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.
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!