In downtown Manhattan, the Mile High Run Club is making headlines with the most surprising new trend in group fitness: treadmill classes—gang sweat sessions where row after row of runners sprint, jog, and climb under neon lights with party music blasting. We sent our intrepid Breakthroughs reporter to give it a try. Here’s how it went.
I used to think treadmills were good for two things: getting in a run during a blizzard, and watching clips of people falling off them. My favorite YouTube videos are treadmill fails. First, you get the fall—funny enough on its own, but then the two-for-one schadenfreude special kicks the poor sap off and into a piece of dry wall. I crack up every time. That was then. Now, I truly understand what karma is, and thank God that the Mile High Run Club in lower Manhattan doesn’t have video cameras.
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What they do have are dozens of black treadmills, lined up in a studio dedicated solely to reenergizing workouts on this most monotonous of all machines. I climb on, skeptical that this glorified conveyor belt can actually be fun. Twenty-six minutes into the half-hour interval workout, my treadmill is at a 70% incline, rotating faster than my scrawny legs can handle—and I’m a marathoner. The surround-sound techno remix climaxes; the lights pulse wildly. As sweat drips onto the display, I think, “This is it, the part where some cruel deity gives a little cosmic payback for the time I chain-e-mailed Treadmill Fails: The Ultimate Compilation. But amazingly, I don’t fall. Instead, the workout ends and I collapse against the front handles; trainer/pro triathlete Zack Schares applauds the eight of us in the class as we slow to a steady patter. My legs are shot as I dismount. That’s when I realize that the treadmill might be good for a third thing: kicking your body so hard you nearly become a viral sensation. I kind of like that risk.
Ready to try Mile High Run Club for yourself? No worries if you don't live in NYC. We got their trainers to create 8 treadmill interval workouts you can do at home. Try one (or five)—they're guaranteed to help you PR!