• Home  / 
  • Blog
  •  /  Welcome to Smart Monkey

Welcome to Smart Monkey

By Tory Reiss / February 14, 2016

Your #1 source for the absolute best fitness reviews and information.

Most Popular Reviews

Get the latest from our blog

“At Smart Monkey Fitness we provide you the facts you need to make an educated purchase. Buying a fitness aide is an investment not only with your money but in your health. We take a hard look at the cardio machines, workout supplements, and fit tech you want and make your choice easy. Our in-depth reviews highlight the best features, weigh the pros and cons, and deliver a verdict that will help you make a smart decision on the value of your next fitness purchase.”

  • TreadmillsTreadmills are an exercise machine that allows the user to walk or run in place. Most treadmills can be set to various uphill angles and will move at different speeds ranging from a slow walk to a full-out sprint. Treadmills provide an aerobic workout in the comfort of a home or gym.
    Walking and running outside can be a hassle because of cold, heat, rain, snow, traffic, lack of daylight, poor running surfaces and the possibility of crime. Treadmills can be used while watching TV or reading, while dinner cooks or while supervising children. Having a treadmill conveniently located at home means owners are much more likely to exercise regularly than persons who have to travel to a gym. Treadmills are more likely to be used than other types of home exercise equipment because they require no skill to use- just walk or run- and can adjust to a very wide range of fitness levels.
    Fat-Burning Zone
    Some treadmills will measure the heart rate of the individual through an attached monitor and will automatically adjust the intensity of the workout to keep the individual in the fat-burning zone. Treadmills that automatically keep individuals in the fat-burning zone simply ask for the age to be entered and they do all of the math by themselves. Working in the fat-burning zone will burn about 400 calories per hour on a treadmill. Running for an hour three times a week in the fat-burning zone will burn off about a pound of fat in three weeks.
    Interval Training
    Interval training is used both for weight loss and conditioning. Interval training burns off more fat per hour than running at a steady speed, builds muscle and improves cardiovascular conditioning overall better than running at a steady speed. Interval training is also less likely to lead to injuries. Exercisers report feeling less bored during interval training than during steady running- the constant change-up of pace can be entertaining.
    Many treadmills come with automatic “interval training” programs built in, where the machine increases the speed and/or the incline during the intervals and then automatically returns to the base running mode. Performing a 40-minute interval training program three times a week will burn off about a pound of fat in three weeks.
    Buying a Treadmill
    For home use, consider how much treadmill is really needed. A treadmill used by one person to perform low intensity workouts doesn’t need to be anywhere near as powerful and sturdy as a treadmill used by multiple people to perform high-intensity workouts. Of course the more powerful and fancy the machine the more expensive it will be. The available space for a treadmill should also be considered. If space is limited, a treadmill that can be folded up for storage is a good idea.
    The motor should have at least 2.25 horsepower. The belt should be at least 50″ long and wide enough for the user to be comfortable. A very large person simply won’t fit on a narrow treadmill. Cushioning on the belt will reduce the shock on the joints. It’s best if the machine can be tested before purchase. Consider how noisy the machine is- a very noisy machine will drown out the TV and may trigger complaints from the neighbors.
    For better workouts, make sure the machine can provide a 12% or greater incline and reach speeds of at least 12 mph. Most machines come with an assortment of basic built-in workouts. Really fancy built-in computer systems that track workouts and build customized workouts can be fun but are not really necessary. There are some totally mechanical treadmills for sale, but in general a motorized treadmill is a far better purchase. Mechanical treadmills are more difficult to incorporate into an exercise program and, while cheaper to buy, are more difficult to use. Exercisers are far more likely to continue using motorized treadmills with built-in workouts while the cheaper mechanical device ends up being used as a clothes-hanger.

    Read Our Best Treadmill Review Guide

  • Woman using an Elliptical TrainerIn essence, an elliptical trainer is one of a variety of exercise machines that are designed to target specific areas of the body. In the case of an elliptical, it is meant to strengthen the muscles within a person’s legs, as well as the upper body, through the mimicry of running, climbing stairs and walking, all on one singular stationary machine.
    It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what type of person an elliptical is designed for, as it is an exercise machine that will benefit anyone that utilizes it. However, there are certain people that can benefit more than others. An elliptical is perfect for anyone looking to lose a lot of weight but unsure of their ability to stay committed to exercising regularly, as an elliptical doesn’t require a ton of effort. Those with an injury can also find great use in an elliptical, as this machine is meant to stimulate joints without injuring them.
    Advantages and Disadvantages
    The primary reason that an elliptical is one of the most popular exercise machines around is due primarily to the fact that the user is able to completely control the pace of their workout. It also won’t hurt the joints within a person’s body. Users will be able to workout longer than normal, as using an elliptical doesn’t waste as much energy as some other exercise machines. However, there are a few disadvantages as well.
    For one, they are only designed to improve cardio, so it doesn’t provide a complete workout. It also may not strengthen your muscles as much as you would like. Lastly, these machines can be somewhat expensive for those on a budget.
    Popularity and Elliptical Types
    An elliptical trainer is popular for a wide variety of reasons. The most important of these is because they are easy to use and are low-impact, meaning they don’t stress a persons bones too much. Unless someone is looking to build huge amounts of muscle, an elliptical is the foremost machine for staying in shape.
    There are 3 basic types of ellipticals, the trainer, cross-trainer and glider. A trainer includes pedals to stand on and a handlebar at the top of the machine, which doesn’t move. A cross-trainer is a bit more advanced, as it includes moving handlebars at the top, which allows the user to work their upper body by pushing and pulling the bars. The only difference between a trainer and glider is that the pedals don’t move in a circular motion, but by pushing the pedals forward.
    Best Elliptical Brands
    There are a number of fantastic brands for ellipticals that users can choose from, including Precor, Schwinn, Horizon Fitness and ProForm.
    Calories You Can Burn
    An elliptical provides a low-intensity cardio workout, designed to strengthen both the lower and upper body. The basic workouts include running, stair climbing and walking, though it’s possible to implement what is known as High Intensity Interval Training by pedaling extremely quickly at certain intervals. The amount of calories you can burn depends on the intensity you employ, as well as the weight of the person using the machine. However, it’s safe to say that a person of average weight could lose anywhere from 150 to 250 calories per 30 minutes depending on intensity.
    Why an Elliptical is a Good Investment
    An elliptical is a good investment for a number of reasons. For one, while they can be relatively expensive, they aren’t as costly as some other exercise machines. They will allow a person to keep in shape or lose weight without exerting too much energy, so they are perfect for a quick 30 minute workout whenever a person has time. Unless you’re training for a marathon or attempting to build a ton of muscle, an elliptical is a fantastic investment.

    Read Our Best Elliptical Reviews Guide

  • Exercise BikesIf you either want to get into shape or keep up with your daily cardio routine, it is a great idea to invest in an exercise bike. This piece of gym equipment provides an excellent workout, allowing you to strengthen everything from your legs to your glutes. With an exercise bike in your possession, you will start to see real results.
    For starters, an exercise bike is a machine where you work your muscles be raising resistance. Here, you’re able to start building muscles found within body parts like your legs, glutes and hips. Now you do not always have to rely on running for a good cardio fitness workout. Typically, an exercise bike costs anywhere from $200 to $2,000. Of course the more expensive a bike is, the more likely that it comes with better features and an overall sturdier design. However, you can still find some machines at a bargain price, which still leave you with an excellent workout.
    As far as exercise bikes go, there are two different kinds offered on the market. There is the traditional upright model that is very reminiscent to your average bicycle. Then, there is a recumbent bike which provides users with some back support. There is not too much of a difference between these two models, as they give users a similar workout. However, with an upright model, your glutes are generally worked better since you have the room here to extend your hips fully. Each bike helps support the body weight of the user and are typically recommended for anyone who suffers from a lower-limb injury or has poor balance. Although, because of the back support that’s installed in a recumbent bike, that machine is best for those with back issues.
    When it comes to choosing the exercise bike which is right for you, it is recommended that you try one out before making any purchases. That is because exercise bikes vary in both shape and size. This ends up being a personal preference, so play around with the bike and adjust it in the store to meet your specific size. Plus, you want a bike with a comfortable seat and pedals where you feet fit perfectly. At times, there have been bikes with handlebars that were too far away to reach and others where the seat left users feeling stiff, so definitely do not just buy any old exercise bike without seeing and feeling it up close and in person.
    Some of the best, most respected brands that you should look into when purchasing an exercise bike are Schwinn, Tunturi, Life Cycle, NordicTrack and Proform. However, if you want to save money, it is recommended buying one from a department store as they tend to offer the lowest prices. Remember, the amount of calories you can burn while using an exercise bike is based on the exact exercise you perform, your weight and how much time you spend on the bike.
    While there are definitely a whole slew of benefits to buying an exercise bike, there are some disadvantages to it too. Remember, before you buy anything you want to really think long and hard about whether or not you will make use of it. Too many times in the past, people buy expensive bikes and then never use them. That’s why you should set realistic goals you can easily achieve and then pick a bike that fits your needs. Also some bikes are not made for intense exercising purposes, which means they could fall apart while you’re using it. That’s why you need to pick one that is durable for whatever type of exercise you plan on employing.
    After purchasing your exercise bike, you have to be careful when it comes to the warranties. You want to make sure that whatever warranty you ultimately settle on includes at least two to three years of coverage on all moving parts. Besides this, the warranty should also feature roughly a year of labor. This is very important because if your bike fails on you at any point and you need to get some repairs done to it, this will cost you, especially if you have to opt for an extended warranty.
    Buying an exercise bike is definitely an excellent investment for those who are looking to lose weight, get in shape or just tone and build their muscles from the comforts of their home.With some hard work and dedication, you can achieve the body you always dreamed of with your exercise bike, making it well worth the money, time and energy put forward.

    Read Our Best Exercise Bike Reviews Guide

  • Exercise BikesWhen trying to lose weight and get in shape there are several types of exercise machines to choose from. The rowing machine provides a great workout for many reasons. The following provides detailed information regarding the rowing machine.
    What is It?
    In simplest terms, a rowing machine is a type of exercise machine that has a sliding seat. It simulates the motions of rowing a watercraft, requiring an individual to incorporate several different positions while going through the entire rowing process. These machines are also sometimes called ergometers.
    Who is it For?
    Almost anyone can get a good workout on a rowing machine. Those who need a low impact workout due to joint, knee, or back problems would still be able to get a good cardio workout with a rower. Those who have experienced knee and ankle injuries would find the rower to be an ideal exercise machine.
    What are the Benefits?
    The primary benefit of a rowing machine is that is provides an excellent aerobic exercise while providing a low impact workout. The rower offers a low risk of injury as long as the rowing posture is correct. It conditions both the upper and lower body. This type of workout saves time for busy individuals since so many muscles are used at the same time.
    What Types are There?
    There are several types of rowing machines including those that are flywheel or air resistance This type is one of the most popular. Hydraulic or piston resistance rowers are usually the most economical. The water rower would be the best choice for those who want to simulate actual outdoor rowing. Finally, there are magnetic resistance rowing machines.
    Why is it Popular?
    Rowing machines are used while sitting down, making it a machine many people will want to use when first starting an exercise routine. The great thing about the rowing machine is that the workout routine can be as easy or intense as each individual wants to make it. This can make the rower popular with beginners as well as those who are more advanced.
    What Brands are Best?
    The Concept 2 Model D machine is consistently rated among the best rowing machines. The flywheel produces minimal noise and it separates into two pieces for easy storage. Velocity Fitness CHR-2001 is one of the best magnetic machines. LifeSpan Fitness RW 1000 is a good rowing machine for those looking for one that’s more reasonably priced.
    What Kind of Workout Does it Provide?
    Rowing can provide both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. This means you’re getting a good cardio workout as well as strengthening muscles. At least a dozen muscles are targeted at different points in the rowing process. A few of the muscles targeted include the deltoids, triceps, glutes, and hamstrings.
    How Many Calories Does it Burn?
    If the rowing machine is used correctly and a fairly intense pace is kept up, an individual can burn 800 calories or more in an hour. If used properly, the rower will burn as many or more calories than most other pieces of exercise equipment.
    What are the Disadvantages?
    One disadvantage is that many people simply don’t know how to correctly use the machine. Most of the power should come from the legs when rowing, not the back or the arms. Some individuals lean in too far and the result could be a slipped disc. People need to be taught to row properly to get the most benefits from their workout.
    Why it Would be a Good Investment?
    A rower is a good investment because you’re getting an exercise machine that works different areas of the body. A rowing machine can take the place of several other machines or pieces of equipment.

    Read Our Best Rowing Machine Reviews Guide

  • Exercise BikesA barbell set that goes up to 300 pounds can be a great investment for the home gym. A single barbell set can provide a full-body workout that can be performed in the basement, garage or any other available space at home. A single barbell set can be purchased quite inexpensively, far cheaper than most pieces of exercise equipment. To increase the number of possible exercises, a weight bench to go along with the barbells is a good idea, but not necessary. A barbell set also takes up far less space than most pieces of exercise equipment.
    If your not into the idea of free weights, incorporating a resistance based workout is still important. If you are space conscious or want more of an all-one-solution, a home gym by Bowflex, Body Solid, or Total Gym may be a good fit for you. These home gyms are usually capable of 40-100 different full body resistance workouts and can be a terrific way to get in shape.
    Many people are too intimidated to attempt weight-lifting at the gym. In the comfort and privacy of your home, however, you can lift away while watching TV or supervising children and experience a wide range of wonderful health benefits.
    Why weights?
    Most people, when they think about exercise, think about cardiovascular exercise- running, biking, using the elliptical machine at the gym. Certainly some cardiovascular exercise should be performed weekly, but many personal trainers feel that weight training should be the focus of most individual’s workouts. Weight-lifting routines burn off body fat. They can prevent diabetes. They replicate most of the heart-health benefits of aerobic exercise- they improve endurance, reduce blood pressure, and improve cardiovascular function. They improve athletic performance. They reduce the risk of injury. They can relieve lower back pain. And they make people look better than aerobic exercise does. Performing aerobics exclusively, without also doing weight-training, tends to cause loss of both body fat and muscle bulk, leading to the stick-thin endurance runner look. Performing weight-training burns off fat and builds muscle, producing a more attractive “toned”, younger look.
    Building muscle through weight-lifting may actually be a route to feeling and acting younger. The well-known effect of gradually putting on body fat despite eating less and less as we get older is a consequence of losing muscle mass. Many other side-effects of aging can also be blamed on loss of muscles. Weight-training can partially reverse the muscle loss and make us look, act and feel younger. Even individuals in their 80’s and 90’s experience dramatic benefits from weight-lifting.
    Women Too
    Many women are afraid to lift heavy weights because they are worried about “bulking up.” However, this is an unfounded fear. Unless a woman takes steroids or embarks on a full-time career as a bodybuilder she won’t “bulk up” no matter how heavy the weights she lifts are. Lifting heavy weights has many health benefits for men and women. Building muscle is the most effective way to lose body fat. Muscle burns calories constantly throughout the day just by existing. Heavy weights are also an excellent way to strengthen the bones and ward off osteoporosis.
    A surprising bonus of weight-lifting exercise is that it dramatically improves mood. Any type of exercise can help relieve depression and anxiety, but weight-lifting is far superior than cardio in this regard. Being physically strong makes you feel, well, strong. Building muscle builds self-esteem along with it. And there are many advantages in daily life to being strong. You can carry your groceries and laundry up the stairs. You can open jars without help. You can change your own flat tire.
    Correct Lifting Form
    A possible problem with having a barbell set or all-in-one home gym is using poor form. In order to get the best results and to avoid injury it is important to use correct form while lifting. Before doing compound lifting exercises at home it may be wise to schedule a session with a physical trainer to learn the correct form for each exercise. After learning the correct form the exercises can safely be performed in the comfort of your own home.

    Read Our Best Home Gym Reviews Guide

About the author

Tory Reiss

Hi! I'm Tory Reiss. I built this blog to share my fitness quest and provide informative reviews of fitness equipment, gadgets, and supplements that you can use to help reach your health goals. Hope you enjoy it!