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Why I love the FitDesk — and always try to avoid static desks

The FitDesk has remained an integral part of my remote work routine for more than three years now.
Illustration of a FitDesk, Cubii Pro Under-Desk Elliptical and Flexispot
Longtime remote worker Jonathan Bender wanted to improve his fitness situation at home, finding himself sitting for long periods of time. Since climbing on the FitDesk, he hasn't looked back.Amazon

Covid-19 has undoubtedly made working from the new norm, at least for the foreseeable future. While tech giants such as Google and Facebook were relatively quick with allowing employees to work from home until July 2021, you may not have been acclimated to working from home rather than your office. I've been at it for years. And I was a ride-or-type guy until I got a FitDesk 2.0. I had an exercise bike in my home office for more than a decade, and I had an office desk in my home office. It’s only during the last three years that I’ve had a FitDesk — an exercise bike with an attached desk — in my home office. And since I no longer have to choose between work and exercise, I’ve found myself working out more.

SKIP AHEAD What to know about the FitDesk 3.0

How I discovered the FitDesk

Writing often means sitting at a computer often, which could entail some notable health issues, among them tight muscles and lack of exercise. I wanted to be more active, so I decided to look into alternatives to an office chair.

An eventful morning on my wife’s Gaiam Essentials Balance Ball taught me my balance is not good enough to forgo a chair with armrests. And after a friend offered up a trial on their BestOffice Standing Desk, I parked myself with it for an afternoon. However, no longer requiring the added step of getting out of a chair, I kept finding myself distracted and wandering away for a cup of water or a bathroom break.

Eyeing some cycling options, I’ll admit I had some doubts about whether I’d be able to work and pedal at the same time. I’ve always liked controlling all of the elements around me in my home office. And I felt adding this variable might upset the delicate balance I’d built. Before I jumped into the FitDesk, I took a literal spin on the DeskCycle Under-Desk Cycle. The compact machine, which looks like what's left after somebody sliced off the front of an exercise bike, fits easily under a desk. I placed my feet on top of the pedals and pushed off. While the under-desk option made it clear that I could handle two tasks at once, I kept forgetting to keep pedaling without a visual reminder that I was on an exercise bike.

So I started looking into desks that have a built-in exercise option. Under-desk treadmills felt like trying to take notes while walking. I have done this as a reporter and would not recommend it. But an exercise bike with an attached desk felt sturdier. I could lean slightly forward and type, although my back occasionally barks at me to lean back against the backrest.

FitDesk 2.0 specs, taking a spin

FitDesk Desk Exercise Bike and Office Workstation (Out of stock)

The FitDesk 2.0 has been lauded most for its stability: More than 1,700 reviewers left it a 4.2-star average rating on Amazon. The non-slip sliding desk is 16 inches high x 19 inches deep, which fits my 13-inch MacBook Air with space on either side. It includes a sliding drawer underneath, where I keep my headphones and phone, and what FitDesk calls a "massage bar" for resting my forearms while typing. An optional Extension Kit, which I don’t use, offers space for larger laptops or a notebook.

  • The seat has a backrest and an extender, fitting riders from whose height falls between 4 feet 10 inches and 6 feet 6 inches. The FitDesk ended up being a fit (pun intended) because it could be adjusted for someone with shorter legs like me — I’m 5 feet 3 inches tall.
  • The resistance is controlled by a knob underneath the desk. I’m typically riding at a two — out of the possible eight resistance levels — so I don’t have to think too hard about pushing the pedals.
  • The bike comes with resistance bands that hang under the seat, if you’re into that. I have never used them.
  • The performance meter, a display at the top of the desk, tracks time, mileage and calories. However, if you have your laptop open, you won’t be able to see the display.
  • The bike is foldable, collapsing into 16 inches by 28 inches — it’s nice to have the option to put the bike away.

FitDesk 3.0: What FitDesk changed in its new model

FitDesk 3.0 Desk Exercise Bike and Office Workstation

The FitDesk 2.0 changed the way I approach my daily routine. I’m no longer just working at home and trying to squeeze in 45 minutes to exercise. Now, I can work — and work out — at the same time. FitDesk also created the FitDesk 3.0 which has three main differences from version 2.0, the one I own: The FitDesk 3.0 supports 300 pounds, 50 more pounds than the previous model. It includes a sliding drawer under the desk, which can extend your work surface and hold a tablet or book. Finally, the straps have been removed from the pedals.

  • The 3.0 FitDesk sports an eight-pound flywheel and a magnetic resistance system for a smooth at-home cycling experience.
  • It also weighs 47 pounds, so it's relatively easy to move around if you want to work in the different rooms of your home, or perhaps outdoors on a particularly warm spring afternoon.

FitDesk Junior Bike Desk: Tailor-made for virtual learning

FitDesk Junior

Virtual schooling can be a challenge for both parents and children. The Junior desk was made for students who weigh 150 pounds or less and features a storage basket to stash essential school supplies, ranging from mandatory readings to notebooks and writing instruments. Unlike the 3.0, the junior comes equipped with four wheels, so users can roll it from room to room with ease.

FitStudent Varsity Desk: The highest-end FitDesk bike

FitStudent Varsity Desk

FitDesk also created the FitStudent Varsity Desk if you're willing and able to splurge. While the bike typically costs around $900, it's currently marked down to $500 if you purchase directly through FitDesk. The Varsity was created with high schoolers and college students in mind and features comfy lumbar seating to support good posture. It also sports a desk storage basket for your belongings like a cellphone charger and laptop power cord.

Other exercise desks to consider

Not sure the FitDesk is right for you? Here are some other exercise solutions for your workstation to give you an idea of what's out there.

FlexiSpot Deskcise Pro Home Office Standing Desk Exercise Bike

The highly-rated Deskcise Pro is designed for quiet operation and sturdy operation. The seat is adjustable, as is the height of the desk and its distance from the rider. To complement your space, you can choose between four colors of the exercise desk.

FunMily Treadmill Desk

The 24-inch-wide desk is large enough to fit a desktop monitor and uses Bluetooth so you can listen to your work meetings (or music) as you walk. Funmily's treadmill offers flexibility, too. You can walk as slow as .5 mph or ramp up to 7.5 mph if you're looking to amp up your cardio. It also sports 12 preset modes to help keep you challenged and to help prevent boredom.

Cubii Pro Under-Desk Elliptical

The Cubii under-desk elliptical allows you to cycle while you work or are sitting with other tasks. It connects to your smartphone to track your stats, as well sync with your steps and burnt calories. Designed to be especially quiet, it should be less distracting to fellow remote workers than other options. A more affordable option, the Cubii Jr. cuts out the smart connection and replaces it with a small display to track stats.

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