Well, as the title says "what equipment do I need to lose weight at home" is a question we are often asked. The short answer is none! Not a great sales pitch however. Nor is it the definitive answer, which as you will find is much more complicated. As a general rule of thumb, the more calories you eat beyond your recommended daily intake will result in you putting on weight and this is because your body has already taken all that it needs to maintain a healthy bodyweight so the surplus calories are then stored - in the form of (you guessed it..) fat. If you eat less than your recommended daily intake then your body is no longer getting enough calories, so it has to break down some of that stored bodyfat to use as energy, thus losing weight. Scientists have discovered that around +/- 500 calories per day for the average person (is there such a thing?) is enough to either put on 1lb per week or lose 1lb per week.
So why do you need to exercise to lose weight? As an alternative to dieting. If you are able to maintain your daily calorie intake and then partake in some physical exercise above and beyond your regular daily movements, this will also lead to weight loss as your body uses some of the daily calorie intake to fuel the exercise then breaks down fat stores to replenish reserves and repair or improve your exercised body overnight.
Best of both worlds. Now we're getting down to it. What happens if you control (or restrict) your calorie intake and also exercise? A whole world of benefits await. Weight loss, as before but as you can imagine now it happens quicker and that's what everyone wants to hear, as long as it is done safely - crash diets and overdoing it simply results in a diet that isn't sustainable and physical burnout which equals failure.
In addition to fast tracking your weight loss, exercise is also going to bring you added benefits, dependant on what kind of workout you are carrying out. Improved cardio fitness, stronger muscles, better circulation, improved mood and higher bone density are but a few of the extra rewards. So now it's time to take a look at the type of equipment you can buy to help achieve your goals.
Exercise Bikes - the bench mark apparatus which everyone is familiar with. It’s a cardio exercise (this means it works your heart and lungs) which also focuses on lower body conditioning. You can cycle at a higher pace using a low resistance setting to increase endurance and cardio benefits, or you can cycle slower at higher resistance to put more emphasis on your leg muscles doing the work. Either way, there will be a balance to find while you keep your heart rate in the coveted "fat burning zone" - too high and it becomes a full-on aerobic exercise, too slow and it's anaerobic. Everyone's different and there are some simple calculations to do in order to find your ideal fat burning zone (see our other blog on "The Fat Burning Zone").
Cross Trainers - now this is something that not everyone has heard of, despite them being around for some time now. Think of an exercise bike, that you stand up on, which has moving handlebars which are also directly linked to the pedals (or much easier, take a look at our range here). So, on one of these, already you’re working harder because you are supporting your body on your feet instead of sitting down while you work on a bike. The effort can also be "shared" out between your lower body and your upper body, supplying both pulling and pushing movements and giving a relative all over body workout.
Treadmills - the effectiveness of this apparatus largely depends on your bodyweight and physical condition to start off with as with this one your entire bodyweight is being supported by your legs as you exercise. For someone fairly overweight then just extra walking daily will work wonders whereas someone who is already closer to their ideal weight may have to work harder by jogging or running to acheive the same results.
Rowing Machines - phew! just saying "rowing machines" makes us feel exhausted. Pound for pound this type of exercise is more demanding than any other and can achieve the same level of calorie expenditure in much less time than other apparatus. However, unless you have your own heart rate (HR) monitor or smart watch then it is difficult to stay in the fat burning zone as most rowing machines do not have a HR facility built in. This is a relatively difficult exercise which requires practice and good form to perform correctly but reaps excellent rewards when mastered.
A new way of thinking.
So, any of the above equipment will aid in achieving your weight loss goals, especially when used in conjunction with a calorie controlled, healthy diet. However, they are not your only option and in recent times the following apparatus is also considered to be equally as effective if used in the right way..
Barbells, dumbbells & free-weights - that's right, weight training can be an effective tool in the fight for weight loss. Lifting in the correct rep ranges with the right amount of weight will not only burn excess calories but will promote fat burning for longer periods of time well after your workout has finished. This is because when your muscles are worked in this way your body starts to and continues to repair them overnight while you sleep. Imagine, burning calories and all you have to do is sleep! Sounds good to us. There are many, many different ways to lift to achieve different goals (covered in another topic here) but any kind of lifting whilst controlling calorie intake will result in weight loss.
So, there you have it. You could lose weight by diet alone and likewise you could lose weight by exercise alone, but your chances of success and the time in which it takes for you to see positive results are much higher if you combine the two. The type of apparatus you use is largely down to personal choice, how much you are willing to put into it and indeed what extra side-benefits you like the sound of, as each one has a different quality to be had;
exercise bike - cardio - aerobic fitness - calorie burn - lower body toning
cross trainer - cardio - aerobic fitness - higher calorie burn - upper and lower body toning
treadmill - cardio - aerobic fitness - advanced calorie burn
rowing machine - cardio - aerobic fitness - upper body strengthening - advanced calorie burn
weight training - lower cardio - anaerobic fitness - all over body strengthening - extended calorie burn
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out our other blogs.