Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Sitting Disease

The sitting disease has so many negative effects that it has been called the new smoking.  Why? because of cell atrophy (decrease in cell size).   Atrophy is a form of cell adaptation in response to decreased trophic influences, decreased functional demands and decreased nutrition.

If enough cells in an organ atrophy, then the organ will decrease in size and eventually shut down.  Primary tissues and organs susceptible to atrophy are skeletal and cardiac muscles  (pretty much all the muscles in your body), secondary are your sex organs and your brain!

In short,  if you don’t use it, you loose it.. sort of..

Below is an infographic on the effects of sitting and sedentary lifestyle in the U.S.   If you think you have the sitting disease, believe it or not it is very simple to cure yourself – just move more.

Easiest way is to walk more.  For every hour of sitting just get up and walk for a couple of minutes and stretch.   If you want to be more proactive, then add a 15-minute walk to your lunch time.   Better yet, start a fitness program.

sitting disease

(click the above for a larger view)

 A note to women:   the sitting decease effects you 50% more than your male counterpart under same circumstances.

This is What you get for going with the cheapest company..

Are you really getting the best deal when you choose a company that gives you the lowest bid for Preventive Maintenance (PM) service??

Reality is we all have similar operating costs, so if a company is offering a deal that is well below the norm, then they have no choice but to:

  1. Make up the difference elsewhere in form of exaggerated or unnecessary repair costs.
  2. Cut corners on the PM service – better known as wipe-and-go service where instead of performing an actual PM the tech just shows up to wipe a few machines down and write up all the issues and send you a repair quote the next day, therefore giving you reactive service when you think you’re paying for a PROACTIVE PM service.

Case in point:

This customer had a semi-annual PM contract for $150 – they have 9 pcs of cardio and 7 weight machines.  At a minimum they should have been on a quarterly plan for 3 hrs per visit.

Here is the competitor’s quote that even says on the quote “they’ll beat anyone’s price by AT LEAST 10%”  giving you the impression of being the super low price leader.

The customer finally called us because according to them this competitor was out 4 times to repair the same machine with no success while they kept sending the customer more repair /parts quotes for the same noise issue.

We offered to diagnose at no charge and found out the customer was being quoted on parts she didn’t need at prices almost 50% higher than factory’s Suggested Retail Price, and to add salt to injury, they quoted the customer 3 hours for a 1 hr job.   Total bill: double the actual cost.  This is how you make up the difference on a $50 a visit Wipe-N-Go Preventive Maintenance contract!!!!

Here is their quote vs. ours:

.fitg quote1gymdocquote

To avoid this scam:

  1. Make sure you read the fine print on the service contract and if it is NOT spelled out, ask the vendor what you will be charged for parts (MSRP? Vendors SRP?, any discounts?, etc…).  And what will be the labor rate for unscheduled visits, and make sure its all in writing.
  2. Do your homework – just because the quote says your part is $XXX amount, call the factory and shop the part to verify you’re not getting stiffed.
  3. If the repair quote seems high, it probably is, so call a competitor to get a second opinion. Even if costs you a service call for the quote, the savings maybe well worth the small fee like in this case and it will keep your vendor honest and on his toes.

Bottom-line: if you’re shopping for PM service, the average piece of cardio machine takes about 20 minutes to open up and service, so do the math.  If you get a quote for $100 to PM 10 machines that takes more than 3 hrs – unless the contractor is working for $5 an hour, you’re about to get scammed.

If this has happened to you, call us, we’ll be happy to help.

The know-it-all customer

 

knowitall

Here is an email we received from a know-it-all customer the day after the service call.  To provide some background, she called and said something came loose and fell off and wanted us to put it back together and service the elliptical and asked us to bring some misc. nuts and bolts.

The actual problem was a welded stud that broke off a pivot block which is no longer available from factory, and she needed over $300 in new parts to upgrade her machine to usable condition..  but we never got the chance to explain it to her..  We figured we’ll walk away from this one and never look back… but only after we responded back.. 🙂

“Comment: HEY GYM DOCTORS!! SO, YOU’RE RUNNING A SCAM, HUH?  I CALLED LAST WEEK TO ARRANGE SOMEONE FROM YOU COMPANY TO REPAIR MY ELIPTICAL TRAINER. I TOLD THE REP ON THE PHONE EXACTLY WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS–THAT A NUT AND BOLT CAME LOOSE AND FELL OUT AND THE PEDAL NEEDED TO BE PUT BACK TOGETHER.  BECAUSE YOU HAVE INFLEXIBLE HOURS, AND LIKE MOST PEOPLE, I WORK FOR A LIVING, IHAD TO PAY SOMEONE 50 BUCKS TO COME HERE WHILE ONE OF YOUR BOZOS CAME TO FIX MY EQUIPMENT.  HE COULDNT’ FIX IT, STATING WHAT I HAD ALREADY TOLD YOU–IT NEEDS A NUT AND BOLT.  FOR GODDSAKE!  YOUR REPAIRMENT DON’T EVEN HAVE BASIC REPAIR SUPPLIES ON HAND?!  HE TOOK MY CHECK FOR 179.00 AND LEFT.  THAT IS JUST OUTRAGEOUS.  I WAS INCONVENIENCED AND PAID A TOTAL OF 230 BUCKS AND GOT NOTHTING.  I AM STOPING PAYMENT ON THE CHECK AND WILL BE NOTIFYING THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES ABOUT YOUR SCAM AND YOUR UNETHICAL PRACTICES.  WHO KNOWS?  MAYBE THE PRODUCER OF “AMERICAN GREED” ON CNBC WOULD BE INTERESTED IN INVESTIGATING YOU.”

Naturally we passed this around the office and had a good laugh.

“Hi Diane P.,

Thank you for the lovely kind words.  But unfortunately you’re completely wrong on your technical diagnosis.   Your fix is NOT a nut and bolt.
Its a welded threaded stud that broke off and the ONLY place you can get it from is the manufacturer.   Its not something you pick up from your local Home Depot store.
But since we are unethical scamming bozos and don’t know our jobs and are ill prepared, and since you’re canceling the check , there is no sense sending you a quote explaining the exact issue of your machine and the correct fix and the costs of the parts, etc….
We will throw your check in the garbage, and hopefully you can find your fix from another more reputable service company.
I look forward to meeting Mr. Kurtis (producer of American Greed) but their focus is on large scale corporate and white collar crimes..  I don’t think our tiny business being accused by a know-it-all customer would make their list.   🙂
If you like to discuss the matter further, feel free to call me.
I apologize for the inconvenience, and wish you the best of luck.
Have a great weekend.”

 

Don’t know if this personality can be helped or reasoned with, but you get a lot further with sugar than vinegar.  Wonder if we’ll get a Yelp review out of her too!

 

 

What is the repair cost and the fried mouse..

Every day we get a call that goes something like this:
“can you tell me how much it would cost to get my machine fixed?”

If we had the powers of foresight to know over the phone what exactly the problem is, what caused it, and what it would cost to repair, we probably would use those powers for more world pressing issues instead of fixing exercise equipment.

Unfortunately there is no simple answer. Although there are some common problems, most issues tend to be unique.

Take a look at the picture below. Without an onsite diagnosis, how are we to guess the cause of this customer’s dead treadmill is a fried control board? Not only that, the short also damaged the electronics in the console.
fried mouse

Total repair for this specific treadmill was over $700.   The cause was a mouse – a fried mouse now.

In short, there is no way to know what the repair cost will be without a proper diagnosis.  Most problems are caused by lack of maintenance. In fact, half the time we can fix the issue on the first call during the diagnosis, without needing any parts.

What is Whole Body Vibration (WBV)?

Its the action of exposing the whole body to low frequency vibration through a vibrating platform. This allows the user to gain all the physiological benefits of exercise in a shorter amount of time.

How it works: The idea is the fast vibration of the platform causes the muscle fibers to expand and contract very rapidly therefore increasing the blood flow through the entire body and strengthening muscles. This is also beneficial to the cardio system as it increases the heart rate during the exercise. Finally the skeletal system benefits as the bones react to physical stress which helps increase bone density.

The exercise: is a series of short on and off segments on the vibrating platform. A WBV machine can be used in a variety of positions. Most popular is the squat where the person stands on the vibrating platform with the knees bent at 30 degrees while holding to the handrails. There is not much effort needed to use a WBV machine. The muscles react automatically to the vibration in an effort to keep you balanced.

Exercise time: a session on a WBV machine is anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes. Generally 10 to 15 minutes is the recommendation.

There are three types of vibrating platforms:

  1. Vertical, which is also thought to be the most effective, is where the entire platform vibrates uniformly in an up and down motion. This is suited for increased muscle strength and bone density.
  2. Oscillating, which is like a teeter-totter motion and is suited for weight loss.
  3. Elliptical, similar to a hand massager, offers more of a surface stimulation that can feel tingly, but fails to offer deep penetration like Oscillating or Vertical.

The four variables that make the exercise:

  1. Frequency – measured in Hertz refers to the amount of repeated vibrating cycles per second. The higher the frequency, the more vibration. The frequency settings are generally between 1Hz to 20Hz for Oscillating machines and 20Hz to 60Hz for vertical machines.
  2. Amplitude – is the distance the platform travels up and down usually between 1mm to 15mm. The higher amplitude creates greater intensity during workout.
  3. Position – your position on the platform determines the focus of the vibration whether you are standing or using straps, or only have a specific body part on the platform (i.e.: only your arm, etc…)
  4. Duration – is how long the workout segment lasts and is usually measured in minutes or seconds. Its generally between 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

What to look for in a WBE machine:  The cheaper machines usually fall in the category of oscillating or elliptical. The vertical category tends to be more expensive and better made because they offer a better exercise and are more popular.

  • Features:  Look for high “user weight” rating. Sturdy frame and overall construction – does the machine feel stable? Does it have solid handle bars? What program options and features does it have? Is the machine intuitive and easy to use? Is it noisy or quiet? Is the brand well reviewed?
  • Price: Range is between $200 for garbage up to $20k for the over-hyped commercial grade ones. The average quality home unit sells between $2k to $3k, and average commercial quality unit sells for $4k to $8k.
  • Warranty: Longer warranty is a major plus.  Find the machine with the longest warranty for both parts and labor.

Precautions:   A WBV machine is not a replacement for regular exercise and is not a significant means for weight loss without a proper diet. It is also not for everyone. Always consult with your physician when beginning any new exercise program.

How to maintain your treadmill

We get this question asked daily, so here is a little insight:

All treadmills need regular maintenance.  To everyone’s surprise, this is what most salesmen never tell you at the time of purchase.   There are many reasons.  One is that manufacturers don’t want you to play with your treadmill because of risk of injury and lawsuits.  Another is you’re most likely to buy a machine that is advertised as maintenance free instead of one that requires periodic maintenance.  Finally, a lot of salespeople just don’t know any better.

Like any other machine with moving components all treadmills need periodic maintenance.  The frequency depends on the amount of use and quality of the treadmill.

In general you get what you pay for.  Therefore, assuming the amount of usage were the same, a better quality treadmill will need less maintenance than a cheap one because the overall components are more heavy duty.

 Dirt, dust and sweat are the enemies.  If not cleaned regularly, these elements work their way inside the treadmill’s components and cause premature wear and failure. 

  • Dirt gets under the walking belt and causes excess friction between the belt and deck, therefore putting more stress on the electronics.
  •  Dust gets inside the motor area and covers the motor and circuit boards like a blanket trapping heat and causes the electronics to run hot.
  • Sweat, which is essentially salt water gets onto surfaces and into any crevice and begins corroding anything it can.

Preventive maintenance  (aka: “PM”) on a treadmill involves 3 steps:

  1.  A proper cleaning inside and out.
  2.  Lubricating and adjustment of walk belt and drive belt.
  3. Test run, and re-calibration if necessary.

Please note:  there are mainly two types of lubricants used for walking belt lubrication: Silicone lube or Paraffin wax.   Make sure you know which lubricant your treadmill uses before application.

Additionally treadmills that are advertised as having a “maintenance-free belt & deck” can still be cleaned and lubricated to extend their lives.

The following intervals should be used as a guideline only.  Please refer to your owner’s manual for factory recommended service intervals.

For residential use:  (with residential grade treadmills)  If used daily, perform “PM” once a year.   On cheaper treadmills (under $1000) you will need to lube the belt more often – at least every 6 months. 

For commercial use: (with commercial grade treadmills)

  • If used up to 3 hours a day, perform PM once every 6 months.
  • If used up to 6 hours a day, perform PM once every 3 months.
  • If used up to 9 hours a day or more, perform PM once a month.

The best preventive maintenance is a daily wipe down with a damp cloth (just water, no cleaning agents or chemicals).  This alone can add a few years to the life of your treadmill.

Finally, for the more technical aspect of the PM service, if you’re not mechanically inclined, please leave this work to a professional.