A staple at most gyms, treadmills are popular for good reason: They accommodate almost any fitness level and goal. If weight loss is on your list, working out on a treadmill should be, too. “Treadmills are a great way to burn calories and help with weight loss because they simulate a real-life movement: walking or running,” says personal trainer Colin Westerman. There’s one trick, though, that boosts your ability to burn calories for weight loss on a treadmill: “You have to bear the load of your body weight,” says Westerman. That means no holding onto the treadmill’s side handles as you walk or run.
The treadmill’s features also work well for weight loss. “You have to keep up to the speed of the belt on a treadmill so you cannot rest or take it easy,” says Westerman. There’s also the calorie-zapping incline feature, allowing you to kick up the intensity without having to move faster or break into a run if you prefer a joint-friendly walk.
Group cycling bike
Most gyms have stationary bikes, but the best ones for revving up weight loss are often found in the group exercise studio – whether you ride them as part of a class or cycle solo. “Indoor bikes for group cycling tend to fit a rider differently than a stationary bike,” says Krista Popowych, a fitness expert and Master Trainer for Keiser, a company that creates bikes and education for group cycling.
“These bikes allow for more adjustment points, such as seat height, saddle fore and aft [front and back] position, handlebar height and handlebar fore and aft position.” The more you can tailor the bike’s fit to your body, the more comfortable the ride. And the more comfortable you feel on the bike, the longer you’ll be able to ride, which counts toward weight loss.
“Indoor bikes also have a very smooth pedaling ‘feel’ to them,” says Popowych, “because they’re built to mimic outdoor riding.” For this reason, they complement exercise techniques like interval training that burn lots of calories.
Indo-Row Rowing Machine
Rowing machines have made a comeback, thanks in part to Indo-Row, which offers group classes and features on its machines that help you get the most out of this cardio program. For example, the Indo-Row’s water-filled flywheel on the front of the machine mimics the dynamic resistance of a boat gliding over water.
“The water creates a very authentic feel and consistent resistance throughout the entire stroke,” says Josh Crosby, a trainer and creator of Indo-Row in Los Angeles. “The extremely smooth action, comfortable seat and ergonomically designed handle allow you to challenge yourself both with intensity and duration. This is a perfect recipe for calorie burn.”
If you think rowing only works the arms and back, think again. “The Indo-Row machine utilizes more than 80 percent of your muscle mass, taking the body through a dynamic range of motion,” says Crosby. “By spreading the workload over the entire body, you’re able to work at a higher intensity or go longer.” Either way, you’ve just added more calorie burn to your workout.
StepMill by Stairmaster
Sort of like a fast-moving escalator for the gym, this machine simulates climbing stairs – except the steps actually move! “This is one of the hardest pieces of cardio equipment,” says Westerman. “It’s like a treadmill with stairs.”
One reason it works so well for weight loss is the potential for calorie burn. You could climb the equivalent of 10 or 20 flights of stairs. “You’re working against gravity – essentially going up a flight of stairs – and you’re forced to bear most of your bodyweight,” explains Westerman.
“Plus,” adds Westerman, “you have to lift your foot off of the step and up onto the next step as opposed to a Stairmaster or elliptical trainer, where your feet stay planted on one step for the duration of the workout. This extra movement causes more work and burns more calories.”