Alright health gurus, let’s talk treadmills! If you’re not already on the treadmill train, let me inspire you right off the bat. I know clients have a huge range of fitness goals, from losing weight to toning to getting bulked. But any fitness routine isn’t complete without cardio, which is where a treadmill comes in. Running for half an hour before any workout is super important to warm up, and treadmills are the ideal way for runners to keep on track when it’s cold or rainy outside. There’s been a lot of talk recently about how running might not be so good for you because of all the impact on your joints, and that’s a valid point. Impact is bad, that’s why ellipticals are so popular. But most of that impact comes from the pavement or concrete most people run on, not from the landing by itself. So landing on a treadmill, which has some give to it, is actually the safest running environment.
Oh, and Heath, you’re saying, I thought weight lifters didn’t like to do cardio! Well, truth be told, most people don’t when they’re into weight lifting and bulking. They don’t want anything to compromise the bulk. But let me get real for a minute. If you don’t do any cardio at all, and just lift, you’re not doing your heart any favors. Basically, people who lift and don’t do any cardio are just like people who don’t work out at all, for most of the time, and then they suddenly place a huge demand on their heart when they start a lifting session. So it’s just begging for something to go wrong. Even if you want to get jacked, you should still go for a bit of a run before you lift. That gets blood going everywhere it needs to and it gets heat going in your body so you’re warmed up and limber enough to actually lift safely.
Even if you’re not up to speed enough to run at this point, that’s ok. Treadmills are one of my favorite ways to introduce new clients to the fitness world because you can use them however you want and you don’t have to have any baseline strength to get started on your routine.
Ok, so now that I’ve made my case for why treadmills are so good, I want to introduce you to a few that I really like. Personally, I think LifeSpan makes the best ones that you can buy for your home, which is where most of my clients end up using a treadmill anyway. It’s a lot more cost-effective to get a treadmill to keep on track with cardio than to spend all your money on strengthening equipment that’s going to take up all your space and probably not going to be as safe as the equipment at your gym. So, I think LifeSpan’s are the best bet for most people to use at home, since they have a really good folding design that’s not flimsy like the cheaper treadmills I’ve seen people using. They’re all under $1000 when last I checked, and my clients have had really good success with them. The most popular model they go for is the TR1200i, which is a big award-winner in the fitness magazines I subscribe to (that’s how I first heard of it). It has a good range of programs on the computer without a bunch of clutter to distract you.
I have a hard time finding anything cheaper to recommend, because in my experience, the ones under $750 tend to be complete garbage, but there are a few cheaper options listed here: http://homefitnessintel.com/best-treadmill-reviews/ I haven’t used them personally, but that’s a really good review site that I would trust for other recommendations.
Why am I telling you to spend so much for your treadmill? It’s mostly for safety, honestly. Cheap fitness equipment breaks, and that’s putting your body at risk. Not worth the savings, in my opinion. You should generally stay away from any machine under $500, whether it’s a bike, elliptical, or a treadmill. Some of the cheap treadmills are ok for walking, but I don’t see the point of buying something you’re going to have to replace as soon as you start getting up to the running level. So, just be honest with yourself and know that real fitness equipment is an investment where there aren’t any shortcuts.
Alright, so that’s my rant on treadmills. I hope it’s helpful. Let me know if you have any questions! I really think everyone who’s serious about fitness should have a home cardio machine, even if you bike or run outside, so that you can keep on track every day. I’ll get around to reviewing some other machines soon, but in the meantime, my source for the most current equipment reviews is Home Fitness Intel. You can check them out here for the best rowing machine review, and some elliptical or bike options as well.
Stay healthy, friends!