In yesterday's Ask Cranky Fitness post, Mary was discussing cold weather exercise and the topic of treadmills came up. Unfortunately, Mary doesn't have a treadmill and wishes she did. Crabby, on the other hand, does have a treadmill and sometimes wishes she didn't.
Since Crabby loves to give advice, and she actually owns the equipment in question, she thought she'd give some tips for those lucky enough to have some funds in the bank for a home treadmill purchase. (Not everyone does, nor do they have a place to put one, so Crabby apologizes in advance for her insensitivity about this). She also hopes those of you who actually know something about treadmills will pipe up in the Comments section if she says anything too dumb.
Home Treadmill Advice:
1. Consider your purchase carefully. Don't buy a treadmill, or any piece of exercise equipment for that matter, as a result of an infomercial. Especially not an infomercial viewed late at night in a guilty sugar-induced stupor following an unfortunate Ben and Jerry's incident.
2. Think about buying a Cheap-Ass treadmill. Not one of those totally junky infomercial brands, but a modest, possibly used or refurbished treadmill. Of course you should get on it and make sure it's not totally rickety, and think about doing some internet research on the brand. But one does not have to spend thousands of dollars to get a decent model. The Crab & Lobster's treadmill was purchased at a Sears Warehouse after someone took it back. Cost well under $400 and works just fine. Will it last forever? Probably not. (But who knows, they may invent cooler exercise machines in a few years anyway that fly around or something).
3. Treadmills Are Boring, Plan Accordingly! Though some may disagree, Crabby is of the opinion that home treadmills suck, relative to trails and paths and even sidewalks, as places to exercise. At least at the gym you can watch other people being miserable. So plop a tv in front of you, get out your best music, rent some audio-books, or whatever it takes to distract you. It's worth a little extra effort to make the experience more appealing, especially if you've just shelled out hundreds or even thousands of dollars for your machine and are growing to loathe it. Along those lines, you can...
4. Play Treadmill games! What are treadmill games? Well, these take advantage of the fact that treadmills allow you to control your terrain and tell you how fast you're going. So you can track your times and compete against yourself, make up little challenges, and generally just mix things up in a way that you may not bother to do outside where there are pretty things to look at.
So the inherent boredom of the treadmill can actually push you to improve your performance! Been wanting to try interval training? Treadmills are great for that. Or see how fast you can race-walk without having to look like an ass in front of people. You can alternate slow hills with fast flats; see how quickly you can run a mile, or how long you can walk backwards without falling over. (Crabby once read an article about how good running and walking backwards is for your legs--she gave it a try, on a treadmill at the gym when other people were around, which was not a very smart thing to do!)
5. Don't Wait for Weights! This is a favorite trick of Crabby's. One advantage of a home treadmill is that you can jump off for a minute without someone stealing it from you like they might at the gym. So Crabby will take advantage of the fact that a bit of strength training, done quickly in the middle of a cardio workout, will keep her heart rate up. It's two for one! (But not as intense as actual circuit training, which Crabby is too lazy to do).
Here's what you do: at some point in your cardio workout, you leave the treadmill running, giving yourself full credit for any mileage it records. This is important. Since you're still keeping your heart rate up, you're essentially doing cardio and get to count this time as though you were still running. Jump off the treadmill (not literally, unless you are very athletic), do a set of some yucky strength-training exercise in a quick but not too half-assed manner, then hustle back to the treadmill again. Slog some more. Wait until you get totally bored with the treadmill again, then jump off and do a different strength training exercise.
Strangely enough, through some weird workout math, you may find that miserable + miserable does not equal 2 times miserable! The cardio seems to go faster, and you have less to do when it's time to tackle those weights.
So, do any of have treadmills or other home exercise equipment? Wish you did? Glad you don't? Any tips? Comments are always welcome!