Update: the 438 model is no longer sold, but the 431 looks to be the comparable current model. Plus, the side grips don’t interfere with magazines on the console, like our 438 does.
Once upon a time I joined 24 Hour Fitness. I thought it would be good to have weight machines and ellipticals and stairclimbers at my disposal and, at the time, the nearest one was only a mile from where I lived. I prepaid for a 3-year term and now my annual renewal is only $20 a year. For the first 3 years, I actually went pretty regularly. Let’s just say I had a lot of time on my hands after work and on weekends. Then I met T, and suddenly the gym didn’t seem like the best option of what to do after work. Granted, I still went a few times here and there, and we did go together that one month we were training for the 10k, but for the most part the gym and I don’t see each other much. I had been gone so long I didn’t even know they added fingerprint scanners as their entry system!
Now, T has a membership to 24 Hour Fitness and he has access to the gym in his office building. But he started looking into home elliptical machines to make it more convenient. I had an elliptical once, a cheap one, and it made a nice coat rack in my guest room. I just didn’t like it and it seemed like every time I stepped on it, the dogs were getting into something and I’d have to check on them and then I’d lose motivation to get back on. So, at first, I was not very positive about home machines. T was pretty determined, though, and researched all sorts of models and brands. If you’re going to buy one, you really should spend the money to get a good one. Otherwise it’s a total waste of money because it won’t be easy enough to make you use it. I offered to split the cost with him to 1) speed up the process and get the darn thing in the house instead of waiting months and months for more research and 2) because I would probably use it, too.
That’s what we bought: the Schwinn 438. We bought it from Amazon.com after we found out no sporting goods stores actually carried it and Amazon.com gave us free shipping! We’ve only had a couple of weeks, but it’s nice and smooth and has pretty good programs. The fan is pretty useless and on hot days I have a fan in front, a fan in back, and possibly the AC unit going (we set the elliptical up next to the AC window unit). It’s in the dog/TV room so we can watch whatever program is on the DVR. The 438 works with heart rate monitors (not just the handheld grips), the 418 and 430 don’t. That’s one of the features I wanted. I also like that it tracks how many workouts you’ve done and your results.
What I don’t like is how the magazine “rack” is set up. On the other two models, the handlebars are positioned so they don’t get in the way of a magazine, but on the 438 they are to the side and raised. The only thing holding the magazine are 2 tiny tabs at the bottom of the console and the handlebars don’t let the magazine lie flat. Plus, the fan gets in the way at the top. I’ve actually sent an e-mail to Schwinn to ask them why they made the design the way they did and if there’s any way to make it work with my magazines. In the meantime, I watch Big Love or some MTV HD show or Food Network.
The best part of having this elliptical at home? It’s not the fact that we don’t have to drive to a gym, or that we can work out at a moment’s notice, or that we have control over what’s on the TV. No, for me, the best part is that I don’t have to adhere to the gym’s dress code. Shorts and a sports bra and I’m good! No heavy t-shirt as a cover up, no long workout pants.
Now, if I can build my list of dinner meals that require 45 minutes of unattended cooking, it’ll be even better!