The average person today seems to be
abnormally busy. If that’s you, maintaining good physical health is really
Physical activity has been shown to improve mental health, energy, and alertness as well as prevent illness, all of which are critical to supporting an always-on-the-go lifestyle. Study after study has proven this, yet, as compelling as the data may be, it doesn’t make exercise any easier to fit into your day.
With how little time most of us have, exercise is really easy to put off. Hitting the gym takes a lot of time–the drive there and back, the sharing of free weights and machines with others. And when it comes to exercise classes, they aren’t scheduled according to what times or days work best for you, so building them into your already busy schedule can become a hassle.
Not only that, but entering these environments–where there are hundreds of people cycling through and sweating, coughing, sneezing every day–could put you at a much greater risk of getting sick.
That’s not to say the gym isn’t worth your
time or effort–it works well for plenty of people. But if it doesn’t work for
you, here are three new smart home gym solutions that make it much easier to
get the physical activity you need each day to stay healthy and productive.
If you could pack your most fundamental workout machines and some free weights into one contraption, it would be Tonal. It’s a digital weight machine with two adjustable arms that mounts on your wall and uses electricity to create resistance up to 200 lbs. As the company says, “It’s an entire gym on your wall.”
Currently, you can purchase Tonal either
online or from the company’s San Francisco showroom, but only if you live in
the 48 contiguous United States, as one of the company’s concierges must
install the equipment for you.
And it’s safe to say Tonal is an investment
you should be serious about making, coming in at $2,995 for the equipment and
$49 a month for a minimum 12-month subscription to Tonal’s coaching, exercise
programs, and workout videos. You can also finance Tonal for $199 a month,
which includes a two-year subscription plan.
There are also smart accessories you’ll likely
want to purchase, including smart handles and a smart bar that allow you to
adjust Tonal’s weight load, as well as a bench and several other available
Here’s what you can do with it all.
To begin using Tonal, it first assess your current state of strength so it can recommend how much weight and what movements you should use to begin working towards your desired state.
To make continuous progress, you can have Tonal spot you as you increase weight, ensuring you can pump out a few extra reps and make incremental gains. And if you’re looking for more control of your workouts, simply turn on Free Lift Mode.
Tonal claims it can replace the free weights and
resistance machines you use in a gym (up to its weight max at least), allowing
you to accomplish fundamental workouts like the chest press, curls, squats, and
more. Because its adjustable arms create so much versatility, you can
accomplish virtually any workout you need to–and then some, with the
additional accessories available.
And no more pausing to add or remove weight
while you work out. Tonal makes it easy to increase or decrease what you’re
lifting with a simple click of a button on its handles or bar.
With hundreds of workouts to learn, you can
continually confuse your muscles to keep them growing and adapting to avoid
plateauing. And you aren’t doing this on your own. Tonal provides regular
content around workouts, fitness programs, and exercise classes that are led by
multiple experts who coach you through each session via the Tonal interface on
The biggest difference between what’s
available at the gym and what you get with Tonal is that Tonal makes it easy to
set strict goals and stick to them. Whether you’re building muscle, toning up,
boosting cardio, or making progress with the many other exercises offered,
Tonal sets you up to succeed with the right weight and program and the right
trainer to keep you in line.
It’s hard to tell when you’re making progress
at the gym, aside from manually or visually measuring muscle mass or standing
on a scale. With Tonal, you get a true understanding of your improvements
through real data it collects as you exercise.
Instead of tracking weight, reps, and
performance with a pen and notepad, Tonal tracks it all for you. But you also
gain insight through data it collects on your range of motion, time under
tension, power, and volume. You can see this data in real-time to enhance your
workouts, and review it after to see how you’ve progressed overall.
You might wonder how a rather expensive
digital gym on a wall could be better than a traditional gym membership, but
with its versatility of workouts, built-in guidance from expert fitness
coaches, and data-driven improvement methodology, Tonal seems capable of
helping anyone make progress if they can afford the investment.
Not everyone wants to work out with weights and machines. Others are more inclined to train with bodyweight exercises. Mirror is perfect for this sort of physical activity.
As an interactive smart home gym that can be
mounted on your wall or lean against it, Mirror serves as a monitor that
displays an instructor and classmates in a digitally delivered exercise
class–plus your reflection, of course. When it’s off, it serves as a
full-length mirror. When it comes to using it, all you need is the right amount
of space for a great workout.
Mirror will cost you $1,495 currently, plus $39
a month for a one-year-minimum subscription to access all of its live and
on-demand workouts. But if you consider what you’re getting, it’s the
convenience of serious exercise classes on par with what you would experience
in a gym or a studio–only it’s all in your home
Mirror’s classes include complete cardio,
strength, yoga, barre, Pilates, boxing, HIIT, and other workouts that you can
complete within the comfort of your home. Like Tonal, you can buy several
accessories for Mirror to enhance these workouts, including fitness bands,
heart rate monitors, and even a mirror cleaning kit to keep your reflection and
the display looking great.
And to continually challenge your body, Mirror
makes sure you don’t have to repeat the same class or routine every day. It
offers new classes regularly, with over 50 new classes streamed every week. You
also have an array of on-demand options to choose from, so you’ll never be
bored or undertrained.
You’re not alone in whatever program you
choose. Mirror’s exercise classes are led by experts who coach you through each
session, stay personal and encourage you with feedback during your training to
keep your confidence high. In the future, Mirror
plans on further personalizing the experience with one-on-one training.
While you don’t have smart resistance cables
tracking your ability to lift a weight and collecting data from each movement
in your set, Mirror does have its own way of capturing data based on your
exercises and providing feedback to help you make adjustments.
You can sync Mirror’s complimentary Bluetooth
heart rate monitor or your Apple Watch with the Mirror’s technology to compete
against yourself. Mirror will track your progress against baselines and
previous improvements of your heart rate to help you make regular progress.
And you don’t have to wait until after a
workout to reap the benefits of data. Mirror will
enhance your workout in real-time based on what you’re capable of achieving,
what your goals are, and what level of activity you’re comfortable with to
ensure you get the best results.
If you’re not the kind of person who needs or
wants to use weights or machines to get a good workout in, but you also
struggle to fit exercises classes into your schedule, this technology could be a great investment. With Mirror, get
the high-intensity workout you need at any time with expert coaching and
specific data that helps you continuously improve.
Bodyweight exercises may not be enough for you, but hitting the gym also may not be feasible with your schedule. But having an expensive smart gym like Tonal that hangs on your wall and requires a decent amount of open space to operate isn’t for everyone. If you need something you can move from room to room in your home or maybe even bring to the office, Weela is a great smart home gym option.
Weela is a portable home gym built as a
platform you stand on with a hub at the front containing an electric motor that
creates weight-like resistance for workouts. It uses a cable system with which
you can accomplish an array of resistance-based workouts similar to using free
weights and machines.
And it’s reassuring that this technology works
as it should for your body, given it was invented by a doctor and developed by
health and technical professionals before going through several research
studies. Today, you can preorder Weela for $599, with a launch date set for
Weela comes with three different handles you
can change out to accomplish over 100 different workouts comfortable–from
cable rows to curls to leg extensions. The nice thing is you can accomplish
these easily in as small a space as nine square feet.
To adjust the weight you’re pulling, you can
use Weela’s control panel. Meanwhile, Weela’s app will inform you on how to
correctly execute the workouts to ensure you’re lifting properly and getting
the best results from your workouts.
The electric resistance that creates the
effect of lifting weights is unique in that it provides stability through your
movements. It also supports eccentric training through a multiplier you can
turn on, which makes the resistance in your negative movements–i.e., when
you’re releasing from a lift–up to twice as heavy. This makes it easier to
repair and grow muscle faster as well as increase metabolic rate.
Because Weela is designed to be lightweight
and portable, it doesn’t come equipped with an interface like Tonal or Mirror;
however, it does come with an app that provides much of the same benefits these
other technologies offer.
With the app, you can view hundreds of
simulated workouts that show you how to properly complete a movement and guide
you with instructions. With these workouts, you can compile a customized
routine to make it easy to work out with goals in mind.
As you make progress, you can track it with
the app. This allows you to see how you are or aren’t improving based on
weight, reps, sets, and possibly other factors. With this information, you can
set goals and determine how to achieve them.
Go Get Fit
Just as technology has accelerated the way we
do things, making it difficult to fit things like exercise into our lives, it
can also be used to help us plan better for these critical activities. If you
can make it to the gym every day or follow an at-home routine with some free
weights and a treadmill on your own, that’s great.
But if it’s a struggle to motivate yourself,
make progress, or get a good workout over with in a short amount of time, it
might be worth turning to technology and checking out Tonal, Mirror, or Weela.