/remember that in the middle of a workout is annoying. Much better to be able to do a long run and maybe only worry about distance recorded not being able to go over 19.9 .

If you're going to consider craigslist, late Feb - May is the best time to pickup fitness equipment as people have given up their resolutions, want the space/cash, and are out of the 30 day return period. Perhaps consider joining a gym on a month-month basis until you get some kit - this will allow you some time to play longer term on various machines to see what you like/don't like while watching various used machines.
posted by nobeagle at 7:41 AM on January 4, 2017

Do not ignore Alluring Mouthbreather's advice! I loved the elliptical at my gym and figured it would be less expensive overall to purchase a decent elliptical and quit the gym. The elliptical I ended up buying was too wide for me and I ended up hating using it until I finally got rid of it.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:44 AM on January 4, 2017

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