How Do You Decide Which Fitness and Exercise Machines to Use?

If you are new to the whole fitness and exercise world, what are the best cardio and fitness machines to use at home or at the gym? It can be confusing, so I will try to help you decide with this short article.

No matter what exercise you are doing, whether it involves a machine or not, if your heart rate is raised from its normal rate, you are doing great things for your body and overall well-being. Running on the spot, using a skipping rope, star jumps or using the ingenious fitness and exercise machines of which we are all accustomed to today!

Your body will repay you tenfold in the future if you are consistent with participation in some kind of exercise regime.

If your finances permit, it's a great idea to invest in a home cardio workout machine like one of the many stair steppers available to buy online (if you can't get to a gym regularly) to keep in shape and fend off those unfriendly calories which seem to congregate around your midriff, particularly if you are not as active as you once were or are aging slowly.

I'm only 40, but I really notice restricted limitations of how much exercise I can do these days. It's not all down to my age, I had a car crash about six years ago and I am still recovering.

However, I am fortunate that I live only five short minutes from the local micro gym, which suits me just right. They have all the equipment I need and the dumbbells are plenty heavy enough. (They would not have been about ten years ago mind you!) And something I've realized as I am getting older is my bodies need to do more cardiovascular and fat burning work.

The two machine which I find more beneficial to me is the elliptical cross trainer (ski machine). But, my preference is always high intensity work using a combination of dumbbells and exercises like squat thrusts and burpee's.

The best exercise machine may come down to your personal preference, but the best cardio for fat loss is another matter. Most people think it is better to do around an hour a few times a week, but they could not be more wrong. If you want to find out what the bests ways to burn calories and fat, I've written about this topic in length, just head down to our bio to read more.

Don't Join a Membership Gym!

Firstly, if you are headed to a gym, the instructors there should be able to give you an exercise routine or weight loss plan and show you how to use the exercise equipment correctly. If they are unable to, choose a better gym!

Cardio machines are designed to either help you lose weight or raise your heart rate enough to improve your fitness. As a general rule (not always) greater weight loss is obtained from exercising longer and at a harder level (on any type of cardio machine) and a greater level of fitness is achieved by exercising in a shorter time, but at a lower resistance level and quicker movements.

I vary my workouts for several reasons. Boredom is the main one! I get bored easily doing cardio work, even though I know my body now requires it.

Choose the best fitness and exercise machines which you feel comfortable exercising on. It is very important that you enjoy your workout, if you don't - it just becomes sheer hard work and you won't be consistent with your exercise regime. Or possibly even quit.

Only use your favorite exercise machines or choose a low impact cardio machine like the Stairmaster or elliptical trainer. Your muscles won't fatigue, before you've completed the length of time you set in your exercise goals.


Treadmills are for basic impact workouts, like jogging and running or walking. Depending on the price range, most treadmills will a good incline adjustment along with a substantial speed adjuster. I can't run or job (health reasons), but I do love the treadmill for steep uphill walking as a change from the elliptical and the stationary bike. I set it for as steep as I can manage, then I don't have to walk as fast to bring on a good 'sweat'!

The longest I will use it for is 30 minutes, or boredom sets in!

Most treadmills will give you the option to monitor your heart rate. Some use a hand grip to measure it, which I find pretty useless as the machines get older (I'm talking about gym based machines), while others will use a heart rate strap wrapped around your chest, which is a better option. (These are great to have, whatever exercise you are doing if you have set yourself a list of fitness goals - see the link over on the right hand side for a strap).


The Stairmaster is a brand name of steppers and stepmills, for example the Stairmaster Stepmill SM916 and Stairmaster Stairclimber SC916. Mind you, Stairmasters are at the top of all price ranges when it comes to exercise machines!

Stairmasters are famous for their ingenious design, which mimics actually walking up a flight of stairs. A little different from other types of steppers. And they are not kind to your knees, neither are they advisable to use if you have posture or back problems.

Elliptical Cross Trainers

This is by far my most favored exercise machine. They are low impact machines, which means they are kind on the knees and they put low forces on your other joints, like your ankles and elbows. They work by mimicking the action of a cross country skier. Your legs do the pushing in a sliding motion, while your arms do the pushing and pulling for a complete all over body workout, exercising your shoulders and really working the muscles of your back.

That being said, don't stick to a low impact workout unless you are advised to do so. It's better for your joints and bone structure to include higher impact exercises for maintenance and life in the outside world!

Stationary Bikes

By far the most common piece of fitness, cardio and exercise equipment found in gyms is the stationary bike. This is the upright version of the bikes you see in gyms. I have knee problems, so I set the seat on a stationary bike right up high (and because I am six foot three!). This way the cycling motion does not bother me in any way.

As with the other types of workout machines, you have time and resistance options to vary your workout. If you want to increase your heart rate, use a stationary bike at a lower resistance and for a short period of time. If you want to emphasize on weight loss, use them at higher resistance and for longer.

Interval training is becoming more popular for a lot of people. But that is a hub for another time. In brief - very high resistance, for a very short period of time. But very fast at the same time! That way of training is for more advanced fitness enthusiasts I think, I find it difficult to maintain in my exercise regime regularly.

Conclusion: Which Fitness Exercise Machine is the Best?

The answer is simple. Whichever one you feel comfortable working out on and you return to time and time again, because you enjoy it! There is no best cardio machine by any means, although my personal opinion is whichever machine you are using which is burning the higher amount of calories at any one time. And that usually means using a machine which works lot's of the larger muscles in your body at the same time. The answer is obviously the Elliptical Cross Trainer!

Author's Bio: 

Andy James is a fat loss and muscle building nut who enjoys spreading the good word about all things fitness. He has a huge fascination with the best ways to burn fat, and loves dispelling the myths which surround cardiovascular workouts. His website, discusses the topics like the best cardio to do if you only have fifteen minutes free per day, and what is the best diet to eat to gain muscle at the same time. Follow Andy on Google+.