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.