“ Manufacturer: Reebok / Type: Treadmill „
I've been going to the gym regularly for a few months now and one piece of equipment I've come to love has been the treadmill. My gym has a mix of Nike and Reebok treadmills, this Reebok Performance one being my favourite purely because the controls are more straightforward for an exercise newbie such as myself.
Before you start exercising you need to input a few details, depending on which programme you've chosen. This is usually (for me anyway on my usual 'fat burning' programme) my current weight and whether I want to raise the incline manually or as part of my work out. This is incredibly simple to do, the screen is laid out in such a way that you can't go wrong - it's very different to the more intricate display on the Nike machines, I love the way Reebok have made their display colourful and fun to look at. The only thing this one lacks that is there on the Nike treadmills I use is the TV option, which doesn't bother me as I don't use it anyway but have noticed people tend to flock to the Eastenders-capable Nike machines. It does have a good iPod dock which is a simple plug and play affair; the sound is as good through my earphones as it is when they're plugged straight into the iPod, the treadmill has speakers too although these are disabled in the gym setting.
The touchscreen is annoyingly unresponsive at times - there are six of the same machine in the gym and they all have 'sticky' screens, not all the time but the glitch develops pretty regularly. This is mega irritating when you're using the treadmill in free run mode as it's awkward enough trying to touch the right place or incline change or display toggle, let alone having to battle with the screen to force it to work! When the functions do work they work quickly and I can tell as a regular user that it's a problem purely with the panel itself - no biggie, doesn't affect your work out, but very annoying.
There are forty four programmes to choose from such as fat burn, stamina building, time trials, target settings. The thing to say really here is not to look at that figure and think 'wow, forty four programmes' because a lot of these are as simple as choosing between the 'walking' and 'running' elements of fat burn - to me these are functions not programmes, but Reebok obviously like to over egg the pudding! The treadmill will hold the user profiles of up to nine users, obviously more than this use the machines on a daily basis let alone anything else so we can't save our data and need to reset it each time. This is obviously more of a nuisance for the comparative gym-goers as they need to keep track of their performance, whereas I tend to go by the scales and measuring tape each week to tell me if my exercise programme is working or not!
The speed ranges from 0.5mph up to 12mph, which is adequate in my opinion. I walk with occasional bursts of jogging (never anywhere near 12mph!) and while I find the lowest speed to be ridiculously slow, the pace soon picks up even by slowly increasing the intensity. When initially setting your programme you'll sometimes be asked to set a maximum speed, I actually prefer to use the free run mode as I can control both the speed and incline myself to tailor the workout to my needs (or abilities that day!). To activate free run you simply bypass the various options and start walking, you will have the option to set the time you want to walk/run for but again this is optional - I tend to set mine for twenty minutes, which gives me twenty four minutes of walking time once you take into account the cool down period where the speed gradually slows to give your muscles time to realise the exercise period has finished.
There are fifteen levels of incline and these rise and fall quickly but smoothly; the fat burn programme eventually takes me to level seven, which feels like a huge hill compared to the very low levels and the programme doesn't linger for long here before dropping back down to level six. I've gone up to level twelve on free run, not to reach a target but to see just how knackering a slight raise of the treadmill is - and the answer is most definitely... very! I'm no exercise enthusiast and the key to holding my attention is to keep my workout on the 'fun' side rather than the 'oh gosh, I'm sweaty and I hurt' side - I'd much rather build up my calorie expenditure through walking quickly than slogging up hills.
I'm happy with the amount of workout detail given on the display, with distance covered and calories burned being the two figures I watch out for. The distance is set to kilometres by default but this is easy to change to miles through a simple toggle, speed is also set to kilometres per hour but I've yet to figure out how to change this to mph! I find it satisfying to watch the amount of calories I've burned off rising and sometimes this is the only push I need to get me walking quicker or on a steeper incline, as the more intensity you put into your workout the quicker those pesky calories will disappear!
The running area of the treadmill measures 50cm x 150cm, which is about average for this sort of machine from what I've seen. It's a good quality non-slip running surface which is equally comfortable to walk on whether I'm wearing my trainers or the slimmer soled plimsolls I sometimes wear to the gym - it's a softer surface than pounding the pavement (obviously!) although one guy I was chatting to mentioned that he prefers the Nike treadmills for his long distance runs as it's less jarring on an old knee injury. I can't tell the difference in all honesty, this one is definitely a lot more comfortable to walk on than the uber cheap treadmill we had at home at one point!
One plus point of this Reebok Performance treadmill is that it's foldable for ease of storage. I've never folded it myself but have seen it done and it's really just a case of releasing a couple of clips and flipping the running area of the machine up, it doesn't fold particularly flat in my opinion but allows the machine to be pushed against the wall when the gym is having one of its regular deep cleans. This could be useful if you were using the treadmill in a home gym environment as it prevents the 'longness' of the running area from sticking out into the room when it's not in use.
To buy the Reebok Performance T5.2 treadmill it will cost you somewhere in the region of £1100. Now, while this seems completely extortionate it's not actually too bad considering Reebok is such a big name - and also considering the fact that home-use treadmills can cost up to four times this amount if you're looking for something with a few extra bells and whistles.