That TreadMill in the Living Room


The fitness industry makes billions of dollars convincing people that this piece of equipment just –minutes a day, 3 days a week, blah blah blah will make you the most fit beautiful person in the world. If this were true everyone would be fit because I have never met a single individual that hasn’t bought exercise equipment hoping for a miracle. (Per, sales of fitness equipment in 2015 was $3.18 billion dollars in the US alone).

I can’t tell you how often I have walked into a new client’s house and seen weights, exercise balls, bikes and the most expensive—ta da—Treadmills sitting in the living room or bedrooms with clothes on them. Most clients tell me they have spent over $2400 for these machines. And after a while, being my cliens, they admit they used them less then 3 times. And most of them were embarrassed that the machine scared them.

I took on a fairly sick woman who was believing she was way past me being able to help her and tried to back out twice before our first meeting. She thought she was just too heavy and sick to ever get any better.

She may be right. I can’t get her to stick to a workout regime with me even though she does well when we work out and feels better. Some of it is fear, some pain, mental and physical, many things, and I know I can’t help everyone. But she had bought this treadmill which hangs out in the dining room, staring at her all day long and she told me she wanted to get on that treadmill many times when we were working out. I had taken her for outside walks on her walker and in spite of her inconsistency, her balance and breathing were much improved. If nothing else, I was going to get her on that treadmill before I quit working with her.

She was having a great day, working out well, breathing well, able to standup for extended periods of time. I didn’t tell her my plans. She weighs just shy of 300#s and I know I can hold someone of that weight up if they start to fall over.

I went over to the treadmill, plugged it in, figured out how slow I could get it to go and be comfortable and told her to come over. She had worked with me long enough to know that as with all my clients, “I have never asked them to do things they couldn’t physically do.” She wasn’t confident but came over on her walker. I didn’t look her in the eye, I had to get her to this and didn’t want to see or acknowledge her fear. She got on the treadmill and I put it on very slow and made her do 30 secs, stopped it and then made her do 3 second intervals two more times.

She had done a total of 1 min 38 seconds, and for the first time in the two months of off and on working with her, I saw her do a genuine smile.

She wasn’t worried about pain, or failing, she had accomplished the demon of the treadmill in the living room.