(Pocket-lint) - Getting on an exercise bike can be intimidating. They can sit in your home, representing an investment you might not regret, but which you feel you have to climb onto for an hour a day to really justify.
Even Olympic athletes can come to dread long bike sessions - but they don't need to anymore. CAR.O.L is a new breed of exercise bike that has artificial intelligence at its very heart, and a game-changing approach that means super-fast sessions can have an outsized impact on your health and fitness.
How can that work, though? We've taken a detailed look at the bike to glean some key facts you'll want to know about it.
1. No sweat
One of the key differences between using CAR.O.L and other exercise bikes is apparent when you first climb on to actually work out. CAR.O.L's workouts are short. Like, really short. They're constructed around getting you to sprint with top effort for just two segments of 20 seconds each, with 8-minute warm-up and warm down and cool-down phases around them, making for a 40 second workout that could change your entire health outlook.
That means that your workout can fit into a coffee break or the downtime between a couple of episodes of TV - it's revolutionary once you start to exercise in a way that doesn't dominate your schedule at all. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) can be scary on paper, but using CAR.O.L shows just how fun it can be.
The exercise is centred around triggering your body's Glycogen depletion responses, putting you in a sort of "fight or flight" mode that floods your body with healthy molecules. The upshot for you is that hardly any time spent riding will see you get fitter and leaner - just one of CAR.O.L's short workouts is equivalent to a 45-minute jog.
2. An AI with pedals, not a bike with AI
Part of why CAR.O.L get such outstanding results in short bursts is that it's built from the ground up with artificial intelligence in mind. Onboard there's a complex set of measurements being tracked to make sure that each workout is working for you in terms of resistance and fatigue.
The bike can then adapt your plan to your body measurements and performance to ensure that as you exercise, you're not expending energy inefficiently, and you're also reaping the maximum rewards from your time - however short a workout you do. That's almost like having a sport scientist at your beck and call.
Even better, CAR.O.L acts as a coach while you go, prompting you to work harder if you're not at your peak, and slowing you down if you're overdoing it.
3. Personalised plans
Part of what makes those fitness plans so effective is that CAR.O.L won't just be assigning you a random plan or relying on your estimates of your fitness level. Instead, it'll constantly keep tabs on how much effort you expend and how your heart rate varies, using its own heart rate-monitoring grips, to adapt plans to suit you.
So, if you crush a few workouts in a row without any effort, get ready for the resistance to get higher next time, and if you're finding it impossible to keep up, you can expect CAR.O.L to adjust the level to make sure that you're having a rewarding time. If you've ever found a workout app or programme too impersonal, this is the perfect antidote.
4. Real health benefits
After all, why do we work out? Generally, there are two reasons, tied together - weight management and fitness. Well, the reality is that CAR.O.L offers superb results on both counts, and that translates into real and immediate health benefits. CAR.O.L typically helps its users not only to reduce their waist size, but also to reduce their blood pressure, their risk of heart disease, and control both their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
That's a persuasive list on its own before you get into questions of mood and mental wellbeing, especially at a time when exercising at home is becoming more and more necessary for people all around the world.
There are a host of reasons to think about picking up CAR.O.L - whether you're locked down and craving exercise, or just want to try a sort of bike that offers personalisation and features that other brands can't match.