Finding the right equipment for your clients is one of the most important steps as a personal trainer or fitness professional. Alongside motivation and a good dose of encouragement, training equipment at health clubs should always match the highest of standards.
As far as health decisions go, both buying and using a treadmill is one of the most sensible choices you can make. Not only are they functional and user-friendly, but they provide you with the perfect opportunity to manage weight, burn calories and strengthen your cardio system – an ideal option for many clients. But like any investment, you need to make sure its value is maximised to its full potential. Choosing the right treadmill for your commercial or home gym that suits the specific needs of your client’s is a shopping phase that’s definitely extensive, so here’s a few tips to get you started.
1. Consider Your Budget
Whilst budget shouldn’t be the most important consideration, it usually dictates the type of treadmill you’re looking at buying. Sometimes, the reason why you’re buying a treadmill can influence the purpose – for example; a treadmill only used for walking can be a cheaper purchase than one your client’s will be running on so it’s best to go with a better quality one to be flexible with different exercising styles.
Quality treadmills range in price anywhere from $1,500 – $3,000 and the old saying – “you get what you pay for” definitely applies. When budgeting for how many treadmills you’ll need at your fitness centre, consider the needs of your client’s and look at your purchase as a positive long term investment in their health. Generally, the more you pay for the treadmill the less likely you’ll encounter service issues down the track.
2. Consider the Needs of You and Your Clients
The right treadmill should fit the exercise needs of both you and your clients. Consider the goals of your clients – from weight loss to increasing heart health, toning muscles and improving circulation, and look for a high quality treadmill that can combine these into it.
User’s weight limits and heights will also need to be taken into consideration. Taller clients will need a treadmill with a longer belt and heavier weights will require a more powerful motor that won’t strain from the excess weight. Because you’re most likely going to be dealing with multiple users, it’s important this is factored into the cost. Two or more users on the treadmill double the abuse and so forth, so opting for the better quality ones is essential.
3. Review Your Gym Space
Treadmills aren’t small pieces of exercise equipment so you’ll need to assess how much room you have to work with. If the room is lacking in space, look for treadmills that come with storage features like folding parts or wheels. For higher quality and more powerful treadmills, bigger is better. This will ensure it has the strength and power to meet the fitness needs of a range of different clients.
Ample space is the workout room around the treadmill is definitely encouraged for comfort and safety. When you’re deciding on the size of your treadmill, make sure you go into the equipment stores to better visualise how the treadmill will work with your space and take required measurements. You’ll also need to consider how many treadmills you want to purchase for the gym, and whether these can be different sizes and levels of quality to suit different client needs.
4. Features and Control Panel
Treadmills have evolved significantly over the years into an all-inclusive health monitoring system. Their features can be comprehensive, complete with the latest technology advancements to make treadmill exercises much more beneficial and exciting.
Treadmills that offer variety are better suited for fitness professionals that run commercial or home gyms because it ensures your clients have exercises that keep them interested. Motorised treadmills, as opposed to manual ones tend to have more features including speed adjustments for workouts which can better suit more clients.
Features of the treadmill can include anything from the computer console, size and speed of the motor and the mat size. Look for mats that are larger to suit taller runners, which will in term require a larger treadmill with a larger motor. The mat size should be tried for comfort too. Keep in mind, that the larger the treadmill, the louder the motor tends to be also.
Safety features are essential too for the wellbeing of both you and you clients so ensure the treadmill has an emergency off switch or safety key, and test it to make sure it works before purchasing. Treadmills should also have handles or handrails with adequate padding to promote safety and comfort whilst exercising too.
You’ll also need to review the treadmill controls. Look for well-labelled treadmills that are intuitive, user friendly and offer quick one touch speeds. Some treadmills will offer more variation than others, with heart rate monitors and personal preferences that will ensure your client’s needs are better met whilst exercising. Some ‘must have’ features can include shock absorption systems to cushion your clients as they exercise, electronic features that are motivating and customisable, and large screens with a layout that makes sense.
Make sure you test the equipment before purchasing it to see how the features and control panel works for you. Not only will it clarify the safety of the treadmill, but it will also offer a better insight into how your clients can benefit from the equipment piece too.
5. Treadmill Extras to Spice Up Your Client’s Workouts
One of the greatest things about the evolution of treadmills is that it doesn’t just need to be a piece of equipment simply for walking and running. With the extensive range of features out there, workouts can be spiced up to offer clients variety, fun and motivation when they’re reaching those goals.
From iPod docks to listen to music whilst exercising, to comfort functions and user variables it’s important the treadmill is right for your client’s and what encourages them to perform at their peak. For the really high quality treadmills, high-tech features can include anything from USB ports for music, docks for iPods and wireless internet just to name a few. The little extras, such as listening to music whilst exercising on the treadmill can make or break a client’s workout so consider how these features tie into their needs.
6. Warranty and Installation
The warranty of a product is a dead giveaway as to whether it’s of high quality or not. The general rule of thumb is, the longer the warranty the more guarantees that the manufacturer is offering something of value. Thus, it’s ideal to stay away from treadmills that only offer a year warranty.
Important questions to ask in regards to the warranty include warranty length, its terms and exactly what is (and isn’t) covered. You’ll want to find out what additional costs may occur and reputable repair services should something happen down the track.
Most reputable companies will offer delivery and installation services too and some brands can give you a trial with money back guarantees. Above anything, make sure you do adequate research into both the company and the brand and always read the fine print.
Jayde Ferguson writes for Orbit Fitness (www.orbitfitness.com.au) – the largest supplier of fitness equipment in Perth, WA.