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Looking for an Elliptical Machine

Octane Q37Carey and I went to a local exercise store today to look at an elliptical machine for (ugh) the living room. Our $68/month membership to the Pennbriar (a local athletic club) expires soon and we don't use it nearly often enough to justify the cost.

We both liked the Octane Q37e (which has a wireless heart monitor that straps around your chest), and it runs $2399 ($2500 after taxes)1. It has a rather natural step motion, the pedals are 1.8" apart, and the stride length is a moderate 20". It felt comfortable, but we only used it for 30 seconds apiece.

Has anyone bought an elliptical? What advice or opinions do you have?

Footnotes

  1. That's 37 months at Pennbriar.

14 Responses to "Looking for an Elliptical Machine"

  1. The only real advice I can give you is that if you don't have the dedication to go to the gym on a regular basis then having your own equipment won't fix the problem.

    I have had gym memberships, free gyms, my own equipment (benches, weights, bikes, etc.) and the only time I exercise is when I have the initiative, regardless or whether or not the equipment is mine or shared, regardless of how expensive or free it is.

  2. Etan said on November 14, 2006:

    The only real advice I can give you is that if you don't have the dedication to go to the gym on a regular basis then having your own equipment won't fix the problem.

    I don't think that's necessarily true. A 40-minute round-trip commute and not-so-great hours can really put a damper on one's ability to get to the gym.

  3. I'd skip that expensive elliptical and instead get a fast treadmill and some weights. And a squat rack. You really need both resistance training and cardio to be healthy.

    A cardio workout is keeping your heart beating a certain rate for a certain length of time, and a treadmill does that just as well as an elliptical. Ellipticals are kind of gimmicky, and while they provide a "lower impact" workout, I've always felt less stable, and less safe, on them compared with a treadmill.

    Unless you have pins and screws in your knees or a fake hip, skip the ellip.

  4. We have an elliptical and it works great, though ours was less than half the price you're quoting--and it was one of the more expensive ones at the store.

    I would suggest finding one that you can use long enough to make sure that it is comfortable for you. I like ours, but I due to stride length I have been unable to use the ones at most gyms.

    Make sure that you can dial up the resistance high enough--I wish ours went higher.

    Keep it in the living room. Anywhere else and it is not nearly as likely to be used.

  5. Haggle your butt off!

    Most places that carry high end training equipment work on commission. A friend of mine, who is a salesman of a different sort, was able to get a $2,000 elliptical for $1,200.

    The sale price is not necessarily the best price. Good luck!

  6. Tim said on November 15, 2006:

    Haggle your butt off!

    As with any purchase of, oh, more than $300, we intend to. 😉

  7. Erik,

    I have used machines like these before and have gotten very little out of it. What worked for me was going for a nice 30 minute walk. If you have a park, get a 10-15 minute jog going. It is a lot cheaper, generally better for you because you get out of the house, and you can bring the little one along also.

    That is my 2 cents.

    Sorry, I haven't used this machine though......

  8. Tom said on November 15, 2006:

    I have used machines like these before and have gotten very little out of it. What worked for me was going for a nice 30 minute walk. If you have a park, get a 10-15 minute jog going. It is a lot cheaper, generally better for you because you get out of the house, and you can bring the little one along also.

    I play golf all summer and get in my fair share of walking in park-like locations. The wife wants an elliptical so she can get some walking in after Little Bug goes to bed.

    Walking with Little Bug is not an exercise in anything but frustration. Her stride length is about four inches, so you don't exactly cover much ground.

  9. Ellipticals are great. A close friend of mine uses his for 30 minutes a day and he's dropped nearly 30 pounds over the past 6 months or so.

    The only thing I would balk is the price. Check your area Craigslist, you should be able to get a used one for like $100. With all that leftover $$$ you might even be able to afford a PS3 😉

  10. We bought a cheap elliptical about 6 months ago. At first it got used quite a lot, but that quickly dropped off. My wife didnt have the motivation to use much, and now it just takes up a lot of space. I personally find going to the gym to be much easier, and my wife has just started as well.

    As Etan said, it isnt the equipment that will make you fit. Ultimately you have to do two things. Establish what the priority of being fit is for you. Everyone wants to be fit, but the reality is that it isnt a high enough priority for them to put in the effort. Be realistic about it. Most of us have other priorities that we put ahead of it. I put family, work and tv above exercise.

    The second step is to realise that when your priorities collide the higher priority will win. Ive been going to the gym on and off for a long time now, and Ive found that I need to schedule work outs very carefully to avoid collisions. The end result is that I go to the gym at 6am. My family is asleep, and I get to work a little bit early. Meetings never get scheduled then, and I never feel like I need to work early to get more done. I have tried every other time of the day, and none of them work for me because other people will put pressure on me with tasks that are higher priority than exercise.

    This all applies to having home equipment as well. There are plenty of distractions available to keep you off of the elliptical.

    Do you have a plan that you can actually follow?

    For reference I bought one of these. You dont need the most expensive equipment. This particular model is quite good. The biggest problem is that it does feel a little flimsy when you go fast.

    I would also recommend getting a good heart rate monitor, rather than using the built in one. Ive got a Polar F6 and it is great. It has some amount of flash memory and keeps track of the details for your work outs (I've managed to do 70 workouts in the last 7 months or so) and you can upload the details to a polar website.

    I also think that it would be worthwhile to look a gyms which are nearby (it is vital that getting to the gym not be an impediment). My wife and I go to different gyms. Mine is close to work (5 min walk) hers is close to home. Choose a gym that has child care. My wife loves getting a couple of hours without the boy and he loves getting out to play with new kids and toys.

  11. Jon said on November 15, 2006:

    Be realistic about it. Most of us have other priorities that we put ahead of it. I put family, work and tv above exercise.

    If it's in the living room and it's used after Little Bug goes to bed, family isn't a concern and TV becomes a part of the activity.

    Jon said on November 15, 2006:

    I would also recommend getting a good heart rate monitor, rather than using the built in one. Ive got a Polar F6 and it is great. It has some amount of flash memory and keeps track of the details for your work outs (I've managed to do 70 workouts in the last 7 months or so) and you can upload the details to a polar website.

    The built-in ones communicate with the base unit to adjust the workout as you go. I haven't looked at third-party ones, but I doubt they can do that.

    Jon said on November 15, 2006:

    I also think that it would be worthwhile to look a gyms which are nearby (it is vital that getting to the gym not be an impediment).

    As I already said above, that's not possible.

    Jon said on November 15, 2006:

    Choose a gym that has child care. My wife loves getting a couple of hours without the boy and he loves getting out to play with new kids and toys.

    The gym we have now has child care. Our kid goes to school all day - when she's home, we like spending time with her.

  12. Jon said on November 15, 2006:

    I put family, work and tv above exercise.

    TV above exercise? And barring unusual circumstances, you should be able to overlap a decent amount of exercise with family.

  13. We have one (older version of this: http://www.2ndwindexercise.com/catalog/condor.html) and it works great (I like it a lot more than our treadmill and its much easier on the knees). We picked up ours from 2nd Wind (they are only in the Midwest which doesn't help you, but here's what they have to give you some other brands to look at: http://www.2ndwindexercise.com/residential-crosstrainers.html to

    Only advice I can give, don't go cheap (like the crap they sell at Sears) as you definitely get what you pay for. Good luck in your search!

  14. [...] Wow. It was back in 2006 that Carey and I last looked for an elliptical machine. [...]


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