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I have been a member of my local gym for quite some time now, and they have a vast array of machines for use in there, and I have at least tried most of them once or twice. One of the ones that I use occasionally is the Life Fitness 95Si Step Machine.
Most people will have seen, or at least heard of, a step machine, but for those who have not, it is basically a machine that you use to replicate walking up stairs. This machine is made by Life Fitness, and they are a big name in the world of fitness and sports equipment. They are known for making tough, durable and amazing quality machines and other equipment for home and gym use. All of the machines in my local gym are made by Life Fitness and I have come to know them as great, reliable machines for use by all.
The 95Si is an upright machine, and is mostly gray and black. There is a large frame for holding on to whilst using this machine, and this also has sensor pads on it, which will read your heart rate for you and let you see how hard you are working. The frame goes along most of the machine, so you can hold on wherever you find comfortable, and it is also helpful to use this frame to help you get on and off of the machine. There are two large foot trays on this machine, and I am yet to find anyone who has trouble with keeping their feet on them, so they should be suitable for most sizes.
These trays are also good at gripping your feet, so you should not have any problems with sliding and slipping. I am yet to have fallen or slid on this machine. As soon as you step on these foot trays, they will start to sink towards the floor. This is where the hard work comes in, and you have to keep lifting your feet up, in a rythm, to keep the trays off the floor and to keep the workout going. You basically act like you are walking up the stairs and you have got it right.
There is a choice of many different resistance levels, so you can work at your own pace, and if it gets too hard, just drop it down a little bit. There is a digital screen at the top of the machine, and this allows you to know a whole host of information. You can see how many calories you have burned, how many flights of stairs you have climbed, how long you have been on the machine, how many floors you are climbing per minute and your heart rate. Your heart rate will only be displayed if your hands are on the sensor pads, or if you are wearing a compatible heart rate monitor.
This screen is part of a control console, which is what allows you to pick your workouts. You can choose just to press quick start and away you go, or you can choose different preset workouts, including Hill Plus, Cardio and Fat Burn. Cardio and Fat Burn work on your target heart rate, and this increases and decreases the resistance accordingly. Hill plus is something I have never used, so I would not be able to tell you what it does or how it works.
You can use the arrows on the control console to change things on the manual/quick start settings, including the resistance, so that you can vary it according to your needs during your workout. There are 20 different levels of resistance, 1 being the easiest and 20 being the toughest. I usually use this on about 5 - 8, and I find this is good for what I do.
This machine does provide a good, hard workout, and it burns a great deal of calories too. I get very sweaty on this machine, as it really is a hard job, but totally worth it. I have noticed a great improvement in my legs and bum, and I think it will prove to be a good job for most people, as long as they work hard and stick with it for a while. It won't produce quick results, but it does provide great ones, as long as you are willing to work hard for them.
I usually use this a couple of times a week, for around 20 minutes a time, as part of my regular cardiovascular workout, and it does provide a different element to being in the gym. Sometimes I feel my workout gets a bit stale, but this helps to keep it fresh, and keeps me achieving good results. If you are looking to tone up and tighten the bum and legs, this is a real good way to do so, but I will warn you, if you are not used to this, you will be sore and tight for a couple of days after the first few times you use it. I was so sore I could hardly walk properly the first time I used it, but now I am used to it, it is a lot easier and I do not get the soreness, tightening and aching that I used to get from using it.
I am lucky that there is a few of these in my local gym, as I would not have the space to own one of these myself. This machine is 81cm tall and 127cm wide. It does need a little bit of space and needs to be near a plug socket as it does run from the mains power. I could imagine it would be expensive to run this, and I would probably only turn on the plug when I wanted to use it, to save the costs of power. This machine does not fold up or store away easily, so if you were to buy one to use at home, make sure you have the spare room to keep it in, as it is something that may get in the way otherwise.
These machines are not cheap to buy, and the cheapest I can find online is £1,272. This is for a second hand, reconditioned model. The brand new ones are in excess of £3,000 to buy. This price does include VAT and delivery I believe, so it is a fair price I think, for the top quality machine you would be buying. If I had the space and the money spare, I would have one these at home, as they are a brilliant machine I think a lot of people could benefit from using.
I love the Life Fitness 95Si Step Machine, and I give this a 5 out of 5. I totally recommend them to all people.
*This review is also on Ciao under the user name of Hailee*