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When I first started shopping for home exercise equipment I was disillusioned pretty quick. What do you mean that there are no machines for a guy my size? Are you saying I’m too fat to lose weight??
Even the best recumbent stationary bikes wouldn’t quite support my weight and I was left with no option but to pick up some fat guy running shoes and spend the next 6 months walking off some weight.
Eventually, I did make it down to a range where exercise equipment salesmen would talk to me and I ended up looking at several different home equipment options. Weights didn’t work for me, my knees hurt on a treadmill, and my belly was too big for a rowing machine.
So what option was left? A heavy-duty stationary bike of course! In my “new” and “lighter” form I needed a stationary exercise bike with a 400lb capacity which proved pretty difficult to find. After lots of hours shopping and testing I was able to narrow things down to the following options:
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Now, I know that not all of them have a true 400lb capacity. I plan on being within the capacity of all of them soon and, many people reading this will want to invest in a less clinical-looking stationary bike that is usable for both big and heavy people and people of average size.
With that being said, I don’t know why anyone would ever buy anything but a heavy-duty exercise bike. If you want it to last for years and take you through the journey of weight loss with extra maintenance and expense, save yourself a headache and buy heavy-duty, no matter your size.
What is the best home cardio equipment for fat person?
If you’re a big and heavy person and want to get into (or back into) exercising it can be intimidating to head to the gym. I know that when I decided to take charge of my fitness I made it a goal to lose 50lb on my own through home workouts and diet before stepping foot in a gym.
This naturally led to me wondering what the best home workout equipment was for someone my size. I looked at weight sets but wanted something a bit more beginner-friendly. I did quite a bit of walking around my neighborhood but I wanted something I could do on bad weather days. In the end, I narrowed my options down to 4 at-home cardio machines, each with its own pros and cons:
Stationary Bikes: In my mind, the stationary bike is the king of exercise machines for big and heavy people. It allows you to get in an excellent workout that is suited to your fitness level without undue wear and tear on your joints. I can burn 500 calories on a stationary bike and be fine the next day but if I tried the same thing on a treadmill I’d wake up as one big cramp with sore joints.
Treadmill: I do own a high-capacity treadmill (which I enjoy) but it is not my go-to piece of equipment. I really do appreciate it because the cardio and strength increases I get from it are so functional! Walking on a treadmill translates to my real life much better than a stationary bike does. However, it does tend to be hard on the joints as well as more expensive to purchase and maintain.
Rowing Machine: Rowing machines are an excellent cardio option that has the added benefit of increasing strength as well. While they can be difficult to find for big guys and gals, there are a few excellent options on the market that will support 300lbs or more.
Elliptical: While ellipticals occupy the lowest rung on my choice ladder, I recognize that lots of people like them. I always feel awkward and ungainly on an elliptical and would prefer to simply walk on a treadmill. However, if you want to get your arms involved (and don’t want to just wave them around on your bike) then an elliptical might be perfect for you!
So whatever your goal is, you can accomplish it with any of these machines. In the end, I advise you to choose the machine that sounds the most enjoyable to use. The more fun you have on the machine (or the less you hate it) the more likely you are to melt the pounds away! However, I truly believe that a stationary bike is the best option for most big and heavy people!
So let’s talk about some options!
The Best Stationary Bike for Heavy People (400lb Capacity)
Cybex is one of the few companies in the world that tailors to obese people who are dedicated to losing weight. Their 450R machine support is a large step above other stationary bikes and can support up to 400 pounds with ease. If there is anything bad to say about this bike is that it’s heavy, but in this can that just means that it’s extra sturdy! You’ll never have to worry about it rocking side to side when you’re peddling or getting on/off.
It comes loaded with features including has two hand grip locations to ensure that you’re always comfortable and able to get in as long of a workout session as you want. Not only will a long comfortable workout get your heart rate up, but the handles near the seat have built-in sensors to read and report your heart rate! And believe me, you’ll need to know your heart rate as you work your way through 21 fat-melting routines that you can do in 21 different levels of resistance.
Because the R70 is a commercial model you can expect that it will be one of the best stationary bikes available when it comes to longevity and effectiveness. However, if you expected it to lack creature comforts you’d be right. While it is one of the few heavy-duty stationary bikes with a 400-pound capacity you won’t be watching TV on a built-in screen or even jamming to your favorite tunes. This machine is built to help you lose weight and that’s what it will do!
The best “not quite” 400 lb capacity recumbent stationary bike
While this machine doesn’t quite fit our 400lb capacity goal, I had to include it because I can now fit on it and it’s an incredible machine! 3G Cardio has won several “Best Buy” and “Best Value” awards for their treadmills and vibrations machines and their recumbent stationary bikes follow the same quality and innovation standards. While the above two machines are true 400lb capacity bikes, they feel a bit industrial and space. The Cardio Elite on the other hand feels like you’re on a comfortable spaceship!
In fact, the quality of this machine is so high that it comes with a complete 7-year parts warranty! The only thing that isn’t covered by the seven-year warranty is the frame because it’s covered by their lifetime warranty!
16 programs from beginner to grueling will ensure that each user (it supports up to 4 separate user profiles) can get a workout that is tailored to their exact fitness level. This is also the only bike on this list that can be easily moved by an average person. It weighs only 115 pounds and has wheels on the front making it easy to tip up and wheel to your desired location.
So if you don’t need a full 400lb capacity exercise bike, this is a high-tech and comfortable option that you’ll be very happy with!
500lb Capacity Stationary Bike Hybrid
If you are around the 500-pound mark, your options for home workout equipment are extremely limited. If you’re ready to gain some fitness (and lose some weight) talking to your doctor is the best place to start. If you have done that and decided on a plan, then we have machine recommendations!
The HCI PhysioStep RXT-1000 is a true bariatric machine that is designed specifically for obese users. While I am pretty hesitant to classify it as a true “recumbent bike” it has more in common with a bike than an elliptical. The innovative pedals do not rotate, but more in a forward and back motion which is much easier on your knees.
The one thing that this bike has in common with ellipticals is that it has moving arms. This allows you to get twice the workout in the same amount of time! While this is truly one of the only options for those up to 500lbs, for all the amazing benefits that it offers, it is easy to crown this machine as the best stationary bike for obese people.
Types Of Resistance In Stationary Exercise Bikes
Frankly, if you’re obese, the type of resistance from your stationary bike is not likely to matter. You will be able to get a decent workout no matter which type you get.
However, there are several options and they all differ in feel, price point, and advantages. Let’s touch on the three most popular:
Direct Contact Resistance
Direct Contanct is the oldest and most common type of resistance in stationary bike. This is especially popular in heavy duty stationary bikes as it is very sturdy and has replacable parts.
Direct contact stationary bikes have a flywheel which replaces what would be the wheel on a normal bike. It is a heavy piece of metal (typically 35-55lbs) that is connected to the pedals via a belt or chain.
The resistance comes from a pad which contacts the flywheel and acts as a brake, slowing it down. The level of resistance is determined by how tight the pad is to the flywheel. This is typically adjusted by turning a knob or screw.
A stationary bike with magnetic resistance utilized a set of magnets that repel each other to provide resistance. Resistance is increased in finite numbers by moving the magnets closer to or further from the flywheel. This is usually done with a button or knob.
While this type of bike tends to be more expensive, it has fewer parts that are in direct contact (meaning less wear) and also tends to be quieter during use.
If you are just getting into fitness and want a stationary bike specifically for heavy weight, it is unlikely that you’ll choose an option that utilizes air resistance.
REsistance comes from turning the “flywheel” which in this case is actually a fan with blades. The faster you pedal the more resistance you’ll have. This type of bike tends to be a big noisier and provides a different feel.
You’ll be better off sticking with the first two for your first bike.
Getting the most out of your stationary bike:
As you’re probably aware, getting more fit and losing some weight is much more involved than just buying an exercise machine. In fact, the majority of home exercise machines sit dusty in the basements of fat people. To help you avoid that trap, here are 3 tips that, if followed, will see you through to success aboard your heavy-duty stationary bike!
- Find and follow a program. If you just get on your bike when you feel motivated, you’ll never see results. You’ll need to find a program and keep a record of what you’re doing if you actually want to improve. You can find a program that is extremely complex or very simple (such as just cycling 30 mins every morning and recording your time/distance) but having one will make all the difference in your results!
- Long term consistency trumps short term intensity. Anyone can get an amazing workout on a stationary bike. However, having great workouts is not how you get results. Results come from effort over time. A year of mediocre workouts will put you far ahead of the person who works one super hard sporadically.
- Get distracted. Here’s what I do: I find a show I like and only watch in while on my stationary bike. One episode per workout. This ensures that time flies by for me. If I want to watch more episodes? I better be ready for a double-length workout! Just don’t give in and watch it on the couch, part of the purpose is to motivate you to get on the bike in the first place!
If you get the best stationary bike you can afford, find a good program, and put in your time, you will get results! Just be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Happy cycling!