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On Fitness
Ask Molly

• Trainer troubles
• Exercise cards
• Tetherballs
• Wobble boards

Q. I just recently hired a personal trainer, certified and all, so that I can start exercising regularly. I am interested in strength training so I thought this would be a great complement to using my treadmill at home for my cardio exercise. This trainer told me that the treadmill has no purpose, is not a good choice, and that my best bet would be to buy a rowing machine. First of all, I just spent $3,000 on a very, very nice treadmill and love it. Secondly, I've used rowers before and never felt my legs working very much at all. I did talk with the trainer about this but he is still dead set against the treadmill. Do you have any information, research or articles that can back me up? I'd hate to know that my $3,000 purchase was a waste! Molly, I'd appreciate any advice or referrals regarding this matter.

- T.L.
Fitness Notebook
Fitness news you can use
Equipment recalls
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and these companies have announced voluntary recalls. Consumers should immediately stop using the following equipment and take the action noted:
Specialized Bicycle model year 2002 Enduro-brand bicycles (2,200 recalled), after 39 reports of rear seatstays — the tube behind the seat connecting the rear axle to the rear shock — breaking, with risk of rider losing control and crashing; no injuries reported. Sold through dealers from September 2001 through February 2002 for between $1,650 and $2,750. Return bicycles to dealer for a new rear seatstay, installed at no charge. Information: 800-214-1468, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
InSTEP Hitchhiker III Trailer Bikes, model NH300 (4,300 recalled), after 10 reports of failures of the universal joint system, which attaches the trailer bike to a lead bike, causing a rider to lose control of the bike; three reports of injuries such as contusions and abrasions. Retail stores including Toys 'R' Us, The Sports Authority and One Step Ahead sold the bikes from February 2001 through May 2001 for between $80 and $110. For a free repair kit, call 800-242-6110 between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, or e-mail
Horizon Fitness Paragon, Quantum and Omega treadmills, model year 2000/2001 (5,900 recalled). Fifteen incidents reported of a component of the electronic control panel malfunctioning, causing the motor and walking belt to rapidly accelerate; injuries, from users losing their balance and falling, included cuts and abrasions. Sporting-goods stores sold these treadmills nationwide from November 2000 through June 2001 for between $699 and $1,099. To receive a repair kit and set up an appointment for an in-home repair, have the serial number available and call 866-864-3840 or 888-993-3199 between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Pacific time Monday through Friday.
A. I'd get a new trainer. It's true that a rowing machine can offer a good overall workout, and in fact rowing on one of those sliding-seat rowers can work the legs as much as the back and upper body. But you have a nice, new treadmill — and you love it. One of the biggest obstacles to maintaining a fitness program is finding something you like to do, so I wouldn't abandon it. Also, some key elements in working with a trainer include: 1) one who will listen to you, 2) one who is experienced and versatile enough to work with your wants, needs and circumstances, and 3) one who doesn't have an incoming agenda (besides helping you get fit). A trainer who is "dead set" against a treadmill — which has been found to be the most-consistently-used piece of exercise equipment — makes me suspicious on at least one of those counts. Maybe he has a good reason that you (and thus I) haven't heard. But if not, I'd recommend finding someone keen on the idea of treadmill workouts combined with strength training, so you and your trainer won't be constantly at odds.

Q. Could you provide the Web site for the company that has put together a set of cards that illustrate basic strength and toning exercises? These could be used at home, on the road or at the gym as a reminder of which exercises to do.

— S.R.

A. The Solotrainer system, which includes 70 illustrated cards with cardio, resistance and stretching exercises, is $29.95 via 800-353-2348 or

Q. Where can I purchase a tetherball setup for my 10-year-old nephew? I'd like to get him something other than another computer game.

— M.L.

A. What a nice aunt! Athletic Supply (206-623-8972) has the whole setup in stock, with a choice of ball ($10.95 or $16.95), pole ($120) and ground sleeve ($35); you have to do the cementing into the ground yourself. Some online options are at and

Q. I went to physical therapy years ago when I injured a knee. The therapist had me do a lot of work on a wobble board. It was amazing. It worked all the little muscles in my legs and core that the regular exercises don't get. I would like to purchase something similar. The options I have found are a wobble board from Fitter, the Reebok Core Board and the BOSU trainer. Do you have a recommendation? The wobble board is the more economical but I would be willing to pay more if there was a real advantage to one of the others.

— J.W.

A. I have all three. I like the simplicity of the wobble board and the variable resistance of the Reebok Core Board, but if I had to choose one, I'd go with the BOSU — it seems like you can do more things on it. (And I think it's the most fun.) (; 800-321-9236.)

Finally, for the tall woman looking for clothing that fits, reader K.C. writes that "Lands End is the place to go for swimsuits, sweatpants, slacks and shorts," though she advises to order 100- percent cotton pants an inch longer than needed, because of normal shrinkage ( or 800-963-4816).

Molly Martin is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. She can be reached at 206-464-8243, or P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111.

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