When I was seventeen, I got into bouldering. My friends and I would head out to this rocky part of the beach, and we'd spend the afternoons climbing up and down big rocks, making jokes, and generally goofing off and having a good time.

Flash forward thirteen years, and climbing has become no joke. I still end up outside with my friends, and we still have a great time and do a bit of goofing around, but these days a missed grip doesn't mean a ten foot fall into the sand. It means plummeting hundreds of feet, sliding into a crevasse in a glacier face, or any of another million things that can go wrong. And on my next climb, the most ambitious I've ever undertaken, there will be even less room for error, because in four months I will be flying up to Alaska to climb Denali, the tallest peak in North America.

Usually my preparation for a big climb doesn't involve much more than getting a run in every few days and maybe hitting the gym for some work with the weights now and again, but I felt like this time I should do something more. After considering my options, it struck me that an elliptical makes for the perfect workout for any dedicated climber.

I began shopping around, I realized that I needed to purchase a machine that would fit all of my needs while keeping within my budget, and that's when I came across the XTERRA Free Style 5.4. Not only was it a machine I could afford while still acquiring all of the training power I was looking for, its outstanding warranties meant that it would last over the decades of conditioning to come.

Once I got it home, I found that it provided even more than I expected. I learned that its 2.4 inch Q-Factor placed my feet in the perfect position to maintain a comfortable and supremely effective workout. And with 20 levels of incline and resistance, it delivers all of the difficulty I need in order to push myself to my best.

With the big climb approaching, I spend every day on my Free Style, and it feels like I'm already on the path to victory.