Run the World with a Treadmill and Google Maps


There is no arguing that walking or running on a treadmill is a bore, and when you are bored time drags.  You obviously have no change of scenery, and no matter how hard you run you never seem to get anywhere.  That is why, so often, treadmill users will have a nearby television for distraction.


The folks at Icon Fitness created treadmills that can communicate with the Internet, which opens up a world of possibilities.   A perfect example is iFit Live, which is available in all of Icon’s ProForm and NordicTrack treadmills.  In addition to allowing you to create customized workout programs, it also allows you to walk or run just about anywhere in the world. You are probably going, “How is that possible?”


Well, Icon Fitness worked out a deal with Google that allows their treadmills to interact with Google Maps.  This is how it works…


You log into your personal iFit Live account online and you map out a route.  It can be on a road or a trail you blaze through a wilderness area.  Once the route is downloaded onto your treadmill, it will simulate the terrain through the incline feature.  Also, several of their models have the ability to decline, so you can simulate going up and down hills.  Which has the added benefit of working out different lower body muscles has you exercise in an incline and decline mode.


Run the World On Your Treadmill and Visualize It!


iFit Live Google Maps ViewNow, this is where it gets interesting.  Not only can you simulate walking or running anywhere in the world, you can also visualize it.  On the lower price models you would need to place a laptop or Smartphone on the console.  You log into to your iFit Live account, click on the Icon for Google Maps and you can access the various visual modes of your route.  If you are running down a route that Google has street views, you can get an actual photographic view of the street as you run.  If there is no street view, you get the animated earth view.  I have an iFit Live treadmill and have traced routes within my neighborhood.  Not only did I experience the sensation of going up and down the hills, but I saw familiar sites as I ran.


In addition to creating your own customized route, you can access a library of routes like Central Park, Chicago Lake Front, Avalanche Peak in Yellowstone and the Monterey Coastal Trail.


To compliment the Google Maps features and avoid the hassle of having a laptop or Smartphone placed on your console; Icon Fitness introduced a series of their higher end treadmill with a built-in Android browser.  Not only can you connect with the Internet as you work out.  You can also access all the features of iFit Live, including the Google Maps interface.


One last note, I mentioned that iFit Live also allows you to create customized workout programs.  Let me elaborate.  When you create you iFit Live account it asks you what you fitness goals are.  For example, let’s say your goal is to lose 10 lbs. in two months.  Based on your goals, you can create workout routines that are designed by fitness trainers, including Jillian Michaels. The workouts are progressive in nature and include audio coaching to further stimulate you. The data from your workout is uploaded from your treadmill to your iFit Live account, so you can monitor your progress.  For many tracking your results encourages people to attain their goals.


So the question is will you use the Google Maps and customized workouts of iFit Live? And will they motivate you to reach your fitness goals? There are treadmill users that are self motivated and need no motivation to workout.  The rest of us may need some guidance and distraction to overcome the boredom of exercising in place.  For that silent majority, iFit Live may be the answer.


About the Author:  Fred Waters’ full time job is reviewing fitness equipment.  A job he has been doing for the last 8 years.  Prior to that he worked in the fitness equipment industry.  You can get his Best Buy treadmill recommendations by clicking here. Several models  include iFit Live equipped models.




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