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Small Steps Forward to Success (and the best cardio equipment for the job!)

My last post The Easy Way to Bikini in Your Fifties purposefully did not include information on this supposed easy route. That's because there really isn't an easy way (hence the drawing above depicting a pretty accurate example of the face women make when putting on a swimsuit) but that doesn't mean it's impossible. I'm pretty sure that we all get the concept that small steps forward consistently lead to the accomplishment of goals. The problem is that sticking to those steps, no matter how small, are often viewed as such:

A staircase. Most look at the process of achieving their goals as a hard-ass climb that just becomes more challenging with each step. If you have the positive outlook of seeing the glass as half-full as opposed to half-empty, then you understand that we rise to great heights by a stairs made of small steps while understanding also that those steps will lead to greater challenges, as well they should. How would we grow and change otherwise? Do you expect the process to be easy? Remember, easy means everyone would do it and that's why those that succeed are slammed with questions about how they did it. Somehow, we think they found the magic cure and we'll try whatever they did to see if it will work for us too. And it probably will, for a while, until we become indifferent to it and decide that we'd rather embrace our poor habits that got us into a mess to begin with. Then we blame the routine, our schedule, the weather, the news, the world and its troubles, other people - anything but our own selves - for it not working. Our willpower wanes and we start to believe that we will never succeed at the diet and fitness game.

If you are a warrior queen (or her mate, we're not sexist here!), you may just be looking for a way to take those small steps with the latest and greatest equipment. You've been focused on weight training instead of hibernating during the winter months and you're ready to up the cardio factor to promote fat-loss while improving your fitness level. If you're considering the purchase of a machine for your home but aren't sure where to start, check out the following from

Finding a great treadmill for your needs

Ideally, we would all have extra time in our schedules to dedicate to working out (among other things!). Sunrise hikes, workout classes, hours-long lifting sessions would be feasible for all of us. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t the world we live in — but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great workout in, even if you’re crunched for time. Incorporating a treadmill into your home gym routine can be a great solution for busy people who still want to stay in shape. And with the rise of HIIT workouts (as opposed to the more traditional LISS), you can use these machines for cutting as well as endurance workouts. But how do you know which treadmill can stand up to home workouts and facilitate a truly great session? The research team at ( recently dove deeply into this topic to help readers find which models can truly stand up to intense workouts. They recommend considering the following criteria if you’re in the market: What’s my workout? Running, walking and interval training are vastly different activities, and thus have very different demands on your treadmill. Determining which of these you’ll be doing can help you choose a model that is efficient and can handle anything you throw at it. Runners High-impact workouts put strain on the mechanical parts of your treadmill, so look for a substantial model, avoiding lightweight easy-stow options. While these may seem convenient, a lower-profile treadmill may not be able to keep up with the impact of your workouts, ultimately shortening their lifespan. Horsepower: Look for a machine offering around 2.5 - 3 CHP at the minimum. Joggers may be able to get away with 2.5, but more stress means more CHP required. Consider adding an additional .5 CHP if you’re putting more weight or higher-impact workouts on your machine. Incline: Most treadmills on the market can offer up to about a 15% incline, which typically encompasses most of what runners will need. Beware (again) of lower-end machines that may not offer as broad of a range here, particularly if you’re looking to train for hilly runs. Speed: When it comes to speed, all treadmills are not created equal. For mid-range runners, many models can accommodate your speeds, so the range offerings here aren’t usually an issue. However, if you’re a competitive runner looking to shave down your mile time, be sure your machine offers higher speeds. Most treadmills top out around 10 - 12 mph, which is fine for a 5 or 6-minute mile. Sub-5 minute runners typically want to look for a more specialized treadmill. Belt Size: Runner's longer strides mean that they should look for a spacious belt, at least 60" x 22”. This doesn’t totally nix other belt sizes, but you’ll want to be sure to hand-test before you buy to ensure your treadmill is comfortable. Walkers Lower-impact workouts require substantially less from your treadmill, meaning that you can likely get a model that keeps up with you while still being relatively inexpensive and even less bulky. Horsepower: Walkers typically require only about 2 CHP from a treadmill, so many models will be able to keep up with their requirements. Again, allocate an additional .5 CHP if you’re putting more weight or stress on the treadmill. Those who are hoping to graduate into jogging or running from walking will want to plan for that before they purchase. Incline: As mentioned above, treadmills offer a relatively broad incline range. Most models can offer a moderate amount to suit the needs of most walkers. However, if you’re looking specifically for high incline, consider a specialty model. Speed: This is of lower concern for most walkers since their max speeds are usually well within the range a typical treadmill offers. Almost all models will be sufficient in terms of speed. Belt Size: Walkers have a lot of options here. Because they take smaller strides, a slightly smaller machine with a belt of about 55 x 20” is usually sufficient (and less expensive). Interval Trainers Interval training is unique: shorter workouts that put lots of impact on a treadmill can make it hard to plan for which speeds and horsepower needs you have. Horsepower: Look for a model that offers at least 3 CHP if you’re going to be doing sprints. You’ll want to avoid overloading the treadmill, so try to estimate your top speeds to ensure it can handle yours. When in doubt, follow the guidelines for a runner. Incline: Many inclined interval workouts require some range of incline. If you’re specifically interested in uphill training, you may consider a specialty treadmill which can offer more than the normal range. Speed: Opt for a treadmill which offers a relatively high speed to accommodate your fastest sprints and any PR goals you may have. Belt Size: As with runners, interval trainers often utilize longer strides. A 60" x 22” is ideal here as well, but consider measuring your favorite gym treadmill if you’re concerned with having enough belt area. To read more about finding a great treadmill for your workout, and for more technical information, you can check out the full guide here:

In my next post, I'll discuss some of the facts and challenges of emotional and stress eating.

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