The Yowza Fitness Sanibel i35 Cardio Core Elliptical is the next model up from the Pompano and Navarre models, and represents perhaps the best elliptical in the collection in terms of value for money.
In this review we take a look at a number of important upgrades, together with some entirely new features, including the variable stride and adjustable power incline.
We’ll also be making some interesting comparisons with other ellipticals in the same price range, helping you find the best model for achieving your fitness goals.
Electro Adjust incline and variable stride technology
Utilising a roller-less rear-drive system, the Sanibel i35 incline system attempts to move away from the front driven incline designs that tend to require additional maintenance and a large amount of extra space.
The Sanibel i35 adjustable stride also works in a completely unique way, whereby the two base frame arms attached to the incline frame at the front can be used to influence the length of the stride path.
As the incline frame arms move closer towards you, this has the effect of lengthening the stride, which can adjust to be anything from 18 to 26 inches.
Where a stride path of around 22 inches is usually ideal for taller users of around 6 feet in height, this range ensures that the Sanibel i35 caters for a wide range of user heights.
Despite the lack of linear moving handles, Yowza’ s unique Cardio Core motion manages to target the muscles of internal and external obliques, rectus abdomens and Serratus anterior like no other cardio machine.
Stability, safety and transport
If you’re going to be working out at home alone on a regular basis, it’s important to make sure you do so as safely as possible.
Although we haven’t seen the same locking pin and pass code sequence technology as on some high end ellipticals, the Yowza Fitness Sanibel i35 still has its benefits.
At the back of the machine, positioned underneath the frame itself, you have a set of base levellers that are designed to compensate for any slight unevenness in the floor the elliptical rests upon.
In addition, at the front of the machine you have a set of extra wide transport wheels, designed to make it easier to move the machine around once it’s assembled.
In terms of storage, this isn’t a design that can be folded, meaning that the size it measures when in use is the smallest it can go.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as the footprint isn’t massive. In fact, even with the adjustable stride length and incline range, the Sanibel i35 still measures significantly smaller than many of the ellipticals from Precor and Sole Fitness.
There’s one last feature that we wanted to mention, which doesn’t strictly improve the safety, but can help prevent against injury.
Sure-Fit is the name given to the ergonomic pivoting foot pedal technology that lets the pedals adjust to your natural ankle flexion as you walk, jog, or run through the various stride motions.
By adapting to your ankle movement, this helps to prevent against unnecessary stress on your calf muscles, ankle joints, and even knees.
Yowza Fitness Sanibel – Features Summary
- Cardio Core motion handlebars
- 0-35% Electro Adjust Incline
- SureFit Pivoting Foot Pedals
- 9 Pre-Set Programs
- iPod Docking and Charging
- 16 resistance levels
- 18″-26″ adjustable stride length
Display console design and heart rate training
If you’ve already taken a look at the lower priced Pompano elliptical, then you’ll notice how similar the console for the Sanibel i35 is in comparison.
But even with an almost identical button layout, placement of cooling fan, and integration of the iPod docking system, there is still one important difference.
This is in the addition of the ‘Motion’ buttons, which are used to control the stride length as part of Yowza’s Swing Up Reactive Elliptical (S.U.R.E) technology.
Although we’re still missing the quick-select buttons that we’ve seen on similarly priced machines, you still have the benefits of a large, backlit display screen, and the ability to track your heart rate using via the EKG hand pulse sensors in the handlebars.
If you tend to workout more in the mornings or evenings, this backlight will be a huge help in ensuring important workout information remains clearly visible, even in low light conditions.
This includes your pulse, calories burned, distance, speed, current user, fan power, and even the current Motion level.
There’s even space to display information that you entered specific to the current user profile, which includes your age, weight, height, and gender.
A slightly more controversial item of feedback is also worth mentioning that we haven’t seen on a console before, which is your ‘Recommended weight’.
We’re not entirely sure on the calculation Yowza Fitness use when determining this feedback, but presume this represents a weight that falls within a healthy range based on your BMI.
Preset workout programs
Whether your goal is to tone up, lose weight, or simply increase your overall fitness level, varying your workouts on a regular basis will help you reach your goal much sooner than following the same plan every week.
It’s this variation that helps to prevent muscle adaptation, which is where your muscles and body adapts to the movements it goes through on a regular basis.
This isn’t usually a problem in anything other than fitness, as adapting to a particular movement or task helps you to become more efficient and perform it with less effort next time.
But if you want to see the fastest results, you need to avoid this by shocking your body with a new workout at least once every 4 to 6 weeks.
This is something that the development team behind Yowza Fitness have recognized, and as a result have included a wide range of different workouts with a variety of intensity levels.
YouTube video showing the Yowza Fitness Sanibel i35 in action:
Although their website actually only lists twelve preset programs, many of these actually have different intensity options. This includes the ‘Target Zone’ heart rate program, which actually offers 3 different target heart rate levels; 65% for fat burning, 75% for muscle toning, and 85% for endurance and performance.
Because the workout programs can be such an influential factor in deciding whether a particular elliptical is right for your style of training, we wanted to provide a quick summary of the options that are available with the Yowza Fitness Sanibel i35.
12 Preset workouts:
- 1. Target time – The first of the target driven programs, this simply lets you enter a target duration for your workout, then count down until you reach your goal.
- 2. Target distance – Similar to the Target Time program, but in this case you enter a target distance for your workout.
- 3. Target calories – Similar to the Target Distance program, but in this case you enter the number of calories that you want to burn during workout.
The accuracy of this figure is improved by being able to enter your bodyweight when you initially configure the console.
- 4. Random – If you’re looking to try something a bit different to your usual routine, the ‘Random’ program will generate a random profile for you to follow.
You can still specify the duration and adjust the resistance to ensure that you still meet any targets you might have, but this helps achieve what we mentioned earlier about the importance of preventing muscle adaptation.
- 5. Fat burning – Unlike the Interval program, Fat Burning is designed to build up to a lower level of intensity, which is then maintained throughout the duration of your workout.
This type of ‘steady-state’ cardio has been shown to be more efficient at burning fat in a large number of studies, particularly when your heart rate remains at a certain percentage of maximum (usually 65% to 75%).
- 6. Interval – Following a more conventional format of a strict rest segment followed by a work segment, the Interval program actually offers 8 different intensity levels (L1 to L8).
Each of these follows the same basic profile, but with different levels of resistance, depending on which intensity level you select.
- 7. Endurance – In a similar way to the Interval program, Endurance allows you to select from any one of 8 different intensity levels (L1 to L8).
If you already have some experience with ‘Hill Climb’ style programs, then this will probably feel quite familiar.
The resistance gradually increases throughout the duration of your workout, helping to increase both muscular and cardiovascular endurance.
- 8. Custom programs (C1 – C3) – If you’re looking for something a little different to what’s provided with the preset programs, and want something more specific that what the Random program can offer, these Custom programs could be the answer.
Each of the 3 programs lets you set the WATT level for each individual segment of time (usually 1 minute). After providing the WATT level for each time segment, you can then begin your workout.
- 9. Target pulse – Similar to the Target Calories program, but in this case you enter the target pulse rate that you want to maintain throughout your workout.
- 10. Target zone – Rather than working around a specific heart rate level, the Target Zone program lets you choose from a set percentage of your maximum.
These percentages are 65%, 75%, and 85%, and make it easier to tailor your workout towards specific results. Studies have found that 65% is generally best for general fat burning, while 75% is better for overall fitness, and 85% is optimal for endurance and high performance.
- 11. 30 Min. Intensive interval – Offering 3 intensity levels (L1 to L3), the Intensive Interval program profiles follow a similar pattern to the Cardio Training program, peaking at 25%, 50%, and 75% of the 30 minute duration.
These are slightly less conventional than the classic Interval program (number 6 in our list), with a more gradual build-up to the highest intensity points for each profile.
With the different intensity levels available, these can be the better option if you are just starting interval training and want to build up your endurance and lower body strength before starting the classic HIIT style of interval training.
- 12. 45 Min. Cardio training – Similar to the Intensive Interval program, this also offers 3 different intensity levels. Levels start at 50, 75, and 100 Watts, then each follow the same profile for 45 minutes, with slight alterations in the level of resistance.
Ease of assembly and quality of customer service
Before buying any new piece of fitness equipment, it can be useful to know not just the dimensions and weight, but also how easy it is to put together, and the level of customer support available if you run into any issues.
Despite the addition of some entirely new frame features as part of the variable stride and power incline upgrades, Yowza Fitness have actually still been able to package the entire machine up in a box that’s almost the exact same size as the earlier Pompano and Bonita models.
Far from increasing the risk of any damage to the elliptical prior to delivery, Yowza have actually custom designed the internal packaging to take into account these new features, and prevent any parts from moving around.
If you’re buying the Sanibel i35 as an upgrade over one of their earlier models, you probably won’t notice a great deal of difference in the assembly process.
Most of the base frame is still pre-assembled before being packed in the box in which it’s delivered, which helps to cut down on the amount of time it takes to get everything setup.
The only real difference is in the design of the front base stabilizer, and how it attaches to the front of the frame.
This will probably be the most time consuming part of the assembly, as you connect the front stabilizer and Pedal Swing Arms to the frame and the pedals themselves.
Although styrofoam blocks are provided to help stabilize the machine while this step is completed, it will certainly save time if you have someone that can assist you on the day you plan to get the machine assembled.
If you do run into any issues, Yowza Fitness also have a customer service department that you can call, although their opening hours are usually only between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
You shouldn’t really have any reason to contact them though, as the user manual contains a parts list of what to expect, and the exploded diagrams and step-by-step walkthrough does an excellent job of explaining what’s needed for the assembly.
Based on the quality of instructions, amount of pre-assembled parts, and relatively compact design, it shouldn’t take much longer than 60 minutes to get everything ready for your first workout.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame and magnetic braking system: Lifetime
- Parts and electronics: 5 years
- Labor: 2 years