Norm Morrison Sep 30, 2020 4:50:16 PM 11 min read

Treadmill 101...what you should know that people don't tell you about owning one.

Treadmills provide one of the best cardio workouts in the fitness equipment world, work for both runners and walkers, and are great for fitting different sized people. But there are some hidden secrets to getting the most out of your treadmill that we can connect you to.


It's true that the treadmill  rules the cardio world, Treadmills provide high calorie burn, are good balance work, are weight bearing, and fit everyone.  However, the amount of moving parts, friction, as well as the electrical requirements should be understood before taking delivery.  Frankly, most dealers and online sites want to sell you a treadmill, not build a client, so these critical facts are normally ignored.
    • Most manufacturers recommend providing a dedicated, 20-AMP circuit for your treadmill whenever possible to be absolutely certain of avoiding electrical problems.  A "dedicated" circuit means that no other appliances, lamps, etc are on that circuit.  Nearly all commercial treadmills only run on a 5-20/NEMA plug.  If a dedicated circuit is not available, ensure the least number of appliances, lamps, etc are active on that circuit. Having a dedicated circuit allows your treadmill to draw 100% the power it needs to operate. When a circuit is shared, the treadmill can be starved for power, which can lead to poor performance and greatly reduced longevity.  And if you can, let me stress again that we always recommend the 5-20 NEMA for any treadmill as the gold standard.

    • If you will be using your treadmill in a carpeted area, we suggest the purchase of a protective treadmill mat. This will protect your carpet from the treadmill but, more importantly, protect the treadmill from the carpet. Carpet fibers that collect between the deck and the belt can be very damaging. The static electricity that is created from the use of the treadmill belt over a carpet literally pulls carpet fiber under the deck, greatly reducing the deck and belt lifespan.  The best result is having a fitness floor, but we also have high-quality mats made for treadmills as well.

    • The use of an extension cord is not recommended. If you absolutely must use an extension cord, make sure it is grounded (the type with three prongs), less than six feet in length, and is at least as thick as the treadmill power cord (14 gauge).
    • If an extension cord is utilized, manufacturers specifically suggest that it not include any form of surge protection (most treadmills have built-in surge protection). 
    • Never plug your treadmill into GFI outlet (Ground Fault Interrupt outlet - as pictured below).  AFCI circuits can sometimes have issues as well.

    • Please consult a licensed electrician to assist you if you are unsure if the circuit will properly handle the amperage draw of the treadmill.  ConnectFit has a number of partners in our area who can handle this. 

    • Also be aware that the distance from your circuit breaker panel to your treadmill will also affect the ability of that circuit to support your treadmill.  

    • Based on the factors above, make your final decision about the placement of your treadmill before it is delivered.  Treadmills 'age' by the belt moving over the deck creating friction, and this, coupled with the amount of load moved and the amount of use determines how fast a treadmill ages and how much power it pulls.

    • Before the delivery team arrives, be sure to clear the path to the final placement area. Please advise ConnectFit of any special considerations such as tight stairways, narrow doorways, outside staircases, etc. and complete any necessary cleaning prior to delivery.  Consider moving small objects and removing pictures from any walls that are on the path to the final placement area.  Nearly any difficult delivery can be managed...if we all communicate about it and prepare.
    • Plan on leaving extra space around your treadmill. Leave extra space behind your treadmill in case you should dismount in that direction.  In a commercial setting, it is regulated that we need 3' behind any treadmill, and we recommend the same for inside.
    • Be sure to keep your treadmill's feet level. If the feet are not level, the belt may not track properly. Please be aware that some people have physical characteristics that may affect treadmill belt tracking (varying leg lengths, for example).  

    • You will walk or run in the direction you are looking.  This means any monitors or television must be placed directly in front of a treadmill for safety.
    •  After you get your treadmill in place, there is still one more 'truth' that most dealers or especially online sites try to avoid telling you.  Friction is the enemy of a treadmill, so the idea of a maintenance free treadmill is actually a myth as well.  All upper level treadmills have a double-sided deck, which means that you can have a technician flip the deck for double the lifespan.  And many treadmills have forms of lubrication.  So the proper way to look at lubrication or flipping the deck is as a positive.  It lengthens the lifespan of the machine.  Lesser treadmills are disposable, so they are not set up to be maintained.

      We at ConnectFit like to work with the truth and set our clients up for a long, happy relationship.  With us, and with your treadmill.  Feel free to drop us a line with any further questions!

Norm Morrison

Norm has a long history of building partnerships between Health and Wellness companies and meshing technology creators with manufacturers and vendors. He helped build the largest fitness equipment dealership from the ground up and has worked with nearly all of the major manufacturers in the industry. The top brands in the market come to him for advice about developing and improving their product. Norm has helped dozens of companies bring products to market and has an inside track on what’s new and what’s next in both the legacy and connected fitness industries.