Treader Tracker

On a trek to reach 150 pounds

Weight chart

The Journey Begins

Back in 2005, I ran across an article about James Levine, M.D. and his treadmill desk concept. I was intrigued enough to Google for treadmill desk suppliers, but found none. I decided I was on my own until the concept caught on and desk/treadmill manufacturers got together, so I picked up a used treadmill on ebay for $90 with intentions of fashioning my own treadmill-desk.

That used treadmill remained motionless in storage at my office for more than two years, which provides some hint as to why I really need a treadmill-desk.

Perhaps through some renewed PR effort by Mayo Clinic or by Steelcase (which now manufactures what I was looking for a few years ago), I saw a TV news story about treadmill desks . . . undoubtedly timed to coincide with 2009 New Year's resolutions.

Well, it worked (thanks PR guys).

In the last week of 2008, I dusted off the treadmill and pulled it into the garage.

It was time to pimp my tread'.

The treadmill god (depicted by ancients as a hamster on a wheel) must have blessed me when I went to Goodwill in Junkyard Wars-esque pursuit of parts for my machine. Buried under a mound of musty furniture, I found an ergonomic computer desk with a top perfectly formed to my needs - and it was only $5.

Here's how I put it together:

1. I started with a very basic treadmill that was designed to be easily stored away.
2. I removed the handrails and control panel.
3. I squared off the tops of the control panel supports so that the desktop could be fastened flat (rather than angled as the control panel was positioned).
4. I trimmed and repurposed the handrails as supports for the desktop.
5. Using the legs from the ergonomic desk, I mounted the control panel to the right of the desktop.
6. I mounted a sliding keyboard platform to increase the available workspace.

The finished product (final cost: ~$125)

Desktop view

Capitalizing on the original easy-storage design, I made sure that the desktop and keyboard tray did not block folding functionality

So begins the journey with one step on the treadmill desk. This blog started in the waning hours of 2008. I will use it to log my success (or - hamster-god forbid - failure) with my newly fashioned treadmill-desk.

January 30, 2009

Four more weeks

I visited Dr. Schramm today to pose for knee photos, have staples yanked and catch a first glimpse of my deformed and discolored left leg.

My hopes of getting back on the DayTreader soon were shattered almost as bad as my tibia.

It looks now like it will be at least March before I can climb back aboard.

January 23, 2009

Week Three - BedTreader

The DayTreader stood silent this week.

I consumed oxycodone and celebrated my achievement of making a 20-foot trip from the couch to the bathroom and back.

On Sunday, I took my son and a friend to Swiss Valley Ski Area to celebrate his 15th birthday and give downhill skiing a try for myself.

My skiing career was both glorious and brief.

After a dozen or so impressive runs down the bunny hill, and feeling fairly confident that I should soon try out for the next Winter Olympics team, I moved to the big-boy slope.

Within minutes, I was in a snow drift with a shattered fibula and tibia, my Olympic dreams fading. The ski patrol team, including Tom and Mary Ann Kaade, wrenched my ski boot off, stabilized my leg with an inventive (almost artistic) combination of cardboard, foam and duct tape.

I snapped my leg at 4 p.m. By 11 p.m. I was out of surgery. Thank God for ski patrol, good friends who are willing to haul bellowing cargo to Elkhart General Hospital, ER nurses, and on-call surgery teams.

The surgeon, Dr. Schramm, tells me I have 6 to 8 weeks of healing ahead. I haven't mentioned the DayTreader yet. My hope is that after about 3 weeks, once the screws and plates are firmly in place, I will be released to tread an hour or so a day. I am counting on it to be part of my therapy regimen.

Suffice it to say I have not stepped on the scale. The heavy brace and bandages would skew results anyway.

January 16, 2009

Week Two - Focus and Collaboration

One of the main reasons I was drawn to the concept of the treadmill desk - beyond general fitness - was that I have a hard time sitting still. Even when focused and deep in thought on a project, I feel a need to get up and move around, interrupting my train of thought.

As I have grown more accustomed to walking and working, I notice that it is a lot easier to stay focused for longer periods of time.

One slightly awkward aspect of the DayTreader is when co-workers drop in my office to collaborate briefly or ask a question. I don't mind talking and walking, but my colleagues seem ill at ease. They joke that I should have two DayTreaders in my office so we can walk and talk together. If a conversation goes much beyond 30 seconds, I just jump off the DayTreader and sit down at my desk.

I'm five pounds down this week (18 pounds total since Jan. 1). Though not entirely due to DayTreader exercise (I have cut back on calories, too), I'm thrilled with the results so far.

January 9, 2009

Week one - Coordination

On Monday, Jan. 5, I hopped on the DayTreader and started to work.

Coordination was not immediate. It took me 5 to 10 minutes until I was able to work without consciously thinking "step, step, step, step."

One of the biggest work impediments the first day was curious (and very understanding) co-workers. Most probably thought I was crazy, but few shared the sentiment.

My optimal speed seems to be around 1.4 mph.

My treadmill control does not have any distance memory. The distance clears shortly after the treadmill is stopped, so I don't have a good way to track total miles walked. I would estimate that I spent about 4 hours out of an 8-hour day on the treadmill in the first week, which calculates into roughly 5-6 miles per day.

I lost 13 pounds in the first nine days of January! I don't expect to maintain this pace.