How I got punked by an early-2000’s era Life Fitness Treadmill.

Having joined the YMCA in the heat of new years resolutions, I found myself relegated to the “older” treadmill.  I punched in a few numbers to start, and selected the “fat burn” setting, enabling the machine to monitor my heart rate and adjust the difficulty (read: the incline) accordingly.

Target heart rate: 128.  Current rate: 121.  Current incline: 0.1.

Let’s get this party started.  I glanced up at the TV in front of me.  A daytime courtroom show.  Awesomely boring, even with subtitles.

Five minutes passed.  Still hadn’t hit the target heart rate. In fact, I was still right at 121.  The machine had adjusted the incline to 8.0 (I assume that’s 8 degrees of incline).  I was starting to feel it.  Back to Judge Joe Brown to pass the time.

Three more minutes passed.  I felt a cramp coming on, which is odd considering this was supposed to be a “low intensity” deal.  I noticed that the incline was on 15.3, and that compared to the machine beside me, I am a mountain climber.  Sweat dropped from the end of my nose, and I had to white-knuckle the heart rate handles to even stay on the machine.  My heart rate, however. was still at 122, which I found strange, being that I could feel my heartbeat in my ears.

It was probably ten more minutes of panting (and 5 more degrees of incline) before I decided to test the heart rate monitors, and let go of them.  It stayed at a steady 122.  The machine was not actually monitoring my heart rate, but some phantom rate!  As tempted as I was to learn how far the machine would go in trying to get to the target, I immediately switched workout type and lowered the incline back to zero, so that I could finish my workout without involving paramedics.

Moral of the story:  the older the machine, the more skeptical you should be of the monitoring capabilities.

Second moral of the story: after you have been abused by the “back in the day” treadmill, don’t try and walk down the steps to the locker room without holding the hand-rail.  You’ll fall down.  People will try not to laugh or make eye contact.  They will be unsuccessful at both.