Product of the Week: Is Eight Sleep’s Pod 3 the Best Sleep Cooling System? 

The Pod system from Eight Sleep is touted as the best way to cure night sweats and personalize temperature regulation for better sleep. ATN put the high-tech mattress topper to the test
All products featured on Athletech News are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission

Eight Sleep was founded in 2014 in San Francisco and financed its first products through a crowdfunding campaign. Since then, the company has become known for being the sleep solution of choice for larger-than-life figures like Mark Zuckerberg and Bryan Johnson.

The Eight Sleep Pod acts as a smart mattress cover that heats or cools your bed to improve sleep quality; it can adjust temperature manually or automatically, and also provides in-depth sleep tracking. 

Athletech News tested the Eight Sleep Pod 3 for two months to see if the high-tech mattress topper can deliver on its promise to provide better sleep. 

Pros

Setting up the Pod was an easy experience despite its large size. Hydrogen peroxide is necessary to prevent molding within the water tubes. However, the system allows users to add the chemicals into the Hub up to a week after setting up the machine, so setup initially requires no additional tools. The Pod 3 cover also fits snugly over mattresses. It took a few hours to get the Pod filled with water and ready for sleep, so setting up the device before evening is best.  

As a warm sleeper, the Eight Sleep Pod was something I never knew I needed. Instead of cranking up the air conditioning or fan, my bed can provide the cooling required on even the warmest summer nights. For those who have trouble with overheating during sleep, the Pod is one of the best products to cure night sweats. It can also keep electricity bills lower for the cost-conscious. Similarly, on cold nights, the warm setting provides comfort reminiscent of turndown service in a luxury hotel.  The Pod can cool to 55 degrees or heat up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The Pod can also likely save relationships: it can customize different temperature preferences for each side of the bed. Unlike competitors such as BedJet or the Ooler, the Eight Sleep Pod requires only one unit to power both sides of the bed, taking up less space. Different users sharing a bed can create profiles through the app to manage individual preferences, like their side of the bed and temperature settings.  

Users can opt for manual temperature adjustments or its “AutoPilot” system. After seven days of use, the system begins understanding your body and sleep routines, so the Pod automatically adjusts the temperature to provide optimized sleep.

Eight Sleep can be configured to cool one side of the bed while heating the other (credit: Eight Sleep)

One of the Eight Sleep Pod’s best features is the ability to set a sleep routine. Based on your customized sleep routine, the mattress topper begins heating or cooling at set times of the night. For example, if my set bedtime were 10:45 pm, the Pod would begin heating up at around 10:15 pm in preparation for my wind-down time. This creates built-in relaxation time perfect for reading or television before bed. Since its powered by WiFi, users can also turn on the Eight Sleep from anywhere to warm up or cool down a bed before arriving home.

I liked that the app provided an overall sleep fitness score out of 100, which was informed by sleep stages (heart rate, breathing rate, and heart rate variability), routine (bedtime and wake time, including sleep latency), and sleep quantity, measured in hours and minutes. Getting a score out of 100 allowed me to more quickly get a sense of my sleep quality compared to wearables with other score systems. Users can also add tags to each day, marking when they consumed alcohol or watched TV late at night to improve healthy habits. 

The accompanying Hub is also a manageable size and sleek design, easily blending into the surrounding environment. It only requires new water and hydrogen peroxide every two to three months, which makes for easy maintenance. 

I also compared Eight Sleep’s tracking to my other wearables. While the tracking was generally aligned, I noticed Eight Sleep often estimated better sleep quality. Although it was unclear which was correct, I found that Eight Sleep was more often similar to my own impressions of a night of sleep than other wearables. 

Eight Sleep Hub (l) and cover (credit: Eight Sleep)

Cons

For those with limited space around their bed, the Pod’s Hub might not fit. The cords are not long enough to reach anywhere besides next to a nightstand (or in lieu of one). 

Instead of a sound alarm, the Pod allows for a vibration alarm. The feature is convenient, particularly for those with sleeping little ones around. However, I found myself unable to get used to the feeling of the entire mattress vibrating as my wake-up call and turned off the functionality fairly quickly. In addition, I found that if my partner had the alarm turned on, the vibration is often felt on the other side of the bed, as well, even if yours is turned off. 

For those who want complete silence when going to bed, the Pod 3 Hub also makes some noise. It did not bother me as it blends in well with other background noise or sleep sound machines; however, it might bother those who want complete silence. 

The Eight Sleep Pod 3 also requires a membership (starting from $15/month) which might irk some users after spending over $2.000 for the device. Although the membership is optional, it is required to unlock the AutoPilot and sleep tracking features. 

Pod 4

Eight Sleep recently came out with the Pod 4, which boasts even more impressive technology than the Pod 3. It’s even less perceptible than the Pod 3, for those with specific mattress preferences. It also boasts 2x more cooling power and an even quieter Hub.

The Pod 4 can be used without a phone; users can tap the zones on each side of the pod to control temperature. Pod 4 Ultra also comes with an additional base that can provide elevation for sleeping, reading, and snoring mitigation. Pod 4 Ultra can automatically detect snores and instantly elevate the user to stop the noise. 

Overall 

Overall, the Eight Sleep Pod 3 is one of the best gadgets for improving sleep quality through temperature regulation and comprehensive tracking. The device is great both for elevating your general sleep performance and solving specific body temperature regulation needs.

Although the price of the device and membership is high, Eight Sleep really can change your sleep (and life) for the better.

Read more ATN Product Reviews here.

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Fitness Influencers Negatively Affect Mental Health, Research Suggests

Young adults who follow health influencers on Instagram may be physically healthier, but they’re more likely to be depressed and anxious, a new study finds

Young adults who follow health and fitness influencers on Instagram engage in more vigorous exercise and consume more fruit and vegetables but also experience higher distress scores (depression, anxiety and negative mood) than non-followers, according to a new study.

The study, “Healthier But Not Happier? The Lifestyle Habits of Health Influencer Followers,” published in the Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, examined the lifestyle, health and social media habits of 1,022 individuals ranging in age from 18 to 25 across the U.S., the U.K. and New Zealand. The participants completed a survey in 2021 and the study primarily focused on the impacts of influencers on the highly popular social media app Instagram.

It could be one of the great paradoxes of modern times, considering worldwide adult obesity has more than doubled since 1990, adolescent obesity has quadrupled and more than half of the world uses social media

Ultimately, the study demonstrates that followers of health influencers on social media may have some healthier behaviors than non-followers, but it comes at the cost of higher distress and well-being. As people look for ways to get healthy and source motivation, are wellness-focused Instagram users forced to choose between inspiration and gloom?

The Highs & Lows of Social Media

Instagram has catapulted fitness and wellness influencers such as Kayla Itsines, Mari Llewellyn and others to stardom (and entrepreneurship), giving them a platform to promote and monetize workouts, apps, activewear and supplements in front of a mostly female user audience, whom the study found to have a higher socioeconomic status and education level than non-followers. 

The power of social media is substantial — even Peloton has made a play to tap TikTok as a way to nab fitness-focused users while Pilates continues to gain traction with countless #PilatesPrincess videos.

credit: Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash

Interestingly, the authors found that health influencer followers who engage in more vigorous physical activity (150 minutes a week) were associated with higher distress levels, in stark contrast to non-followers and those who don’t use Instagram. Similarly, distress rates were especially pronounced among social media users who follow food or diet-related health influencers.

Finding a Healthy Balance

The paper acknowledges that following health influencers can have some positive health benefits, such as motivating users to make healthier food choices or inspiring them to “self-improve,” but that certain drawbacks, such as some health influencers reinforcing the “fit-ideal” body type, can lead to compulsive exercise or healthy eating.

The authors cite previous research that shows exercising for health and well-being is associated with a more positive body image, as opposed to “appearance-related” motivations to work out, which tend to be associated with a low body image. 

Social media — especially Instagram — has come under fire in recent years for findings that link high usage with low self-esteem and poor mental health among young users. It’s a point that the study’s authors make, noting that there could be negative consequences from Instagram usage in general, rather than just following health influencers on Instagram. 

Nonetheless, the study’s preliminary findings indicate that following health influencers may disrupt the positive relationship between health behaviors and mental health.

Although additional research is invited, the study’s authors provide a concise answer to the question of whether following health influencers is beneficial or harmful to young adults:

“It may be both,” they wrote. “In summary, although (health influencer followers) are healthier physically, they may not be happier.”

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California Staple Hot 8 Yoga To Open First New York Location

The hot yoga chain is headed for the Empire State after making a name for itself out west with 12 studios

Hot 8 Yoga, a hot yoga brand with a 12-studio presence in California, is going coast to coast. The brand announced the launch of its next studio, set to open in New York City’s Brooklyn Heights neighborhood by the end of this summer. 

“It’s like coming home for me,” said Vincent Nicoletta, founder and CEO of Hot 8 Yoga. “I left Brooklyn Heights after living there for many years to come to California 13 years ago to start Hot 8 Yoga. I can’t wait for all the Brooklyn peeps to light up our community with their magnetic energy.”

Hot 8 Yoga offers a variety of classes focusing on strength, flexibility and balance. Classes include Hot Yoga, Hot Power Fusion, Hot Power Yoga, Hot Yoga Sculpt (with weights) and Hot Yoga Barre. Over 100 classes take place each week at different intensity levels. Temperatures in studios range from 105-110 degrees during classes.

The Brooklyn Heights location will be at 57 Court St. in a space designed to fully cater to the yoga community. Along with its usual classes, the Brooklyn location will also house Yoga Teacher Trainings for those interested in becoming instructors.

Hot 8 Yoga’s other sites are in Beverly Hills, Culver City, Hollywood, Pasadena, San Francisco, Santa Monica, San Jose, Sherman Oaks, El Segundo, Woodland Hills and two in Los Angeles. The Brooklyn site represents its first the brand’s first studio outside California.

As community-oriented boutique fitness brands surge in popularity post-pandemic, Hot 8 Yoga will compete with brands such as franchise giant YogaSix, which offers a hot yoga class type and expanded its presence in New York last summer. However, high demand for the fitness and wellness modality argues both brands are primed for success. Yoga classes were among the top searched class-based fitness modalities in 2023, trailing only dance classes.  

The post California Staple Hot 8 Yoga To Open First New York Location appeared first on Athletech News.

Fireside Chat: Wodify’s Brendan Rice on Hybrid Fitness Misconceptions

Rice shares his thoughts on what a successful digital strategy actually looks like for gyms and studios, including whether brands should create their own content

In this exclusive “Fireside Chat” interview, Brendan Rice, CEO of Wodify, a leading software provider for fitness brands, joins Athletech News Founder and CEO Edward Hertzman to discuss how gyms and studios can set up a winning hybrid fitness strategy as well as the pitfalls that come with misunderstanding what it means to be a brick-and-mortar brand that also plays in the digital space

Rice and Hertzman take listeners back through the pandemic and into the future, explaining how some brands have digitized already — and why others need to do so moving forward in order to be successful in the coming years.

Watch the full interview here for expert commentary on the following:

Managing connectivity between fitness brands and their members through technology

Difficulties of content curation for gyms and studios

Persistence of the human element amid digitization 

Key Talking Points:

(0:00 – 1:00) Introductions

(1:00 – 3:49) The pandemic’s influence on hybrid fitness

(3:49 – 6:12) What does hybrid fitness really mean?

(6:12 – 9:12) Wodify’s usage of data and analytics 

(9:12 – 10:46) Being a tech provider, not a vendor

(10:46 – 14:16) Misconceptions about “digital” fitness

(14:16 – 18:40) Common mistakes in establishing hybrid fitness

(18:40 – 20:08) Importance of patience in building an audience and engagement

(20:08 – 22:16) Digital tools gyms must have in 2024

(22:16 – 25:55) How Wodify has helped CrossFit and Jiu-Jitsu studios 

(25:55 – 29:32) The future of hybrid fitness

(29:32 – 30:47) Wrap-up

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Springbok Analytics Adds Dr. Andy Galpin as It Scales 3D Muscle-Scanning Tech

Springbok, which uses AI to create 3D visualizations of MRI scans, already has partnerships with the NBA and the NFL’s Houston Texans

Springbok Analytics, a muscle analytics company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to improve athlete health and longevity by making MRIs available as 3D visualizations, is adding to its team.

On Wednesday, Springbok announced the appointment of Dr. Andy Galpin to its advisory board. A human performance scientist with a PhD in human bioenergetics, Dr. Galpin is a Professor and Director of the Center for Sport Performance at Cal State Fullerton. He also has a large following on social media where he offers health, fitness and nutrition advice.

“We are honored that Dr. Galpin is joining our advisory board and committing his time and knowledge to furthering our positive impact on the human condition,” said Springbok Analytics CEO and co-founder Scott Magargee. “His experience, credentials and reputation speak for themselves and his involvement with us further reinforces the scientific integrity on which Springbok is based.”

Much of Galpin’s experience comes from dealing with professional athletes; he’s worked with Olympians and All-Stars in leagues including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and UFC, among others. That makes Galpin an ideal fit at SpringBok, which recently partnered with the NBA and NBPA to conduct the largest-ever study on game load and athletic performance for professional basketball players. SpringBok also recently agreed to a partnership with the NFL’s Houston Texans to conduct a similar study. 

“I have seen every technology, every company, and every product and service in the human performance space,” Dr. Galpin said. “When I first came across Springbok, I knew I had to be part of what they were building. What Springbok can do right now is already incredibly impactful. I’ve been scanned myself and we’ve done it with clients. I’ve been really impressed.”

Dr. Andy Galpin (credit: Springbok Analytics)

“Springbok has the potential to unlock things that we have been wondering about, physiologically and scientifically, for decades. I didn’t think we would ever get the answers to these questions until I saw Springbok’s technology in action,” Dr. Galpin added.

Springbok’s’ tech is the culmination of 13 years of research and science. The company uses AI to transform MRI data into 3D visualizations of a patient’s exact musculature, which enhances the ability to assess, treat and research muscle injuries. Full scans take just under 40 minutes of imaging time while lower-extremity scans require less than 10.

According to Springbok, it’s the only commercialized tech capable of enhancing MRI results this way.

“Springbok lets us analyze individual muscles, as well as muscle groups, to really see what the whole body is doing, much faster than before and at a fraction of the cost,” Dr. Galpin said. “This technology is going to make a dent in the world of human performance.”

Galpin boasts over 266k followers on Instagram, 103k on YouTube and 77k on X (formerly known as Twitter).

The post Springbok Analytics Adds Dr. Andy Galpin as It Scales 3D Muscle-Scanning Tech appeared first on Athletech News.

Jeremy Buendia Says His 2024 Bodybuilding Season Is “a Wrap”

On May 27, 2024, Four-time Mr. Olympia winner Jeremy Buendia announced across social media that he’d re-injured his Achilles tendon, doubling down on trauma suffered earlier in the spring. More importantly, it derails his bodybuilding plans for the remainder of 2024.

“The 2024 competition season looks like a wrap for me,” Buendia told his fans online. “I’m going to focus on setting myself up for a good year next year.”

Editor’s Note: The video below shows the athlete suffering a debilitating injury on camera. Viewer discretion is advised.

[Related: The Best Supplements for Bodybuilding]

Buendia’s reign over the Men’s Physique bodybuilding division ended in 2018. Buendia placed fourth at that year’s Olympia and then took a five-year hiatus from the competition stage — until recently.

In Sept. 2022, Buendia announced his official comeback to the Men’s Physique division. Buendia finished eighth overall at the 2023 Mr. Olympia. It looked like the California native’s star shone again until tragedy struck.

Buendia’s Achilles Heel

On April 18, 2024, Buendia ruptured his Achilles tendon during a “running accident” — “I’m just gonna fight through this,” he remarked at the time. Buendia ultimately received surgical intervention in which doctors attached a portion of a tendon from his toe onto his heel.

[Related: The Best Mass Gainer Supplements on the Market]

“I’ve been on the couch for the last 40 days,” Buendia said on YouTube. While you might think a torn tissue in a bodybuilder’s lower body might not prohibit them from strength training altogether, the pathology of Achilles injuries varies dramatically:

“The Achilles is the most frequently-ruptured tendon in the human body, yet the [cause or causes] remain poorly understood,” a 2013 article in the journal Musculoskeletal Surgery remarked. (1)

Incidence statistics on the re-rupture rate vary, with the same article noting a four-to-eight percent chance of re-injury in patients who undergo surgery vs. those who don’t.

More recent data from 2022 suggest that some athletes may “return to play” as soon as 16 to 20 weeks after the initial injury. However, that timeline may stretch depending on various recovery factors and the athlete’s sport. (2)

A Similar Story?: In the spring of 2023, Bulgarian weightlifter Karlos Nasar severed his Achilles tendon in a freak accident during a hotel stay. Flash forward to Dec. 2023 at the IWF Grand Prix II, and Nasar was back on the lifting platform. He set a 223-kilogram (491.6-pound) world record clean & jerk at that event.

Who Will Win the 2024 Men’s Physique Olympia?

Buendia went to the weight room during his announcement video despite the setback. He performed a modified “pull” workout, including common back exercises like lat pulldowns and modified moves like seated biceps curls with dumbbells. “I haven’t been in the gym in three or four weeks,” he said.

Buendia won’t battle at the 2024 Olympia on Oct. 10 to 13 in Las Vegas, NV. With Buendia down for the count (though he’ll surely keep an eye on his colleagues), reigning Men’s Physique Olympia champion Ryan Terry’s task of defending his title just got a bit easier but not by much.

[Related: The Best Whey Protein Powders for Muscle Growth]

Terry finally bagged his first Olympia title in 2023 after eight previous attempts and is the Men’s Physique athlete to beat in Vegas this autumn. Expect Buendia to watch from the audience as Terry contends with the likes of Brandon Hendrickson, Erin Banks, and the many other top bodybuilders who would rather see the Olympia title in their hands than Terry’s — or Buendia’s, for that matter.

More Bodybuilding News

This Meta Analysis Explains the Optimal Rest Time Between Sets

IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Kevin Gebhardt Dies at 31

Mikhail Timoshin Wins 2024 AGP Classic Physique Pro Show

References

Thevendran, G., Sarraf, K.M., Patel, N.K. et al. The ruptured Achilles tendon: a current overview from biology of rupture to treatment. Musculoskelet Surg 97, 9–20 (2013).

LaPrade CM, Chona DV, Cinque ME, et al. Return-to-play and performance after operative treatment of Achilles tendon rupture in elite male athletes: a scoping review. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2022;56:515-520.

Featured Image: @jeremy_buendia on YouTube

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The 10 Best Rowing Machines for Tall People of 2024, As Chosen by Our Experts

For at-home training, the best rowing machines can deliver an exceptional fitness experience. The low-impact, full-body workout discipline can be excellent for a wide range of athletes — even those with a taller stature. The best rowing machines for tall people utilize longer slide rails and comfortable ergonomics to eliminate the cramped sensations you’d experience on, say, a more compact vessel.

Naturally, a height-friendly rower will feature a longer slide rail to accommodate the longer strokes, but there are other components worth thinking through when looking to add one of these machines to your personal training space. To help you set the pace, our experts have gotten hands-on with a slew of top-performing profiles and consulted with our in-house team of experts to come up with a list of our favorite rowing machines for tall people available today.

The 10 Best Rowing Machines for Tall People of 2024

Best Rowing Machine for Tall People Overall: Concept2 RowERG

Best Compact Rowing Machine for Tall People: NordicTrack RW900

Best Foldable Rowing Machine for Tall People: ProForm Pro R10

Best Rowing Machine for Tall People with Air Resistance: Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower

Most Stylish Rowing Machine for Tall People: Ergatta Rower

Most Durable Rowing Machine for Tall People: Assault Fitness AssaultRower Elite

Best Rowing Machine for Tall People for Streaming: Aviron Strong Series Rower

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Tall People: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515

Best Rowing Machine for Tall People with Water Resistance: CITYROW Max Rower

Best Rowing Machine for Tall People for Trainer-Led Workouts: Peloton Row

About Our Expert

This article has been reviewed by Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC, a certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level 1 instructor, and Lauren Keary, BarBend editorial team member and former collegiate rower. They’ve reviewed the research we cite and the rowing machines for tall people we listed to help ensure we’re providing helpful, accurate descriptions and recommendations.

How We Tested and Chose the Best Rowing Machines for Tall People

The BarBend team is made up of competitive athletes, certified personal trainers, and lifelong fitness enthusiasts. To make our list of the best rowing machines for tall people, we got hands-on with 15 different machines from top brands, using a multi-point methodology to rate each profile on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) to determine our top picks. Below are some of the categories and components we looked at to make our list.

For further information on how we trial and test the products chosen for this guide and more, be sure to check out our BarBend Equipment Testing Methodology.

Rail Length: The slide rail length can determine how long your strokes are in a given motion, so taller athletes should opt for a lengthier profile more often than not to better accommodate their frames. We compared all rowers included in this guide to the standard rail length of 95 inches — if a rower featured a shorter rail length, we tested our own comfort level to ensure full strokes were achievable.

Dynamic Programming: Having a rowing machine that’s compatible with live and on-demand training courses can help you stay motivated via engaging instructors and interesting workout modules. We compared workout libraries across the rowing machines included in this round-up, as well as the subscription costs of each available service to ensure the monthly price was worth the investment.

Storage Features: If you’re looking to add a rower (or any of the best cardio machines for that matter) to your home gym, it can be beneficial to seek out a profile with more convenient storage features, such as a foldable frame or upright storage capabilities. We made sure to note how each rower could be stored while not in use, as well as whether additional hardware was necessary to achieve such setups.

Weight Capacity: Your rowing machine’s weight capacity can be a good indication of its durability — sturdier frames can support more weight, while lighter weight ratings may imply less stable materials. All of the rowers featured in this guide are rated to support at least 250 pounds, with some even capable of withstanding 500-pound loads or greater.

Ergonomics: BarBend expert reviewer Amanda Capritto states that while low-impact in nature, rowing can potentially exacerbate pain points like the lower back due to the seated body placement. We looked for rowing machines that could accommodate taller frames while still remaining comfortable enough for routine training needs.

Best Rowing Machine for Tall People Overall: Concept2 RowERG

Concept2 RowErg

Concept2 RowErg

The Concept2 RowErg is one of the most tried and true rowers on the market. The “erg” (as it’s commonly known) provides a double-dose of conditioning and muscular endurance, and is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity and a nifty monitor to track meters rowed and calories burned. 

Shop Concept2

Specs

Price: $990

Product Dimensions: 95” L x 24” W x 14” H

Product Weight: 57lbs

Weight Capacity: 500lbs

Resistance Type: Air

Monitor Size: N/A

Pros

Standard 95-inch slide rail offers plenty of room

Rower breaks down for convenient, easy storage

High weight rating of up to 500 pounds

Cons

Air resistance is louder than other flywheel types

No display available for on-demand workouts

Preset programs are dull and outdated, according to our tester

For taller athletes, the Concept2 RowERG can be an excellent indoor rowing machine. The slide rail measures 95 inches, giving you plenty of room to achieve a proper stroke. Plus, the RowERG (formerly marketed under the Model D moniker) features a user weight capacity of up to 500 pounds, ensuring athletes that the equipment is sturdy enough for regular use.

I’ve used this RowERG more times than I can count and scored the ergonomics at 4 out of 5. My 6’2” frame fits comfortably across the saddle and footplates, and every drive and catch feels efficient during training.

Our tester rowing atop the Concept2 RowERG

The RowERG can also be an optimal pick for taller athletes training in tighter quarters. We think it’s one of the best rowing machines for apartments thanks to a collapsible design that splits the footprint in two for easier storage. Combined with the sturdy frame and hefty weight capacity, we rated the overall construction at 4.75 out of 5.

Of course, though, there are some pitfalls with this otherwise impressive rowing machine. Lauren Keary, BarBend editorial team member and former collegiate rower, rated the noise factor at 2 out of 5. “I wouldn’t say it’s loud enough to drown out your headphones, but the air-powered flywheel is definitely loud enough to wake a sleeping household,” she adds.

This Concept2 rower is also more of a utilitarian cardio machine in comparison to others in the category given its bare-bones PM5 monitor. There are a handful of preset workouts and “games” available across the monitor for more engaging training sessions, but Keary notes that they are somewhat outdated in terms of their engagement. If you prefer a more immersive workout experience, we recommend opting for a rower that’s compatible with a streamable fitness app.

Read our full Concept2 RowERG Review.

Best Compact Rowing Machine for Tall People: NordicTrack RW900

NordicTrack RW900 Rower

NordicTrack RW900 Rower

The NordicTrack RW900 is a durable  machine that features a 22” touchscreen display, a quiet belt drive and large pivoting pedals to fit pretty much any shoe size. You’ll also get a free month of iFit classes with your purchase, which you can view on your tilting display as you row virtually across the globe. 

Shop NordicTrack

Specs

Price: $1,999

Product Dimensions: 82″ L x 22″ W x 54″ H

Product Weight: 163lbs

Weight Capacity: 250lbs

Resistance Type: Magnetic

Monitor Size: 22”

Pros

Shorter 82-inch frame is ideal for training in smaller spaces

Compatible with iFIT for live and on-demand training

AutoAdjust technology can automatically toggle your settings mid-workout

Cons

Limited weight capacity of 250 pounds

Our tester notes that the footplates are somewhat oversized

Monthly iFIT subscription required for use

Yes, rowers designed for taller athletes tend to run on the larger side, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few compact options on the market that can make post-workout storage an easier endeavor. For example, the RW900 from NordicTrack measures in at 82 inches long, which is shorter than your average 3-seater sofa. (1) Despite these metrics, the rower still delivers an interactive training experience across a 22-inch display integrated with one of the best fitness apps we’ve tested — iFIT.

Our tester, a certified personal trainer, rated the RW900’s footprint and portability at 4 out of 5. “The entire profile doesn’t feature storage features like a foldable frame or upright capabilities, but I did enjoy the lightweight makeup of the machine itself,” they stated. “I could easily maneuver this magnetic rower into position for a workout, so as long as you have the space available to house the unit outside of training, it can be a solid pick.”

Like other NordicTrack fitness equipment, the RW900 is compatible with the iFIT platform for live and on-demand training modules. The library features over 16,000 workouts that go well beyond your typical rowing workout, and we like how the 22-inch HD touchscreen swivels and rotates for easier off-rower viewing. As such, we rated the tech capabilities at 5 out of 5.

Our tester training on the NordicTrack RW900

We also enjoyed the AutoAdjust features that come via iFIT. Instead of pausing your workouts to adjust your instructed intensity, the machine automatically toggles to the direct settings for you in tandem with your trainer-led courses.

In terms of value, the NordicTrack RW900 is somewhat expensive at $1,999. We scored the value at 4 out of 5, though, given that a subscription to iFIT is required to operate this piece of home gym equipment. There are no manual modes to choose from, so you’ll need to subscribe to the $39 monthly service in order to even use this magnetic rower.

Read our full NordicTrack RW900 Rower Review.

Best Foldable Rowing Machine for Tall People: ProForm Pro R10

ProForm Pro R10

ProForm Pro R10

The ProForm Pro R10 has silent magnetic resistance, and it comes with one month of iFit classes for free. It also features a 10-inch touchscreen display, and has 24 levels of resistance. 

Shop ProForm

Specs

Price: $1,404

Product Dimensions: 86.5” L x 22” W x 45.5” H

Product Weight: 120lbs

Weight Capacity: 250lbs

Resistance Type: Magnetic

Monitor Size: 10”

Pros

SpaceSaver design folds along the slide rail for more compact storage

Fabric belt and magnetic flywheel help keep operations near-silent

Assembly takes roughly one hour, per our tester

Cons

Lower 250-pound weight capacity is less optimal for larger athletes

Strong internet connection required for optimal iFIT integration

Some may prefer a touchscreen display larger than 10 inches

If you need to make the most of your smaller space when not in the throes of a workout, the ProForm Pro R10 can be a suitable indoor rower. The 86.5-inch length can comfortably accommodate taller athletes, but the footprint can be cut in half post-workout thanks to the convenient SpaceSaver design.

Our tester, a certified personal trainer, scored the footprint and portability at 4 out of 5, stating they appreciated the simplicity of the folding process. “The two handles along the slide rail and foot pedals make the hinging action quick and painless.” they added. “Plus, I like how the Pro R10 clips in during folded storage, so there’s no worry about it unfolding as you go about your day.”

During operations, we also enjoyed the 24 magnetic resistance levels that offered up plenty of challenges while remaining quiet. The fabric belt also kept the noise levels low, gliding effortlessly through our strokes with none of the feedback you’d experience with a heartier chain or cable system.

The ProForm Pro R10 also earned a 4 out of 5 for its tech capabilities thanks to the brand’s compatibility with the iFIT platform of live and on-demand workouts. The screen is somewhat smaller than other iFIT-enabled machines at 10 inches, but we had no issues in terms of picture quality or clarity.

[Related: iFIT Review]

Of course, you’ll need to pay for access to iFIT to the tune of $39 monthly, so be prepared to account for the extra expense when calculating your budget. Our tester also recommends a strong internet connection. “You need a trusty Wi-Fi signal if you don’t want to experience lags mid-workout,” they added.

Lastly, we had no qualms when it came to assembling this Pro R10 rower. The entire process took roughly one hour, and the pieces went together smoothly. However, while the lightweight components were a treat during install, we do wish they created a sturdier frame. We rated the durability at 3 out of 5, as the Pro R10 is only rated for athletes up to 250 pounds.

Best Rowing Machine for Tall People with Air Resistance: Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower

Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower

Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower

The Bells of Steel Air Blitz Rower is one of the more affordable options on the market right now. This one is light and easy to roll around your home gym as needed or store away when you’re expecting guests.

Shop Bells of Steel

Specs

Price: $849.99

Product Dimensions: 95” L x 24.25” W x 37.5” H

Product Weight: 90.4lbs

Weight Capacity: 320lbs

Resistance Type: Air

Monitor Size: N/A

Pros

Flywheel is air-powered with 10 dampening levels

Front monitor arm is adjustable for easier viewing angles

Front transport wheels for improved maneuverability

Cons

Thinner handle design than other rowers on the market

No preset workouts available across the center console

Cannot be stored vertically

For taller athletes looking for one of the best air rowing machines, we recommend the Blitz Air Rower from Bells of Steel. Similar in design to the Concept2 RowERG, this rower features a 95-inch length that can be great for taller frames, as well as a lower price point at roughly $850. Naturally, too, this air rower can be excellent for high-intensity training with 10 dampening levels to choose from for more challenging workouts.

Aside from having a lower price point than the RowERG, this Blitz Air Rower stands apart from other rowing machines thanks to its LCD monitor. Admittedly, our tester found the design to be somewhat basic, rating the available programming at 2 out of 5 since there are no preset workout programs available.

However, they noted, “I did enjoy how the monitor displays your dampener level for more informed training. Combine this fun metric with the tracked 500-meter split time, elapsed time, calories, and projected finish, and you can be well-informed throughout your entire session.”

The LCD monitor is also housed on an adjustable arm at the front, which can be excellent for creating an optimal viewing angle. Our tester noted that they routinely strain their neck on other rowers trying to read their stats mid-workout, so this adjustability was a nice perk during trials. Overall, we rated the adjustability at 4 out of 5.

The Bells of Steel Blitz Air Rower features a weight capacity of 320 pounds, which is lower than its Concept2 competition. This profile is also slightly heavier at roughly 91 pounds, but we found the silhouette to still remain plenty maneuverable given the front transport wheels. “The most difficult portion of moving this rower is getting the rail up into the air,” adds our tester. “Once you break the balance point, it moves easily over carpet and hardwood alike.”

As a final note, the Blitz Air Rower is not made to be stored vertically. This means you’ll need to plan accordingly to properly house this otherwise impressive air rowing machine.

Most Stylish Rowing Machine for Tall People: Ergatta Rower

Ergatta Rower

Ergatta Rower

The Ergatta rower is ideal for athletes who want an elevated home workout experience. You can choose from pre-programmed workouts, games, and competitions to make your row more interesting, or you can select an open row to simply push your limits. This machine will adjust as your strength and stamina increase to challenge you even further.

Shop Ergatta

Specs

Price: $2,499

Product Dimensions: 86” L x 23” W x 40” H

Product Weight: 105lbs

Weight Capacity: 500lbs

Resistance Type: Water

Monitor Size: 17.3”

Pros

We find the cherry wood framing to be aesthetically pleasing

Water resistance can create a more natural rowing experience

Upright storage available for easier housing

Cons

Water tank requires more routine maintenance

Resistance cannot be changed like with other types of rowing machines

No trainer-led workouts across the available training library

Admittedly, rowing machines can be eyesores at times, especially when juxtaposed with your more luxe furniture and home design. The Ergatta Rower, on the other hand, forgoes the typical black metal design for a cherry wood frame that can add some style to your home gym setup.

Measuring 86 inches long, this water rower offers a comfortable rowing platform for tall and short athletes alike. Plus, we like the Ergatta Rower’s available workout library that brings a gamified experience to your fitness goals. “I feel like I’m back in my old arcade,” said our tester, a certified personal trainer. “I also enjoyed the scenic rowing modules that make you feel like you’re paddling through real-world environments. You can really transport yourself thanks to the water-based resistance, too.”

Our tester using the Ergatta Rower

We did rate the available programming at 3.75 out of 5, though, since there are no trainer-led workouts to choose from across the library. While the gamified training circuits are fun, we understand that some may prefer a more regimented and structured class style.

The Ergatta Rower’s water resistance is also noteworthy, giving your sessions that natural stroke sensation that’s simply not accomplishable with air or magnetic rowing machines. That said, we scored the customizations at 3 out of 5 since the resistance cannot be changed during workouts. The water will also need to be changed routinely in order to prevent algae build-up within the tank itself.

Despite the extra maintenance, we still hold the Ergatta Rower in high regard, especially for athletes looking to spruce up their training space with heightened aesthetics. Even when you’re not using this water rowing machine, you can conveniently store the unit in a corner given its vertical storage capabilities. Just be sure to have enough clearance overhead to properly house the 86-inch frame length.

Read our full Ergatta Rower Review.

Most Durable Rowing Machine for Tall People: Assault Fitness AssaultRower Elite

Assault Fitness AssaultRower Elite

Assault Fitness AssaultRower Elite

The AssaultRower Elite is a beefed-up version of the AssaultRower Pro, featuring a longer frame design and a more robust warranty package that covers the frame, non-wear parts, and labor. This air rower can also be stored vertically for more convenient storage in-between sessions.

Shop Assault Fitness

Specs

Price: $1,499

Product Dimensions: 92.5” L x 20.1” W x 48.6” H

Product Weight: 143.3lbs

Weight Capacity: 350lbs

Resistance Type: Air

Monitor Size: N/A

Pros

Sturdy, 143-pound steel frame is rock solid during use

Requires zero electricity for operations

Robust warranty package that covers the frame, non-wear parts, and labor

Cons

Air resistance can be louder than other flywheel types

Transport wheels can catch on carpet, according to our tester

Limited preset programs available across the LCD monitor

As with any cardio machine, an expensive price tag can make one hesitant to make the purchase more than once. As such, searching for a high-quality profile can be a must, especially when trying to find a rower that accommodates your taller frame. The AssaultRower Elite from Assault Fitness is designed with a resilient powder-coated steel frame and corrosion-resistant hardware capable of supporting athletes up to 350 pounds.

We also like this durable air rower for its 143-pound overall weight. Our tester, a certified personal trainer, experienced no wobbliness or shaking during workouts, which they credited to the rock-solid profile. We scored the durability at 4.5 out of 5.

In addition to the well-built frame, we also like how Assault Fitness bolsters the deal with a well-rounded warranty package. The coverage includes five-year support for the frame, three-year coverage for non-wear parts, and one-year support for labor. We rated the package at 4 out of 5 as it’s a clear upgrade over the brand’s other rower — the AssaultRower Pro — that only offers warranty coverage for the frame (seven years) and moving parts (three years).

Like the AssaultRower Pro, this Elite profile features front transport wheels for better maneuverability. These are also a treat ,as you can set this rower up virtually anywhere you please since electricity isn’t required for operation. 

Our tester notes, though, “Be sure to have a good grip on the back handle when rolling this unit over carpet. I experienced a few catches that were minor inconveniences pre-training.”

The AssaultRower Elite also shares a similar performance monitor with the brand’s other exercise equipment. You can quickly keep tabs on metrics, including Time, Distance, Speed RPM, Watts, Heart Rate, and Calories. There are also some preset workout programs and intervals to choose from, although our tester stated they were underwhelming when compared to other training libraries out there. In total, we rated the available tech at 4 out of 5.

[Related: SkiErg vs Rower vs Air Bike]

Best Rowing Machine for Tall People for Streaming: Aviron Strong Series Rower

Aviron Strong Rower

Aviron Strong Rower

Sleek, modern and compact design coupled with a diverse workout content library and frequent new releases to get you motivated and keep you consistent for the long term. The Aviron Go Rower is the perfect at-home magnetic rower to invest in. 

Shop Aviron

Specs

Price: $2,199

Product Dimensions: 84” L x 27” W x 48” H

Product Weight: 114lbs

Weight Capacity: 507lbs

Resistance Type: Dual air and magnetic

Monitor Size: 22” 

Pros

Capable of streaming entertainment services like Netflix and Hulu

Robust workout library of trainer-led workouts, scenic rows, and gamified programs

Rotating HD touchscreen for optimal viewing angles

Cons

More expensive than other rowers for taller athletes

Can be cumbersome during movement

Assembly can be difficult with tight fitments along plastic shrouds

Every now and again, regardless of your height, a low-thought workout can be enjoyable — just hop in the saddle, load up your favorite TV series or movie, and paddle away. The Aviron Strong Series Rower is our pick for streaming-centric athletes, as this smart rower’s 22-inch HD touchscreen is compatible with popular services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, ESPN, and even Spotify, giving you a plethora of options to zone out as you tone up.

The Strong Series Rower is my at-home rowing machine of choice, and in addition to the entertainment platforms, I also appreciate the array of workout modules. There are gamified programs that transport you into an arcade-like atmosphere with each stroke, as well as trainer-led sessions, racing modules, and scenic rows. 

I scored the programming at 5 out of 5, because all of the available workouts are approachable regardless of your expertise in the discipline.

Our tester navigating the home screen of the Aviron Strong Series Rower

In terms of the 22-inch display, I rated the component at 4.75 out of 5. I’ve experienced no lags or issues when trying to stream a workout, and navigating the home screen’s functionality is simple and reactive to each touch. Plus, the swiveling and pivoting nature of the display means you can adjust your viewing angle easily for added comfort in the saddle.

Despite its smaller dimensions — we’ve previously counted the Aviron Strong Series among the best compact rowing machines we’ve tested — this dual magnetic and air-powered rower features a sturdy design capable of supporting up to 507 pounds. 

However, I do have to rate the construction at 4 out of 5, as building the unit takes some doing. For example, the plastic shrouds that cover the joint where the flywheel meets the slide rail are tight — I had to pry the opening open to slide the rail into position.

Best Budget Rowing Machine for Tall People: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515

This Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 is perfect for athletes who are shopping on a budget. This one has a magnetic resistance and a small digital monitor to track your stats.

Shop Sunny Health & Fitness

Specs

Price: $399.99

Product Dimensions: 89” L x 18.9” W x 23.6” H

Product Weight: 60.9lbs

Weight Capacity: 250lbs

Resistance Type: Magnetic

Monitor Size: N/A

Pros

At $399.99, it’s more than $1,000 cheaper than the average rower for tall athletes

Slide rail folds vertically for more convenient storage

Magnetic resistance is quiet during use

Cons

Lower weight rating than other rowers in the category

No preset workout programs available across the monitor

Lower saddle can be uncomfortable to get in and out of

Given their longer dimensions, you can expect to pay a little more for rowing machines for taller athletes. However, there are a handful of profiles on the market that can cater to budget-minded athletes, such as the SF-RW5515 from Sunny Health and Fitness. The roughly $400 price tag is well below the average $1,700 cost, making it one of the most affordable rowers available today.

I’ve used this wallet-friendly rower and can attest to the value baked into the silhouette. I rated this Sunny Health and Fitness offering at 4 out of 5 for the category thanks to its smooth operation during strokes, cushioned ergonomic saddle, and grippy handlebars that showed no signs of slipping or wear after multiple sessions.

This SF-RW5515 rower can also be ideal for taller athletes in small spaces thanks to the foldable slide rail. When folded for storage, this magnetic rowing machine can take up just 5.68 square feet of space, which is less than your typical coffee table. (2) As such, we rated the footprint and storage capabilities at 4 out of 5.

However, this is by no means a high-tech cardio machine. The digital monitor is very basic in its readouts, capable of tracking Time, Stroke Count, Total Stroke Count, and Calories Burned. I scored the available tech at 3.5 out of 5, too, given that there aren’t any preset workouts to choose from for more structured sessions — you’re constantly in manual mode while training.

Finally, I’ll say that the SF-RW5515 sits lower to the ground than other rowing machines I’ve used in the past. While this doesn’t necessarily compromise the performance of the machine, it can make getting into and out of the saddle a bit of a chore. If you have any joint issues or want a more accommodating setup, it may be best to opt for a taller rower.

[Related: Sunny Health and Fitness Exercise Bike Review]

Best Rowing Machine for Tall People with Water Resistance: CITYROW Max Rower

CITYROW Max Rower

CITYROW Max Rower

The CITYROW Max Rower offers a large 19.5-inch HD touchscreen, thousands of live and on-demand workouts, and connectivity with fitness trackers and Bluetooth headphones. 

Shop CITYROW

Specs

Price: $2,199

Product Dimensions: 83.5” L x 22.25” W x 20” H

Product Weight: 98lbs

Weight Capacity: 375lbs

Resistance Type: Water

Monitor Size: 19.5”

Pros

Water resistance closely mimics on-water rowing

Can be stored vertically for more convenient storage

CITYROW workout library offers classes for yoga, strength training, HIIT, and more

Cons

Water tank needs to be cleaned and refilled regularly

Water resistance is less versatile than air or magnetic flywheels

Wooden frame could be susceptible to durability issues over time

Looking for a cardiovascular training experience that mimics the sensation of paddling over water? A water rowing machine can be the perfect vessel, with the CITYROW Max Rower serving as our favorite in the category. This stylish, efficient indoor rowing machine uses a front-housed water tank to help each stroke mimic the natural, flowing nature of on-water rowing.

While there are no levels of resistance with this rowing machine style — you’ll need to pull harder if you want to up the ante — we still enjoyed the training opportunities with this impressive home gym addition. “In actuality, the natural motion of the flywheel against water and the sloshing sounds of the tank can be soothing during training,” added our tester who rated the workout experience at 4 out of 5.

The CITYROW Max Rower is also convenient thanks to its vertical storage capabilities. We scored the footprint at 4 out of 5 because of this feature, which can go a long way in helping you make the most of your training area, especially when trying to work out in a more lived-in room of your abode.

In addition to the rowing experience, this water rower pairs seamlessly to the CITYROW app for live and on-demand workouts. The classes are clearly projected across the 19.5-inch HD touchscreen, and we also liked the variety of modules available for different training disciplines, including yoga, HIIT, and others. The display also pivots and tilts, which can be helpful when taking in an off-rower session.

Like other water rowing machines, you’ll need to keep a regimented maintenance schedule to ensure your equipment stays in peak operating condition. The water will need to be changed routinely in order to prevent algae and bacteria from clouding up the tank interior. If you’re desiring the closest thing to paddling a canoe through your favorite waterways, though, we think the maintenance is worth the experience.

Read our full CITYROW Max Rower Review.

Best Rowing Machine for Tall People for Trainer-Led Workouts: Peloton Row

Peloton Row

Peloton Row

The Peloton Row utilizes the brand’s library of trainer-led workouts for an engaging at-home fitness experience. Additionally, this rower can be great for beginner athletes thanks to real-time form feedback notes that can help you make each stroke as efficient as possible.

Shop Peloton

Specs

Price: $2,995

Product Dimensions: 94” L x 24” W

Product Weight: 156.5lbs

Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Resistance Type: Electronic

Monitor Size: 23.8”

Pros

Peloton All-Access Membership grants access to tons of engaging workouts

Offers real-time feedback for rowing form corrections

Large 23.8-inch swiveling display for clear, crisp streaming

Cons

One of the most expensive rowing machines available today

Wall anchor (sold separately) required for vertical storage

Limited 12-month warranty despite the higher price tag

Taller athletes looking to pair their rowing experience with an abundance of trainer-led programs have more options than ever these days. In our opinion, though, the “Peloton Experience” available through the Peloton Row is one of the most engaging platforms available, loaded with a plethora of energetic, experienced instructors that can make every sweat session a challenging yet enjoyable sensation.

In addition to the live and on-demand courses — available through the $44 monthly Peloton All-Access Membership — we liked the Row for trainer-led workouts thanks to its large 23.8-inch HD touchscreen. This wide monitor is one of the largest we’ve found in the category and can provide clear, crisp visuals every time you log in for a cardio workout. The display also pivots and swivels, which can be ideal for off-rower workouts available through the platform.

[Related: Peloton Bike Review]

Another cool feature that led to our 5 out of 5 tech rating for the Row is the real-time form feedback. As you power through your rowing stroke, the Row analyzes your form, providing quick callouts during your streamed workouts to help you achieve a more comfortable, efficient rowing motion. This can be helpful for beginners that may not understand the ins and outs. 

We also scored the footprint at 4 out of 5 for this Peloton rowing machine. The overall length is 94 inches, which is just under the standard 95-inch metric for most rowers. However, we do want to note that there are no present storage features that can help shrink the footprint while not in use. The Peloton Row can be stored vertically, but an additional wall anchor kit is required on top of the expensive $2,995 price tag.

Speaking of its cost, the machine is roughly $1,200 more than the average rowing machine for taller athletes, and that’s not accounting for the required membership. Be sure to analyze your financial standing before signing up.

Benefits of Rowing Machines for Tall People

Rowing machines can be an effective way to train at home, especially for taller athletes that may feel too cramped atop an exercise bike or those looking for a more approachable form of cardio. Below are some of our favorite perks associated with the fitness equipment category.

Low-Impact Training: Rowing can be a more comfortable workout experience given the low-impact nature of the movement. Unlike running on a treadmill, where you’re constantly putting your joints and body through different stressors in each step, rowing has you seated and moving back and forth along a guide rail, eliminating gravity from the equation and keeping your knees, back, and hips in a more comfortable setup.

Full-Body Workout: According to BarBend expert reviewer Amanda Capritto, rowing can be an exciting, efficient way to train multiple muscle groups in one given session. “I particularly like rowing because it engages the majority of the body’s muscles and can develop power and explosiveness in the glutes and hamstrings in addition to improving cardiovascular endurance,” she says. 

Engaging Fitness Experience: A number of rowing machines come equipped with access to live and on-demand workouts, which can be helpful in creating a fresh, new training experience each time you hop in the saddle. While access to these platforms can require an additional monthly subscription, having the ability to change up your routine and regimen can help keep spirits high throughout your fitness journey.

How Much Do Rowing Machines for Tall People Cost?

Rowing machines for taller athletes can vary in price depending on their dynamic programming, display size, resistance type, and more. On average, though, we’ve found that most worthwhile silhouettes will cost roughly $1,700. Read below to compare the price points of every rowing machine featured in this round-up.

What to Consider When Choosing a Rowing Machine for Tall People

Like any piece of home gym equipment, buying a rowing machine (regardless of your height) is a multilayered process. BarBend expert reviewer Amanda Capritto notes that there are a slew of components worth thinking through beyond the product dimensions alone. Here are some of the factors we recommend pondering over before ultimately deciding on a rower for your space.

Product Dimensions

Your rowing machine’s dimensions should accommodate your personal height, but a large machine can be rendered useless if you cannot house it within your training space. The standard rowing machine length is 95 inches, which can be an excellent starting point for your search. However, you can be fine with a shorter rail length — we’ve included a handful of rowers measuring between 82 and 86.5 inches in this guide.

Our tester on the Concept2 RowErg.

If you need a lengthier rower but don’t have the available space to constantly house the machine itself, it can be wise to look for a profile with some form of storage convenience. Common setups that allow for easier storing include vertical or upright capabilities, as well as foldable slide rails.

Available Programming 

While every training preference is different, having a rowing machine that’s compatible with an online workout library can be helpful when looking to maintain a sense of intrigue across your training schedule. Additionally, these platforms can oftentimes include fitness classes for off-rower training, too, giving you a sense of variety beyond your daily strokes.

[Related: Best Online Workout Programs]

When looking for a rower to match your needs, be sure to read up on the available programming to ensure the modules are aligned with your goals. Be mindful, though, that access to these services can require an additional subscription charge which will need to be factored into your budget.

Resistance Type

When it comes to rowing machines, there are three main resistance types to choose from. Water rowing machines can provide a natural stroke feel that is reminiscent of on-water rowing. However, the intensity of your resistance cannot be adjusted, and the water housed in the tank will need to be changed routinely to prevent any algae or bacteria build-up.

Air rowers, according to Lauren Keary, BarBend editorial team member and former collegiate rower, “are sturdy and provide adjustable resistance that can emulate the resistance you’d feel on the water. They’re a bit noisy, but when it comes to a reliable and affordable machine, an air rower is the way to go.”

Finally, magnetic resistance rowing machines can offer smooth, quiet operations as well as differing levels of in-training intensity. However, the added tech can increase the price of the machine itself.

Our tester on the Aviron Strong Rower.

There is no right or wrong answer between the three rower styles, so look for a silhouette that interests you most. All are plenty capable of delivering a worthwhile workout experience.

Price

On average, you can expect to pay roughly $1,700 for a suitable rowing machine for tall athletes, with a number of profiles coming below and above this median price tag. Of course, though, every budget is different, so it’s best to look for a rowing silhouette that fits your finances best.

Best Rowing Machines for Tall People FAQs

What is the best rowing machine for tall people?

The best rowing machine for tall athletes can be subjective, but in our opinion, the RowERG from Concept2 is a standout in the category. The 95-inch slide rail can accommodate a wide range of heights, while the durable frame can support up to 500 pounds.

Is rowing good for tall people?

Yes, rowing can be an effective fitness discipline for taller individuals. In fact, the longer arms and legs can be a benefit to your stroke output, allowing you to cover more ground in a given motion than someone with shorter levers could achieve.

How much do rowing machines for tall people cost?

On average, a high-quality rower for taller athletes will cost roughly $1,700. Naturally, though, cheaper and more expensive options exist within the category, but this can be an optimal starting point for those just beginning their search.

References

Jaramillo, C. (2022, December 29). A guide to sofa dimensions & sizes. SeatUp, LLC. https://seatup.com/blog/guide-to-sofa-dimensions/

The Ultimate Guide to end table & coffee table sizes. Wayfair. (n.d.). https://www.wayfair.com/sca/ideas-and-advice/guides/the-ultimate-guide-to-end-table-coffee-table-sizes-T12889 

The post The 10 Best Rowing Machines for Tall People of 2024, As Chosen by Our Experts appeared first on BarBend.

ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical Review (2024): Intense, Low-Impact Cardio, Anyone?

Sometimes when you’re stuck between two options — chocolate or vanilla, elliptical or stair climber — the universe comes through with an answer. The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical may or may not be that sign from above, but it’s nevertheless one of the best ellipticals we’ve tested. Its hybrid design turns the horizontal glide of an elliptical upright to more closely resemble a stair climber, allowing you to ramp up the intensity of your cardio.

While stair climbers are inherently easier on the joints than treadmills, the elliptical-like design of the gliding pedals lessens the impact that much more. After testing dozens of elliptical machines and stair climbers, our team thinks the unique design of the H14 is a great fit for athletes who need low-impact training, but still want an intense workout. Check out our ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Review to see if this hybrid piece of fitness equipment is a match for you.

ProForm Pro HIIT H14

ProForm Pro HIIT H14

This unique profile combines a stair climber and elliptical for a space-saving, high-performance training experience. The Pro HIIT H14 is also integrated with the iFIT online workout program, giving you access to over 17,000 live and on-demand fitness classes.

Shop ProForm

About Our Expert

This article has been reviewed by Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC, a certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level-1 instructor. She reviewed the research we cite to help ensure we’re providing helpful, accurate descriptions and recommendations.

Main Takeaways

Its compact, hybrid design combines the feel of a stair climber and ellipticals, though the stride is more vertical than horizontal.

Integration with iFIT gives you access to 17,000 workouts, some of which feature automatic resistance adjustments across its 26-level range.

While the 14-inch touchscreen supports iFIT, it lacks a device holder or access to streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu.

ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical Highlights

Price: $1,799

Resistance Levels: 26

Stride Length: 10” vertical, 5” horizontal

Weight Capacity: 325lbs

Product Dimensions: 52″ L x 29” W x 66″ H

Product Weight: 224lbs

Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, 1-year labor

After taking the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical for a spin, it was apparent that its vertical orientation leans more towards stair climber than elliptical. However, this unique design does incorporate many benefits of ellipticals, like its hallmark gliding motion that’s easier on the joints than running. 

As certified personal trainer Jesse Zucker, NCSF-CPT, explains, both of these cardio machines can reduce the load on your joints that can lead to cartilage damage, but one more so than the other. (1) “The elliptical and the stair climber are both low-impact workouts, but the elliptical is lower-impact. Since your feet stay on the pedals, you’re not adding extra shock or force to your joints even as you increase the intensity.”

Traditional stair climbers mimic the real-world experience of — you guessed it — climbing stairs. As your foot lifts to reach the next stair, your knees and back absorb the shock as it lands. So while stair climbers offset more impact than a treadmill, an elliptical offsets more than a stair climber. The H14 helps close that gap by allowing you to plant your feet on the oversized, elliptical-style pedals.

Our tester on the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical.

The vertical and horizontal gliding motion of this cross trainer combines the lower-impact cardio of ellipticals with the increased intensity of stair climbers. “I loved seeing the oversized pedals and they were well-cushioned like a true elliptical,” said our tester, a CrossFit Level-1 trainer. “Plus the two sets of handles — one fixed and one moving — gave me the option of working my upper body.”

They also highlighted that, while “elliptical” may be in the name, you should expect the motion of a stair climber. “I would absolutely call this a stepper machine before calling it an elliptical,” they said. “It’s definitely not as bulky as an elliptical — much taller than it is wide — but I was very impressed with how sturdy it was.” 

Our tester adjusting the controls on the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical.

The price tag may induce some sticker shock, but with the iFIT-enabled 14-inch touchscreen, it still earned a 3.5 out of 5 for value from our tester. “At $1,700, it is definitely not cheap, but it’s really a high-tech machine,” they said. iFIT’s programming truly makes it one of the best fitness apps out there.”  

The iFIT app’s library of more than 17,000 classes includes trainer-led studio sessions and scenic hikes, walks, and runs, including my personal favorite, the Grand Canyon Hiking Series. You can even hop off and swivel the display to take on some strength training, yoga, or more. 

While an iFIT membership does not come cheap — $39.99 per month — our team thinks the variety of workouts and surplus of motivational trainers help justify the added expense. Also, select iFIT workouts can take control of your resistance, automatically adjusting the H14’s 26 levels to an instructor’s recommendations. 

Pros

Hybrid elliptical and stair climber design

Integrated with the iFIT app, which offers more than 17,000 classes

Swiveling 14-inch touchscreen for off-machine workouts

Vertical orientation minimizes footprint

Cons

Access to iFIT requires $39.99 monthly subscription

The touchscreen only streams iFIT

Our testing team struggled with assembly

Training With the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical

BarBend’s expert team of certified personal trainers, CrossFit coaches, and gym owners have tried and tested more than 20 ellipticals and 10 steppers and vertical climbers. After spending time on the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical, our tester, a CrossFit Level-1 trainer, utilized the BarBend equipment testing methodology to assign ratings of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) across 13 categories, including ergonomics, tech capabilities, footprint and portability, and more. 

After reviewing this article, BarBend expert reviewer Amanda Capritto added her insight and gave it her stamp of approval. Check out what we had to say about the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 and its unique hybrid design below. 

Hybrid Design

Even if you have experience with the best stair climbers and ellipticals, the hybrid design of the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 may surprise you. While it could be effectively described as a combo of the two, our tester says its vertical orientation makes it closer to a stair climber than elliptical. “The 5-inch horizontal stride definitely feels shorter than the 20-inch standard I’ve experienced with other ellipticals, but the 10-inch vertical climb makes up for it with a comfortable, stepper-like sensation,” they said, scoring the H14’s ergonomics 4 out of 5.

The vertical orientation of the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical.

As certified personal trainer Jesse Zucker explains, ellipticals and stair climbers both focus on the lower body, but are actually quite different. “The elliptical mimics walking, but your feet stay on the pedals — you’ll basically be gliding. It also includes an optional upper-body workout if you opt for using the handles,” they said. “The stair climber does what it says: it mimics climbing stairs. You can adjust the resistance and speed on both to up the intensity.”

The H14 straddles the line between the two. Your feet stay on the pedals (like an elliptical), but it feels like climbing stairs (like a stair climber). Its moving handlebars support upper-body work (like an elliptical), but its 26 levels of ProForm’s “Silent Magnetic Resistance” (SMR) are more than you will see on many of the best commercial ellipticals.

Its 30-pound inertia-enhanced flywheel also surpasses the average range on most ellipticals — 16 to 20 pounds — and helped the H14 earn a durability rating of 5 out of 5 from our tester. “Along with its sturdy frame, the heavy flywheel helps increase its stability,” they noted. “It was also super quiet, so if you’re in a shared space, you won’t have to worry about too much noise.”

They continued, “There’s no incline or decline, but this resistance range is way more than the industry standard of 12 resistance levels.” 

They felt the lines between the elliptical and stair climber start to blur during their workout, rating its customizations 3.75 out of 5. “So, it definitely feels more like a stair climber, but you can also pedal forward and backward,” they said.

iFIT 

The smart HD touchscreen is integrated with iFIT, a fitness app offering thousands of trainer-led cardio classes and virtual hikes that consistently earns ratings of 5 out of 5 from our team. You can access this content via the 14-inch smart HD touchscreen, which swivels so you can take strength and mobility classes off the machine. 

iFIT on the 14-inch touchscreen of the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical.

“The touchscreen is clear and it’s nice being able to swivel it,” they said. “But the belle of the ball is iFIT’s programming.” With over 17,000 classes at your fingertips, iFIT offers the type of immersive training that our expert reviewer Amanda Capritto thinks can help stay engaged and committed to their fitness regimen. iFIT is some of the best interactive programming out there and really helps prevent boredom,” she says. 

Access to all this streaming goodness will set you back an additional $39.99 per month. Plus, if you’re hoping to binge some Netflix or YouTube, bad news: the screen only streams iFIT. 

Our tester gripping the fixed handles of the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical.

By connecting Bluetooth headphones (or plugging in wired headphones) you can keep up with your iFIT workouts without blasting the audio through the speaker. Bluetooth also enables you to connect a third-party heart rate monitor.

We do wish there was a media shelf or device holder on the console to prop up your own mobile device. If you decide to go with the ProForm Pro HIIT H14, our tester thinks an iFIT subscription is basically a requirement. “If you aren’t planning on subscribing to iFIT, I think you’d be better off with a less tech-centric machine,” they said, scoring tech capabilities a 4 out of 5. 

Low-Impact Cardio Training 

When they sized up these two home gym equipment favorites, Zucker noted that both can help reduce the stress on your joints that can lead to cartilage damage. (1) “The elliptical and the stair climber are both low-impact workouts, but the elliptical is lower-impact,” they said. “Since your feet stay on the pedals, you’re not adding extra shock or force to your joints even as you increase the intensity.” 

However, Zucker favored the stair climber for intensity. “The movement pattern of climbing stairs, especially with resistance, engages more of your lower body muscles, raising your heart rate and intensity quicker.” 

The oversized cushioned pedals of the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical.

The H14 combines the increased intensity of climbing stairs with the low-impact gliding motion of ellipticals. That said, the stride length is only 5 inches long, which is far shorter than the 20-inch average on most models we have tested. But as our tester noted, this machine is a blend of both. “This is not a traditional elliptical at all,” they noted. “You can’t take the long gliding strides you would on a typical elliptical.”

Compact Footprint

Most stair climbers and ellipticals eat up about as much floor space as a recliner — 10 to 13 square feet. We wouldn’t count the H14 among the best compact exercise equipment we’ve tested, but its vertical silhouette can save you a little bit of space. “It takes up 10.47 square feet, so it’s not as space-hungry as a regular rear-drive elliptical,” they said, rating its footprint and portability 3.5 out of 5. “However, it is taller than those machines, and it doesn’t fold or anything.” 

At 224 pounds, it’s not exactly easy to move around. Our tester noted that the front-mounted transport wheels make it manageable, though. “I definitely wouldn’t call this thing ‘light,’” they said. “Most people shouldn’t have trouble rolling it around a room, but if you’re going up or down any stairs, call a friend.” 

The base of the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical.

All in all, they think it’s best to choose a recliner-sized spot for its forever home, but think twice before setting it up in a garage. “This is relatively common with machines like this, but the warranty will be voided if it’s not stored in a climate-controlled space — like a garage,” they said. 

What to Consider Before Buying the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical

While it offers many characteristics of ellipticals — gliding motion, oversized pedals, and moving arms — the vertical orientation is closer to that of a stair climber. This means your workouts will have a bit more bite since you’ll be climbing higher than most ellipticals. Consider that, along with these key factors, when you think about adding this hybrid cardio machine to your space.

Preferred Training Type

Before committing to the H14, remember that it more closely resembles a stair climber than an elliptical. This means the low-impact cardio it offers up will be more intense than the smooth horizontal glides of traditional ellipticals. Steady-state cardio is certainly possible on the H14, but, as its name implies, this machine is best suited for sweat-drenched HIIT workouts.

[Related: Elliptical Vs. Stair Climber]

This machine’s 26 levels of magnetic resistance can be adjusted via the console or, if you’re in a compatible iFIT class, automatically via the app. This way, you can focus on surviving your HIIT session rather than scrambling to navigate all those quick resistance changes. 

You’ll also want to keep in mind that the only onboard programming is iFIT. Capritto recommends factoring in the additional cost of iFIT ($39.99 per month) when making your decision. “If you don’t want to pay for a fitness subscription, you may want to look for an elliptical that has built-in workouts,” she says.

Available Space

The H14 takes up about as much floor space as a typical recliner. (2) When you’re planning out where you might park it, ask yourself whether you could drop in a small piece of furniture in the same spot. 

Our tester rolling the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical.

Capritto says measuring the place spot your elliptical, stair climber, or hybrid machine will stay should be your first consideration. “This is a good place to start, because you’ll be really frustrated if you buy an elliptical that doesn’t fit in your intended space or — if you need to be flexible with your space — isn’t easy to move.”

Price

Compared to most ellipticals, the H14 would land at the top of the average $1,200 to $1,800 we usually see. But remember that this is a unique machine, so it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. One determining factor is its 14-inch touchscreen and iFIT integration.

Capritto says that high-end features like these can bump the price well above that of the best budget home gym equipment. “You’ll pay a lot of money to get top-tier features on an elliptical, just like you will for any other big piece of cardio equipment,” she points out. “While there are plenty of budget-friendly ellipticals available, they won’t check all of the boxes for a lot of people.”

Conveniences

In the heat of a workout on the H14, conveniences like the fan and water bottle holder can make a big difference. It also includes transport wheels to aid in moving it around, as well as leveling feet to make sure it stays balanced during use. Our tester rated the H14’s conveniences 3.75 out of 5. 

ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical Vs. the Competition

The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical is a unique mashup between an elliptical and stair climber, but we have tested a few other hybrids out there that also favor a vertical orientation. Along with two other combo machines, we included the NordicTrack AirGlide 14i, one of the best ellipticals with incline we’ve tested. 

The closest comparison to the H14 is the stair-climber feel of the BowFlex Max Trainer. Like the H14, your feet will remain grounded in oversized pedals as opposed to lifting and stepping on a traditional stair climber. However, because the stride is strictly vertical, it functions much more like a stair climber than the true hybrid nature of the H14. The Max Trainer does cost $300 less, but the machine is a bit slimmer. You’ll notice a 76-pound product weight difference, plus a lower weight capacity and eight fewer resistance levels.

You may need to read our NordicTrack FS10i FreeStride Trainer review to get the full picture of how its hybrid design works. Instead of combining the functionality of a stair climber and elliptical, it throws in the feel of a treadmill to mix up your training even more. This is one you may need to see in action, so watch BarBend’s Jake Herod, NASM-CNC, take it for a spin below.

To draw a comparison to a true elliptical, we included one of our favorites, the NordicTrack AirGlide 14i. Spec-wise, it aligns with the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 perfectly in price, resistance, and warranty — even their overall weights are only 20 pounds apart. 

However, the AirGlide 14i is an elliptical through and through. It’s one of our highest-rated ellipticals, but working out on the H14 is much closer to the feel of a stair climber than an elliptical. The vertical silhouette of the H14 makes its footprint of 10.47 square feet around 13 percent smaller than the two NordicTrack models.

Places to Buy the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical

You can buy the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical on the ProForm website, Amazon, and major retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Customer Experience

Ordering the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 is a simple enough process — add to cart, enter your card info, checkout — but its complex assembly is what earned it just a 2 out of 5 from our tester. “You definitely need an extra set of hands, as well as a clear schedule,” they said. “If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t hesitate to take advantage of the $199 white-glove assembly package.” 

ProForm offers a 30-day return window, but you will be on the hook for a $250 return shipping fee, as well as a 10-percent processing fee. Our tester also rated ProForm’s customer service a 3.5 out of 5. “There is a live chat on the website, but it just directed me to the phone number, so it wasn’t exactly helpful.”

Warranties

The warranties that back up the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 — 10-year frame, two-year parts, one-year labor — earned a 4 out of 5 from our tester.

Company Information

ProForm manufactures some of the best treadmills, ellipticals, and rowing machines that our team has used. All their cardio machines all are integrated with iFIT to bring the studio experience into your home. To reach their customer service team you can call 1(888) 742-0128 or head to the contact page on the ProForm website.

In Conclusion

Hybrid cardio machines like the ProForm HIIT H14 can’t always be classified as simply an “elliptical” or “stair climber.” After getting a feel for the H14 ourselves, though, we think it combines the best of both worlds. On the spectrum of stair climber to elliptical, its vertical orientation lands it closer to the former. But with your feet firmly planted on the oversized pedals, you’ll still benefit from the low-impact cardio that makes ellipticals an at-home fitness staple.

We think a hybrid machine like the H14 would be a great fit for anyone who needs to save their joints a bit of stress, but wants to raise the intensity of their cardio sessions. With 26 resistance levels and moving arms reminiscent of traditional ellipticals, you may be begging your iFIT trainer for a break. If you’re ready to give your cardio sessions a boost, the ProForm HIIT H14 Elliptical might just be the kick in the pants you’ve been looking for.

ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical FAQs

How much does the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical cost?

At $1,799, the H14 is not exactly “budget-friendly.” However, with iFIT integration and a 14-inch touchscreen offering crystal-clear virtual workouts, we think it’s rather reasonable. Keep in mind that this hybrid machine more closely resembles a stair climber than an elliptical, but since your feet never leave the pedals, you can expect less stress on your joints.

Is ProForm HIIT trainer worth it?

Our tester rated the H14’s value a 3.5 out of 5 because, for the right person, this is a solid machine. That person would be someone who values low-impact training, but prefers the intensity of a stair climber over an elliptical. A big selling point is its 14-inch touchscreen and integration with iFIT, which our team thinks is the best online workout program for cardio.

Is the elliptical better than the HIIT machine?

Whether a traditional elliptical trainer would be considered “better” depends on who is answering the question. We think the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 is ideal for those looking for high-intensity interval training, while reducing impact on joints. While it features the smooth glide of a true elliptical, its vertical orientation requires more effort than a typical horizontal stride.

What is the warranty on the ProForm H14?

ProForm backs up the H14 with a 10-year frame, two-year parts, and one-year labor warranties.

References

Sandmeier R. H. (2000). Osteoarthritis and Exercise: Does Increased Activity Wear Out Joints?. The Permanente Journal, 4(4), 26–28.

Jaramillo, C. (2022, December 29). A guide to sofa dimensions & sizes. SeatUp, LLC. https://seatup.com/blog/guide-to-sofa-dimensions/

The post ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical Review (2024): Intense, Low-Impact Cardio, Anyone? appeared first on BarBend.

A 9-Study Meta-Analysis Suggests the Optimal Rest Time Between Sets

Rest time between sets is a crucial but often under-considered aspect of resistance training. Sufficient rest time between sets allows neuromuscular system recovery to maximize workout performance and results.

Dr. Mike Israetel, Ph.D. in Sport Physiology, discussed a meta-analysis led by Dr. Milo Wolf, Ph.D. in Sport Science, examining inter-set rest times’ effects on hypertrophy. Check out the findings below: (1)

The meta-analysis synthesized findings from nine studies that included various muscle groups (lower body, arms, whole body). Each study maintained an equivalent volume load across groups, ensuring shorter and longer rest interval groups performed the same total work. This was achieved by adjusting the sets, reps, and weights.

Volume & Rest Intervals

Volume load is calculated by multiplying the weight lifted by the number of repetitions and sets:

Volume Load = Weight x Reps x Sets

The researchers categorized the rest of the intervals as follows:

Short — Under 60 seconds

Intermediate — Between 1-2 minutes 

Long — Between 2-3 minutes 

Very Long — Over 3 minutes

“All rest time groups led to hypertrophy,” said Wolf. “No matter your rest times, you will likely experience muscle gains if you train for hypertrophy.” These studies did not include super-trained participants or compound high-rep sets. 

The research concludes that while all rest times led to some muscle growth, resting for one to two minutes between sets yielded the maximum hypertrophy. Conversely, resting for less than one minute or more than three minutes resulted in comparatively smaller gains in muscle mass.

Wolf highlights that the optimal rest times may vary depending on the trained muscle group. For instance, legs may benefit from longer rest than arms as the former engages more muscle mass.

Suggested Rest Times

“Rest time isn’t one of the variables that’ll kill your gains or create all the gains in the world,” said Wolf, who recommends the following rest times for hypertrophy:

Lower body exercises: 1-3 minutes

Upper body isolation exercises: 1-1.5 minutes

Compound upper body movements: 1.5-2 minutes

[Related: A Guide to the Best Pre-Workouts, Tested and RD Approved]

Key Takeaways

Rest intervals shorter than 60 seconds or longer than three minutes may not be optimal for maximizing muscle growth.

Resting one to two minutes between sets is ideal for hypertrophy for most people. 

There may be benefits to individualizing rest times based on the trained muscle group.

[Related: The 8 Best Whey Isolate Protein Powders, Tested by Our Experts]

References

Singer, Alec & Wolf, Milo & Generoso, Leonardo & Arias, Elizabeth & DelCastillo, Kenneth & Echevarria, Edwin & Martinez, Amaris & Androulakis-Korakakis, Patroklos & Refalo, Martin & Swinton, Paul & Schoenfeld, Brad. (2024). Give it a Rest: A systematic review with Bayesian meta-analysis on the effect of inter-set rest interval duration on muscle hypertrophy. 10.51224/SRXIV.395.

Featured image: @drmikeisraetel on Instagram

The post A 9-Study Meta-Analysis Suggests the Optimal Rest Time Between Sets appeared first on BarBend.

Running Fuel: How, What, and When to Eat For Optimal Performance, According to RDs

Some runners swear by fasted cardio. Others refuse to run without having a meal prior. Still others rely on energy gels to maintain performance. The truth, though, is that everyone is right and no one is right. The best running fuel differs significantly depending on the athlete, the type of run, the run distance, run intensity, and weather conditions. 

Credit: Maridav / Shutterstock

In this guide, registered dietitians Daniel Chavez at Fay Nutrition and Jena Brown at Victorem explain the finer details of running fuel and how to ensure you take in the right fuel—and the right amount of it—before, during, and after your runs so you can avoid the dreaded “bonk.

Meet the Experts 

Daniel Chavez, RD, is a registered dietitian and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) at Fay Nutrition.

Jena Brown, RD, CSSD, is a registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD). She is the owner of Victorem, where she is a performance nutrition coach for endurance athletes. 

How to Fuel Your Run

When you think about fueling for your run, you may only think about what you should eat before you head out. However, running fuel also includes intra-workout calories if necessary, plus post-workout refueling to ensure you start your next session off on the right foot. 

Carbohydrate Needs

Most importantly, runners should consider carbohydrate intake over other macronutrients, Brown says, because “Carbohydrates before a run provide fuel as blood glucose and carbohydrate stored in your muscles as glycogen.” (1)

[Read More: The Best Healthy Carbs to Add to Your Meal Prep Plans]

How many carbs you need before a run depends on how long before your run you plan to eat, as well as your body weight. She outlines carb needs as follows: 

Eating 2 to 3 hours before you run: 0.9 to 1.4 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight 

Eating 1 hour before you run: 0.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight

Eating 15 to 30 minutes before you run: 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates as a general guideline

Protein Needs

Advice about the weight room almost always includes something about protein—always more protein. But running tips rarely feature this macro, so runners may neglect protein intake. 

It’s common to think that protein is only important for strength athletes, but that’s absolutely not the case. Adequate protein intake is not only critical for health and well-being, but “eating protein before a run helps reduce muscle breakdown and can help improve recovery,” Brown says. 

[Read More: The Benefits of Protein for Health and Performance]

Like carbohydrates, the amount of protein to intake before a run depends on how much time you have before you head out. “The more time you have before a run, the more total food volume, protein, fat, and fiber you will be able to tolerate because there is more time for digestion,” Brown explains. 

She outlines the ideal protein intake before a run:

Eating 2 to 3 hours before you run: 20 to 25 grams

Eating 1 hour before you run: 10 to 15 grams

Eating 15 to 30 minutes before you run: 0-5 grams 

Electrolyte Needs

Another important element of running fuel is electrolytes. While electrolytes don’t provide calories and therefore may not be considered “fuel,” these minerals are critical for running performance—and your health. 

Electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, and potassium play a key role in maintaining hydration status, supporting muscle contraction, and preventing cramping. (2)

[Read More: Learn How to Make a Homemade Electrolyte Drink from a Certified Nutrition Coach]

“Electrolyte replacement needs are individual,” Brown says, noting that the best way to find out how much fluid and how many electrolytes you need is to take a sweat test. Sodium loss tests estimate how many milligrams of sodium you lose per liter of sweat. You can calculate fluid losses by weighing yourself before and after training and subtracting the weight of fluids you consumed during training.

Hydration needs are also affected by various factors, such as pace and weather. According to Brown:

Slower runners are at a higher risk of drinking too much water and not enough electrolytes, which could lead to hyponatremia.

If you are a heavy sweater, salty sweater, and/or train in hot or humid environments, it is a good idea to include electrolytes around training (before, during and/or after) and with regular food intake.

Higher-intensity runs may require more electrolytes than lower-intensity or shorter runs due to increased sweat/electrolyte loss.

What Are Energy Gels for Runners?

Energy gels, also called running gels, are small packets of a sugary substance. Typically, the substance consists of glucose and fructose, two fast-absorbing sugars that your body can quickly utilize for energy during training runs or on race day. Energy gels usually contain sodium, too, and sometimes contain other electrolytes, caffeine, vitamins, minerals, and/or amino acids. 

These gels intend to replenish circulating carbohydrates—sugar available in your bloodstream—before your body taps into and exhausts your stored carbohydrates (glycogen), which are very finite. The idea is to keep your body running on inputs (gels/sugar) rather than stores (glycogen) while enduring long training sessions or races.

Before you run out and buy a stash of gels, know that you might not need them. For one, there are many other ways to intake intra-workout calories, some ideas being blended or chopped fruit, candy, and sugary sports beverages. 

More importantly, though, it’s crucial to understand when energy gels (or intra-workout fuel at all) are needed, and when they’re not. The general rule of thumb is that athletes should take intra-workout fuel for sessions lasting longer than 60 to 75 minutes, explains Brown. 

There are certainly exceptions to that rule, though. 

For example, Brown says that athletes should intake fuel during high-intensity runs lasting less than 75 minutes if the athlete is training for an event.

Triathletes, too, have different fueling needs. For instance, if a triathlete is performing a bike-run brick workout, the athlete will benefit from taking an energy gel upon starting the run, even if the run is only 30 minutes in length. 

Weather conditions can make a difference, as well. Runners may need more intra-workout fuel while training in hot, humid conditions, especially if they are not acclimated to those conditions. 

Best Fuel Before Your Run

The best fuel before your run depends largely on how much time you give yourself to digest. Chavez explains that if you eat two to three hours before you run, you can eat an entire meal

“Aim for a balanced meal high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat,” he says. “About 60 to 70 percent of the calories should come from high- to moderate-glycemic carbohydrates, 10 to 20 percent from high-quality protein, and 20 to 30 percent from unsaturated fats.” 

Two to three hours before a run, a great pre-run meal could look like: 

Two slices of white or sourdough toast with avocado, cottage cheese, and scrambled eggs 

4 to 6 ounces of chicken cooked in olive oil with a side of white rice 

A Greek yogurt bowl topped with a whole banana, berries, and honey 

Diced sweet potatoes sauteed with ground beef or fajita steak, cooked in avocado oil

If eating one hour before your run, Chavez says to “aim for easily digestible carbohydrates that are low in fiber to provide quick energy without causing gastrointestinal discomfort during the run.” Also, keep protein and fat intake low to avoid slowing down digestion, he says. 

A meal one hour before a run could look like: 

Oatmeal topped with fruit and a small portion of chopped nuts 

A fruit smoothie with half a scoop of protein powder 

Toast with a thin smear of peanut butter or another nut butter, topped with fruit or honey 

Dried fruit

Pretzels with sea salt 

Lastly, if you’re eating less than one hour before your run, Chavez says it’s essential to prioritize high glycemic, low-fiber carbohydrates with minimal protein and fat to aid in quick digestion.

Some snacks to eat less than an hour before the run are: 

A bowl of fruit with honey 

Toast with a sliced banana and cinnamon 

A toasted and buttered bagel

A bowl of cereal with skim milk 

Rice cakes with jam or jelly

A CLIF Bar, Honey Stinger waffles, or similar energy bar 

Energy chews

Fueling for Different Types of Runs 

The type of run you plan to do will heavily influence what stands as proper or adequate fueling. For longer or higher-intensity runs, you will need more fuel; for shorter or lower-intensity runs, you’ll need less. 

You may wonder if you need a specific pre-run meal or snack if your day calls for a short, low-intensity session. Brown explains that specific fueling can be helpful for runs lasting less than an hour if: 

You want a high-quality run

You are participating in high-intensity interval training

You’re training at threshold paces 

You’re training for specific adaptations (e.g., increasing speed)

Your run is taking place early in the morning, before breakfast

Best Fuel During Your Run

Chavez says that “intra-run fuel such as gels, sports drinks, or other carbohydrate sources should be considered when the activity duration exceeds 60 to 90 minutes.”

“After an hour, the body’s glycogen stores become depleted, and blood glucose levels begin to drop,” he says, “leading to fatigue and a decline in performance.”

Credit: verca / Shutterstock

Mid-run fuel may also be necessary or beneficial for shorter sessions if you’re training at particularly high intensities or looking for specific adaptations. 

As for what to take, the best intra-run fuel is high in easily digestible carbohydrates—AKA sugar. Your mind may immediately go to energy gels, but those aren’t your only options. You can also try: 

Chopped fruit (like banana slices) 

Shelf-stable squeeze smoothies 

Baby food packets 

Carbohydrate powders mixed with water 

Coconut water 

Sports drinks, like Gatorade (not Gatorade Zero) 

The important thing is to ensure you take in enough carbohydrates to keep your performance up for the duration of your session. According to Brown, runners should aim for 30 to 90 grams of carbohydrates per hour, depending on the intensity of the session, training goals, and body weight. Smaller athletes generally need fewer intra-workout carbs than larger athletes. Lower-intensity training requires fewer carbs than higher-intensity training

Best Fuel After Your Run

Fueling up doesn’t stop when you’re done running. In fact, your post-run meal can make a significant difference in your performance the next day—for better or for worse. 

“To maximize recovery and optimize performance the following day, runners should consume a post-run meal with protein, carbohydrates, fluids, and electrolytes,” Chavez says. “A general guideline is to ingest a mixed meal with a 3-to-1 carb-to-protein ratio. For instance, a meal containing 30 grams of protein should contain at least 90 grams of carbs.” 

Chavez recommends choosing high-quality lean protein sources, such as chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites, and lean cuts of beef. For carbohydrates, choose some with high-to-moderate glycemic index carbohydrates, such as white rice, pasta, or sports drinks containing carbohydrates, Chavez suggests. 

[Read More: What to Eat After a Workout — How to Find the Right Refueling Sources]

Additionally, Chavez says it’s essential to replace fluids and electrolytes after a run. “For every pound of weight lost, ingest 16 ounces of fluids with carbohydrates and electrolytes.” 

Electrolyte drinks like Nuun, Liquid I.V., LMNT, and DripDrop ORS can help you rehydrate. 

Carbohydrate Timing

In endurance training, post-workout carbohydrate timing may impact your recovery and performance. (3)

“Carbohydrate timing is essential, particularly following a bout of exercise, to maximize glycogen resynthesis and replenish energy stores effectively,” Chavez explains. “Glycogen, the body’s stored form of carbohydrate, maintains performance during prolonged or intense runs,” so it’s critical to replenish as much as possible following a training session. 

Failing to replenish glycogen stores means you may begin your next session without maximum stored energy, which in turn leads to quicker fatigue and impaired performance. (3

Benefits of Running Fuel

“Fasted cardio” may be past its heyday, but it’s very much still a popular concept. Running in a fasted state is perhaps best known for its purported effect on fat oxidation (fat burning), and it also has applications in endurance training for helping athletes become “fat adapted” (i.e., shifting the body away from reliance on carbohydrate and “teaching” it to use fats as fuel instead.” (4)(5)

And, understandably, some runners may prefer to run on an empty stomach if digestive problems persist while running after eating. 

But there are a host of convincing reasons to fuel up before, after, and even during training.

It Delays Fatigue

Running in a fueled state helps you sustain higher intensities for longer and increase energy during runs,” Brown says. Additionally, fueled running “improves recovery and post-run muscle soreness, reduces muscle breakdown improving endurance and recovery, and helps you stay mentally focused.”

[Read More: Do You Really Need High Glycemic Carbs Around Your Workout?]

“Fueled running is especially beneficial for intense or prolonged workouts, such as high-intensity sprints or long-distance running,” Chavez says. “Having adequate liver and muscle glycogen stores (the body’s storage form of carbohydrates) before a run can help delay fatigue and maintain a higher intensity for longer.” (6

It Improves Performance

Additionally, “Consuming carbohydrates beforehand can enhance endurance and improve performance, particularly during runs that are longer than an hour,” he says. 

Indeed, studies have shown that running in a fed state consistently improves prolonged performance and that running in a fasted state can impair prolonged endurance. (7)(8)

It Helps With Recovery

By eating before your run, you’re helping yourself out post-run. There are two reasons for this: 

When you run in a fed state, you are less likely to tap into and exhaust your glycogen stores. So, it’s not as difficult to replenish glycogen afterward and you’re more likely to start your next session with maximal stored carbohydrate. 

When you eat before you run, particularly if you eat a meal containing protein, your body is less likely to sustain substantial muscle protein breakdown. In other words, eating before you run can help preserve muscle tissue and minimize post-run muscle soreness. Additionally, some research has found that consuming both protein and carbohydrates (as opposed to just carbohydrates) after training can lead to better recovery in endurance athletes. But importantly, eating sufficient protein daily is the most critical factor. (9)(10)(11)

Frequently Asked Questions

What does “bonk” mean in running? 

“Bonking” is a colloquial term among endurance athletes that refers to reaching a point of extreme fatigue. It’s also called “hitting the wall.” 

When experiencing a bonk, a runner may feel lightheaded, dizzy, and like their legs just won’t move. This is due to low blood sugar and means that the athlete didn’t consume enough fuel to support the intensity and length of their run. Bonking occurs among beginners and long-time runners alike, but it can be avoided by consuming enough calories and carbohydrates to support the fitness goal.

How many calories do you need during a run?

Intra-run calorie needs vary significantly based on the athlete’s body weight and training intensity. Registered dietitian Daniel Chaves recommends using a simple formula to determine your calorie needs

The formula is: 
Calories = MET x Body Weight (kg) x Running Duration (hr). 

MET values are based on light to heavy running and can be found online. For example, a 65-kilogram runner

What fuel is good for running?

Runners should prioritize carbohydrates as fuel, since carbs are the easiest nutrient for your body to utilize as energy while running. Registered dietitians recommend choosing easily digestible carbs to optimize energy and performance while running, especially if you plan to eat an hour or less before your run. Protein and healthy fats are good fuel, too, if you eat at least two hours before running.

Additionally, be sure to take into account what your body needs specifically. For instance, if you know you have a sensitive stomach, stick to foods that you know won’t upset your digestion. No one runs well with an upset gut health

How do you fuel when running?

How to fuel for a run depends a lot on your body weight, how long you plan to run, and the planned intensity of your run. In general, you will need more calories and carbohydrates for runs that are longer or performed at high intensities. Consider intra-run fuel if your run is going to last for more than one hour, or if you’ll be training at very high intensities. 

How can I fuel without gels?

Gels are a great option for quick pre-run and intra-run fuel, but there are other options, too. Many runners find success with chopped or pureed fruit, squeeze smoothies, baby food, and beverages with sugar and salt

References

Podlogar T, Wallis GA. New Horizons in Carbohydrate Research and Application for Endurance Athletes. Sports Med. 2022;52(Suppl 1):5-23

Veniamakis E, Kaplanis G, Voulgaris P, Nikolaidis PT. Effects of Sodium Intake on Health and Performance in Endurance and Ultra-Endurance Sports. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19(6):3651

Bonilla DA, Pérez-Idárraga A, Odriozola-Martínez A, Kreider RB. The 4R’s Framework of Nutritional Strategies for Post-Exercise Recovery: A Review with Emphasis on New Generation of Carbohydrates. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;18(1):103

Aird TP, Davies RW, Carson BP. Effects of fasted vs fed-state exercise on performance and post-exercise metabolism: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2018;28(5):1476-1493

Yeo WK, Carey AL, Burke L, Spriet LL, Hawley JA. Fat adaptation in well-trained athletes: effects on cell metabolism. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2011;36(1):12-22

Aandahl MH, Noordhof DA, Tjønna AE, Sandbakk Ø. Effect of Carbohydrate Content in a Pre-event Meal on Endurance Performance-Determining Factors: A Randomized Controlled Crossover-Trial. Front Sports Act Living. 2021;3:664270

Aird TP, Davies RW, Carson BP. Effects of fasted vs fed-state exercise on performance and post-exercise metabolism: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2018;28(5):1476-1493

Aziz AR, Wahid MF, Png W, Jesuvadian CV. Effects of Ramadan fasting on 60 min of endurance running performance in moderately trained men. Br J Sports Med. 2010;44(7):516-521.

Williamson E, Fung HJW, Adams C, West DWD, Moore DR. Protein Requirements Are Increased in Endurance-Trained Athletes but Similar between Females and Males during Postexercise Recovery. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2023;55(10):1866-1875.

Vitale K, Getzin A. Nutrition and Supplement Update for the Endurance Athlete: Review and Recommendations. Nutrients. 2019;11(6):1289.

Jäger R, Kerksick CM, Campbell BI, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:20

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