December 18, 2008

Exercising with lubricant: me and Manuel

Does that title sound naughty? I can't help it; when I discuss non-motorized treadmills, it's hard to avoid the smutty humor.

The inestimable Mizfit wrote a post about ... well, a bunch of good stuff, including cupcakes, but that's a side issue at the moment. What I'm concerned with is her request for more information about non-motorized treadmills. It made me realize that I never followed up with a description of my relationship with my manual treadmill, Orlando Manuel.

Good points about a manual treadmill:

  • It's quiet. I can listen to the television or the iPod without blasting the volume while using Manuel.
  • It's lightweight. Without all that hefty motorized stuffing, I can fold it up and put it away quite easily.
  • It's tiny. My living room is not the size of a grand ballroom, so it's handy that I can fit Manuel in without having to climb over him to get to the television or something.
  • It's easily 1/3 the price of a motorized treadmill.
  • You can get a workout even when the power's off!

  • It's always at an angle. That's a pain, but the more level the manual treadmill is, the harder it is to get it to move.
  • Manuel needs lots of lubricant. WD-40 is a requirement.
  • There are no pre-programmed programs (pardon my redundancy) for running hills or intervals.
  • With Manuel, at least, you have to hold on to the rails to have something to push against. Otherwise the treadmill belt will stick, no matter how liberal you were with the lubricant.
  • I swear on all the cupcakes in the pantry that the speedometer is delusional. This is probably just an issue with Manuel, but the rate it claims I'm going is not, cannot be my current speed. It must calculate this by some average that I can't figure out. (Or, it's demented.)

On the other hand, a treadmill is a treadmill. I mean, whether motorized or self-propelled, the dang thing will get your blood pumping and your heart rate elevated. Despite all the references to lubricant, Manuel is useful. I think any piece of exercise equipment is useful, so long as the human is willing to actually use it.

Have you ever bought a piece of exercise equipment only to end up using it as an extra coat rack?

Photo credit: celesth


  1. good gosh no.

    mych to my chagrin I have TMI all in the form of ONE UNDER OUR BED (sorry husband of mine ;) I outing you).

    what Im concerned with (wink) is recouping the money we lost when he thought he'd use it.


    although Id imagine shipping is quite hefty.

    carry on.

    Ill just shove our NoUse Nelly on the front porch :)

    drive by if you want it, People.

  2. Darn it! I won't be driving by Texas. :(

    My mom has talked about getting one of these since New England winters are harsh and the bugs are horrible the rest of the year. She won't pony up the dough though, so maybe I should get her one for Xmas. Then I read MizFit's post yesterday and thought better of it. Eh, I don't know. It be great for me to use when I visit though. :)

  3. We have an exercycle or bike that has no wheels that has taken the place of the winter coat drying off rack. After a few rides it was discovered that alternate methods of exercise was much more adventitious than this piece of machinery.

  4. I'm not a fan of treadmills in general but I really don't like the manual variety the few times I've used one. I dunno, I'd rather do Monkey Bar Gym in place on my living room floor than deal with one of those finicky machines. Sorry!

  5. As mentioned on Mizfit's site, I had a non motorized treadmill in med school. The old war horse has been put out to pasture now that I'm back in better weather Florida!

  6. I have a motorized treadmill, which I love and use regularly. I've never used any of the 'pre-programmed programs', I like to go my own way.

    Most of the fitness equipment I've invested in gets used. The only thing I haven't got much use out of is a set of resistance bands. The just don't do it for me, I'd rather use weights. And there's the odd DVD that I've ended up not liking, those I will usually end up giving away.

  7. Huh. I thought resistance bands would be a cool thing ... so easy to put away when you're done. Now I'm not so sure.
    On the other hand, they're rarely used for hanging things on :)

  8. I think I'm about ready to get one of those if this damn weather doesn't get any better...

  9. Fortunately I have a large "manual treadmill" - the Mt. Vernon trail! :-)
    Most of my home equipment gets used - my exercise mat, exercise ball and dumbbells definitely don't gather dust! just cat hair!

  10. I am going to look into obtaining one of these items -- for storage purposes only.

    And, I want to know where you got a picture of my bicycle?

    Is nothing sacred to you people?

    (and why is my word verification word "hurpatio?" What's up with these words? WORD!)

  11. So having to run with your hands on the rail in order to power past the sticky belt problem--that frankly sounds like a pain. Thanks for the warning!

    Because in theory I like the idea of a manual. But in practice I'm thinking it would end up under the bed for only the dust bunnies to use.

  12. I'm not much of a runner, but I've been on those manual treadmills and can't say I like them that much. But if I were a runner, and it was a big different in price, I'd sure go for it.

    And I'll put in a vote for resistance bands. Love em!

  13. Well the only exercising I'm going to be doing with 'lube' is a little uppy downy. A whole lot more fun and pleasurable, not to mention something I can do without leaving bed.

    Ok ok! I know that was a bit too much information!!!

  14. I don't think I could handle a manual treadmill if it's as described here. I have a hard enough time working myself up to get on the motorized one. And not just because it's downstairs. (Or downelevator.)

    I'm developing a great fondness for in-apartment aerobics and yoga. I love my new DVDs and weights and blocks and mats and stuff.

  15. Well, I've never bought big exercise equipment that I didn't use, because I don't have the room to buy it in the first place. But I do have a Pilates ring that I NEVER use (though I should)and a yoga stretch bad. (Although I actually DO the yoga; I'm just too pround to break down and get the band out. I prefer to dislocate my shoulder trying to reach my foot.)

    My parents did buy a Nordic Trak though (remember those), that my dad SWORE he'd use, but which ended up as an old-school valet. (Anyone else remember those? My grandpa had one: a place to hang his suit, shirt, shoes, etc. No? Just me? Never mind. ;D)

  16. I think that a manual treadmill is not for me - although I had been considering it. I'm afraid I really couldn't get the kind of workout I'd want, and would probably rather run outside in our crazy snowstorm that have to lube up a treadmill & hold on to the handles!

    Thanks for the info.

  17. The condo complex I lived at in Minnesota had two non-motorized treadmills. They were awful AND faced a blank wall, so that was no fun at all! I took my speedwalking outside and instead dealt with the mosquitos at early dawn. I guess I'd rather swat away mosquitos than face a blank wall.

    The only piece of equipment I bought that gathered lots of dust was a step (for step aerobics). After several years, I cleaned it off and gave it away to Goodwill.

  18. LUBE ME.

    These things are fun- i love em

    Kelly Turner

  19. I have always wanted a treadmill and considered the manual variety due to lack of space and funds, but just have never gotten around to it. Now I'm not sure if I will. Ever. I dunno, there is something nice about running in fresh snow and being able to see your breath and hear the crunch under foot. I like it even better when its just getting dark, the snow makes everything eerie and glowy. (Is glowy a word?) Good info, think I'll stick to bundling up.

  20. that title is priceless. I love that you named him. I mean, it.

  21. I'll probably be getting one to walk on while watching TV (or maybe a kettlebell to do swings with).

  22. Best title EVER.

    And I kind of want my own Manuel.

  23. Well, I hang blankets over the exercise bike when they come out of the dryer and aren't quite done, but I also drape such things over the couch and the rocking chair and they don't stay there more than a few hours.
    I don't use the exercise bike except during pollen season, though. Outdoor exercise is good, as long as you can breathe afterwards.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  24. I hate treadmills in general. I just gave mine away. However, I have recumberant exercise bike that I totally love. The best exercise is the one you'll do.

  25. I'm not a great one for commenting on blogs but this just caught my attention:
    "Manuel needs lots of lubricant. WD-40 is a requirement."
    WD 40 is NOT a lubricant.... The WD in WD 40 stands for Water Dispersant
    WD 40 can be used to clean things before lubrication, but if used alone will result in any existing lubrication being diluted and washed way.
    Make your life easy and get your self a can of good quality silicon spray lubricant. This should make a significant difference to the performance of your treadmill :)

  26. Huh. Interesting comment, Tony.
    I looked it up. On the company's website, they say WD-40 can lubricate "just about anything" but on Snopes they specifically do not advocate lubricating things like fan belts.
    Go figure.

  27. On the other hand, apparently you can use WD-40 to keep pigeons off your balcony. (Seems they don't like the smell.)
    Amazing what you can learn on Snopes.


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