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Photos by MJ Klein
Regular readers of our blog will no doubt recall that last year, we got this home gym, and I started using it on the first week of May, 2011. This machine has been fantastic, and I can say that in the year I’ve been using it, there has been a big difference in how I feel. I have more energy and certainly more strength. When I have to move a piece of equipment or some packages, I have a lot more strength and endurance. This is all 100% positive. But, with all the good this home gym has done me, I haven’t lost any weight to speak of.
Since I have the strength training covered, I went looking for a machine that would give me a cardio/aerobic type workout. Adding a machine with that capability would round out my exercise equipment compliment very nicely.
Hui-chen and I went back to the store where we bought the strength training machine, and took a look at various cardio/aerobic machines. I used to be a manufacturing engineer for Cybex International, and I worked in their Medway, MA treadmill factory. I know a lot about treadmills and even though they are fantastic machines, I don’t like walking or running very much. I wanted a machine that would give me a lower impact, and yet still challenging workout. I tried some elliptical machines but I don’t really like those either. That left me with one other style of machine to consider.
Our regular readers will also recall that I have a recumbent trike. The recumbent position is very comfortable and the exercise achieved is both intense and low impact. I decided to look at recumbent stationary cycling machines.
The store where we bought our strength training machine had 2 models of recumbent (semi recumbent, actually) stationary cycling machines. This rather blurry mobile phone shot shows a price tag of NT$ 29,800. After discussing the price with the boss of the store, and reminding him that we are old customers (having bought the home gym) he gave us a discount of NT$ 6,000! Hui-chen and I tried out the machine and discussed it over the next few days. We decided to get this machine.
On March 21, 2012, 2 men showed up with a truck, and like the home gym before, they began the setup by placing this mat down on the floor. The mats were free gifts for purchasing the equipment. The mats add a very professional look to any home gym setup. I’m going to show you various shots of the men setting up the new exercise bike:
These guys brought the pieces upstairs and set to work. They really knew what they were doing – didn’t talk much, didn’t goof around whatsoever. In 30 minutes our new machine was ready to be used.
This is the new machine, fully assembled and ready to go. I like how it looks and am very pleased with the construction and build quality. The main part of the machine – the pedal mechanism and electronics, as well as the console were all pre-assembled and once bolted to the frame only needed to be connected together with cables. The machine is fully electronic and uses magnetic braking technology to add resistance to the workout. It is almost totally silent, and the pedaling action is extremely smooth. There is a flywheel of course, but unlike those “spinners” that are used in spinning classes, you can stop pedaling and the flywheel will coast to a stop instead of jolting your legs.
If you are interested to check out the model that we purchased, it is the Horizon Fitness Comfort 408.
This is a closeup shot of the console. This particular model is not backlight, but as you can see, our exercise equipment room is very well lit. I have the machine next to the window so I can have the benefit of natural light and also look out the window when working out. In all program modes, the console displays the workout duration (Time), calories (provided you enter your weight in KG) distance traveled (in KM for the Taiwan model) level, heart rate (by sensors on the handlebar, or with a Polar chest strap) and speed (in KM for the Taiwan model).
If you view the large size of this photo you can see that there are 8 programs. They are:
- Manual: This is a “start and go” program, where you simply get on the bike, press the start button and begin pedaling.
- Intervals: The machine steps up the level of resistance in steps and then drops back down to the starting level, before going back up again. The profile looks like a staircase.
- Rolling Hills: This program simulates going up and down hills.
- Weight Loss: Designed to provide the user with a workout that specifically promotes weight loss.
- Tempo: This program prompts the user to increase or decrease the pedaling tempo (cadence) over the course of the workout.
- Random: A combination of the above programs 2 – 5 for an interesting workout.
- Custom: A blank memory slot for the user to design their own program.
- Custom: A second blank memory slot for a user designed program.
Now, in addition to all these programs, there are 16 levels! The upper levels are very difficult and the resistance simulates very challenging hills! Even very experienced riders will appreciate working out on this machine.
My usual workout duration is 30 minutes, and I do between 3 and 7 sets per week, depending upon my schedule. Since getting the machine on March 21, I have ridden nearly 200 KM and I have to report that I feel great! My normal workout routine on Tuesdays and Thursdays is to do a 30 minute set on the bike, and then my regular workout on the strength machine. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, my regular workout routine is 2, 30 minute sets on the bike, back to back, with a 10 minute rest in between. In the short time I have had this machine, I can tell a difference it is making on my health. I am getting used to the workouts and am at the point where I can start to increase both the duration and level of the workouts.
But, it will be a long time before I’m ready for level 16!
Oh! I almost forgot to include this photo. I have Toshiba Thrive 10.1″ tablet, that fits perfectly on the console. I get a lot of quality reading time when I’m riding and I hardly even notice that it’s been 30 minutes already. I’ll tell you about the tablet some other time, but I’m totally sold on this model.
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