lab rat

Is This the Laziest Workout in the World?

I don’t work out, and it’s all my fault. There’s always my computer, after-work drinks, or really anything more pressing to do than go to the gym. So when I heard about the InMotion Compact Elliptical Trainer — a tiny elliptical that I can use in front of the TV or at a desk — I was a little bit annoyed. Here was a device so portable and small it would track me down and force me to work out. There was no way out. 

Imagine an elliptical machine without handles of any kind — the machine consists only of a pair of tiny plastic pedals connected to a digital reader that displays information like calories burned, time lapsed, number of strides, and distance walked. Using it, you feel a little like a unicyclist in the circus, except for the fact that there’s no one around to cheer you on. You can adjust the tension level by turning a small knob to make each step on the elliptical a bit more resistant. The entire compact elliptical costs $130 and is 24 pounds — light enough to move from room to room, but heavy enough to nix traveling with it from home to work.

I stepped on, reluctantly, for the first time last week, and for the season premiere of Homeland. After I gained my balance (which takes a second), I jogged happily through C.I.A. missions gone bad and shirtless Peter Quinn. I broke a sweat, but I hardly noticed. I stepped off at the end of the episode to find that I had burned 500 calories and taken 3,600 steps in 45 minutes. (Maybe I was stepping faster than I realized?)

I tried the elliptical again the following day at work, this time opting to exercise while seated, with my feet going under my desk. It was possibly the laziest workout I had ever done. But, unlike my workout from the day before, where I could feel my glutes, thighs, and calves strengthen, the seated elliptical only seemed to tone my calves. It was a workout, but not as butt-pumping as the one from the day before.

Since discovering the InMotion Compact Elliptical Trainer, I’ve exercised more often. This little machine should, if Homeland stays this good, transform my poor blogger-butt into an “Anaconda” booty.

InMotion Compact Elliptical Trainer, $130 at Joyus.

Is This the Laziest Workout in the World?