It is perhaps not recommended that you gift your selfie-videoing wife a Peloton for Christmas, if she seems to be scared of such a gift. (Yes, this is a reference to the maligned recent bike ad that drove down Peloton shares.)
But if you can afford pricey boutique fitness classes such as Orangetheory and Soul Cycle, it actually could be a good idea to invest inhigh-tech home gym equipment for your exercise-enthused family this holiday season.
I crunched some numbers. If you go to a boutique gym three times a week (because everyone thinks they will go that much when pricing out subscriptions) for three years, it would cost you as much – or more – than a smart home gym. Consider: Soul Cycle, the popular indoor cycling class, would set you back around $10,500 over three years. Barry's Bootcamp, approximately $11,250. At treadmill fitness studio Mile High run club, that would be more than $6,500. For Orangetheory, that's roughly $5,600, and yoga studio Y7 could be close to $5,400, depending on which location you frequent.
And if you consider that home gyms don't require parking, transportation, locker room changes and malodor (other than your own), the scary price tag of the high-tech fitness machines might seem a little less scary.But which one to choose?
That's where I come in. I took a fitness field trip to Los Angeles' glamorous outdoor shopping center Westfield Century City mall (home to Eataly, Tiffany & Co. and lots of swanky outdoor furniture). There, I tried out three of the hottest new smart home gyms that have showrooms, and came up with a list of pros and cons for each to help prospective buyers (with discretionary incomes) make some sticky New Year's resolutions.
What is it?: A digital weight machine that seems too futuristic to work. But work it does, while utilizing A.I. and electromagnetic weights to deliver pounds of up to 200 when "smart" handles or a bar are clipped and tethered to the wall-mounted machine. The full accessories kit includes a workout bench, foam roller, mat, robot (OK, not really the last one, but it could).
Price breakdown: It's $3,750 for the machine, installation and accessories; $49.95 for the monthly subscription of on-demand strength training workout programs. (That will also include yoga in December. Right now, the brand is offering $250 off of its accessories in certain locations, but we didn't factor that into the three-year cost.)
Pros: With Tonal, you don't need a rack of dumbbells to lift a variety of weights, because technology. Instead, you just attach handles to the machine's arm, click a button and pick the weight you want. And here's something novel: The machine can go on "spotter" mode to assist with heavy bench presses or squats. This is an all-in-one strength training device.
Cons: While there is a library of more than 200 workouts, there aren't any live classes to join. Also: There's a bit of a learning curve with adjusting the arms and switching out the handles and weights, but such is the case with most gym equipment.
What is it? In shocking news, it is indeed a mirror! At least that’s what it is when the device is turned off. When employed, the Mirror becomes a screen that allows you to see yourself, while also watching a trainer who’s leading a class and tracking various workout stats such as calories burned.
Price breakdown: The Mirror itself is $1,495. Installation and delivery is $250. Class subscriptions are $39 a month. Starter bundle with fitness packs and a heart rate monitor is $100, while Mirror care cleaning cap with privacy lens for the camera cost $19.95.
Pros: It’s not a clunky piece of equipment, but a sleek mirror that is just clicks away from offering thousands of workout classes and delivering plenty of exercise stats if you connect it with a heart rate monitor. There are options to join classes live, and have personal trainer sessions via the camera built into the mirror.
Cons: Though fans have no problem watching themselves on a screen that is also showing an instructor, more sensitive users (guilty) find seeing their reflection juxtaposed on top of a trainer quite jarring.
What is it? You know about the Peloton bike. Well, now the brand that pioneered the interactive at-home class also has a beautiful treadmill that’s nice on your knees. It also lets you give virtual workout buddies a “high five” during a rigorous speed or yoga class.
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Price breakdown: $4,524 for the treadmill, setup, resistance bands and two pairs of free weights. $39 a month for membership.
Pros: Peloton instructors are top notch and the treadmill is smooth enough to make you forget you had hip pain earlier in the day. Competitive? Peloton encourages that side of you with live class rankings and instructor shoutouts. For runners, the Tread can become a healthy addition quite easily.
Cons: It’s a fancy treadmill, for a very shmancy price. And it needs space: At 455 pounds, you can’t move this device out of the way, but at least you can stream its video onto another screen if you're doing a stretching or weight-focused class.
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