To buy or not to buy a cardio machine for the home…

Okay, my gym membership is running out and I can’t afford to keep it. My Kickboxing is up in February and I can’t afford to keep that. And thanks to my crazy work schedule the past two months, either too many hours or at all the worst times for the gym, I’ve gained quite a bit of poundage. As much as I want to lose weight, when you’re working 12 hours a day and have memberships at two NOT-24 hour places, how the hell are you supposed to get your cardio in safely?


I liked gym machines–even if I got annoyed with having to make the trip in between everything else–because they were better quality and you didn’t need to worry about servicing them or replacing the parts. Especially when we’re talking elliptical trainers and recumbent bikes and all that. They had some good ones to use and I never had a problem with them. And even if they did, there were plenty more on the floor to use.

I always went to the gym because I didn’t worry about the machines squeaking or moving around when I really got going–they were super heavy and sturdy and didn’t move. Some just needed a bit of oil and it was always done by the time I got back, or maybe it got replaced so it could be serviced.

When I look in the stores, which I’ve done at different times on a whim throughout the past few years, they just don’t look right to me. I’m a fan of the elliptical machine because it helps me get my heart rate up without killing my knees. I hope I can get to more bike riding and maybe get into running if my knees can hold up. I am trying to clean out our weight room so we can actually use it for that purpose, and when that happens, maybe I’ll have room for 1 cardio machine…or I’ll just put it in my room and walk around it all the time. Not like anybody else is ever in there anyway.

But there are some things I must know for sure before I’d buy an elliptical trainer for the house:

  1. I have to be able to buy the best one I can as cheaply as I can. I can’t drop a grand on a machine and then have it break down 6 months later. I can barely budge my credit cards right now because of my crazy paychecks and such. My budget will be easier to understand once I get back to just two jobs I’m working on. I might be able to scrape together $500 max for a machine in the next few months, but that’s because I refuse to put it on my credit card…and though I considered layaway, my paychecks are too variable to make that commitment.
  2. I’m skeptical about 2 or 3-in-1 machines. With the “convenience” there always seems to be some kind of trade off, whether it’s converting between settings, parts wear-and-tear, and ease of use. I like the recumbent bikes at the gym, too, but the elliptical is my best go-to for getting that heart rate up and improving my rhythm. I won’t deny it would be handy to get a hybrid (especially when it’s raining and I made biking goals again) if only to save room…but there are just too many questions right now, and I question their durability.
  3. I have to be able to see it in the store. I know there are tons of possibilities on the internet, that there are always more available online than there are in the store. The problem is, I want to see what all comes with the item, and ask questions of the salespeople. Admittedly, I haven’t had a variety of places to look yet. Down in the east Houston area, I’ve only looked in Sears and Academy at the moment…I’m going to make a list of other places to see. But I hate Walmart with a passion, so I’m never going there even if it was the best deal of all time.
  4. So many of them advertise that iFit service thingy. Can I still use it well if I don’t use that iFit thingy they want to sell me? It looks like there’s some wi-fi syncing thing to get results or give them to a program, to get certain exercises and all put on the machine. But that’s some extra monthly subscription charge to do that crap. I don’t have wi-fi where I live and am not plugging my exercise machine into an internet cable, dammit…. so would I even be able to use the machine? So many brands seem reliant on that thing. Gimme my earbuds and awesome playlist and a place to put my water bottle and that’s all I need. Okay, and I need to be able to see distance, resistance, time, and speed–that’s what I’m used to and like. I don’t need a fan or speaker system or wi-fi connection with any gizmos I don’t have anyway. That said–
  5. I’d have to be able to test it out at different speeds and strides. Sometimes a lighter, crappier machine will squeak and shake a lot if you try to up the pace, or maybe the resistance adjustment is too damned hard to do (or you can’t figure out how to do it because it doesn’t say unless you’re trying it out). I mix things up on elliptical trainers to keep my feet from getting pins and needles for one thing, but also to give me that extra burst of energy and all. I’m rarely the same pace, and I have fun with randomizing my playlist between fast and slow songs to keep me guessing. I need a machine that’ll work with me on that.

Part of me liked going to the gym, starting my day there and then getting ready to go to work, knowing that I’d already gotten my exercise in. But then come the long long days when you can’t let yourself get up too early because you need sleep, then you end up staying late at work and can’t make up for it.

Well, I can go to the gym any damned time I want if it’s in my house, and I don’t have to spend extra gas doing it. This will also help me in the weight and movement department at home, and when my knees are stronger (and my bills are lesser), I’ll give kickboxing and Jiu-jitsu another shot.

But first thing’s first. Paranoia made me jump on the kickboxing bandwagon too quickly, but at least I know I can do it now and have tons of fun. I just have to be more sensible about basic cardio away from the mats. My knees and my general out-of-shape status don’t help me (or my breathing) at all.

So, anybody have good tips, I’ll be willing to listen. I wish I lived in a better, safer area to just do natural bike riding and walking exercise, but nobody believes in walking around here–I’d get run over and nearly did several times when I tried.

So, that’s where the I-can-use-it-24/7 cardio machine will come in handy. I just have to make the right choices…and start saving so I don’t go back on my promise to not use my credit cards.

3 thoughts on “To buy or not to buy a cardio machine for the home…

    • TheChattyIntrovert says:

      It’s a thought–most people I know do the treadmill thing, though, not ellipticals. I don’t like the motion with treadmills–it’s harder to regain my balance and then normal walking feels funny because concrete doesn’t bounce the way treadmills do. There’s no “give” there. That’s what made my friend’s knees hurt so bad when she tried to do a 5K for charity. She didn’t get very far running before she had to walk. She could do miles easily on the treadmill, but never walked or jogged normal roads because the weather stank, and she thought it’d be just as good. Gravity sucks sometimes.
      I like the elliptical’s motion and that it’ll help my knees. Also, I can change stances, go in reverse and not lose much balance or momentum. I like the options, and when I have days to go out, I want to at least walk up and down my street–if the dogs all behave!

      Liked by 1 person

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