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Gold's Gym Trainer 480 Treadmill Review

Update, 01/15/2012

When this review was originally published in early 2011, the findings were mostly positive. However, the treadmill is now less that a year old, and the controller board has failed. This part is only covered for 90 days under the manufacturer's warranty. The replacement cost, including shipping, is over $180.00, and is only warranted for another 90 days. In doing a little research on-line, I've found many others have reported the same problem. This is anecdotal evidence, but for this product to have such a high rate of controller failure means that I can not in good conscience continue to recommend it. Note, I found a less expensive replacement controller from Treadmill Doctor, which at least carries a 1 year warranty.

I've also added a link to the Gold's Gym Trainer 480 owner's manual page. The exact manual will depend on the last digit of the model number, 0 through 8.

The original review follows.

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Gold's Gym Trainer 480

Upright Position

Upright Position

At a Glance: Features of the Trainer 480

There are a lot of features in this low-cost, lightweight treadmill available from Walmart and various on-line retailers. Manufactured by Icon, known for such brands as NordicTrack, Pro-Form, and others, this treadmill offers one-touch speed and incline adjustments, a heart rate monitor, 4 pre-set weight loss workouts, and 4 cardio workouts. It does not have any upper-body resistance attachments, but comes with a set of 1 pound hand weights which are incorporated into the weight loss workouts.

Features missing that some more expensive models offer are an mp3 player port for playing music through the treadmill, and an Internet connection for downloadable workouts from i fit and similar organizations.  You also cannot store your own workout programs.

Treadmill Deals

The Console


Specifications of the Trainer 480

  • Speed: 1-10 MPH
  • Incline: 1-10%
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Belt: 18" x 50"
  • Motor: 1.5 hp 
  • Warranty: 5 years for the motor, 90 days for the remaining parts and labor

Real World Observations of the Trainer 480

Assembly: The manual says that assembly requires 2 people, but I took my time and put it together myself. It took about 90 minutes.

The unit appears to be well made, but consisting of fairly lightweight components. It is best suited to light-to-medium use, and may not withstand rigorous daily use by multiple people. It is intended for home use only. My wife and I have been using ours on average 3 times per week each for about 6 weeks, with no problems so far. I did have to adjust the belt tracking slightly, using the provided hex tool.

The Display - The console features an LCD display in the center, which provides feedback such as distance, approximate calories burned, speed, incline, and heart rate. During normal operation (not using one of the pre-set workouts), the display presents a 1/4 mile oval track, and shows where one is during the course of a session. It is supposed to be "motivational," and I suppose it is, as I find myself not wanting to quit without completing the current 1/4 mile lap.

The heart rate monitor seems a bit inconsistent. Holding onto the grips loosely, the heart rate varies widely moment to moment, by dozens of beats per minute. Gripping the sensors firmly and with as little movement as possible yields better results, but ocassionally there are still fluctuations of 8-10 beats per minute. Use it for general trend analysis only.

There are 3 other areas of the display, the main one, and two smaller ones side by side under the large one. The main one alternates between elapsing time, distance, and calories. The smaller ones also alternate, showing incline, speed, heart rate, and again, calories. The displayed values can be changed by pressing the "Display" button, which will cycle through the various readings in the large display.

During the pre-set workouts, the displays are slightly different. Instead of the track representation, you're shown a bar graph of up-coming speed changes. Instead of elapsed time, you're shown time remaining in the workout. All workouts are 30 minutes in length.

The belt is a bit smaller than some we've evaluated. At 6'1"" with a fairly long stride, I have to focus some attention on staying centered and forward on the belt. This gets easier the more I use the treadmill, and isn't a problem at all for the other members of the family.

Results and Conclusions

The Workouts

Thinking that I needed to work on cardio more than I needed to lose weight, I tried starting out on workout #5, the easiest of the cardio (ie; "performance") workouts. At 51 years old and in mediocre condition, I petered out about 1/2 way through and had to revert to manual mode. Reality now firmly in check, the next time I went with #1, the easiest of the weight-loss workouts. This was no challenge. A few days later #2 was only slightly more difficult. #3 proved somewhat challenging but no problem. #4 - well, workout #4 kicked my butt. At least I could complete it. I'd found my level of training, and completed the next month training primarily on workout #4.

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Results: After about 10 days and 4 workouts at #4, I found noticeable improvement. It was still extremely hard, but didn't completely wipe me out anymore. Another month averaging 3 sessions per week, and I can complete the workout and have quite a bit of steam left over, so I've been adding some time and speed at the end. With no other conscientious change in either diet or lifestyle, I've lost about 5 pounds, but your mileage may vary.

Other reviewers have remarked that the 1 pound dumb-bells are too light to do any good. I disagree. I definitely feel I've had more of a full-body workout when I've used them. Also, while I realize 1 pound weights will not help anyone "bulk up," I've noticed a marked improvement in upper-body tone, and less flab and sag in my arms and shoulders. One could always get heavier dumb-bells if desired, but these do make a difference.

Rating: For value, at $377.00 (Walmart) I'd give this unit 3 out of 4 stars.  Had the warranty on parts and labor aside from the motor been longer than 90 days, or if one could store one's own workout programs, this would have been higher.


Caran on September 30, 2013:

I need a new motor belt for this treadmill. Can anyone tell me the number that is on the motor belt. I bought this treadmill used and they put the wrong motor belt on it :(

curious1me on February 28, 2013:

Panel went on mine so I peeled the vinyl cover off and exposed the circuitry underneath. I peeled that up and then reset it down loosely. I then plugged it in, pressed the buttons for incline/speed and found that the machine worked with no problem. I used red & black makers and marked everything so I what I'm pressing. So far so good!

Joe Poniatowskis (author) from Mid-Michigan on February 11, 2013:

Yes, Jason, my treadmill is still working with the replacement board.

jason on February 10, 2013:

control panel just went out on mine too, looks like i will be contacting Treadmill doctor this week. jponiato, thanks for the advise and it's been a year now is yours still working with the replacement control panel ?

jorgeita on January 07, 2013:

hola dejemen saver mi maquina se queda acelerada..... cuando la prendes se queda en alta velocidad

Runnin1 on December 19, 2012:

My control panel went as well. I won't be buying another Gold's Gym product. It lasted no time at all. Once in a while a button will work. The 5 mph worked, the next day the incline worked. The treadmill doesn't move at all.

Joe Poniatowskis (author) from Mid-Michigan on August 07, 2012:

Michelle - basically if you call them (get their number from the web site) and give them the make and model of your treadmill, they'll figure out which one you need. That's what I did.

Michelle on August 06, 2012:

My Control panel is gone as well :( I am not a computer technical kind of girl....on the treadmill doctor site are there specifics I will need to know? I would like to purchase a replacement panel but don't know the first thing lol

Junior on June 22, 2012:

No Sir I haven't changed or worked on this treadmill at all...

Joe Poniatowskis (author) from Mid-Michigan on June 22, 2012:

Juniro - mine did that when I installed the new controller board and I had the polarity of the leads from the incline motor reversed. Once I switched them, it worked fine. Have you replaced the board or otherwise worked on the wiring inside the unit's base?

Junior on June 21, 2012:

Hello there my incline is stuck on a higher level. How can I put it back down the normal setting.

Joe Poniatowskis (author) from Mid-Michigan on June 18, 2012:

Consciousness, if it is out of warranty, about all you *can* do is replace the control board yourself. The board I ordered from Treadmill Doctor was cheaper and came with a longer warranty than a replacement from the manufacturer - you might give them a call. Mine has been working fine since I installed it in January.

Consciousness on June 18, 2012:

My control panel has failed too.. Only certain things can be pressed and the only thing I can do is run at 6mph and it's incredibly fast. Don't know what to do :(

Joe Poniatowskis (author) from Mid-Michigan on May 20, 2012:

Scott - yes, the display worked, as did the incline motor, just no belt movement.

Scott on May 18, 2012:

I hear you about the controller board. Ours failed after a little over a year too. They sent me a motor to fix the issue, but I knew it was not the motor. When your controller failed, did your display function, but no go on the belt like ours?

Joe Poniatowskis (author) from Mid-Michigan on February 18, 2012:

Well, this one has a display, but I still end up listening to loud music more often than not.

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on February 18, 2012:

When I was on the 'working' treadmill I had a treadmill and I loved it. Now I am retired to a little cottage where the treadmill would be almost as big as the livingroom, so I have to walk instead. I do like the walking but often miss the fun of the treadmill. Mine had no display or computer so I just listened to music really loud!

Joe Poniatowskis (author) from Mid-Michigan on February 15, 2012:

Karen, at the very back end of the walking platform, on each side of the belt, you will see a recessed screw with an allen head. Use the allen wrench that came with the tradmill, or one of your own that fits, to adjust them in or out to adjust the belt's alignment. The manual (download link at the beginning of the article) has specific instructions.

karen on February 14, 2012:

I need to adjust the belt to get it into the center. How did you do that?

Anthony on October 07, 2011:

I just took my Treadmill out of the box and realized there are no step by step instructions for assembly. Help!!! Golds Gym 480 trainer treadmill...

Meredith on September 18, 2011:

Can you please tell me how you connected the Lift Frame to the Upright if the holes did not match up on the gg480 treadmill?

Any help is appreiated. Thank you

customer on July 30, 2011:

I bought this treadmill for total of $409.80 online for a pickup at WalMart. The instructions were really good. However the pieces did not go as they were suppose to. My 1st problem came on step 6 when i was trying to put it together. The Lift Frame was below the Right Upright hole through which the Frame Spacer was suppose to go through and connect the two pieces together with a Bolt. My 2nd problem came on step 10 the four #8 x 3/4" Screws (7) were too big for the intended holes through which they were supposed to go on the Pulse Assembly.

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