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What Should I Drop Money on If I Want to Shed Some Pounds?

Please dear god don’t let it be heavy

You have innumerable options available to you when settling on a training-equipment purchase, so it helps to go into the selection process with a clear vision of your goals. Some people are hoping to burn fat, some folks want to build muscle and many others are only hoping to burn fat and build muscle in very precise places. 

Unsurprisingly, all of these actions are met with accompanying shifts in body weight. While it’s usually advisable to focus on holistic measurements of health, some people still focus irrationally on their weight to the exclusion of all other health indicators, as if that three-digit figure is going to tell them everything they need to know about the health their bodies

I’m one of those people: What’s the best home exercise equipment for weight loss?

This is a trick question, because your weight is the sum total of everything that could be defined as part of your body. If I’m making an overreach on the technicality of the definition — which I usually do — this is going to include your adipose tissue, muscle mass, bone and organ matter, water weight and digested food waste, all the way down to the weight of the person’s hair. But for our purposes, let’s focus on fat, muscle, water weight and digested food waste. 

An uncomfortable truth — both figuratively and literally — is that up-and-down movements and jolts to the digestive system can stimulate an acceleration in the digestion process and cause food to move through your body at an accelerated and often inefficient rate. This means that people who routinely endure long bouts of running cardio are often spirited away into the bathroom to unload their digested food immediately following their hour-long runs.

Meanwhile, strength training and resistance training are surefire ways to increase your bone density, and to thereby increase the weight of your bones. Generally speaking, weight training is disqualified from this scenario because it’s well-known to prompt increases in muscle mass, especially when folks are specifically training for hypertrophy. Along those lines, we also need to identify and eliminate any cardiovascular training methods that might prompt muscle growth on their own.

What types of exercises are those?

Devices like rowing machines activate far too many muscles and contribute to their growth, at least compared with doing nothing at all. Likewise, a machine like the stepmill can help people strengthen their lower bodies to such an extent that they may not even need to perform lifts that target the legs in order to attain musculature in them. From our perspective, training with these devices isn’t significantly better than lifting weights from a muscle- or bone-density-building standpoint. Which is to say that I’d advise you to do them under all other circumstances unless you’re truly looking to lose as much sheer weight as possible, by the purest and potentially most unreasonable definition of the word “weight.”

Okay, so what’s left?

Here’s the trick: We can eliminate from consideration any training equipment that doesn’t profess to offer unavoidable cardiovascular benefits, and we can also eliminate any cardiovascular training devices that have a realistic claim of providing muscle-developing benefits. For good measure, it would be nice to have a device that would send you scurrying off to the commode just as soon as you’ve completed torching your fat on it so that you can unload any remaining water weight and leftover solid food waste. When we strip all of that away, what we’re left with is a good old-fashioned treadmill.

I know, you’re shocked.

Not that I’d ever recommend that you solely use a plain, vanilla treadmill under nearly any other circumstances if you were training for optimal health, or if you had some other cardio fitness apparatus available to you along with the capability of having your hands occupied. But you asked a very specific question, and I decided to provide you with an obnoxiously literal answer. 

Owing to its efficiency as a calorie-burner, sweat-producer and poop-inducer with training settings that will inhibit the production of beneficial muscle mass and bone mass, the treadmill is your go-to piece of fitness equipment for at-home weight loss.