Is the Gazelle an effective cardio workout or what?
October 19, 2007 11:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a definitive answer: Is the Gazelle a reasonable cardio workout or isn't it?

I am very overweight and need a way to workout easily in my home. We unfortunately do not have room for a treadmill...we have a crappy elliptical but the only space for it is in the garage and it's the only elliptical on the planet that makes my joints hurt.

The Gazelle looks like it would be fun, easy on the joints, and really good for the space we have. However, from reading reviews online & commentary on message boards, I still am not clear if this is an effective cardio workout or not. It seems like it works mostly on momentum, so I don't know how much work it takes to keep it going.

Some people claim to love it, and other people say that it's not really a workout at all. I'm not in awesome shape and I just want something fun & easy to do to build up some fitness.

Can anyone please chime in with firsthand experience as to whether this is a tool that will make me break a sweat?
posted by tastybrains to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My roomate had one and my personal opinion is that is crap. It's super easy to make it go and takes basically no effort to sustain movement.

She quit using it, bought an old bike to ride to work and lost 40 pounds in three months.
posted by fshgrl at 11:14 AM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

No. It's too easy. However, it may be ok for you depending on how out of shape you are. If you devoted two hours a day to it you'd be burning calories at the very least. It won't build up fitness.

Do you have a bike? Can you get a mag trainer? This would be much better as a workout and could be done inside.
posted by OmieWise at 11:24 AM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've heard good things and bad things. It is an easy workout on the joints, but you will outgrow it, probably very quickly. That's the problem with most home workout equipment: either you don't use it, or you use it enough that it becomes too easy to be effective any longer.

When I started working out earlier this year, I was horribly out of shape and all I could really do was the stationary bike. When that became too easy, I abandoned it in favor of the elliptical. Etc., etc.

My understanding is that the Gazelle doesn't really have a way to increase resistance or difficulty. No matter how effective it is now, it won't be in six months if you keep using it. Better to get a machine that you will still benefit from when you're in better shape. A bike might be a better choice, all things considered.

Though my favorite home workout by far, and surprisingly effective, is Dance Dance Revolution.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:29 AM on October 19, 2007

Best answer: I have a friend who had one, and I once saw him using it. It is, without a doubt, one of the most ridiculously useless pieces of equipment I've seen, in my opinion. I asked him if he ever broke a sweat using it, and he said "sometimes." I don't believe it provides any resistance whatsoever.
posted by mikeh at 11:32 AM on October 19, 2007

Response by poster: Do you have a bike? Can you get a mag trainer? This would be much better as a workout and could be done inside.

We have one but I really am uncomfortable on a bike at this point.

I guess it's DVDs for me. I may try DDR, but I'm kind of uncoordinated.
posted by tastybrains at 11:36 AM on October 19, 2007

I remember seeing an article some time ago that compared home exercise equipment, and the Gazelle came in dead last. Primarily because it burned significantly less calories than the others.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 11:38 AM on October 19, 2007

Best answer: I had one for about a year. It is easy on the joints and good for space, it's true. However, it's not very effective as a cardio workout - it's very hard to work up a sweat or get to that fat-burning stage or that 'wow good workout' stage, and it's mind bogglingly boring. After 3 minutes on it you want to kill yourself. I wouldn't recommend it, and have talked a couple of friends out of getting one. I sold mine on craigslist to a nice woman who probably hates me now.
posted by iconomy at 11:39 AM on October 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I may try DDR, but I'm kind of uncoordinated

That's ok, really. Just trying to keep up with it will have you in a sweat. It's worth a try if you can borrow a friend's dance pad before springing for your own.
posted by cabingirl at 11:54 AM on October 19, 2007

I may try DDR, but I'm kind of uncoordinated

That's ok, really.

Yep. It doesn't matter if you're good at it - or any exercise, really. What matters is that you try. You'll get good in time.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:02 PM on October 19, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice re: DDR. Sadly, I actually already have it, but kinda gave up after a few times because of what a klutz I am. Maybe I will challenge myself to get better.

The Gazelle did look like fun though, like a swing for your feet! But I appreciate the advice - I can use that cash for some more workout DVDs or a decent dance pad.
posted by tastybrains at 12:04 PM on October 19, 2007

Would you consider simple indoor walking? I haven't tried any of these walking videos, but walking would probably be the best indoor cardio bar none for your condition and joints. If your knees are good then DDR may work, but you don't sound too optimistic about it for other reasons. I would recommend jumping rope for serious cardio, but again, the knees. And if you're really overweight, that's a lot of sudden added stress. I had a habit of getting into a long slump, then jumping into something too aggressively and getting injured. Then I'd slump again. Since I identified that pattern, walking is what gets me back into things without injury. Plus, I find if it's 'just walking' it's harder to make excuses to not do it.
posted by cocoagirl at 12:12 PM on October 19, 2007

Response by poster: I actually do Walk Away the Pounds DVDs, but the instructor, Leslie Sansone, makes me want to strangle kittens. I just want to have fun. Sigh.
posted by tastybrains at 2:12 PM on October 19, 2007

I ride a bike for exercise and one thing I particularly like is that I can always see something new compared to the much more static environment at home or even a gym. I know bike has already been suggested so this is really just a wordy way of saying try going out walking, particularly if your community has features like trails. Not as much fun with really crappy winter weather but otherwise I think it'd be a good thing. You can up your pace and distance as you start to get into shape, see different things, even if only for a change of pace from whatever indoor exercise you choose.
posted by 6550 at 4:10 PM on October 19, 2007

It's not really the tool that makes you break a sweat, but rather how hard you go at it. One of the best ways to start losing weight, especially if it's hard for you to get around, is to do stationary exercise like lifting weights. It's just a myth that you need to do cardio to lose weight. Anaerobic exercise can actually burn more calories than aerobic, and it's easier for people who are overweight, and as a bonus, your metabolism stays elevated longer than with cardio, so you burn more calories even when you're not exercising.

Don't spend money on gadgets that may or may not work. Get some dumbbells and start lifting!
posted by Mr. Gunn at 4:15 PM on October 19, 2007

A skipping rope, 2x 10kg dumbbells, and some joggers. Life isn't meant to be complex
posted by jannw at 7:57 AM on October 21, 2007

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