Fatty needs a stationary bike...

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Hardware & Accessories

Good day to you all. My expanding waistline has caused me to look at stationary bikes to peddle away the pounds on that etherial eternal road. It occurs to me that there are several stationary bikes available now that are compatible with IOS devices allowing someone like me to track statistics and even set up courses. My question is, have any of you had any experience with said bikes, your IOS device and accessible apps? Any input would be gratefully received.

@OliverKennett

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Submitted by Isabelle on Sunday, September 15, 2019

Hello, I have been wondering this myself recently and looking into available models. As it is an extremely difficult item to return, I am hoping that others will be able to weigh in with experience with such products.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Monday, September 16, 2019

It's pretty difficult to get a handle of what bikes can work with IOS apps or if they can indeed be controlled by them. I understand that there is something called iFit but I rather not have to take out a subscription merely to get some sort of control over my workouts.

My hope is for something that is compatible with my apple watch too, so I can jump on and just go and it can get all the practical information it needs to track the session.

The standard issues apply, spend money and get something with good connectivity but risk that even that won't work, or go for something cheap and cheerful without any connectivity and hope that it doesn't collapse under me. Trouble is, there seems to be a rather wide gulf between 'smart bikes' and the stupid ones. I also don't really want to be paying for an entertainment system I can't use, but if it does work with the iPad through connectivity, I don't mind...

As I said, frustrating.

Submitted by Seanoevil on Thursday, September 19, 2019

Hey Fatty,

The best advice I can give you is to keep it simple and avoid the fancy electronics.

If you are serious about fitness, then what ever machine you buy should last you a lifetime. Buy the strongest, heaviest piece of equipment you can afford, avoiding anything that has a motor (treadmills and the like) and anything that relies on overly complicated electronics.
Also, if it folds up for easy storage, forget it. Once stored, it ain't ever coming out.

If you visit a Gym, you will notice that most of their machines have very simple operations and single push button start. That is what you should be aiming for in your home. As little resistance as possible to getting moving, and then a whole heap of resistance applied directly to your quads, glutes and other words I've heard on the Biggest Loser.

But how, I hear your fatty voice warble, am I going to track my workout? Just leave that to the Apple Watch. It has settings that will give you a good indication of your performance without needing to sync to anything. Tell it you're on a stationary bike and it will do the rest. Well, you still have to peddle, but it will calculate your average heart rate, calories burned etc.

If you want motivation, or to set fantastic courses etc. then I suggest that you sort that external to your exercise equipment. Music playlists, workout tracks are easily found and played through existing equipment.
From time to time, I use recordings of Cycle races as motivation. SBS, an Australian National Broadcaster, has archived copies of all the big cycle races available for streaming. Working out to the commentary of the Tour de France is a great motivator. When they race uphill, I increase the resistance on my machine. When they sprint, I sprint. When they stop for a Natural Break, well let's just say I won't make that mistake again...

Hope that helps,

@SeaNoEvil00

Submitted by Bingo Little on Thursday, September 19, 2019

I completely disagree with the previous fatso's comment about the evils of folding bikes. man up and resist the temptation not to unfold it! Folding bikes are superb and necessary. What if you're entertaining? You don't want your guests to see you have a huge great bike parked up in the middle of your lounge or behind the dining table, do you?

However, based on my own experience, I completely agree about the Apple Watch. it's a very good tracker for this sort of thing. it won't tell you how many miles or kilometres you've cycled, but it does the rest.

As a fellow fat b*****d, the advice I received in terms of indoor cycles is that an even-paced, longer cycle is going to be more effective than anything with fluctuating intensity as described in the previous post. The Apple Watch calory count would seem to bear this out in my case. My calories burned has increased dramatically since I switched to even-paced cycles, altering the level of resistance on the bike every ten minutes or so. Having said that, it's got to be one of those things that is very personal to the user, I think.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Thursday, September 19, 2019

Thanks for your replies.

Yes, I do have the apple watch and use it on my current folding bike. The issue I find is that the one I have at the moment is dreadfully uncomfortable due to the horizontal distance between the saddle and the pedals. This is down to having fairly long legs I think.

I think I just wondered if there was anything to look for when I do upgrade. I will be looking for a non foldable for the above reasons but a fairly small footprint. I'm just aware that there are bikes at gyms which you can hop onto, hit a button and it logs everything on your IOS device but, as pointed out, does any of that really matter? Maybe I'm just trying to replace delicious snacks with a banquet of data.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, September 19, 2019

Hello Oliver. I thought that I'd add my thoughts on this post. I realize that you are looking for a bike. However, the Bowflex Max Trainers give you more bang for your buck. Not only do you get the desired cardio workout, but you also work the entire body, which means, the more muscle you build, the more fat you burn, the more healthier you become. Also, the workout only lasts 14 minutes in total. I have had mine for a year now and couldn't be happier. Admitedly, when I'm done, I'm really toasted but it's just 14 minutes so I give it my all.

Following is a copy of a post that I also contributed to here in another forum. I have copied it here for your review, while you are in search of a new piece of exercise equipment. I hope it helps.

Bowflex Max Trainer M7 and M8 Experiences Updated

I realize this thread is related to treadmills, but I thought I'd post my experiences with the Bowflex Max Trainer, in case someone is interested.

I own the Bowflex Max Trainer M7 model. When I was making my purchase, there were the M3, M5, and M7 models, with the M7 being the top of the line at the
time.

The bowflex Max Trainer app for iOS works very well with the unit. The trainer's display has tactile buttons on it that can sort of be used by the blind
to control some things. I had sighted assistance in setting up the display for the first time, but upon reflection, I don't think it would have been necessary.

there are several programs in the display that can be used. With some counting, you can get to the desired program. Personally, I just use the Max button,
located in the top row of buttons, middle button, to start the typical 14 minute workout, which has 8 intervals. When the button is first pressed, this
is your first interval. What I do is warm up on the floor first, then mount the unit and take several steps on the trainer, without starting the Max Trainer
session. When I'm ready, I hit the Max Trainer button and begin my first sprint interval.

Note: since I can't see the display, what I have done is to use thick elastic hair bands on the top portion of the arm. Since there are 8 intervals, I
added 8 hair ties. when an interval is complete, which is indicated by a bell, then I slide a hair band to the bottof of the bar to keep track of where
I am. The rocker handle bars on the unit pivot at the mid point. When sliding the hair band downward, it will only go so far so it will not fall off.

I use my apple watch workout app to track my heart rate. I start an Other workout for a Max Trainer session.

The unit comes with a Bluetooth heart rate chest strap. I don't use this as I feel it wouldn't be very effective on me as a woman. Instead, I use the cardio
grips on the unit after each sprint interval is complete so that the app has heart rate data to show. Ultimately, however, I use the highest heart rate
data from my Apple watch to plug into my Excel spread sheet that I created to keep track of my stats. You can track your stats in the Journal tab of the
app but I prefer a spread sheet view instead.

Since purchasing the M7 model, they have released the M8 now. This unit has a redesigned display that will now talk to you and works with Bluetooth headsets
during a workout. This display requires an annual subscription to maximize the learning of the computer as you go; however, there are some programs within
the unit that can be used without the subscription. Your purchase of the M8 comes with a one year subscription included. The annual subscription is $149.99.
If you own the M7 model, the display can be upgraded for $299.99, which includes the first year subscription in the purchase.

I have watched a Youtube demo of the M8 display in action and the voice included is very good. I haven't upgraded but if finances allow, I will be doing
so.

If you made it this far, I commend you for reading my long post. I can tell you that, despite the limitations of the M7 model, I believe that it is still
completely useable for a totally blind person. If you want a copy of my Excel spreadsheet for your own use, I'd be happy to share. If you have more questions,
I'll help the best I am able.

Update: 08/29/2019.

Bowflex has now released the Bowflex Max Trainer Total. This unit is an improvement over the M8 model, in that, two roller wheels are used on each side
for movement of the pedals. They also use a Samsung Tablet for consoul interactions. I spoke with a rep, who was kind enough to open up her version of
the tablet. She checked the accessibility features and confirmed that there are voice and low vision features available. My thoughts are that, thisd would
be the best of both worlds, for two reasons. First, you have the most stats being tracked, including cardio and strength. Previous models didn't track
strength, just cardio. But with the new addition of another location to place your hands, they now track how hard you push/pull with your arms, which turns
into greater caloric burn metrics. Finally, because they are using a Samsung tablet with voice features, we should be able to interact with the programs,
as well as receive the verbal feedback of the Max Intelligence voice, to know just how hard we are working. Currently, on my M7 model, all I have is the
bell to work for. All other metrics are tracked by my watch and the Max Trainer app, which has no voice.

I so want to upgrade my unit.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Thursday, September 19, 2019

Hi, thanks for the suggestion. It does look like an interesting machine. I don't actually need a full body workout in this case, just cardio as I do resistance training in other ways, IE dumb bells, body weight etc which, of course, don't require any clever tech. Also, sad to say, my budget doesn't really extend too far which is one of the reasons I wasn't looking at a treadmill either. The issue, it would seem, is getting something with connectivity to IOS without getting superfluous bells and whistles such as the android tablet on the Bowflex Max, BOO, ANDROID!

Maybe, what I should do is look at some IOS cycle apps and their requirements regarding connectivity to equipment. Failing that, I'll just get a dumb bike and cycle my dumb way into dumb oblivion.