Home Cardio and Weight Equipment -- what do you use?

Because the gym isn’t an option during the plague, I can use my workplace’s awesome wellness benefit to buy some home equipment.

I’m currently walking (free!) but Seattle weather doesn’t always make that a good option. So I’d like to get some stuff that will let me burn some calories inside, and it’d be super-cool if I could do it while working.

Stuff I’m considering:

Under-desk treadmill: I use a standing desk at work (transitioning back and forth between sitting and standing). I could walk while working with one of these and a basic standing desk for my laptop…

Under-desk pedals: Pedal while sitting on butt working

Stationary bike: can’t use this one while working, but could read or watch shows. Amazon has some for only $260-350 that have good reviews, or there’s the fancier AI powered poor-man’s Peloton-ish cycles for about $600.

Weights: Figure some barbells where I can start around 20 pounds (I’m coming from a point of major desk-slug here) and work up to less child-like weights.

And of course, a good exercise mat.

If you have experience or thoughts on any of this, I’d appreciate it. I’m not looking to buff up (I’m a 55-year-old writer/gamer, bar fights aren’t the threat they used to be), but rather to get my core in better shape, my energy level up, and continue to lose fat-based weight.

I guess it’s not exactly what you’re asking, but you did mention walking so - I’ve started taking up running again over the summer. I guess it’s more like jogging what I do, since I don’t really keep any great pace. And I’m no athlete either, just do a couple miles every other day or so. But it’s enjoyable and it feels like I’m accomplishing something and I don’t feel like I’m turning into a lump like I was starting to in the early days of the lockdown.

I like that I can just get up a little earlier and do my thing outdoors before the sun is up and before most folks are up and about. There are always a few other joggers or folks walking their dogs that I have to be sure to give their distance, but it’s manageable. I’m going to see if I can work up to 5K races and maybe a half marathon someday, once we’re able to actually, you know, congregate with other human beings again. We’ll see.

You mentioned the weather and while it’s certainly a factor, it’s also been a fairly mild winter so far. There are days when it’s cold and days when it’s rainy and days when it’s windy but so far, only once have I had to deal with a cold, rainy, windy day. That was pretty miserable. Otherwise, I don’t mind too much. It’s a pleasant little outing.

I use resistance bands rather than weights. They work well and can carry them anywhere.

These were the most recommended when I researched for what to purchase.

I also bought the Cubii Jr under the desk elliptical. Every two strokes counted as one step. I like it but did buy a spin bike and the bike is worth my time more than the Cubii. One thing to consider if buying an under the desk item is leg clearance. Can you adjust the desk height?

Cubii Jr has two models the more expensive is app connected and the cheaper is not. I read that the app did not work well so I got the more inexpensive model at $250 (the one that has the app was $350).

Here is cheaper model:


I mostly walk or run around 6 miles per day 5-6 days per week outside as the weather allows (I’m a 52 year old dude for context). When I HAVE to be inside I do a mix of elliptical and treadmill, but mostly elliptical. I’ve used bikes and ski machines and other stuff in the past too.

The key for me when I MUST be inside is to use the machine that gets the most calories in the least time, because exercise inside is incredibly dull and un-motivating and it takes for fucking ever. Indeed I’ve often fallen off the exercise wagon during winter just because of this.

So the OTHER key (and I really hate it, but slightly less) is to just bite the bullet and use thermal gear to keep going outside despite the cold. Note though that I’m in Atlanta so winter is limited and not snowy. If I lived in Minnesota I might feel super differently.


I’d suggest kettlebells as the best at-home strength-type workout. I was an avid gym-goer (ranging from body-building type workouts to power lifting and olympic lifting to crossfit) for the thirty years before the pandemic, and I was shocked at the variety of exercises you can do with just one kettlebell. (And you get a lot of core work just through the cross-body stabilization; and you don’t need much space.) This guy has a bunch of youtube videos about how to get started, what weight kettlebells to buy, and so on.

I’ve bought about a half dozen kettlebells since the beginning of the pandemic, and I think these Rogue kettlebells are about the best. (All the Youtubers push Kettlebell kings, but I wasn’t impressed. And the Amazon Basics kettlebell is too slick, so it’s hard to grip.)

Since a lot of the kettlebell exercises are stringing together simpler movements without putting the kettlebell down, it becomes a weird strength-cardio hybrid that’s sort of zen in the actual doing. I may never go back to a gym.

A sturdy doorframe pullup bar plus some suspension bands and resistance bands lets you do a lot. I like bodyweight workouts, pullup/chinup, inverted row, inclined to vertical dips, chest press/fly angles, grip/wrist/forearm strength. But it depends on how well bodyweight works for you – at low and high muscle development (relative to weight) it’s not as efficient/useful.

You may try the NYT seven-minute workout. It does a pretty good job of working out everything (although you should probably run through it twice or three times), gets the heart rate going, and you’re switching around enough that it’s not boring…initially. You only need some space and a chair. There are a bunch of youtube videos that do the timer/show you what to do.

Or, again, find the zen with a kettlebell. Someone drew a good comparison to active meditation. Where meditation was invented for when everyone was doing physical labor and needed time to be still, swinging the kettlebell is like being in-the-moment-active for a time when everyone is sitting at their desks.

I agree, though, that cardio is just too slow and boring. It’s much easier to lose weight through diet.

In my experience these are a bit tough to use because you have to brace it against the wall and chair which requires a chair of a pretty specific width. I also found it hard to focus on work and also work up anything like a sweat, but maybe that won’t be an issue for you.

Are you talking about, like, for bicep curls? If so, 20lbs is not child weight, and if you’re really starting from zero you could hurt yourself with that weight pretty easily. Ask me how I know.

Cardio is for cardio, diet control and strength training (+muscle mass) is for weight loss.

This is easy to fix. I used a small pad from rugpadsusa.com that stopped the sliding issue. I put this nonslip pad under the Cubii mat and it worked extremely well. I also used the chair cups that are shipped with the Cubii that stopped the office chair from sliding around when I pedaled. Rugpadusa will cut the size of the pad to your specifications.

I have the same resistance bands and I like 'em!

My wife decided we should have a treadmill, because walking long distances outside in Boston in winter when there’s snow on the ground and it’s icy can suck. I’m only a fast walker (4 MPH, 3% incline) but I’m maintaining my weight and not getting any fatter, so that’s pretty much all I can ask for in the current pandemic life style. My wife and I have a semi-competitive 10K every day challenge going on (though she’s running now, good for her!) so we’re both hitting at least some decent minimum.

I’ll be outside as the weather turns better, and in my kayak over the summer.

OW. I can only imagine how painful that would be. For the record, I built up to 45lb curls, but it took me 2 years of going to the gym consistently, and I started at something that felt wimpy like 10lb (but made me sore enough to know it was working.)

I went to the Columbia outlet in Tulalip and bought a ton of cold/wet weather gear. Rain pants. Fleece. Parka. Base layers. Two different Mountain Hard Wear raincoats. Waterproof shoes and boots. Pedestrian light from Amazon (white in the front, red in the back). I’ll walk in any weather so long as it isn’t ice/snow. And it’s sorta fun to walk while the rain and wind are coming in sideways.

Do 3.2 miles a day, 6 days a week, at about 3.5 mph. Very good cardio. Decent hills to get my heart rate up. It’s nice to walk after spending all day at my desk. Excellent way to de-stress, get fresh air, and give my eyes a break from staring at a screen. Have a ton more energy now. All my health indicators have improved.

I managed to injure something (connective tissue, most likely) in my groin, and it bothered me off and on for years. I went to the doctor because initially thanks to referred pain it felt like something wrong with my testicle and I was worried about cancer. Thankfully after some light fondling the doctor found nothing to be concerned about.

I’ve had my balls looked at via ultrasound. Gym accident, much pain, and as you say, injuries in that general area can really linger.

They say the gel for ultrasound is a little cold. It’s REALLY cold.

Been there! Conducted by a lovely young lady that I told a rolling line of terrible jokes to so I could keep my mind off what was happening. Though they did extend me the courtesy of warming the ultrasound goo.

I have actually started going to the gym. We have a local gym and they have four different rooms with equipment in them. I was skeptical, but if I go at about 7pm at night I can be in a room by myself with an exercise bike, so that’s what I’m doing. In another 6-8 weeks it will be warm enough I can ride an actual bike outside and then I will cut back on the gym.

What I also need to work on is stretching exercises. I have lost a lot of flexibility due to both aging and Covid. Does anyone have a good recommendation on stretching exercises on Youtube I can follow at home? I am looking for a 10-15 routine I can do every morning.

I recommend the home treadmill that fits under a standing desk (no front panel or sides). I had one before my move last year and it was great in the home office - I’d use it while just reading, or during the evenings while watching YouTube or shows. For a period I made a rule that I would only watch series while walking - a very easy habit to get into if your monitor is decent or you have a nearby TV. Get a model that has wheels on the bottom to allow easy repositioning.

We bought a freestanding treadmill a few years ago and added a stationary desk so that my wife could use it as a standing desk and work on stuff while she did the treadmill. She heard me saying this and said “I use the hell out of it.” And she does! It has worked out very well for her exercise needs.

My company just gave everyone a gift in lieu of the Christmas party which was canceled, and I chose an under the desk mini exercise wheel. It won’t come for a couple weeks but when it does I will let you know how I like it.

I talked to my wife about the idea of a desk for our treadmill, and her response was “how fast can you really go if you’re trying to work?” I can barely peck out a quick slack message walking at 4MPH, and wouldn’t want to have a longer slack conversation than “can we talk in 30m?”

Our treadmill has a shelf that fits a tablet, so I use my ipad for reading / shows. I have certain shows that I will only watch on the treadmill to help keep me motivated to use it.