nhluhr wrote:<slaps forehead> why don't YOU draw the diagram.
Your weight is generated by the earth's gravity, not the steps on the machine. If you don't move through this field relative to its center, your potential energy is not changing. The only work you're doing is the kinetic energy it takes to move the step-mill around and scrub off that movement as heat.
Quite simply, if you don't move relative to the gravitational field, you don't change potential energy. This is a relatively simple definition and it does NOT allow for arbitrary frames of reference other than the gravitational field. I'm sorry you don't get it, but I'm not going to waste my time drawing diagrams for something that is EASILY visualized.
A step-mill is likely to provide a smoother force curve throughout the step but do not be fooled into thinking it is in any way the same as real motion (which, after all, is the end goal here anyway).
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