Fitness Equipment Safety Tips

Vision Fitness is a company that strives to make products that are safe to use. See below for a list of guidelines that can help you use your cardio equipment safely. Remember you can always refer to your Owner’s Manual for specifications.

Treadmills

  • Safety Key – The safety key is a red (or rarely black) magnetic piece that has a cord with a clip at the end. Make sure you are wearing the clip from the safety key anytime you use the treadmill, and have the safety key in the correct spot on the console. In case you feel light-headed, nauseous or need to stop unexpectedly, place both hands on the side arm rests to hold yourself up, place your feet onto the side rails and pull the safety key to stop the treadmill running belt immediately.
  • Space – It’s important to have enough space around the unit for use. You can check your Owner’s Manual for specifics. Generally you should leave a clear zone behind the treadmill that is at least the width of the treadmill and at least 79” long. This zone must be clear of any obstruction and provide the user a clear exit path from the machine. For ease of access, there should be a space on each side of the treadmill that is equal to 36” (915 mm) to allow a user to approach the treadmill from either side.
  • Maintenance – Another small, but ever so important, step in keeping your unit safe is following the maintenance. Refer to your Owner’s Manual for specifics, but generally it will be tightening the assembly bolts once a month, wiping the machine down after each use, waxing the treadmill deck (IF NECESSARY), and vacuuming any dust and debris out from underneath the motor cover.

Ellipticals, Bikes, & Ascent Trainers

  • Space – There should be one foot of clearance in front of the elliptical for the power cord. For ease of access, there should be space on each side of the elliptical equal to 36” (915 mm) to allow a user to approach the machine from either side.
  • Maintenance – Refer to your Owner’s Manual for specifics, but you should be tightening the assembly bolts on your machine once a month, wiping down the machine after each use, and all for elliptical only, making sure the tracks and wheels are clean and clear of debris.

Check your Owner’s Manual for specific information, but keeping safety in mind will also help your machine run longer and stronger for you.

The Benefits of Using Stationary Bikes

Although new exercise routines and regimens seem to appear on a daily basis, and treadmills and ellipticals continue to be the most popular cardio pieces in the gym, don’t overlook the original piece of stationary exercise equipment, the bike. The benefits of using an exercise bike are numerous and diversified. It is a great workout for beginning exercisers, elite athletes, those returning from injuries, or someone doesn’t have the space or budget for a high-end treadmill or elliptical.

Other than training your cardiovascular system and burning calories, the single most significant benefit to using a stationary bike is that it allows you to do those things without the pounding and impact of weight bearing exercises. An exercise bike allows you to train while giving your skeletal system and joints a break. So physiologically, you can see how it is useful to every type of exerciser.

Although there are dual action bikes (with upper body arms) available, most bikes in use today are lower body upright and recumbent bikes. Don’t fall into the trap believing that because you are not using your upper body, you are not getting a good workout. The largest muscles in the body are in your legs and when you put them in motion against resistance, you will get a great workout.

Stationary bikes are a great way for first time exercisers, overweight users looking to lose weight and those needing a low-impact workout to begin an exercise program. They are fixed motion pieces that require very little coordination and are relatively easy to use. You can elevate your heart rate and burn calories and fat without the stress of a weight bearing exercise.

For elite athletes, the bike provides a great complementary cross training workout, while reducing the risk of developing overuse injuries. You can get off your feet and give your joints a break from impact activities, yet you can continue to train your cardiovascular system. Each activity you do works your muscles differently. The bike can also add variety to you workout routines.

Finally, if you are recovering from an injury or joint replacement, the bike can be an integral part of your recovery and help get you back on your feet doing what you love to do.

Finally, cost and space. These are two of the biggest factors or hurdles people encounter when trying to decide on a piece of fitness equipment for the home. If you can’t commit to at least $1,500 for a quality treadmill or a $1,000 for a quality elliptical, a stationary bike may be the better option for you. There are many quality choices for under a $1,000. Or, if you are tight on space, the bikes take up less room and are portable. Just wheel it out in front of the TV and you are on your way to a healthier future.

Summary of Benefits

  • Trains cardiovascular system
  • Burns calories
  • Low impact
  • Easy to use
  • Low risk of injury
  • Helps develop leg strength
  • Excellent form of cross training
  • Can add variety to weight bearing exercise routines
  • Bikes take up less space
  • Are typically more affordable
  • Are portable

So if you’re in the market for a new piece of cardio equipment, consider an exercise bike for a great low impact workout that you can easily fit in your home.

Fitness Equipment Power Requirements and Electrical Guidelines

When you are thinking about purchasing fitness equipment, you should also think about the location you’ll put it in as well as power requirements. As always, you can check your owner’s manual for specific requirements. Please note that, like a refrigerator and other large electrical appliances, treadmills, large ellipticals and suspension trainers are electrical devices that require an adequate power source to operate properly. Therefore we strongly recommend the following electrical guidelines.

Recommended Power Outlet

  • Preferred method: Properly grounded, dedicated 20-Amp, 120-volt circuit
    A dedicated circuit ensures that the treadmill will not be sharing the circuit with any other electrical device, which can contribute to the unit starving for adequate power.
  • Alternate method: Same as above, but 15 Amps versus 20 Amps
    If a 15-Amp circuit is used, it is even more important that the circuit be dedicated solely to the treadmill. A 15-Amp circuit is wired with lighter gauge wire than a 20-Amp circuit, thereby making the unit even more susceptible to power starvation if the outlet/circuit is shared with other electrical devices.

Power Sources to Avoid

  • GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets/circuits
    The treadmill can cause nuisance tripping of GFCI’s, which can result in a damaged component(s) on the treadmill.
  • Surge Suppressors
    Surge Suppressors can impede initial inrush current necessary to properly charge capacitors, etc. Burned or damaged components can result.
  • Any extension cord
    Extension cords can cause excessive voltage drops, thus providing the treadmill with less than sufficient voltage/current to operate properly. Burned or damaged components can occur as a result.
  • Any outlet connected to a light dimmer
    Household outlets are frequently connected to lamp/light dimmers. Dimmers by their purpose reduce voltage/current to the connected device. Such reduced power to a treadmill will cause damaged components.

Operational Side Effects on Improper Power Supply

  • Undersupplied power outlets, i.e., outlets with 110 Volts or less, can cause running belt surges, especially when the elevation motor is operating

I realize this may not be the most entertaining blog to ever appear, but it is very important. Good power to your cardio exercise equipment can mean the difference between years of uninterrupted use to years of fixing. Often power issues do not show their true colors right away, but it will affect it down the line. Do yourself a favor and find the perfect place to put the unit, with the correct power requirements, and you will be a happy user.

 

Treadmill Drive Motors and the Question of Horsepower

The treadmill motor horsepower rating is probably the single most recognizable spec that jumps out at a consumer when he or she begins to do their buying research. It is most likely because we have all heard this term since we were young, and many of us think we know what it means. As tends to be our way of thinking, we usually believe bigger is better. However, the truth is, the ratings and numbers can be very confusing and ultimately incredibly misleading. Here are some tips to help you sort through some of the terms and numbers you may have read about to find out what is really important when trying to understand this integral part of the treadmill.vision treadmill motor

Poor horsepower ratings

Unless the treadmill has a strong motor, you will easily wear it out. First, check to see what rating terminology the manufacturer is using. Terms like “treadmill duty” and “peak duty” have been used to mislead consumers in the past to raise the rating number (remember the assumption that bigger is better). What do each of those mean?

  • Treadmill Duty – somewhere in between peak and continuous. Treadmill duty measures the likely horsepower for an average user at an average speed over an average period of time. But because it is an average, it is not a true representation of power.
  • Peak Duty – Maximum horsepower a motor can generate when working at its hardest. This is only sustainable for a short time. Or Peak duty motors measure power at the highest possible rpm with minimal load. But since an efficient motor is not going to run at this high rpm all the time, it is not an accurate horsepower measurement.

Look for Continuous Duty horsepower

When shopping for a treadmill, look for a Continuous Duty Rating (CHP). A continuous duty motor measures the minimum horsepower delivered at all points during a workout, and is a commercial grade standard applied to treadmills used in health clubs and higher-quality home treadmills. Continuous duty motors are the highest quality available. They are more powerful, they last longer, and they deliver smooth performance.

Minimum recommendations have always been at least 1.5 CHP, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a treadmill with such a low rating these days because of all the marketing hype. However, if done right, a 1.5 CHP motor with an RPM rating below 4000 would satisfy the needs of 90 percent of home users.

The importance of RPMs

Rotations per Minute (RPMs) is really important in motor design. The relationship between continuous horsepower and RPM is torque. This is the most significant factor when determining the best suitable motor for you needs. The lower the RPM of a motor, the more torque it will have – torque being the measure of a tendency to cause rotation; in other words, the power to turn. This allows the motor to last longer. I strongly recommend a motor with an RPM rating of 4000 or lower, but never more than 5000.

This is crucial because this is where a lot of manufacturers begin to play with, and boost, the ratings above 2.5 in to the 3.5 and 4 HP range. In a lot of those cases, if we examine the plate stamped on the treadmill, you will find RPM ratings in the 7000 to 8000 range. This is how they can get away with these bloated HP rating numbers. These motors are spinning way too fast and working way too hard to last the years you should expect out of a quality treadmill. RPM tinkering is only one way in which a manufacturer can boost the horsepower rating of a treadmill motor.

Electrical requirements

Finally, there are the electrical requirements needed to support a larger HP motor. Most homes today have either a 15- or 20-Amp circuit, which you plug the treadmill into.  Most 20-Amp lines will only support 2.4 horsepower from an electrical motor for a continuous period of time. So all the “extra” horsepower, if the rating is true, is nice but totally not needed and never really used.

On a related note, it is nice to have a big, strong, powerful motor in your treadmill, but it is just as important to surround that motor with up to date quality components (more on that later). If done properly, the motor won’t have to do all the work so the load can be shared amongst all the integral parts. They reduce the need for overblown horsepower ratings and produce a much more efficient running treadmill – A sort of brains over brawn scenario.

What this all means is that the customer should be more concerned with how well all these parts of the treadmill work together, rather than with a hyped up horsepower rating placed on a website or printed in a brochure. Look for a solid motor with CHP rating and low RPM’s and go from there.

Fitness Equipment and Location, Location, Location!

I’m sure we are all somewhat familiar with that chant. They say it’s all about the location! When it comes to fitness equipment, location is also very important. Not necessarily which room will the equipment look best in, but which room is best for the product itself. Put it in a place that you like to be. There is no need to make using the equipment a hassle by going somewhere in your home you don’t want to be.

If you prefer looking outside at nature, people passing by or just the traffic, go ahead and put the product in front of a window. If you like to watch TV, then you can put your fitness equipment near a TV. Or, go ahead and buy a TV to put in front of your fitness equipment!

You may reference your Owner’s Guide for particular instructions, but generally you want your product in a finished, temperature-controlled part of your home. The unit should be on a level, stable surface, and make sure that you have enough space around the entire unit for safety (reference Owner’s guide for specific measurements). Humidity, heat and cold can all negatively affect how the product will operate, and if it doesn’t affect it immediately, it can cause problems later on. To that note, we highly recommend keeping equipment out of garages, unfinished basements or unenclosed sun rooms and porches.

These are just a few small tips on getting the most out of your product, and helping the product work its best for you. Think of it as any high-priced electronic item. Would you want to put that in a damp musty basement, and then hang out there? No, I didn’t think so.

 

 

Interval Training on Elegant and Touch Treadmill Consoles

Looking to improve your race times, increase your running speeds, burn more calories in less time or simply break up the monotony of your regular or steady pace treadmill workouts? Try the Interval program on a Vision Fitness treadmill equipped with the Elegant or Touch console. The treadmill Interval program included on these consoles is a speed-based program.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

When training for your next 5K, 10K or 1-mile race against yourself, it is important that you break through your comfort zone in a way that challenges your body’s desire to achieve homeostasis. Homeostasis is your body’s natural need to achieve balance, to stay the same and to only expend as much energy as is needed to accomplish what it is asked to accomplish. Quite simply, if you don’t force or trick your body into trying something it isn’t used to doing, you will never know if you are even capable.

We humans are programmed to seek out comfort, which is why so many people hop on the treadmill, press go, select their favorite speed and incline and do the same workout they have done any number of times before. This bad habit will not make you more fit – It will not make you faster, decrease your run time or burn any more calories than it did last time. In order to accomplish any of these things, you need to get past your comfort zone. Enter – the Interval program.

What is the Interval Program

This program will give you segments of alternating speeds (adjusted in length according to the total workout time you have selected). The speeds will vary from a “challenge” speed to an “active recovery” speed. As you progress through the program and get warmed up, the “challenge” speeds will increase until the final two segments, which are where the program has already pushed you past your comfort zone and gets you ready to cool down.

A few common questions come up, which left unanswered seem to become excuses for individuals to not try a new program. So, to help you gather up the courage to try something a little more challenging, here are some answers to a few of those questions:

Q: How long should I go for?

A: One option is to base your exercise time on how much time you have available, some exercise is better than none. If you don’t have a lot of time, this is a perfect program because it is higher in intensity than your regular steady workout. Plus, there are a multitude of studies that show a short higher intensity workout is as effective, and sometimes more effective, than a longer workout at a lower intensity. Or base your workout time on how quickly you would like to be able to complete your next race.

Q: What level should I use/how fast should I go?

A: Look up the program chart in the owner’s manual and choose a level where the “challenge” speeds are 1 mph faster than you would choose to go if you were just doing a steady or “comfortable” time-based workout. Or, figure out how fast you need to go to achieve your next race time and pick a level that “challenges” you at a speed just higher than that. Remember, the “challenge” speed is always followed by an “active recovery” speed.

Q: How far should I go?

A: You don’t really need to go any further than the distance you are training for and will even benefit with shorter training sessions. One of the reasons to participate in speed intervals is to get your body used to moving faster and taking longer strides. These adaptations will carry over to your race distances.

There you go! Don’t you feel better already? Next time you’re looking to throw yourself a fitness curveball and take your workout to a new level of intensity, start an Interval program.

Sources

http://www.livestrong.com/article/386878-the-best-treadmill-interval-workout/

http://runners-resource.com/training/intervals/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/interval-training/SM00110

 

Use Goal Programs to Spice Up Your Workouts

Want to add a little variety to a stale workout routine? Maybe you need a little extra motivation?  Try a Goal Program! Having a fitness goal can increase accountability and make workouts more fun. By using a goal program, you’ll finish your workout and reach those fitness aspirations more quickly. Thankfully, there are four different Goal Programs available on the Vision Elegant and Touch consoles for you to try.

5K and 10K Goal programs are distance-based workouts with 10 available levels of intensity.

  • The elevation/resistance adjusts automatically throughout the workout. The height of each hill is based on the level of intensity you choose. Speed is controlled by      you, the user.
  • The Touch console offers you a Stage Meter, which helps you monitor your progress through the different elevation/resistance changes in the program. This can mentally prepare you for the elevation changes ahead. The Stage Meter has a percentage completed number that changes as you progress through the stage as well as a meter visual. vision touch console stage meterWhen the meter is almost full and your percentage completed hits 95 percent you know it won’t be long before your hill is over. The Elegant console offers a more traditional profile view which will fill in as you move through the program.
  • Did you choose a level that was too hard? Don’t worry, the level of intensity can be adjusted during the workout to make sure you don’t have to stop and restart. Press the “Workout” tab at the top of the screen and use the arrows to change your goal.
  • Another motivating feature of the 5K and 10K programs is the Time Remaining feedback window. This window will constantly readjust based on how fast you      are moving. Want to finish in 30 minutes? The Time Remaining window will tell you exactly how long each workout will take you. Vision touch console time remaining window

Calorie Goal is a program that allows you to select a desired number of calories you would like to burn.

  • Set your calorie goal and the console will estimate your total time based on the starting speed, elevation and user weight prior to the workout.
  • During the workout, the Time Remaining feedback window will constantly readjust based on your intensity level. Want to burn those 300 calories in 20 minutes? The Time Remaining window shows you if you are on track. Going faster or increasing your intensity level allows you to reduce the remaining time of the workout.
  • Feeling good and not ready to stop? You can readjust your calorie goal right on the fly. No need to start over. Simply press the “Workout” tab at the top of the screen and use the arrows to change your goal.Vision touch console change calorie goal

Distance Goal is a program allows you to set your goal based on distance and not time.

  • The Time Remaining feedback window constantly adjusts based on your speed. That way you don’t need to wonder how long those 5 miles are going to take you.
  • Feeling strong today or maybe you bit off a little more than you can handle? You can add or subtract distance mid workout.

Try one or all of these Goal Programs available on Vision Fitness Elegant and Touch consoles and take your workouts to a whole new level.

Use Internet Product Reviews and Claims to Your Buying Benefit

Buying the right fitness equipment for your home gym can be a daunting task. If you are like most people making a significant purchase for your home, you will probably turn to the Internet to do some research on product reviews, or even make a purchase. It has become almost second nature for a majority of the population these days.

Although the Internet is a wonderful invention that has significantly changed the way we live our lives, it has also become a source for an incredible amount of misinformation and marketing chicanery. Like shopping or researching in any channel, you should consider the source. A combination of affiliate marketing websites, product reviews and pay-per-click advertising can make your research more challenging. However, there is a ton of accurate and legitimate information out there. Here are some tips to help you find reliable information.

Get Information Directly From the Source

Use manufacturers’ websites to find correct product information (features/specifications) and local distributors’ websites for information on where you can actually try, test and talk to a sales professional about the products you are interested in. Exercise and your health are very personal, and what is right for your friend or cousin, may not necessarily be right for you. I encourage you to take the time to educate yourself on the programs and equipment options that are available to you.

Be wary of the temptation of late night infomercials

Some fitness “gadgets” sold on TV are of inferior quality and questionable design. However, there are some very successful workout programs out there. If you do watch infomercials, don’t forget to do your research before making a purchasing decision. Look for those products that offer a guarantee without charging fees for returns, show results from actual customers and have research to back up their claims.

Educate Yourself on Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing websites have grown significantly over the years. Affiliate marketing is using one website to drive traffic to another via methods such as search engine optimization, paid search engines, email marketing, loyalty programs and product reviews. The affiliate is then compensated when the customer purchases from the original merchant.

Affiliates can help manufacturers generate awareness and sales through their large network. Affiliate websites are usually sales or content focused. Affiliate sites that are content focused often promote product reviews. Consumer product reviews are generally the most credible. If a specific website features product reviews they should list their review methodology and their experience in the health and fitness space to help you decide for yourself if the review is credible. Look for websites that offer original content and not just content that is copied from the manufacturer.

Read credible product reviews

Product reviews can be a very useful way to get the inside scoop on a product you’re considering purchasing. However, the source of the reviews should be considered. Some online shopping sites are well known for their reviews, and a manufacturer’s website tends to be a good bet. Look out though for websites with no negative reviews. Not to say it’s impossible, but tread carefully as sites with purely positive reviews may not be transparent.

Fortunately there are ways to spot fakes and bogus reviews. One study conducted at Cornell University, found that fake reviews focused more on narratives and superlatives than concrete product descriptions – probably because reviewers rarely have actual experience with the products. According to the website www.wikihow.com, the following tips can be used to spot a fake review.

  • First, check to see if the outgoing links on reviewed products include an affiliate tracking code.
  • Look at what else is on the site.
  • Look to see if the date of the review is current or has been changed recently. Often fake reviewers will change dates to make their page look more recent that it really is.

Affiliate reviews may contain questionable ethics, as low and behold, the products they are trying steer you to buy from their partner merchant often end up as the “number-one rated” or “best buy” when they really are not. Of course, there are award-winning and number-one products out there, but it is a good idea to confirm directly with the manufacturer or awarding entity to make sure the award is accurate.

If someone else praises a product, we’re more likely to think it is worth our time and money. Yep, there are still some fabricated reviews out there but that is why you should look for products with multiple reviews from multiple people. There should also be reviews that are not 100% positive.

When Reading Blogs, Look for Full Disclosure

Paid bloggers is becoming another way for corporations to spread the word about their products on the Internet and to create buzz. It is a relatively inexpensive way to advertise. And bloggers are very eager to turn what was once a hobby, in to a way to make money. The Internet is becoming so populated with paid bloggers, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is considering imposing new laws regulating how products can be pitched on the Internet. Full disclosure of compensation is one way in which a blogger would have to inform their readers about the products they choose to talk about. It probably won’t happen soon, but the fact they are looking into it is      recognition enough that this practice should be monitored.

Use the web to educate yourself on certain models and specifications, and then go talk to a fitness professional at a nearby store and try different models to see which one fits your body properly. The experience will be worth your while and will help get you on the right track to a healthier lifestyle.

Treadmills – To lubricate or not to lubricate?

To ensure maximum life of your treadmill, proper maintenance is a must do! Please refer to your owner’s manual for any questions regarding maintenance. Depending on your model, you may sometimes have to lubricate the running deck with paraffin wax. The reason for applying wax to the running deck is so the running belt moves smoothly over the deck surface. The wax reduces the friction between the two, thus creating a longer life span for your running belt and deck.

Please note that if you have had your running belt and deck replaced in 2012 and after, it is possible you have a maintenance-free running belt and deck. If you are unsure, please call tech support at 800-335-4348 and we can assist you in figuring that out. If you have a maintenance-free running deck and belt, do not put any wax, or any type of lubricant on your treadmill. They are made so the running belt is infused with wax, and will run smoothly onto the deck, requiring no maintenance from you!

If your treadmill running deck does require wax, it is a fairly straight forward procedure. We recommend the use of a SLic-STik, which is a wand with wax on the end, and it makes it a fairly easy process.

  1. Start off by turning off and unplugging the treadmill.
  2. Loosen the rear roller bolts with an Allen wrench to allow the belt to be lifted up from the sides of the deck.
  3. Clean and clear the deck of foreign debris. Inspect the deck for signs of wear. If large deep scratches are present or the black coating has worn to wood color, the deck should be flipped to a good side or replaced.
  4. If surface is OK, lift the side of the belt and insert SLic-STik under the belt to wax the surface. Generously apply the SLic-STik to the deck from front to back using a back and forth movement concentrating on the center surface area of the deck.
  5. Remove the SLic-STik from under the belt and adjust the belt back to its proper tension. Plug the treadmill in and it is ready to use.

A Vision Fitness treadmill deck should be lightly waxed every 500 miles to insure maximum life of the treadmill components, but it is better to wax more often than to wait too long. However it is important to note that over-waxing can have a negative effect, such as belt thumping or excess wear of components.

To assure maximum life of the components without over-waxing, the following schedule may be followed:

lubrication frequency

Following these guidelines can help keep your treadmill in great working condition. If you want to purchase a wax stick, you can by calling tech support at 800-335-4348.

Running Deck Cushioning – What Sets Vision Fitness Apart

Spring is finally here! You’re not about to start over with your fitness at square one like last year. You’ve set yourself up for success by training all winter long on your Vision Fitness treadmill. Today is the day you are going to go outside and test your winter training. Fast forward one hour later – you may not have done as well as you thought. And your legs ache? You’ve run more miles on than this on the treadmill, so what is wrong?

First of all, do not be discouraged. The smooth cushioned surface of the running deck on a Vision treadmill is actually easier on your joints than running on outside terrain. Although we strive for optimal comfort, we understand you may not be doing all of your running indoors, so with our treadmills, we try and keep realistic design and functionality in mind.

Our deck itself is a firm piece of wood, offering you support, while our deck cushioning where the deck attaches to the frame gives you a softer cushioning that transitions with you with each stride. The deck cushioning on our treadmills is designed to absorb the impact of your foot planting at the front of the deck, and increases in firmness as your stride carries through to push off into the next stride. If you think of how running shoes are designed, it is a similar concept, simulated to give you a comfortable, natural feel.

Some other companies use a flexible deck, which is like a springboard. Running on a trampoline does not compare to running outside, so why do it? Keep it realistic with our Vision Fitness treadmills and our variable cushioning. An active and healthy lifestyle is something you will never regret! Let us help you set yourself up for success and year round fitness with our comfortably realistic treadmills.