Jo & Elliott's Huge Adventure

Monday, October 28, 2013

Jo's Life as a Personal Trainer: Everything you need to know about Bowflex

It happened because as a 40 something woman I decided I wanted a personal trainer. She was given a 20 something muscle bound young man who knew nothing about 40 something women. It was then that she decided to try to fill that void in the world of personal training. She worked part-time while working at HeadStart and for a bit after she left her job as a Social Worker. She loved it and the best part was not having to pay a personal trainer. Jo will from time to time put in reviews or lead you to some you might enjoy. They might be of gyms, fitness, or equipment. She has been the number 1 reviewer at epinions for quite a while and a top reviewer in Sports and Outdoors. This was a piece she wrote awhile back but it is still relevant. 

Bowflex has come out with a cardiovascular machine called a TreadClimber. There are 3 models available. This essay will attempt to sort them out for you and tell you some features of Bowflex that may not be available on other machines. However be aware many features are available on other less expensive machines. It is beyond the scope of this review to compare brands. This is addressing the Bowflex brand only. 

The Bowflex guarantee: 

Bowflex machines are designed and engineered in the USA. They guarantee satisfaction. Use the machine for up to 6 weeks and if you are not satisfied with the results, it can be returned. You will get a full refund but shipping and handling will not be refunded. You must call the Customer Service Department at 888-3467068 to get a return authorization. Note that Bowflex must receive your machine no later than 2 weeks after the return authorization is given. 


The models have different warranties which I will note below. 

The Technology: 

Bowflex’s TreadClimbers use a combination of movements. They allow you to walk forward, as you would on a traditional treadmill, and step up, as you would do on a stepper. The concept makes sense. We know that interval training (switching speeds, height levels and resistance levels during your cardio workout) is a more effective way to train. Interval training forces your heart rate up faster than staying at one level. In addition it is thought that the changes from one level to another increases your heart rate. For example if I am on a traditional treadmill power walking at 4 miles per hour with some incline my heart is going to be pumping hard. If I do this for 3 minutes and then bring the incline down and slow my walking down, my heart rate decreases. However after 2 minutes at that level I bring it back up again, my heart is working hard to get back up there. That is the theory behind interval training in my own words. So the TreadClimber essentially uses interval training by combining two different cardio machines in one. Another type of interval training is to go from one machine to another, let’s say after 20 minutes. With the TreadClimber you have two in one. 

How the TreadClimber works: 

The TreadClimber has two platforms rather than a single flat walking surface you find on a treadmill. Each platform rises separately. As I put my foot on the left platform it goes down while the right one goes up. If you have used stair steppers you know that you are going up and down in a straight line. Steppers are my least favorite cardio piece (other than a skier). The TreadClimber is different. There is a gradual hill climbing movement that I find is really easy on my knees. 

You may think there are some similarities between the TreadClimber and elliptical machines but they are really very different. When I am on an elliptical my feet are locked into the foot pad. I like elliptical machines but if you have feet problems and find your toes or feet becoming numb you might want to think of using something else. The TreadClimber gives my feet a natural range of motion. My feet can move around although the platform is much narrower than on a treadmill. 

The Frame: 

Bowflex uses a high grade carbon steel construction. Bowflex was the manufacturer of Nautilus Commercial Fitness equipment for 30 years and claims the steel is the same as that typically found in gyms. 

The price: 

The price varies by machine. I will tell you what they cost per month. Bowflex has a no-money-down financing plan available (800-269-3539). (I do not represent, sell or know anyone in the Bowflex business.) You can try the TreadClimber for 30 days and return it if you are not satisfied. 


All Bowflex machines have the same frame design though the frames are different sizes. Each model is a little different than the other. All three come with a training manual, an instructional video, the “Fast Fat Loss” TreadClimber Body Leanness Program by Ellington Darden, Ph.D. The most expensive TreadClimber also comes with a machine mat intended to put under the machine to protect floors and carpets. It retails for $99. 

Which machine? 

The machine you choose may be based on price, features, or size or comfort. 

Bowflex TreadClimber TC 1000 costs $25.00 per month ($1499). It is 46 inches long by 28.5 inches wide by 55 inches high. The maximum weight is 300 pounds. The speed goes from .5 to 3.8 miles per hour (MPH). You can track 3 functions. They are speed, time and distance. The console is very simple. There is no magazine rack or water bottle holders. It is the only machine that has arrow buttons on both the right and left sides of the console for ease in adjusting the speed. It has a 1 year warranty. 

Bowflex TreadClimber TC 3000 costs $35.00 per month ($1799). It measures the same as the 1000. The weight capacity is the same however the speed starts at .7 mph and goes up to 4.0mph. In addition it has 6 functions that you can track. They are speed, time, distance, calories burned, calories per minute and total steps. Unlike the 1000 the 3000 has an ergonomic console. The console is very nice with places for water, cell phones and a magazine rack. It has a 3 year warranty. 

Bowflex TreadClimber TC 5000 costs $45 per month ($2199). It measures the same as those above and the weight capacity is the same at 300 pounds. The speed is the same as the 3000. It goes from .7 to 4.0. It has 8 functions Speed, Time, Distance, Calories Burned, Calories-Per-Minute and Total Steps as well as the only one with a heart rate display and climb indicator. It is also the only one with a quick start feature. The 5000 like the 3000 has an ergonomic console. The console is similar to but more sophisticated than the TC 3000 because of the added functions displayed. It has a 5 year warranty. 

All three models have a safety key on the console. If you have balance problems, are a senior with an increased risk of breaking bones if you fall, have a medical risk such as a seizure disorder I would suggest using the key. If you attach it to yourself and start to fall the machine will stop. Falling on a moving machine is not something you want to have happen! 

was a Personal Trainer. These are my thoughts: 

There is a major flaw design with these three models. I have not recommended any of them. It is the way the resistance works. Resistance is what makes the machine easier or harder to tread on. It doesn't make the machine go fast or slow. Each machine has that ability on the console. Most machines that have a resistance ability have arrows on the console so I can change the resistance from 1 - 12 which are the levels on the TreadClimber. However the TreadClimber does not put arrows on the console. Rather there is a knob above each piston (the hydraulic system) on the machine. I have tried to adjust them while slowing down almost to a stop but that is unsafe. In fact Bowflex recommends that I get off the machine in order to change the resistance. 

I get off and turn the knobs. They turn easily so I can turn them from 1 - 12. However I do not want to get off the machine. Though I like interval training and work at different speeds and resistance levels including treading slowly, stopping completely is not an option for me if I were spending this kind of money on a machine. That is the reason that I am not recommending the TreadClimber. Bowflex, if you read this, I'd love to know why you designed this machine this way and urge you to change the design! 

I have attempted to lay out the differences among the three Bowflex TreadClimber models. However these are not complete reviews. They are an attempt to give you a bird’s eye view of the major differences and similarities to help you make a decision. 

I believe Bowflex makes good machines but they fall flat on these because of the resistance function. If you love this machine and don't expect to change the resistance during a workout my personal opinion is that if you are looking at the 1000, for $10 more a month you get a little more speed, functions and a nicer console. If you have the money for the 5000, that is the best of the lot. It would be on the top of my list of best machines if I could change resistance levels on the console. 

To see all her fitness equipment reviews, go to the epinions link above and scroll down.

Hate that dirty water??


Breathing the beach

We love the beach and live on it when we aren't in Georgie. I love taking pictures; some come out great and some..well not so much. This is a great shot taken somewhere in our travels. 

What's on this alligator's nose?

Jo took this picture while visiting Everglades National Park.

Las Vegas

Elliott had a conference in Las Vegas so our furbabies couldn't come but we had a blast. I'll post pics later. I have reviewed lots about Las Vegas since we had a 5-year run a few years back!

The buffet in Paris was the best and it really is one of the best. It will cost you $$$ and is one of the buffets where there is less quantity and a great deal more quality. It is also much smaller and a more intimate atmosphere if that is what you are looking for. Paris is gorgeous, go visit, even if you don’t eat there. But we do recommend that you splurge one night and go there. You won't be sorry.

Are you obsessed with your dog? We are but there is an s after dog!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Neil Diamond Singing Sweet Caroline In FenWay Park 4/20/13

Our grandogs



Two peas in a pod

Cloey and Zoey have very different personalities but they do most everything together. This is one of their favorite positions.

Monday, October 21, 2013

You're Still The One

Jo (aka honey) and Elliott (aka honey) have made it to almost 30 years. They said i couldn't be done. The road was rocky, umm how about mountainous, but we are here, enjoying the moment and each other. We can spend 24/7 together!!

Life is what happens while you're making other plans. John Lennon

Wondering how the heck you can choose among the types of recreational vehicles?

• The pop Up or tent trailer is a huge step up from a tent. It is easy to pull and for the money has quite a bit of space. A Hi-Low works like the Pop Up. It has a flat profile while pulling it but when it's raised you have a hard sided home rather than canvas. These have two and sometimes three pull-outs which house the beds. Add a screen house and you are all set for days and day. Prices: $3,545 and $12,425

 • The truck camper. The camper goes into the bed of a pickup truck. There are pros to the truck camper especially if you go small. You are essentially driving a truck with a small home on your back. You can tow because the camper fits into, onto and over the truck. The smallest may not have a bathroom or shower but you won't have to go up much in price to find those essentials. Price: around $7,000 for a small eight- foot truck camper.

 • A class B motor home is a compact unit that looks very much like a regular van but bigger and with all the amenities of home. They cost the most money for their size and what you get. You might spend $50,000 and up on what looks like a conversion van i.e. a van that has been made fancy inside. The big plus to these is that you can drive them as a vehicle so you don't have to have a large truck and you can fit into parking spaces. 

 • Class A motor homes are those beautiful monsters you routinely see on the roads. People are selling their homes and traveling the country in a Class A. You might want to pull a car behind a Class A. One benefit to a self-contained unit is that the passenger can get up while the driver is driving and make lunch, go to the bathroom or take a nap! These are constructed on a specially designed motor vehicle chassis. If you are RVing full time this is what you will be looking at. There are two negatives. One is the size. If you want, what I call a monster RV, I think that you may want to have been a bus driver in this life or a past one. The other negative is maintenance. If something goes wrong you won't be able to drive into your local car dealer or automotive shop to have it fixed. The other is the price (and the cost of gas). Some have gas fireplaces, giant TVs, a washer/dryer unit and dishwasher. These start at over $300,000 and go up to $1 million. For about $80,000 you can get a basic gas class A with slide outs in the 25' range. You will get a beautiful unit and a lot of luxury. A tip: Don't look at the ones above first! Slide outs are available on most models but you will pay for them. A slide out is a section of the unit, usually the couch, sometimes the dinette, that slides out anywhere from anywhere from 18" to 3'. They close in at the push of a button when you are ready to move still giving you plenty of room to move around. I've seen units with 4 slide outs. I've seen units with 1 or none. 

• The firth wheel offers the most room for the money. The unit is all living space and they are very high inside. One negative to the fifth wheel versus the Class B, C and A is that it is not self contained so you can't get your partner a sandwich while you are underway. Fifth wheel trailers range from about 8,000 pounds to more than 18,000 pounds thus the need for a huge truck. If you are looking for the maximum living space for your money and don't mind carrying it in the bed of your truck a 26' to 40' unit is what you will want. Most come with slide outs and like Class A you can get a washer/dryer, dishwasher, entertainment center. You'll spend anywhere from $13,000 to $100,000 for a fifth-wheel 

• The class C is easier to drive than the class A. If you can spend at the top end of these units you will be able to find 30' units with floor plans that look more like a Class A with full size beds plus the cab-over the bed. The cost of this unit starts at about $45,000 for perhaps a 24-foot motor home. 

• The travel trailer is very popular because it is a house on wheels without the mechanism of an engine. You will pull it with an SUV or truck depending on the size of the unit. The travel trailer is easy to buy used because there is no engine so you do not have to worry about breaking down. When you unhook from a travel trailer you have your vehicle to drive. They range in price from about $7,000 to $30,000 for a medium sized trailer (around 25 feet) and large trailers (9,000 pounds and up) from about $13,000 to $60,000. 

 This was written a few years ago. All the info is the same but be aware of the cost of living!!