Rowing machine or Treadmill… help!

Hi all,
I need to decide on whether I go for a rowing machine or a treadmill.

I definitely need a piece of equipment.

I have gained 50lbs over 4 years and I really need to make a change.

I do have a few niggly knee issues and being larger it’s worse!

But I know running can burn more calories but if you asked me to run now I probably couldn’t

Help what should I do?
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Replies

  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 293 Member
    edited September 22
    If those are your only two choices, I'd say rower, because it's a full body workout and I'm not a fan of treadmills after our experience owning one. It was bulky, heavy, loud, didn't care for it. I've heard great things about the Concept2.

    Most of your weight loss is going to come from the kitchen though. Do the exercise for fitness, and muscle retention and building, and the calories burned there can help with creating an overall caloric deficit.
  • Hey @Retroguy2000

    Love the profile pic of your cat!

    Thanks for your response! Really good point too.

    Must focus on the food intake.

    Well let’s hope my journey “finally” beings here LOLLLLL
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 46,530 Member
    Personally I'd have a treadmill because after awhile on a rower, my left leg starts to numb due to mild sciatica. I don't get that on a treadmill.
    If I really had the room, I'd get a Stepmill.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • MikePfirrman
    MikePfirrman Posts: 3,213 Member
    edited September 23
    I have a (Sole) Treadmill, a Concept2 rower, a LateralX and an AD Pro (Assault Bike) in my home. All are top of the line fitness/cardio equipment.

    If I had to choose one for a beginner cardio person, it would be the AD Pro hands down. But I'd get a Rogue Echo instead of an AD Pro. Look, I LOVE my Concept2 rower. It's my favorite workout, but my kids and my wife like the AD Pro much more.

    An "Assault" style bike -- there are several of them, but the AD Pro, the Rogue Echo, the original "Assault Bike", and Xebex are the best-known brands. Rogue owns the Rogue Echo and is known for world-class customer service. Love my AD Pro, but when it broke (and they do), it took months to get it fixed and Schwinn (owned by Nautilus) was terrible to work with.

    I'd also consider a climber as well or a stepper like MaxTrainer by Bowflex. Even though I'm not a huge Bowflex fan either (the LateralX I own is their product - again, not great on Customer Service or fixing them), the MaxTrainer is a great piece of equipment.

    You can, by the way, get a good workout on a treadmill even with a dodgy knee. I don't run any more (and my right knee is really, really terrible), but I do use it on occasion to walk uphill. My Sole goes up to 15% incline. I'll sometimes walk a half hour on it. It almost burns as many calories as I did during my jogging days but with much less joint impact.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,520 Member
    Here's an alternative: does it have to be a machine? Can you go out, maybe join a club to train with other people together? That might be more motivating than getting onto a machine in your basement.
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,169 Member
    When I have a problem, the impulse to buy something is strong. But, will it solve the problem, that's always my question. The non-use of home exercise equipment is pretty notorious!

    Walking and/or running is always just a step away! You can follow free exercise videos on YouTube (Popsugar Fitness).

    As for machines, etc.: Try before you buy. If you have a gym anywhere nearby, join it for a while.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,520 Member
    When I have a problem, the impulse to buy something is strong. But, will it solve the problem, that's always my question. The non-use of home exercise equipment is pretty notorious!

    Walking and/or running is always just a step away! You can follow free exercise videos on YouTube (Popsugar Fitness).

    As for machines, etc.: Try before you buy. If you have a gym anywhere nearby, join it for a while.

    Yes, all of this! Especially the first part is so true, and I think most people here fell into this trap at some point.
    Mine was a cross trainer. Used it a few times, and then the huge thing stood in my small home. Instead I started workout out properly: either doing classes or free workouts in the gym at work or bodyweight exercises at home, or currently just go for a run or jump onto my bike and go somewhere. The cross trainer has long been sold, btw. It was never fun, lead to numb feet, and it just was soooo dull. Btw, working out never lead to weight loss. It just meant I was able to eat more. perfect.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,789 Member
    Back in to say: Even though I own two home exercise machines myself (Concept 2 RowErg and BikeErg), I absolutely 100% endorse the idea that it's generally not a great plan to pick out an expensive piece of exercise equipment in the hope that it'll be motivating, or with just good intentions to use it.

    It's a better idea to start doing something at relatively modest investment, see what reels you in, then maybe get relevant equipment for home.

    I was already a serious rower when I bought my RowErg (in fact, bought it as near-new at a small discount, when they sold off machines that had started brand new, were used in an indoor race I competed in myself). I'd been rowing on water and machines multiple times a week for a couple of years or so by then. Buying the machine added convenience, made it easy for me to train more frequently/effectively.

    Before the BikeErg, I had been taking spin classes twice a week for years and enjoying them, but that stopped during the pandemic. In summer, I could do some paved-trail biking locally, but we have Winter here in ways I feel I can't safely bike outdoors in. I finally bought the BikeErg to give myself some Winter workout variety at home. I wouldn't really recommend the C2 BikeErg to someone who wants a workout bike, but has no reason to stay in the the C2 ecosphere (which I do): It's just perfect for how I want to use it, how it fits in my life.

    It was a similar deal with weights: I don't strength train lots, but I'd been doing it at gyms/classes, and new what I wanted when I decided to buy equipment for home.

    Sijomial mentioned above that he's a cyclist, so he'd get a bike trainer. Same kind of idea.

    To me, yeah, that's the right way around: Figure out what you truly enjoy exercise-wise - that's where the long-term lifestyle magic is - and then buy equipment to support your enjoyment. Trying to make the purchase create enjoyment? Low success odds, for most people.

    If you don't want to join a gym or take classes: Start walking; bike outdoors if you already have a bike (however basic); use YouTube videos for floor exercises or tai chi or yoga or martial arts or whatever; swim at local beaches in summer . . . find something you enjoy, then support your enjoyment with purchases.

    That's a good approach. You're trying - should be trying - to fall in love with something, to want and need to do it. That typically requires "dating" a lot of options before you find your exercise "sweetheart". (Or is that "sweat heart"? 😉)
  • aCountryVegan
    aCountryVegan Posts: 16 Member
    When I was 100lbs overweight, I was very scared of hurting myself, when I first started to do something about it. I started using something for running called the MAF method of training. You take 180 and subtract your age, then for 80% of your training, you never let your HR go above that number. This will keep you in mostly the fat burning zone 2 and will keep you slow enough not to hurt yourself. Started with less than a mile and now I run 30 miles a week. No expensive equipment or weights to use and you will be amazed at how fast you get into shape. Add some plyometrics to the mix for strength and you will feel amazing. I own a treadmill but only get on it when the snow and ice is just too deep to slog thru it. LOL
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,520 Member
    When I was 100lbs overweight, I was very scared of hurting myself, when I first started to do something about it. I started using something for running called the MAF method of training. You take 180 and subtract your age, then for 80% of your training, you never let your HR go above that number. This will keep you in mostly the fat burning zone 2 and will keep you slow enough not to hurt yourself. Started with less than a mile and now I run 30 miles a week. No expensive equipment or weights to use and you will be amazed at how fast you get into shape. Add some plyometrics to the mix for strength and you will feel amazing. I own a treadmill but only get on it when the snow and ice is just too deep to slog thru it. LOL

    There is not fat burning zone, as: not a zone where the body burns fat relative to... what actually? Also, this whole method is woo pretty much as about 35% of all people have a HR where this method would result in them overdoing things or not doing anything at all. Heck, my running HR is usually just below 180, and has been for the past 8 years. Does that mean I'm still a toddler?
    But yes, starting very slowly is important, and actually is the most important thing to do when starting to run.
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,169 Member
    @aCountryVegan is making a good point about starting an exercise program: Find a moderate level and sustain it so you build up endurance. You can add intervals later, if you want to.

    @yirara's comment is also on point: calculating you HR zones should be done more carefully. It's best to determine your resting and max HR (see below), then calculate your percentages from that. This page describes the calculation:

    https://www.calculatorsoup.com/calculators/health/target-heart-rate-zone-calculator.php

    Figuring out your resting HR is fairly easy: count it in bed before you get up using a clock with a second hand. Figuring out your max HR with good accuracy is harder:

    https://theathleteblog.com/calculate-maximum-heart-rate/
  • aCountryVegan
    aCountryVegan Posts: 16 Member
    edited September 26
    yirara wrote: »
    There is not fat burning zone, as: not a zone where the body burns fat relative to... what actually? Also, this whole method is woo pretty much as about 35% of all people have a HR where this method would result in them overdoing things or not doing anything at all. Heck, my running HR is usually just below 180, and has been for the past 8 years. Does that mean I'm still a toddler?
    But yes, starting very slowly is important, and actually is the most important thing to do when starting to run.

    When you run you are either using fat or carbs as a fuel source. If you run in your MAF zone which is close to your HR zone 2 or lower, you will be primarily burning fat and not as much carbs. As you get your HR into zone 3 you start burning a mixture and once you go anaerobic you are burning primarily carbs. If you want to lose weight fast stay in zone 2 or below.

    Most runners will say that they can never run via MAF training, because its too slow, but once they do it, they are amazed at how poor their aerobic system really is and that is the purpose of running slower to run faster, building that aerobic base. Don't knock something unless you have tried it. The science behind this has been researched for over 40 years.
    https://philmaffetone.com/
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,789 Member
    @Jthanmyfitnesspal and @aCountryVegan are giving good advice about keeping it moderate for some time, especially at first, if you haven't been working out regularly CV-wise for a while.

    If maximum calorie burn is your goal (which IMO isn't a great goal 😆), for someone who's beginning or re-beginning workouts, that's most achievable with longer-duration moderate-intensity workouts. High intensity workouts are self-limiting in duration - there's only so long one can stay at high intensity, physiologically - plus can accumulate more fatigue than even a longer moderate session. That fatigue may bleed calorie burn out of daily life activity, i.e., we rest more, do less, perhaps in subtle ways.

    For sure don't fall for the "fat burning zone" nonsense. Just manage your intensity, frequency, duration and resulting fatigue in a sensible way, allowing for adequate recovery.

    I'd observe that while HR zones can be a useful training guide, using RPE (rate of perceived exertion) is also very reasonable, especially in the early stages before it's sensible to test oneself for actual measured max heart rate.

    It can be used, too, as a rough validator for the age-related HR range estimates, in the sense that if you're shooting for a moderate heart rate range, but feel like you're under or over a similar RPE range, it's a hint that you may have a statistically unusual HRmax or HR response.

    There are bunches of different presentations of RPE on the web, this is just a random decent-ish one. You might find others you prefer.

    pbmbf3qzunmd.png
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,789 Member
    edited September 26
    yirara wrote: »
    There is not fat burning zone, as: not a zone where the body burns fat relative to... what actually? Also, this whole method is woo pretty much as about 35% of all people have a HR where this method would result in them overdoing things or not doing anything at all. Heck, my running HR is usually just below 180, and has been for the past 8 years. Does that mean I'm still a toddler?
    But yes, starting very slowly is important, and actually is the most important thing to do when starting to run.

    When you run you are either using fat or carbs as a fuel source. If you run in your MAF zone which is close to your HR zone 2 or lower, you will be primarily burning fat and not as much carbs. As you get your HR into zone 3 you start burning a mixture and once you go anaerobic you are burning primarily carbs. If you want to lose weight fast stay in zone 2 or below.

    Most runners will say that they can never run via MAF training, because its too slow, but once they do it, they are amazed at how poor their aerobic system really is and that is the purpose of running slower to run faster, building that aerobic base. Don't knock something unless you have tried it. The science behind this has been researched for over 40 years.
    https://philmaffetone.com/

    Really, it doesn't matter.

    If you're in a calorie deficit overall, you'll burn fat sooner or later to make up that deficit. It doesn't matter if you burn it in the moment during exercise, or later while you're asleep, or anytime in between.

    The idea of doing more moderate workouts to improve conditioning and speed is kind of motherhood and apple pie, very reasonable. That's a training effectiveness reason. For fat burn, what matters is the calorie deficit. Any exercise burns more calories than not doing the exercise, which can increase one's calorie deficit, but I'd still argue that going all in on exercise to create calorie deficit is a sub-ideal strategy for both fitness and weight loss.

    After all, we burn nearly 100% fat when we're asleep. Does sleeping more result in faster weight loss? Of course not. The mix of moderate and intense exercise is more about training effects, not fat loss . . . unless/until excess fatigue is triggered (can reduce all day calorie burn) or in a training situation where fueling strategy matters.

    Endurance athletes need to worry about when/whether they're burning relatively higher percentages of fat vs. glycogen, because the fast-access glycogen is somewhat limited in long-duration exercise, and needs to be managed well for best performance results. For people who are not endurance athletes, the fat-burning zone is mostly academic, not a practical consideration.
  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 293 Member
    When you run you are either using fat or carbs as a fuel source. If you run in your MAF zone which is close to your HR zone 2 or lower, you will be primarily burning fat and not as much carbs. As you get your HR into zone 3 you start burning a mixture and once you go anaerobic you are burning primarily carbs. If you want to lose weight fast stay in zone 2 or below.
    You'll burn more calories at higher intensity though, and higher intensity also leads to muscle building. You've probably noticed sprinters are in better shape than people doing five hour marathons.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,789 Member
    edited September 26
    When you run you are either using fat or carbs as a fuel source. If you run in your MAF zone which is close to your HR zone 2 or lower, you will be primarily burning fat and not as much carbs. As you get your HR into zone 3 you start burning a mixture and once you go anaerobic you are burning primarily carbs. If you want to lose weight fast stay in zone 2 or below.
    You'll burn more calories at higher intensity though, and higher intensity also leads to muscle building. You've probably noticed sprinters are in better shape than people doing five hour marathons.

    Depends on how you define "in better shape", though. Muscle, maybe. Endurance, maybe not. CV, details matter.

    Plus you burn more calories per minute at high intensity, but high intensity is self-limiting in duration.

    It matters what the goals are. The only thing OP mentions is calorie burn.

    ETA more explanation, but I'll try to keep it brief (Retroguy, you know this, OP may or may not):

    People who prioritize some activity that requires significant CV fitness, if serious about it, will tend to follow some kind of periodized training plan.

    Simplistically, those usually involve a lot of longer slower work, and some shorter higher-intensity work, but many start with slower work. The mix of intensities may vary over calendar time. If the periodized plan is competition focused, it will aim at a date when the most important competition is taking place. If not focused on a specific competition, they may have a sort of seasonal cycle to them, since many CV sports have a competition season.

    Loosely, many of these are a macrocycles, mesocycles, microcycles kind of overall idea, from a 10,000 foot perspective not dissimilar from cycles in strength training regimens, though of course specifics of cycles differ.

    There are highly technical periodized plans specific to individual sports, kind of generic ones across CV sports, and some consumer-friendly starter plans that are a simplified version of the same general idea (like C25k, for example). Different plans have different philosophies.

    Maffetone is somewhere in this sort of universe, the Pete Plan is a free plan for rowers, etc.
  • aCountryVegan
    aCountryVegan Posts: 16 Member
    edited September 26
    You'll burn more calories at higher intensity though, and higher intensity also leads to muscle building. You've probably noticed sprinters are in better shape than people doing five hour marathons.

    Comparing sprinters to marathon runners is like comparing apples and oranges. Absolutely you will burn more calories doing HIT exercises, but how long can you keep it up. I can run for 3 hours at my zone 2 HR with very little perceived effort with proper hydration and fuel, but the calorie burn is way up there, in addition I have much less chance of injury than doing HIT. As for building muscle, most endurance runners do not want to build muscle. Look at any of the marathon runners that regularly compete.

    When I started at 305lbs my concern was not hurting myself. If you are hurt then you do not burn any extra calories. After almost ten years I have lost a 1/3 of myself and have managed to maintain it within 5% of my goal weight. Plus there is the added benefit of having to eat more now because of my calorie burn. While I still eat healthy, on my long run days I really have to work at getting all the calories I need. I use to do intermittent fasting but trying to eat 3000 calories of healthy food in an 8 hour period can be uncomfortable.