The Life Fitness F1 treadmill was introduced a few years ago in order to fill the entry level position in the Life Fitness Lineup. It is by no means an entry level unit in the full scope of products, but it is the least expensive option in the Life Fitness selection.
I really like the solid feel of this folding unit and the quiet motor and maintenance free deck are really nice features to consider when shopping around. The display comes with just 6 programs but Life Fitness allows owners to find and even create workouts on their website which can then be downloaded to the treadmill thru your iPhone, iPod touch or a USB stick. This feature pretty much opens you up to an unlimited amount of programs and assures you that you cannot outgrow the units programming.
The display also allows iPod or iPhone users to listen to their music and charge their devices right on the unit. It also has a free app for the iPhones which allows the tracking of workouts both on the treadmill and outside on the road, it uses the GPS in the phone to accurately track and upload your results to the Life Fitness website.
The Life Fitness F1 does feature the Flex Deck shock absorption system which is also in their club units and has studies which show that it absorbs up to 30% of the force created by running. The Life Springs do come with a lifetime warranty and are made from a polymer and not rubber like most systems. This means that there is no degradation and the feel remains the same thru the life of the machine. I like the system and so do 90% of health clubs worldwide but it always comes down to trying before buying.
I also like the Go System on the Life Fitness treadmills which allow users to set and save three different speeds for one touch intervals. This makes manual users very happy in that it takes away the need to rapidly press the speed up or speed down buttons during intervals while running.
GoSystem™ Quick Start with 3 personalized speed
These are the buttons that I am talking about in the previous paragraph and I do enjoy using them and find that many runners who enjoy interval training in manual mode do also. They allow the user to define three speeds that can be changed instantly without having to repeatedly hit the up or down buttons. Great when you are cruising above 6mph.
Unlimited programs and tracking capability for multiple users. You can go to Life Fitness’s website and create programs and see the workout results for users. If you don’t have an iPhone, or iPod Touch you can always use a regular USB stick to upload and download info right to your PC. The console also allows for iPod or iPhone users to listen to their music thru headphones and both types of phone users can charge their units thru either the iPhone dock or USB port. As a note IPhone 5 users will need the lightning adapter in order to use their new phones.
This is a great 4 minute program that uses the included Polar Heart rate strap to monitor your heart for a stress and recovery test in order to get a score. I like this because it can show each user their general fitness level and help you understand where you should be training if you use the Heart Rate Control Programs. It is also nice if you take some time off and need an idea of where you will be restarting in your training.
Energy Saver feature reduces power draw when not in use
A big green button on the console allows you to power down the unit after use so you do not have to unplug or turn off the unit after each use. I have never turned off or unplugged my treadmill in 10 years but I have a lot of clients that will do this every time and this button makes it very easy to do.
Heart Rate Control Programs
The unit comes with built in Polar Heart Rate monitoring and 2 programs that will control the incline in order to maintain the users heart rate at the pre determined level. It also works with the built in fitness test and the unit includes one free Heart Rate strap.
The Life Fitness F1 treadmill by Life Fitness is not the largest fold up or the most powerful on the market. You will also find larger and more powerful units for much less, but the Life Fitness F1 has a good all around system and that makes it a quality choice. The motor may not be big but it is a quality unit with high torque and low noise, it also has a maintenance free deck, and has a very solid feel while running. I would not suggest this unit for tall users or those training for long distances, but for most users and their 5k workouts, this unit is worth considering and trying.