Using the Technology

Life Fitness recently announced improvements to its Virtual Trainer Web Site that expand its capabilities and make it easier to use.   The program, which has over  14,000 active users,  allows exercisers to record their workout results and to track their progress online.  They can also create personalized workouts for use anywhere, anytime on the Life Fitness Elevation Series products.  Healthquest currently offers treadmills and upright bicycles from the Elevation Series.

The Virtual Trainer, which is free, acts as your own personal training coach.  It can recommend a specific workout plan based on your individual goals, and help you create workouts that are customized and based on your fitness level and abilities.  It gives you the ability to create these workouts on your home computer, which you can save to a USB device and then upload directly into the Elevation Series consoles.  Your weight, time, speed, and resistance will all be entered automatically with one tap of the touchscreen.

Perhaps the site’s best feature is its ability to store and record your personal workout history.   With your USB device you can capture the results of any workout, whether you created it in advance  on the Virtual Trainer website or you simply entered it manually.   You can then upload that data into the Virtual Trainer, where it will be recorded and displayed on your personal dashboard.  You can then track your progress, compare it to your target goals, and see how your results change over a period of time. 

Below is a brief tutorial to help you get started using the Virtual Trainer.

A custom interval program

First, login to the Virtual Trainer website and setup your free account.  After that’s done you can navigate into the “Create and Download Workouts” area, where you will find two choices, “Popular Workouts”, or “Personalized Workouts”.  Once you make a selection here, you will see a screen that is very similar to the menu that comes up on any Life Fitness piece of equipment.  You will then be able to choose between “Hill”, “Fat Burn”, “Cardio”, and “Random” programs.  

Here you will be able to choose from the same workouts you’re used to using, or if you have the desire,  create something more specific to your needs.  The photo shows an interval workout that I created with fast, intense running periods followed by recovery walks.

 Once you have set the parameters of your workout. you will need to name the workout and save it.  After it has been saved you can then download the workout to any USB storage device.  HealthQuest has inexpensive USB bands for sale at the front counter, but anything you have will also work. The next time you’re ready to workout, simply plug the USB into the Life Fitness console.  Your pre-recorded workout will appear on the screen, so all you have to do is press “select” and you’re up and running (or biking).  You won’t have to enter any of the usual data, the program will automatically run just the way you set it up.
  

When you’re finished with your workout, the touchscreen will give you the option to save your results to your USB devivce (you can do this after any workout, prerecorded or not).  Then when you get back to your PC and log back onto the Virtual Trainer, you can upload those results onto the site, where all your data is recorded and saved. 

The program will graph your results over time on your PC

Once you begin to accumulate data, the program offers several ways to see your results charted and graphed.  You can track your progress in terms of time, miles, or calories, view results for the week, the month, or the year, and compare your actual results to your preset goals.

Recording your results can be a great way to see the progress you are making and to keep yourself motivated.  If you need something to help hold yourself accountable, the Virtual Trainer  might be just what you need to boost your adherance.  Give it a try and let us know what you think.

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