Friday, July 26, 2013

A bit of exercise humour! How to exercise with your cats!




If nothing else, at least sitting on an exercise ball at work is entertaining.

I mentioned in an earlier post about a former roommates nephew being told by his doctor to sit on an exercise ball at work because it would help his posture and relieve his back pain.  For him it worked.

As you’ll see in this article, not all doctors feel the same way about them.  Some believe they have no benefits at all, and see no evidence to prove otherwise.

When we listen to the debates going back and forth on the subject, we might also bear in mind that despite evidence into the millions, doctor’s have also believed throughout the years that there was no such thing as menopause, pms, or postpartum depression.  Smile

So, evidence isn’t always accepted.  Personally, I believe a lot simply has to do with the individual themselves.  No two bodies are they same, and each responds in it’s own way to various therapies. 

Anyway, I really enjoyed this article and her humour.  Hope you do too.


Why I Switched My Office Chair with an Exercise Ball (and What It's ...

Many of us spend the majority of our professional lives sitting, which makes the office chair an all-important piece of furniture. Lately mine hasn't been cutting it, so as an experiment, I swapped my chair with an exercise ball.




Thursday, July 25, 2013

Are exercise balls to girly for guys?

The first time I saw a guy using an exercise ball I got the giggles and figured he was gay.  No guy in his right mind would be caught dead using one of those things.

I shared my opinion of them with my roommate at the time, and she said her nephew (not even close to being a girly guy) had to use one at work.  It was the only thing that helped with his lower back pain.  The ball forced him to sit up properly, and that’s all it took.

That made me curious and I bought one.  I loved it.  Fell off twice the first time.  Felt like and idiot, and laughed till I cried. 

What I learned through owning one, is that those guys who I thought were sissies because they used them – were soooo not.  They can make a workout pretty darn brutal. 

Try doing knee push ups (hands on the ball), hip bridge with roll out or single leg press on back, and you’ll discover just how tough it can be. 

Anyway, I really like this article.  The author provides pics, and explains how the muscles groups are worked using an unstable ball, as well as the benefits.  It’s pretty short, and totally worth the read.  Wouldn’t be surprised if it makes you want to run out an buy one.  Smile

EXERCISE BALLS – THE BENEFITS ‹ Mansnaps – The style guide ...

…exercise balls…are also know as Swiss balls, stability balls, physio balls or balance balls. They're those multi coloured things that resemble 'Space Hoppers' from our childhoods…



Now this is my kinda classroom!

View more videos at:

I wonder how many kids fell on the floor pretending they couldn’t sit on them. LOL Poor teacher. (not)


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Total Gym XLS Trainer Product Review: A Great All-Around Home Gym


I have the best home gym set up I've ever had.  It consists of a few dumbbells, medicine ball, a couple kettlebells, treadmill, Gazelle, and my beloved Total Gym.  The kettlebells, Gazelle and Total Gym are the ones I actually use.  The others kind of take up space.  If you've ever used a kettlebell, you know why I have one.  They're fun.  The same goes for the Gazelle and the Total Gym.

Last week, I did a product review on the Gazelle, so this week I'm doing the Total Gym.  The Total Gym XLS is simply awesome.  They made significant improvements from the original model.  The padded glide board now has head support, the squat stand is brilliant, and the accessories are more than just the leg cables.  Now it comes with an entire Pilates kit, 5 DVD's, training cards, poster, and Dan Isaacson's nutritional program and meal plan.

The DVD's

1)  Start It Up: An introductory Total Gym XLS workout
2)  6-8 Minute Workout: 12 work-along workouts for men and women pressed for time
3)  Smart Training Workout: An efficient workout employing slow, precise movements to target specific muscles
4)  Pilates for Total Gym
5)  Body Makeover for Total Gym: High-energy, high-powered workout

Let's take a look at a few particulars.

Seller: Amazon 
Price:  $689.98 plus FREE Shipping. (As of July 23, 2013.  Amazon's prices on their products changes frequently, so that's where it is today.)
Savings:  $1,258.02 (65%)



The Total Gym XLS Trainer is one tough machine, but like with any piece of equipment, you have to take care of it by following the instructions in the manual.  In consumer comments, some felt that the cables wore out quickly, and others disagreed.  Personally, I've never had any problems with mine.  The frame is sturdy, with a good weld on the joints. The leather covered glide board is tough.  Just make sure you give it a good clean now and again, because just like with any leather it can dry on you.

On the humorous side, if you have a cat, when you go to put your Total Gym away, make sure the glide board is facing the wall.  As far as they're concerned - it's a nice looking scratching post.  Also, hide the foam attachments (leg pull, etc).  Mine is now covered in duck tape.  (Thank you, Jeff the Cat.)


Brilliant performance.  Those, like myself, love the smooth glide, and being able to workout without having to lose time changing weights.  Some folks think working out using just your bodyweight for resistance is not enough.  The Total Gym XLS takes those folks into consideration and offers a weight bar attachment you can pick up so you can add your free-weights to it.

In the old days, I used to mock stuff that said you could get a great workout in 6 - 8 minutes.  Of course, back then, it was a lie.  It's not with the Total Gym.  In 6 - 8 minutes, you get a good, fast aerobic workout, and your muscles will feel the burn.  So, if you're short on time, you can still give yourself a good go before leaving for work.



The Total Gym XLS if versatile.  It doesn't matter your age or fitness level, you can use it.  I first bought mine after a series of strokes.  It was too dangerous for me to use even light dumbbells because I could easily lose my grip and drop them on the floor - meaning my feet.  When I found out the Total Gym was first used in rehabilitation centers - I picked one up.  It was exciting because I was able to do exercises I could have never done with regular weights, and made faster improvement as a result.

A word of warning though.  It might be for anyone over age 12, but there are some precautions you have to keep in mind.  You don't want little ones around the machine when you're working out.  It would be very easy for a small child to grab the bar and accidentally get their fingers ran over when you're gliding up and down.  So, you have to use common sense.  It's not a toy for kids to play on.

Otherwise, if you really want to get in great shape and have fun doing it - you want to get the Total Gym XLS.


I'm pulling straight from amazon for this one.  It explains it perfectly.

"The smooth, gliding motion is easy on the joints; the various height levels accommodate every fitness level; and the padded glide board provides excellent support for the back.

(It)helps you strengthen and sculpt every major muscle group in your body using a single glide board and a few handy attachments.

The Total Gym XLS works by making you lift a percentage of your body weight against gravity, creating a smooth and fluid resistance. As your strength and conditioning improve, you increase the total resistance by boosting the incline, thus increasing the body weight lifted in the exercise.

The Total Gym XLS not only works your upper body, but also your lower body, abdominals, and even your cardiovascular system. And by reducing body fat and increasing the proportion of lean muscle mass in your body, the strength training effectively turns up the thermostat so that your body burns calories constantly."


Admittedly, since I own one, I'm very biased when it comes to the Total Gym.  I honestly don't think it can be beat.  For me, it's a fun machine, an easy way to tone up, build muscle, and get a great aerobic workout by not having to stop between exercises. 

Check out the video below for a great video review, and then click here to buy it at amazon.

Really good review!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Fight it with exercise!

This find is a little gem. It's short, to the point, with great content. He gives a tip I've never read before on how to avoid over-eating (let me know if you've ever heard of it), how to get a good workout in while traveling, how to calm down so you can sleep, and more!

He mentions a few things that remind me of a book I'm reading at the moment. It's called Time Warrior. I'll write up an article on it later, but in the meantime - enjoy!


Fitness pro: How exercise fights stress
Physically, we get an incredible endorphin release to make us feel better, and mentally we earn an amazing sense of accomplishment for the rest of the day..



Fitness motivation and expanding your horizons!

One of the things that's helped me pull myself back up by the bootstraps and get back to exercising after being down for months from muscle spasms every time I tried to work out, was reminding myself of how much I love the feel of running on air when I'm on the Gazelle. I love that floating sensation. In fact, I just finished a 20 minute Turbulence Training interval on it before sitting down to write.

For some folks, exercise can be a chore. For others, an addiction. So for those of you who find it to be a chore - I post this link for you. Hope you enjoy it!


Why I Exercise:
Jerusalem Post
I was running on our home treadmill, watching the Wimbledon finals, when a little voice began to insist I push myself. Usually, for my workout, I set the speed at a moderate pace of 8.5 kilometers per hour, but suddenly I had an urge to go faster. I ...


Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to lose manboobs!

I couldn’t resist this tonight!  I’ve been following Craig for some four years now.  I’ve got almost all his programs, and they are tough.  Really tough. 

So, enjoy!  And don’t forget to pass it on to that manboob guy in your life.  Smile

How to Lose Manboobs

By: Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

You don’t have to go through life with man boobs (otherwise known as male breasts). In fact, you can burn away chest fat and get rid of your manboobs forever with just three short, but intense workouts per week.

Getting rid of manboobs is as simple as getting rid of any other fat. You need to cut back on the junk, and fill up on the intensity. Turbulence Training is the fastest fat loss workout you can do at home. You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership (where you’ll be too embarrassed by your man boobs to go anyway).

Listen, women love a chiseled chest, but are turned off by the site of manboobs poking through a sweatshirt. That’s why I’ve put together a fat burning program that focuses on building muscle and blasting fat with all sorts of push-ups, chest exercises, and intervals. In fact, even the Turbulence Training abdominal workouts work the chest and help convert those man boobs back into a real man’s chest in just weeks.

You can gain muscle and lose fat with short workouts. You don’t need to be training 6 days per week or spending hundreds of dollars each month on fancy (but worthless) supplements.

Soon you’ll be the guy who is first to take his shirt off at the beach. No more hiding under sweats in the middle of July, or avoiding the water because you don’t want anyone to see your manboobs.

And no matter what anyone says, you don’t have to rely on surgery. Besides, that will leave ugly scars that will leave you just as self-conscious as when you had man boobs. The only fix is a permanent lifestyle change, thanks to the 3 short workouts per week of Turbulence Training. You’ll see changes in your man boobs, love handles, and arm definition within weeks, going from male breasts to ripped abs in the process.

Turbulence Training is not like all those other aerobic, slow cardio programs you’ve tried in the past that didn’t work. And it’s not a wimpy machine circuit that just ends up being a waste of your time. Instead, Turbulence Training is a unique exercise system that you can do in the comfort of your own home, so that no one at the gym can point or stare at your chest – at least not until they are staring with respect.

The fastest way, the safest way, and the only way to get rid of man boobs is with strength training and interval training. Combine that with Dr. Chris Mohr’s sensible nutrition guidelines, and you’ll have a new body, and a new chest in just weeks.


Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer
Author, Turbulence Training

About the Author

Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit



You’ve got to be kidding…

Here’s a weird one for the day.  Denver is considering charging businesses for using the parks.

I can’t imagine being charged for taking your exercise class to a park.  I wonder if companies will be charged for company picnics?

I know parks have a hard time surviving.  They’ve never exactly been high on the governments agenda for financial support. 

I remember when I was in wildlife management, we had to take shop class because parks can’t afford to hire anyone to come in and make repairs.  So, in a sense, I can see why they might charge.  On the other hand, it could also reduce park usage, and that would be equally as bad. 


 Exercise fees in Denver parks may be stretching it
Denver Post

The city of Denver is looking at adding new fees for groups using the parks for business, such as exercise.

City Wants People to Pay to Exercise in Public Parks -- Seriously?!The Stir



Get up. Go Slow. Keep Moving.

For one reason or another, sometimes we get stuck in a rut and can't get ourselves exercising again. Then comes the downward spiral. The energy slowly begins to fade, the pounds sneak on, and before you know it - we just don't care anymore.

That's why I like the title of this article I found: How to get the exercise ball rolling when it's gone flat. Actually, my exercise ball went flat because the cats thought it was a bouncy toy. But that's another story. Smile


Words on Wellness: How to get exercise ball rolling when it's gone flat - The News-Press

How do you get motivated to get out of bed in the morning to exercise when you are tired?  I think the answer to this question has a lot to do with the positive feelings that come along with consistent exercise.



Monday, July 15, 2013

Fat can be exciting? Sorta…at least the research on it is.

Another cool article today.  When I worked at SSD/I I learned that the majority of people with diabetes are over-weight.  Or to put it in a non-pc way – they’re fat.

Every time an application came in trying to get disability for diabetes, I could almost always guess the weight.  I was right about 7 times out of 10. 

The research mentioned in this post is about the effects of exercise on the adipose tissue (where fat is stored). 

It’s a really interesting read, and might just make you want to jump up off the couch and do something.  Smile


Business Insider

Exercise Doesn't Just Help Shed Fat — It Changes How Fatty Tissue Works
Business Insider
EXERCISE is the closest thing medicine has to a panacea. Though hitting the treadmill is more effort than swallowing a pill, the benefits are worth it. Even modest amounts of exercise protect against diseases ranging from diabetes and osteoporosis to ...

Exercise teaches a body not to store fatStarPhoenix

Do you know everything you need to about exercise and pregnancy?

Came across this a short bit ago.  We all probably know of someone who doesn’t really use their head after they become pregnant and want to continue exercising the same as they did before.

We feel a sudden surge of panic wondering what’s happening to the baby while mom is jumping up and down, running, or whatever she does to stay in shape.

This article is not only good for the one pregnant, but also a good one for the friends and family members who want to strap her to a chair and say kick back for awhile.   Smile

Medical Xpress

A guide to exercise during pregnancy
Medical Xpress
You might be surprised to learn that exercise guidelines for pregnant woman aren't too dissimilar to those for the general population. In general, women with a healthy pregnancy (no complications) should aim for 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise ...
5 reasons to exercise regularly throughout your pregnancyHamilton Spectator
Mothers, exercise cautionDeccan Chronicle

Fido and Exercise!

This week I’m focusing on exercise.  Admittingly, I was thinking about humans, and then this article popped up and I thought it’d be a great one to share. 

I see a lot of people out walking or running with their dogs regardless of weather or time of day.   Sometimes I feel really sorry for the dog, because it looks like it could drop.

That’s why I’m posting this article.  You might be the kind of person that heat doesn’t bother, but that doesn’t mean your dog feels the same way. 

This article gives you tips on how to know if you’re pushing your dog too far, along with how much exercise your breed needs!  It’s a great read!  Hope you enjoy it.  Smile

Exercise and the small dog
Just like you, your small dog needs exercise to stay healthy and happy. Small dogs are defined as those that weigh less than 22 pounds and who are shorter than 16 inches. "Exercise helps to keep your pet physically fit, mentally secure, socially ...
and more

Tony Littles Gazelle Edge Reviews: Low-Impact Fitness Fun

You know how it is when you see an infomercial a thousand times and you get really curious as to whether it works or not?  It’s a silly question to pop into one’s mind because the obvious answer is – of course it works.  Every machine out there works.  It all just depends on what one likes.

I exercise according to moods, which is why I have:

Tony Little’s Gazelle Edge

The Total Gym

Denise Austin’s Treadmill (manual)

The original P90 workout

The Iron Gym

Recumbent bike (my mom didn’t want it anymore)

A couple kettlebells, medicine ball, dumbbells, a yoga mat and various other contraptions.  In other words, I have an entire gym in a very small cottage, because I like variety.

Out of all my toys, the Gazelle Edge and The Total Gym are my faves, and in that order.  I love the Gazelle Edge because:

1)  It’s low-impact and doesn’t hurt my knees

2)  The floating in air feeling.

3)  I get really long strides, and I love that stretch.

4)  It’s quiet.

5)  Good total body workout.

6)  It’s just plain fun.

Why’s it fun?  You can’t experiment on most machines, but you can with the Gazelle Edge.  [Note:  I’m about to tell you a few of my tricks.  I’m not responsible if you do them and get hurt.]

For a great ab workout:

1)  Grab the handles and pull your stomach in and squeeze.  Release and repeat. 

2)  Shift your feet 45 degrees, or whatever is comfortable.  Squeeze those obliques and release.  Repeat other side. 

3)  Another fun one is speed crunches.  Hold onto the bar between the two handles and squeeze and release the abs.  Don’t let the rocking motion get out of control to where your abs aren’t really getting worked. 

Just like with any exercise, watch your form.  Bad form can hurt your back.

So, let’s take a look at the Tony Little’s Gazelle Edge.

First off, 672 customers on amazon give 4.1 out of 5 stars.

Cost: $129.99 + FREE SHIPPING

Product Dimensions:

43 x 28 x 53.8 inches  

Weight:  42 pounds

Shipping Weight: 48.2 pounds

Product Description:

Comes with computer which tells:

1)  Speed

2)  Calories burned

3)  Distance

4)  Time

1-1/2-inch gauge steel construction holds up to 250 pounds

Extra-wide, nonskid foot platforms for added stability.

Handlebars are covered with high-density foam for extra comfort.

Folds quickly for easy storage so it won't take up space in your home.


1)  I’m going to come down a little hard at times on some of the negatives people tossed in.  Like this one – please, I beg of you, don’t buy equipment without actually looking at the pic itself. 

Go back and take a look at the Gazelle Edge picture.  One of the biggest complaints is that when their Gazelle Edge arrives – it has no resistance.

If they would have bothered to take the time and actually look at what they were buying, they would have known that.

2)  Your feet tend to move about on the platform.  That’s true.  They do.  I was a little annoyed by it when I first got mine, but then I realized the sneakers I was wearing didn’t have good tread, so the grip wasn’t there.  Easy solution.  I have really good tread on my sneaks now.

3)  Breaking cables.  One guy claims that the cables broke on his, and on the replacement.  The same guy claims there’s no place to get replacement parts.

I used the phone number on Tony’s site and the very friendly rep gave me the phone number for replacement parts:  Gazelle Glider 1-800-519-8061.

4)  Causes sore back, hurt knees, hurt feet.  The funniest one on injuries was a guy saying that it made his feet hurt when he used it barefoot. 

The foot platforms have raised solid, hard plastic ridges.  It’s going to hurt.  Besides, It’s not designed to be used barefoot.

As for injuries.  You can hurt your back, knees, or even feet using it, just the same as you can on any piece of exercise equipment.   The solution is to pay attention to what you are doing.

Pay attention to your body. If something starts to hurt – stop.  Or keep making adjustments to your form until it doesn’t hurt. 

Again, just like with any other piece of exercise equipment, you have to pay attention to form.  Poor form will almost always cause an injury.

5)  The little computer quits working within a year or two.  Yes, it does.  The only on board computer I’ve ever seen not quit is my Denise Austen treadmill.  So, yes, it’s annoying and it will.

On the bright side, you can pick up a new one at Gazelle Glider for $29.95, plus $8.95 shipping.  Call:  1-800-519-8061.

My two cents worth on any of these computers.  I like them for keeping track of time, and their rough mileage estimates, but they’re not all that accurate.  The least accurate of all is the calories burned.   Sadly, it doesn’t matter what equipment has it – it’s wrong.

6)  There are claims that it doesn’t raise your pulse, and therefore you get no workout.

Like the others said – “you get out of it, what you put into it.”

It doesn’t matter what machine you use, if you’re not breaking a sweat, you’re either not putting out the effort, or you’re not following instructions.


1)  Folds easily to put away. (Mine rests against my wall.)

2)  Great workout, quiet and fun.

3)  Works your total body: abs, arms, back, thighs, calves, glutes.

4)  Great price.

5)  Great for losing weight.  Even people who gave it a 1 or 2 admitted that they did lose a lot of weight using it.  I saw one person had lost as much as 50 pounds.

6)  Easy on the joints.

Who is the Gazelle Edge good for?

In short - everyone!  Mother’s with babies love it because they can workout without waking the baby.

People who want to keep moving and not be a couch potato love it for it’s smooth quiet action.  They don’t have to turn the tv, radio, etc., up to hear what’s going on.

Those of us with funny joints love it for the lack of stress on those joints.

Folks who just want something different.

Folks who find treadmills to be too limiting, and want a good full body stretch without having to do yoga.

People who can’t handle outdoor heat or cold.

People with asthma, or with allergies and the pollen will nail them flat.

Overall thoughts:

I love my Gazelle Edge.  It’s the most enjoyable piece of equipment I’ve ever owned. 

If you focus on your workout, eat right, you’ll see great results.

Click here to check it out. 


Friday, July 12, 2013

New series coming next week: treadmill desks at work, tips, and alternatives

One of my favourite actresses who’s a gamer, writer, director, and producer, said she’d just bought a treadmill desk and that it’s the best thing she’s ever bought. 

I wasn’t familiar with them, so naturally I did a good bit of research to see whether they are worth the expense, and how well they function in the workplace.

I learned a lot.  I discovered that just because a desk might have a good rating and costs a lot, doesn’t mean it’s a good desk.  It might be wobbly or bend when you attach multiple monitors.  The expensive model might make it impossible to access the monitor on your treadmill.

Regardless of the little oddities, corporate businesses are buying them for their employees to use!  Dairy Queen has hopped on the bandwagon for the sake of their employees.  They also hope it might be a “recruitment tool.”

Check out the article here: 

Dairy Queen Gives Its Workers Treadmill Desks - Careers Articles:

Can you really get work done on a treadmill? Dairy Queen says yes.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Synthetic oil: To use or not to use

I mentioned in my emergency home generator review of the DuroStar DS4000S that some owners recommended using synthetic oil because it makes the engine run better.

That got me thinking, is synthetic oil really all that great?  I admit, I know nothing about it, so I did a bit of research.  I wanted to know exactly what it is, what guys think about it, and why it’s better.

Here’s what I found on a Ford forum:

1)  The subject of synthetic oils is a touchy one.  One guy said if you say anything positive about it, those against it will “throw stones at you until you’re not breathing anymore.”

2)  Another guy likes the “thermal stability and wide temperature range.  They work well in –35 to 100 degrees.”

3)  A lot of guys like doing their own experiments.  How well does it run in hot and cold weather?  Does it improve fuel mileage?  Does it need changed more often then regular oil?  What’s it’s effect on my engine in general?

I also came across this really great article by Joe’s Slinger Service in Wisconsin.  Joe covers:

1)  What it is.

2)  What Mobil Oil says about it.

3)  Whether you should use it or not.

4)  Does it work better in some cars than others.

5)  Pros and cons

6)  Does it make your engine last longer.

It’s a great read and very much worth checking out if you’re like me and really don’t know much about it.

Read here: What is Synthetic Oil? | Joe's Slinger Service from Oils:

Synthetic oil is a lubricant consisting of chemical compounds that are artificially made (synthesized). Synthetic lubricants can be manufactured using chemically modified petroleum components rather than whole crude oil, but ...


Here’s another couple really good short posts on the subject:

Check this post out Synthetic Oil For Seaside Autos « Sullivan's Tire Pros :

Synthetic oil doesn't gel or gum-up like petroleum based oil and it doesn't vaporize as easily. ... More and more new vehicles are being delivered with full synthetic motor oil; with the recommendation to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle.

Check this post out: Natural vs. Synthetic Oil; Which One Is Better For Your Vehicle ... - Blog:

This is unfortunate, because oil is every bit as vital as fuel to a properly functioning automobile. One step many car owners are taking to save money is to use synthetic oil instead of natural blends. But are synthetics worth their ...



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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

3 Need-to-Know things about Portable Generators

Here's a short and well laid out article from State Farm. They provide lists under the topics of: Carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution risks, and the occasional fire hazard. Sounds like enough to turn you against having an emergency home generator. LOL But, if you follow their guidelines, you'll easily avoid the potential hazards that come from people not reading their manuals.

Check this post Portable Generator Safety | Home | State Farm
If the electric service is interrupted at your home or you need power in a remote location, a portable generator can provide temporary power when and where you need it. But as convenient as they are,...

Tornadoes and Emergency Home Generators

I've been looking around for information to share with you on tornados and emergency home generators. This morning I found this really detailed piece that I think is excellent need-to-know information. He brought up a lot of stuff that I hadn't thought about, like the noise level your standy generator is creating, and how it might be affecting your neighbors nerves. They've already been through a nerve wracking experience, and the noise from your generator probably isn't doing a thing to help them.

Check out his suggestions on handling the situation.

During A Tornado Emergency, Will Your Residential Standby ...
Residential standby generators may not keep you safe or be important during a tornado, but when electrical power stations and electrical lines are knocked out and hundreds of thousands of homes are left without power,...

Running a generator to save on electic: Good Idea? or Bad?

I really like this article. The guy asks a really important question about using an emergency home generator for something other than a standy. He covers the cons of doing that, how to decide the size of emergency home generator you need, and tips. Really good read.

Match need to standby generator's power output

Rapid City Journal

If you tried to run a standby generator continuously to eliminate the need for the utility company's electricity, it probably would not last long and would require much maintenance. Also, the cost for ... You must decide what you mean by powering the ...

Awesome find for the morning! Time to get ready - Home Depot Hurricane Workshop Coming 7/27/13

Was really excited this morning to come across this while searching for anything new out in blogland about emergency home generator safety. If you live in hurricane alley, you'll really want to get in on Home Depots hurricane workshop! You'll learn all about home generator safety, etc, and get your questions answered. 

 Over 700 Home Depots are participating, so you're bound to find one near you. Anyway, check out the article below on it, and keep July 27 clear.

 Home Depot Hurricane Workshop 7/27/13 | Volunteer Center For ...
During the workshops, attendees will learn critical hurricane readiness will learn about generator safety; sizing generators for specific home or business needs; what to include in an emergency/disaster preparedness kit; how...

Friday, July 5, 2013

DuroStar DS4000S Product Review: Portable Emergency Generator

Last summer (2012), a lovely storm rolled through and left us in a blackout for nine days.  I think we could have handled the nine days fine, except the temps stayed 100, and occasionally above.  To make matters worse - we had no generator, but our neighbors did.  I listened to it every night as I laid under the stars trying not to think of their lovely a/c running. 

Now that July is here again, I thought it'd be a great time to do a generator review!  I picked out the DuroStar DS400S because of the great ratings it received.  Since it's portable, it's great for campers, RV owners, home back-up power, on the job sites, and cabins in the middle of nowhere. 

Here's what I found on amazon, along with a phone call to the factory:

Ratings: 4.4 stars out of 5 from 188 comments on amazon.

Price: Reg. $479.99.  Amazon's price:  $329.99 + FREE SHIPPING!  That's a 31% savings.

The main features:

It's got 4 gallon gas tank and runs for 8 hours
EZ-Pull recoil start
Auto low oil shut off
4000 watt surge/3300 watt continuous
EPA Approved

Product Details:

According to amazon, it's dimensions are 20" x 27" x 22"
Amazon lists 2 different weights.  One says it weighs 93 pounds shipping weight, and the other says 135.  I called the company and they said it's 94 pounds.
7.0 horsepower
air-coiled overhead valve engine
NOT CARB compliant (So, not sold in California)
4-stroke single cylinder

More details:

If you run it at 1/2 load, you can get 8 hours out of 4 gallons of fuel.

Smooth quiet operation.  Recoil start, and the "super quiet" muffler reduces engine noise to 69 dBA.  According to one customer, it's as loud as a 22" lawnmower.  Another customer said it was more like 3 lawnmowers, and a third claimed it was right up there with a jet engine.

Big plus!  It has an automatic low-oil shut off.  Great for protecting the engine.

Limited 1 year warranty.

Comes with a few tools, that one customer said isn't quite adequate for assembling the generator.

Power panel:

Main controls, start switch, volt meter, circuit breaker
Two 120 volt, 20 amp, 3-prong outlets to supply power to all your home appliances
Plus!  One 120 volt, 30 amp outlet for high-powered tools.

Consumers Say:

There were 188 comments, so I didn't exactly make it through them all, but I did do about half.  Here's what I found. 


1)  No one likes the manufacturer, because they felt they got the run-around.  Messages were left, and no one called them back. However!  Everyone loved amazon's customer service when something went wrong. 

2)  Some claimed the generator worked a short time and quit.  Some said it wouldn't start at all.

3)  It requires a flexible funnel to put the oil in.  They were unhappy about that.

4)  And there were those who had never actually turned theirs on, but they were certain it deserved a 2.


1)  Loved the size.

2)  Loved the performance.

3)  Loved the ease of use.

4)  It's a great buy when you are on a tight budget.

5)  And there were a few who hadn't actually turned theirs on, but they were certain that it would deserve a 3 or 4. 


1)  Make sure you buy the wheel set, after all, it's 94 pounds - don't kill yourself.

2)  Use synthetic oil.  It will make the engine run better.

3)  Because of the position of the oil cap, use a flexible clear funnel with a plug.

4)  Drain the fuel tank when you put the generator in storage.  Old fuel is bad for any motor.

5)  Just like with any small engine, make sure you use a fuel stabilizer.

6)  Don't run the generator 24/7.  It needs some down time for the sake of the motor.

7)  One guy suggested picking up 4 tri-plugs, and 4 50' extension cords with lighted ends.

8)  Remember to buy a cover to protect it.

9)  A really big one here!  Make sure you chain your generator down.  During a blackout, there's a really good chance of someone stealing it.

10)  Do what the instructions say and change the oil every 20 hours.  It will extend the life of your generator.

11)  A back-up generator is a must if you have small children.


1)  Remember to never, ever, put your generator in the house.  You will die.

2)  If you or anyone in your family has a health problem, such as asthma, etc., or care for someone who is elderly - you need a generator. 

Here’s what it looks like:

DuroStar DS4000S in action.


The DuroStar DS4000S 4,000, is a great piece of kit.  It's small, so if you're cramped on storage space it's not a big deal.

There were quite a few items mentioned above that consumers said were necessary, so rather than add links off to them, I put together an amazon store with the things they suggested.  It's called Emergency Standby Generator Supplies, and that's all it has in it.  Makes for fast and easy shopping.

However, if you want to check out the other generators at amazon, click here.

Hope the review has been helpful.  Leave a comment if there's anything else you want me to research for you.  I’ve got some articles I’ll be posting on generators and blackouts this week that you might find helpful.  Be sure to sign up for notifications.

To learn more about fuel stabilizers, check out my article here: Fuel Stabilizers in Emergency Backup Generators: A Big Waste of Money? Or Do They Really Work?