How to Buy a Cross Trainer
It was that time of year again. The time when I realised I'd put on more weight than was reasonable and that if I carried on doing so it was going to be really difficult to shift, then it would affect my blood pressure, cholesterol etc etc etc (dull, dull, dull). So.there was only one thing for it - get back to exercising. Plus the fact that my partner was nagging me about the amount of time I sat in front of the keyboard; my argument that it's what I do, it pays for the groceries didn't wash. Ho Hum!
I did ponder joining the gym again, but then I'd be tied to their opening times, and getting there and back would take time and effort, compressing my writing hours even further. There was only one thing for it - start building a gym at home - one piece of equipment at a time.
Our V-Fit Sydney Magnetic Cross Trainer
Where to start with the equipment though? I like running and am quite happy jogging off into the sunset. My partner's less than keen on running (boring) and prefers the cross-trainer. Funds wouldn't run to two pieces of equipment, and in the better weather I'll be running outdoors again anyway, so the cross trainer won.
Elliptical Cross Trainer
We did some research online and discovered that you could pay anything from $100 to $3000 to buy a cross trainer, but decided that the really cheap ones looked flimsy and unstable, and customer reviews where we could find them supported that, whereas the top end of the market made our bank balance look flimsy and unstable.
In the end we went for the V-Fit Sydney Magnetic Cross Trainer, for which, the book price is around $320, although we found a good deal and bought it a bit cheaper. The reason we chose this one was that it looked pretty sturdy, and could take a maximum weight of 115kg, also it had good customer reviews everywhere we looked. Although one guy did change all the bolts because they weren't top quality - obviously not pressured for time then!
When considering how to buy a cross trainer it's important to look at the features offered, and to be truthful, there seems to be three price bands. Within each price band, there's not much difference between machines, just a tweak here and there, or maybe a flash of funky color.
The very cheap cross trainers cost anywhere from $50-$100, but as I said before they really do look fragile. However, some of them fold away, which could be a good idea if you are short of space, or cash - whichever. I would just be concerned that they may not be robust.
The middle price bracket cost from £300 - $500, and have very similar features to the V-Fit Sydney, which are:
Features of the V-Fit Sydney Magnetic Cross Trainer
Manual Magnetic Resistance (where the flywheel resistance is magnetic rather than air- resistance)
Eight levels of magnetic resistance
Hand grip pulse sensor, which also measures calories burned, distance, odometer, speed and time)
Maximum user weight 250lbs
A few of the cross trainers in this price bracket are electric, rather than manual, although the reviews I read weren't good, with lots of problems with drive belts etc. I guess at this price they are at the very cheap end of the electric trainers and don't last well.
When you buy a cross trainer in this middle price band, they arrive flat-packed (as do the cheaper versions). The instructions for the V-Fit said it would take two people two hours to put together, and this was about right. Thirty minutes was spent looking for our glasses, ten minutes spent deciding which bolt was which, an hour spent deciphering the instructions, which were obviously a translation, and twenty minutes assembly time.
It wasn't difficult to put together so much as fiddly, and the instructions were a bit exasperating. Looking at the shape of the bits and using common sense was more helpful.
That said, all the reviews I read about the electric cross trainers at this kind of price said they were very difficult to put together.
Having used the V-Fit a few times, it works really well. There's not a huge difference between the eight resistance settings, so you need it set quite high to get a good workout. The machine feels very sturdy in use, although I'm sure it would be a lot more wobly if you were nearer the 250lb max weight. The movement feels smooth and it's not noisy.
however, it's pretty big, and dominates our bedroom, so there's been a management decision to move it to the study.
The study, my study, where I try to write. The study which has already acquired a full size drum kit, and a spare bed. The study which gets filled with dogs, drumming, teenage electric guitar will now also have the squeak of the cross trainer. Won't disturb me a bit....nope, not at all...no, you carry on drumming and exercising....don't mind me...
Precor EFX 5.25 Elliptical Fitness Cross Trainer
This is the cross trainer I really wanted to buy. Although it has the same basic magnetic resistance, it's electric and has loads of features, such as:
Eight programmes for complete cardio and muscle workout
Advanced heart rate monitoring to allow you to stay in your training zone
Adjustable ramp up to 25 degrees at the push of a button
Touch sensitive hand grips for pulse monitoring
Dsiplay measures heart rate, calories burned, distance, time
16 levels of magnetic resistance
Quick start programme
And it's a subtle color to blend with your furnishings.
The Precor EFX 5.25 arrives by freight, so you need to take into account the access to your property, and still needs assembly once delivered. This is the smaller version of some of Precor's models, which is great for us, but if you're tall maybe you need to shop around. In any case
I STILL WANT ONE OF THESE
I've included below, a few of the budget cross trainers, just for comparison. Hope all of the above makes it easier when you're considering how to buy a cross trainer.