Sweating in Style

“I will always love you more than anything,” my sweetie said, “but this is close.”

Just what is it that is threatening to usurp my position at the pinnacle of my sweetie’s affection? Another man? A cute dog? Nope. An exercise machine. It all started a while back when we decided that we needed to get more aerobic exercise on days we didn’t get over to the exercise room at my sweetie’s folks’ place.

(“We” in this episode is a slippery concept; while on paper there were two of us involved in the decision, one of us (won’t say which) did pretty much all the thinking and deciding, while the other’s role was agreeing. We all know how onerous that can be.)

My sweetie went online and found what appeared to be an excellent deal on a compact elliptical trainer. It arrived in its great big box and we assembled the thing eagerly. “Wow!” we thought, “for that price, this thing is excellent!”

In fact, we were absolutely right. We started using the machine regularly, and more-or-less wore it out. There was a design flaw where one of the bolts on the pedals should have been left-handed, and the pedal would come loose. Things got bent, and eventually more parts started failing. It just wasn’t sturdy enough for the amount of use it got in our home. We decided it was time to upgrade, and off to the stores we went.

We wound up at Sears, who carries a selection of NordicTrack equipment. We were looking over what the store had to offer, and it turned out that the local repair guy was there at the same time, tuning up the floor models. He was a friendly guy, and he told us about the machines from a repair man’s perspective, with no vested interest in what we bought. (In fact, now that I think of it, he would probably benefit more if we bought a less reliable machine.) He also showed us that some of the machines folded up. We looked at one of the machines he liked in the folded configuration and I said (quite wrongly), “That’s about the same size as the one we have now.”

We bought it.

Our Elliptical Trainer, Fully Deployed

Our Elliptical Trainer, Fully Deployed

It’s pretty large. The first problem was that the box didn’t fit in our car. Not even close. So the friendly Sears guys unpacked the whole thing and loaded the machine piece-by-piece into the car. (“Friendly” in the above is not just a throw-away adjective, they were really nice.) Even so, it was a trick getting one large component into the back of the car. Of course, once home, we had to lug all those parts up the narrow stairs and into our apartment. Getting a good workout already!

I assembled it with only a small amount of cursing (the electronic console is still a little loose), and we beheld our new machine. “It looks a lot bigger than it did in the store,” I said. We rearranged some furniture in the bedroom and wheeled the beast in. It fit just right in its corner. Now came the big test.

Our Trainer, Tucked Away

Our Trainer, Tucked Away

This thing is AWESOME! Smooth and solid and quiet. It doesn’t make my knees sore. It does make me sweat and my heart beat faster. My sweetie will spend an hour on it, some days, and always more than 30 minutes. Me, I’m in for twenty minutes just about every day, cruising along and catching up on my “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” podcasts (I’m up to January of this year). Just exercising and chuckling at the funny radio guys. It’s a nice way to take a break.

Yep, burning calories at an accelerated rate now qualifies as “taking a break”. That’s pretty sweet. We have both been using the machine regularly for a few months now.

One word of advice to those who might consider the NordicTrack E5Vi Elliptical trainer: go ahead and spring for the AC adapter unless you’re absolutely certain you won’t be using the built-in fan (but you will anyway). My one quibble with this device: You have to remove the battery compartment door to plug in the AC adapter. Now there’s a tiny screw and a plastic door to keep track of in a drawer somewhere.


3 thoughts on “Sweating in Style

  1. I have two quibbles, both very small. One of them is the battery compartment door, but not for the same reason; there is a place in the house for small things that have no other place, and the loose parts are there, waiting to be needed. My concern is that compartment sitting open and dust gathering where batteries might need to be used someday. I have a phobia about dust and electricity meeting.

    The other is that the machine will automatically shut down and clear itself after a period of inactivity, about 10 minutes. That’s fine. What can be mildly annoying is that there is no way to manually shut it down or clear the information from the last person who used it. So unless you want to subtract all the work the last person did to figure out what you’ve done, you have to wait for the machine to go to sleep before you can use it.

    Extremely minor quibbles. On a scale of 1 to Awesome, I can’t even see the scale from here.

    (Oh, add to the list of things to spring for if you decide to get one of these: Extended Service Contract. If anything goes wrong, they fix it. If anything doesn’t go wrong, they come out once a year to service the machine and replace the parts that wear out regularly.)

  2. Pat and I have had various exercise devices and Torquemada machines over the years, but we never really made good use of them, as they would break, or they would flex so much that they were extremely unstable. Finally about five years ago, we bit the bullet and bought a really expensive treadmill that was solidly built. It was definitely worth the price.

    Our machine doesn’t clear its memory automatically, so the next person using it sees all of the data of the previous person’s workout (motivation for one-upsmanship?), but there’s a button to push to clear all of the information.

    We’ve never had to have any repairs on it, although we are now on our third television in front of it, since burglars keep breaking in and stealing them. (The first burglars came through the back door; subsequent ones came through the window next to the television, after allowing us enough time to buy a new one to replace the one that had been stolen.) The televisions are a lot less expensive than the treadmill, though, and it would take some pretty brawny burglars to steal the machine.

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