What is the Best Exercise Equipment to Lose Weight at Home in 2021?
In America, and most other countries, approximately one-third of adults are overweight, and another third are obese (1). There are lots of reasons for these statistics, but the most obvious cause is a decrease in daily physical activity combined with increased availability of high-calorie ultra-processed food.
In short, if you consume more calories than you burn, weight gain is the invariable result, and a great many people are looking for effective ways to lose weight or avoid weight gain.
While hitting the gym is always a great option, many people just don’t have time for gym-based workouts. After all, going to the gym usually means finding time not just for a workout but also traveling to and from your chosen facility. A one-hour workout could end up taking two or even three hours out of your day, and that’s a difficult barrier to overcome.
The good news is that you don’t have to go to a gym to work out and lose weight, which is why home workouts are becoming increasingly popular. Your body doesn’t really know (or care!) where you get your exercise fix. So long as you get up and move your body and watch what you eat, you can lose weight regardless of where you work out.
Lifting weights is a good weight loss workout option, but cardio can help too. The great thing about cardio is that, as well as being useful for weight loss, it’s also good for your cardiorespiratory health.
While you could go for an outdoor hike, bike ride, or run, a lot of exercisers prefer to work out in the safety and comfort of their own homes.
In this 2021 buying guide, we’re going to discuss the best cardio machines for weight loss and reveal our favorites.
#1. Exercise bikes
An exercise or stationary bike provides a great lower body and cardiovascular workout that is also easy on your joints. Cycling is a low-impact workout, so it’s ideal for anyone with ankle, knee, hip, or back issues. It’s also an effective calorie burner.
There are several different types of exercise bikes to choose from, including spinning bikes, recumbent bikes, and fan bikes, and they’re all great choices. However, the most important factor to consider is comfort.
If you buy an exercise bike, make sure things like the handlebars and saddle are fully adjustable so that you can set it up for a perfect fit. Ideally, the saddle and bars should not just move up and down, but forward and back too.
While there is nothing wrong with riding a bike out on the roads and trails for weight loss, cycling in bad weather or heavy traffic can be dangerous. Indoor cycling is often much safer and means you can work out whatever the weather.
Best exercise bike:
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Spinning bikes are ideal for home use. They have a large, heavy flywheel for a smooth pedaling action, and there are no unnecessary electronics to go wrong, so they are reliable and last for years.
This bike from YOSUDA is fully adjustable, has a belt drive for near-silent workouts, and a useful LCD display so you can track your workout, including distance, speed, and calories burned. There is even an iPad rack so you can watch videos as you work out.
Walking, jogging, and running are great ways to get fit and lose weight. They’re all weight-bearing activities which mean they’re also effective for increasing bone mass and density plus strengthening your muscles.
However, while walking is a low-impact activity, jogging and running are high-impact. When you run, your feet hit the ground with a force equal to about eight times your body weight. That’s a lot of stress and, if you are overweight, could cause aches, pains, and injuries.
Thankfully, most of the best treadmills have flexible running decks, which means they absorb some of the shock of your feet hitting the floor, making them more joint-friendly than exercising outdoors.
Many people assume that running is the best way to use a treadmill to lose weight, but fast walking is almost as effective. Crank up the incline and walk uphill for a workout that burns just as many calories as running but is a lot easier on your joints.
NordicTrack has a reputation for making excellent workout equipment, and their T series 6.5 Si treadmill continues this trend. With a top speed of 10 mph and 0-10% incline, this machine is ideal for all walkers, joggers, and runners.
The running bed is designed to be extra shock-absorbing, making this treadmill easier on your joints than many other models. There is also an easy-to-use display monitor through which you control your workout.
Treadmills are big and bulky, but this high quality treadmill from NordicTrack folds upright for easy storage, making it ideal for home workouts.
#3. Elliptical Machines
If exercise bikes and treadmills have a disadvantage, it is that they only work your leg muscles. This means you’ll need to find some extra time to work your upper body if you want to tone up and lose weight.
Alternatively, you could equip your home gym with an elliptical trainer.
Ellipticals are so-called because your feet follow an elliptical or egg-shaped path. This movement is a cross between cycling and walking/running. Like exercise bikes, ellipticals provide a low-impact workout, but they also involve your arms.
When using an elliptical, you not only pedal with your legs, but you push and pull with your arms. This means you’ll be working virtually every muscle in your body, burning more calories in the process.
Most ellipticals allow you to go forward and backward, to work your muscles in different ways. You can also go arms-free if you want to focus on your lower body.
On the downside, ellipticals can be big and heavy, so make sure you’ve got space in your home gym to accommodate one.
If you are looking for a simple but effective full body workout, ellipticals are hard to beat. They’re low impact, easy to use, and great for fitness and weight loss.
The Sunny Health & Fitness elliptical machine has all the features you’d expect, including smooth electromagnetic resistance, LCD monitor, and 16 intensity levels. There are also 24 pre-programmed workouts to follow, all of which can be customized to suit your fitness level. Still, it’s also a compact machine ideal for home use.
#4. Rowing machines
Like ellipticals, rowing machines deliver a full-body workout, which means they’re very effective calorie burners. However, with no pushing component, they don’t provide much work for your chest or triceps. A few sets of push-ups will soon fix this imbalance.
Rowing is a low-impact workout, so it’s easy on your ankle, knees, and hips. However, because of the seated position, a lot of people round their backs when they row, which can cause lower back aches and pains. If you already spend a lot of time sitting down, exercising in the same position may not be your best choice. That said, rowing really emphasizes your upper back, which may lead to better posture.
The main disadvantage of rowing for weight loss is that using a rower requires a modicum of skill, and it may take you a while to learn how to row correctly. Don’t worry, though; there are plenty of online instructional videos to watch.
Best rowing machine:
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A lot of rowing machines use large, noisy fans for resistance, while others have water tanks. A few use hydraulic resistance, which is cheap but soon breaks down. This rower from CIRCUIT FITNESS features electromagnetic braking for smooth, adjustable levels of resistance.
Comfortable and easy to use, this rower is foldable, so you can store it between workouts. The seat and handlebars are padded for comfort, and the LCD performance monitor is programable and displays information about your workout.
All-but silent in use, this rowing machine is ideal for home fat-burning workouts.
#5. Jump Ropes
Jumping rope is a great way to work out and achieve your fitness and weight loss goals.
A simple jump rope might seem a too simplistic piece of equipment (it is!) to produce big results, but despite being a very old training method, it’s still one of the safest and economical ways to get fit and achieve fat loss.
While an exercise machine can cost you hundreds of dollars, you can pick up a high-quality jump rope today for under $20.
Best Jump Rope Under $20
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The Proud Panda weighted adjustable speed rope features weighted handles to raise the demands on your entire body during your jump rope workouts. The weights are detachable in case you want a less intense workout.
These weighted ropes are popular with CrossFit, Boxers, and MMA fighters looking to strengthen their shoulders.
Home Exercise Equipment FAQs
In this section, we answer some of the most common questions about home exercise equipment for weight loss and cardio training in general.
Q: What type of cardio workout is best for weight loss?
When it comes to using cardio equipment for weight loss, you have two main choices – low-intensity steady state (LISS) or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). With LISS, you work at a slow to moderate speed for an extended time, such as 30-40 minutes. LISS is relatively easy, but it burns fat and calories slowly.
HIIT involves alternating short periods of high-speed exercise with short rests. For example, you might row fast for 45 seconds, slow for 75 seconds, and then repeat eight times to total 20 minutes.
Both types of workouts are effective for building fitness and burning calories, although HIIT is more time-efficient. If you can’t choose between these two types of training, why not do both and alternate from one day to the next?
Q: What exercise equipment is best for weight loss?
You can lose weight with any type of cardio machine. The key is using it regularly. As missed workouts will quickly undermine your weight loss journey, it’s best to choose a machine you enjoy using. For example, while rowing may burn a few more calories per minute, if you hate rowing and skip more workouts than you complete, any benefits are quickly negated.
If you can, try a bike, rower, treadmill, and elliptical to see which one you enjoy the most. That’s probably the one that’s best for weight loss.
Q: What exercise machine is best for losing belly fat?
Unfortunately, no exercise machine or workout specifically targets belly fat. Your body stores fat according to things like hormones and genetics and burns fat the same way.
Some people burn belly fat first, while, for others, it’s the last thing to go. Ultimately, any cardio machine will help you lose belly fat, but none target it preferentially.
That said, if you are looking for the best exercise machine for strengthening your core, rowers and ellipticals are arguably the best choices.
Q: Will I lose weight if I exercise 30 minutes a day?
Given that most cardio machines allow you to burn about 100 calories per ten minutes, working out daily for 30 minutes should use about 2,100 extra calories per week. One pound of fat contains approximately 3,500 calories, so your daily 30-minute workouts should lead to losing about three-quarters of a pound per week.
Of course, this assumes that you are eating healthily and don’t start consuming more calories. You’ll only lose weight with cardio if you create a calorie deficit, which means eating a little less than usual.
If you are eating too much, even healthy food, even hours of exercise per day might not help you lose weight. Make sure you are fueling your body at regular times during the day to avoid nighttime binges or emotional eating.
See the Hashi Mashi Plan for a simple 5-step system to lose weight, whether it is 20 pounds in 3 months or up to 75 pounds in 6 months.
Q: Do I need to lift weights along with my cardio workouts to lose weight?
Cardio alone can lead to weight loss, but you’ll get better results if you do some strength training too. Whereas cardio burns calories while you are working out, strength training increases your resting metabolic rate by building muscle mass, so you burn more calories 24/7.
Also, lifting weights will tone and build your muscles, giving you a more pleasing shape.
It doesn’t matter if you do bodyweight exercises, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, medicine balls or work out using resistance bands. So long as you overload your muscles, they’ll respond positively to your workouts.
Combining cardio with strength training is like making 1 + 1 = 3!
Best Exercise Equipment to Lose Weight – Final Thoughts
If you find it hard to fit gym-based workouts into your busy schedule or just prefer to exercise at home, it’s time to buy a bike, rower, treadmill, or elliptical. Whichever one you choose, you’ll have access to an effective weight loss exercise machine you can use whenever you want.
Which one is best?
The truth is they’re all pretty similar in terms of calories burnt per workout. The main thing to consider is which one you’ll enjoy using. After all, losing weight and getting fit requires a long-term commitment, a lifestyle change.
Therefore, the best exercise equipment to lose weight boils down to your personal preference.
At the end of the day, choose the machine you like the most. After all, if you dread your workouts, you’re more likely to put them off or skip them entirely, and then you’ll never lose weight.
So, if possible, try before you buy to make sure you are 100% happy with your choice. Otherwise, even the best exercise equipment to lose weight could just end up gathering dust!
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