Testing the FitDesk: an update

Last week I posted on testing the FitDesk. Here’s an update.

I discovered I had mounted the desktop backward. I had assembled it intuitively and then thought the velcro for attaching the electronic monitor was missing. I held the laptop in place with the giant rubber bands the company provided.

Later, I saw a piece of velcro on what I thought was the wrong side, and the little wheels in my mind started turning. I got out the instructions, looked at the photo, and sure enough, the fat end of the desktop is closer to the rider.

Here’s a photo with it mounted correctly, electronic monitor attached:


This way, there’s a slight ledge that you can’t really see but can feel on the desktop (which is made of dense foam covered with cloth) that will keep your laptop from sliding off. Although giant rubber bands are included, I did not find them necessary to hold my laptop in place with the desktop mounted correctly.

Note: I didn’t really use the electronic monitor. I just looked at the clock or set a timer on my iPhone and pedaled for a set length of time. Since I’m not using it to meet fitness goals, I found it more of a bother.

FitDesk pocketThis way of mounting the desktop also places the pockets closer to the rider. I used my iPhone to take these photos, but when not in use, I store it in one of the pockets, with Post-Its and writing instruments in the other pocket.

My friend Edward Spurlock tested it out. He adjusted the seat to fit his leg length. He is a cyclist and concurred with me that the FitDesk is not comparable in quality with exercise bikes at the gym (which are built for heavy, nearly constant use mimicking hills and so on). But for simply keeping your legs active while doing computer work, it’s great.

(Note: I took the photo below before figuring out the right way to mount the desktop!)

Edward monitored calories burned using an app called BodyBugg and reported the following:

I spent the entire interval from 12:42 PM to 12:48 PM turning the pedals on the FitDesk and burned 23 calories total during that time.

By comparison, I highlighted and selected the interval from 1:06 to 1:12 PM, when I was sitting in stop-and-go traffic on IH35 on my way home. The ‘Bugg registered a total of 8 calories burned for the interval, or around 1.4 calories / minute.

I usually burn 1.2 – 1.4 calories per minute on a normal workday sitting at my desk. If I used the FitDesk for a longer period, I might have slowed down a bit – but I think it’s fair to assume that one would burn at least twice as many calories turning the pedals and holding one’s body upright using the FitDesk than sitting still in the standard office chair with backrest.

Two to four calories per minute is pretty good compared to 1.2 – 1.4. You could definitely lose weight/eat more delicious food using a FitDesk regularly!

And finally, I want to report that the FitDesk does seem very feasible for use in an actual office wearing actual office clothing. I rode it for 30 minutes with the pedal tension set to 1 (no tension). You may remember that my first test was for an hour with the tension set midway at 4. I got sweaty then.

I did not sweat using the lowest setting, which is pretty remarkable considering I keep my trailer a bit warmer than the typical 72 degree setting found in most offices, closer to 76.

So I would say that the FitDesk is a desirable option in an office setting as well as for working at home.

Check out my tips for improving your health while sitting less (written while pedaling on a FitDesk)!

3 thoughts on “Testing the FitDesk: an update

  1. OK as a fitness pro I have to say Love it! I have seen of course the treadmill desks and love those too, and while only a few calories are burned while on them, whats important is that your moving. That is the goal of these contraptions, to keep us moving and not end up with ‘bankers butt’ or desk jockey syndrome. To keep the muscles working and the blood flowing. Awesome! I sooooo want a treadmill desk at my Teller station, but it seems like too much money to spend on a part time job, But I keep my weights there.
    Keep pedaling!


  2. Good point Cheryl – these are not really meant to be workouts, and should not take the place of an exercise regimen. The point to them is they keep our legs moving and keep us from sitting completely sedentary at a desk all day.


  3. I’m still trying to figure a good way to measure the calories burned. I can say that with a reasonable diet and riding my Fitdesk an average of 45 minutes a day at resistance 7 (I worked my way up gradually] I work up a real sweat at the 30 minute mark, more or less, and the sweat pours by 45 minutes. I have lost 30+ pounds since starting this regimen.

    I don’t ride every day [occasionally my bad leg is too painful] but I ride at least 6/7 days on average. I have also worked my way up to 2 workouts, 1 45-min when I arise and 1 30-min before bed [I don’t want to go to bed all sweaty, and I dislike evening showers]. The desk says I’m burning around 900 calories in that time, but I’m thinking it’s more like a third to maybe half that if I’m lucky, Still, it’s calories burned.

    My only other problem is that I suffer from what Eddie Murphy called “Old White Man’s Butt” and riding for more than 45 mins starts to hurt, even with an extra padded seat cover. Still, it works, and I don’t mind doing it, so it’s easy to continue.


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