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You sit too damn much.
And for too long.
433,000 people are going to die this year from… you guessed it… complications related to sitting.
And gym time afterward isn’t enough. Scientists are seeing that an hour of cardio doesn’t undo the 8 hours of sitting. The only thing that tips the scales back into your favor is breaking up each hour of sitting with some activity.
You don’t want your office to sound like a gym.
There is nothing more annoyingly loud that cheap gym equipment that makes the office sound like a helipad.
I typically don’t know when an employee is on the FitBike unless I look up. It is that quiet. Creepily quiet.
Frankly, I drown out any noise it makes with my typing.
There are extenders that you can buy, but I think the standard desk space is excellent for your 13-16″ laptop.
You could fit a 17″ laptop on it, but it will take up the entire space.
It is ridged to keep the laptops from sliding, but if you want the added peace of mind a laptop strap is included.
No matter your laptop size, If you like to use a mouse, you will want to invest in the extenders which expand the space.
I can’t rave enough about the ergonomics on this thing. The seat adjusts to fit any height (although, see our bit in the next section about the extender), and the table moves forward and back.
This is key for me since my bad back doesn’t let me hunch over the keyboard. I absolutely must be able to sit upright.
The Fitdesk lets you pull the laptop closer to you so you can still maintain good ergonomics.
The wrist rests are a perfect touch to make it much more comfortable.
I also like the small for the lower back. It isn’t much but adds noteworthy comfort during long sessions. It’s something that I wish the SitNCycle had. You can still sit tall and engage your core, but it increases the comfort and ergonomics of this machine by 100%
The pedals are already slightly in front of you, so you have a relaxed, semi-recumbent position to pedal in.
However, if you want a more recumbent position, you can tilt the seat back.
I never see our people using the recumbent position. I think that could be an excellent option if you wanted to bust out a hardcore workout while watching Netflix. But most of us are sitting upright typing.
These are always estimates. If you are gym rat with more muscle and low body fat, you will likely burn more calories than someone with more fat.
But Fitdesk suggests these calories per hour
Setting #1 = ~180 calories per hour
Setting #2= ~200 calories per hour
Setting #3 = ~260 calories per hour
Setting #4 = ~288 calories per hour
Setting #5 = ~300 calories per hour
Setting #6 = ~380 calories per hour
Setting #7 = ~420 calories per hour
Setting #8 = ~ 460 calories per hour
Keep in mind that you typically burn 30 calories per hour while sitting.
So if you did 1.5 hours on setting 1, you would double your caloric burn over your average 8-hour workday.
And you could break that up into 3, 30-minute sessions.
Even better, some activity in the workday can boost your focus. I’m not going to say that this bike will make you smarter or that you will get a pay raise just because your focus and productivity just went through the roof…
You can also see that on the hardest settings, that this bike delivers a hardcore, sweaty workout.
So if you want to use it at home as your primary exercise machine, you will have no problems doing that. It’s no M3Keiser, so if you are a hardcore cyclist, you’ll still need a stationary bike or trainer to fill in the gaps.
But for most of us, we’d be doing good to maintain 20 minutes on a level 6. You’ll have no issues with getting as difficult of a workout as you could want out of this machine.
A Bike With A Desk
The treadmill desks have been quite popular for a while now. But I have only ever found one stationary bike that lets you pedal and work.
The first version of this bike got a lot wrong. It only fit short people, and, frankly, the desk on it sucked.
But they have fixed virtually every complaint I ever had on their old bike with this new 2.0 version.
Like any stationary bike worth its salt, you have an LCD screen for tracking your workout.
It’s not an “easy to read” screen, but you aren’t sitting there, watching the timer countdown.
You are working.
I do enjoy being able to record my workout time on my Fitbit or Samsung S Health app (or myfitnesspal. It’s a powerful, free, app.)
This screen tracks your workout time and your current speed as well as total distance and estimated calories. It’s everything you need to get an idea of how well you are staying in shape.
I hate assembling things. But this one isn’t too bad. The entire device is right around 35 pounds, so it’s not a lot to handle.
Most folks are saying that they have this bike assembled in about one and a half hours. Which for me is about two episodes of The West Wing.
They offer a robust 3-year warranty on the moving parts. Most bicycle manufacturers only offer one year.
The 3 Year warranty is quite re-assuring.
They do limit the warranty on the pedals and the cranks. This is important to note.
A lot of buyers don’t realize that there are a LEFT and a RIGHT pedal and that the LEFT pedal threads in “backward.”
Pay close attention to the install, and you can avoid that headache.
They also have a 30 money back guarantee. Which is reassuring anytime you are making a purchase of this size. Here is the complete warranty information.
With any bike, you have this issue of seat comfort. There is just no way around it.
Your butt is gonna’ have to toughen up.
I recommend limiting your workouts to 15 minutes for the first two weeks.
Anytime it gets uncomfortable, get off and walk around or go back to your desk.
You don’t want your brain associating pain with the bike, or you will form a Pavlov reaction against working out.
Some people try seat covers, but those make the seat thicker and can increase chafing.
Fitdesk has done a great job choosing a seat that works for most people, but if you are concerned about soreness, then grab this seat cover, and I think you’ll be a lot more comfortable.
Cup Holder and Mouse Tray Options.
I love these two add-ons. You have to buy them separately, but this expansion pack gives you a perfect place to set your bottle of water (or coffee!) and also gives you a place for you mouse.
Now I don’t use a mouse, but I do like to have a pad of paper and a pen next to me, and that’s what I use the extra space for.
It gives me enough extra room that I can use it as a full desk and makes it less likely that I need to go back to my real desk.
One Size Fits All?
My one complaint with this bike is the sizing. In most cases, you will be buying this for your personal use, and so the sizing won’t matter.
However, if you are buying one for an office with a lot of different employee sizes, or you are a husband and wife team with a significant height disparity, then you are going to find this frustrating.
The Fitdesk has a height extender that is needed if you are over 5’9″.
The good news is that folks who are 6’3″ are still saying they can fit on this bike well with the extension installed under the seat. But now the bike is too tall for the 5’8″ wife to fit on it comfortably.
The same thing goes for me. At 5’11”, I am most comfortable with the extension. But my 5’4″ wife can’t reach the pedals. And it takes me a few minutes to remove the extender.
So I either have to buy a second bike or just not let her use mine. (I’m one selfish dude.)
Something else to consider is getting the deskcycle since it can go under any desk.
I am unaware of any other desk bike. But there are more options for working out in the office.
Fitdesk vs. Stamina Wirk
This is the closest competitor to the FitDesk.
You’ll notice that it has a slightly more recumbent position.
It also offers more sizing options which mean that it is more of a one-size-fits-all than the FitDesk.
However, it appears that it may not provide the hardcore workout that FitDesk does. There have been a few users who have complained that this bike starts to demonstrated clunking noises after 200 miles of riding.
In fact, it may even appear that Stamina recommends using the bike for less than an hour at a time. We were unable to corroborate that for sure.
Based on some user’s experiences, if you plan on high mileage pedaling, and the one-size-fits-all isn’t a big deal, the Fitdesk might be a better option.
One thing the Wirk points out is that their bike has a low enough cross beam that you can stand over it and use the desk as a standing desk.
This could give you a lot more functionality as you can alternate between sitting and standing.
There is enough room for a 17″ gaming laptop on both the FItdesk and the Wirk.
Click here to check out the Stamina Wirk.
Fitdesk vs. Treadmill Desk
The challenge for me is that I can’t type and walk. I’ve tried. The bouncing of walking makes it too challenging.
That said, a treadmill gets you standing. And standing is, ultimately what you need to counteract the effects of sitting.
When you are walking, you are engaging your core and calf muscles in a way that cycling just can’t match.
The ultimate test is “what will you use?” I’m a cyclist who is concerned about not losing my edge during the 8 hours a day I spend sitting.
For me, pedaling is smoother and second nature, so it made the choice extremely easy.
Click here to check out the Treadmill Desk.
Fitdesk vs. Deskcycle
The Deskcycle wins on a lot of counts. It takes up less space. You don’t have to worry about “sore butt syndrome.” It fits any height.
The downside is that if you have a lot of employees who want to use it, you would either set up a “workout desk” that they could rotate through. Or some system for moving it from desk to desk.
I’ve noticed that these small cycles tend to get stuck under a desk and forgotten or “lost” and it makes it hard for the entire office to use them.
With the FitDesk, it is open and readily available for any employee who wants to use it.
Fitdesk vs. Exerpeutic 400 XL
Some folks have found desks that are tall enough that they can set the Exerpeutic 400xl at it and create their “pedal desk.”
The Exerpeutic is an actual stationary recumbent bike. It has a heart rate monitor. It is heavier. It offers more resistance.
And, just like the Fitdesk, it folds up when you need so store it.
But it does not have a desk. And for me, that is a deal breaker. If I wanted something to sit on while watching TV, I’d go with the SitNCycle. If I wanted something, I could type and pedal I would get the Fitdesk.
And for the gym, I might consider the Exerpeutic 400XL. It is a robust machine.
In today’s information technology age, the average American worker spends a significant amount of time sitting. The thought is that the average American spends as much as 10 hours a day sitting in their workday, with many spending over 13 hours per day once commuting and recreational times are added in.
The Mayo Clinic compares that extra time that we spend sitting with an increased risk of dying. There is a 125% increased risk of dying from heart disease for people who sit.
Our chronic sitting may be as bad for our health as smoking.
Worldwide, 433,000 people are estimated to die each year as a direct result of a sedentary lifestyle.
This is terrifying. Laptops require you to either sit or stand. And those of you who have tried standing desks have discovered that it’s hard to stand for a full 8-hour shift.
The good news is that activity can help undo some of these harmful effects. A Norwegian study concluded that you need an hour of brisk walking or working out to counteract 8 hours of sitting.
Other studies have looked at the length of time you sit. If you can get up every hour and move around for 10 minutes, it appears that you may be able to undo the damage done by sitting.
Something our office has been experimenting with is introducing workout equipment to the office.
A treadmill and a Fitdesk bike offer the employees a healthy alternative to sitting all day.
The sedentary lifestyle is harmful because it tells the body to devote energies to storing fat. The body builds up more fat-storage hormones and tells the “muscle building” and “fat burning” hormones that they can “go to sleep.”
What we want to do is maintain enough activity that our body doesn’t switch off those fat-burning and muscle building sequences.
While gym time helps, it doesn’t undo the damage.
The only way is to break up your day with multiple moments of activity.
I can certainly take 10 minutes every hour to remind my body that I’m not a sedentary slug. Especially if I don’t have to stop sending emails, conducting Skype video conference calls and busting through those backlogs of financial statement reviews.