Home workouts: smart gyms and personal trainers

Interest is peaking around home workouts. As we look for new alternatives and methods to workout at home effectively, smart gyms and virtual training present new value to us. Today we are going to take a look at 3 smart gym options—Mirror, Peloton, and Tonal—and reasons for and against purchasing them in areas such as space requirements, price, software, and hardware. After we go through the products, we will be checking out alternatives such as hybrid training and personal training. Hybrid training is a combination of limited in person training, which allows a personal trainer to assess your body, and virtual coaching and programming. You can achieve great results with limited or no equipment. Additionally, it is more cost effective than investing in a smart gym. See our personal training page here. We will give you a list at the end of this blog of low-cost options that can provide you with fantastic results.

The Mirror is a smart gym option that provides many benefits and is the lowest cost route we will be looking at. The price for the mirror itself is $1,495, including professional or self-installation, although it does weigh approximately 70 pounds which can be quite hefty. This weight actually makes it more mobile than the other smart gyms we will cover. The company says that you can “Turn less than two feet of wall space into a personal fitness studio.” The Mirror functions as an attractive and minimal mirror that can be wall mounted or standing. Its home workout capabilities are various and rooted in its software which displays on the face of the Mirror as video. An instructor will guide you through different workouts/classes that you can choose from. Class types that Mirror offers include kettle bell, competitive, yoga flow, boxing, barre, bootcamp, kickboxing, cardio + strength, family fun, Pilates, pre + postnatal, dance cardio, stretch, sculpt, weight training, ballet, meditation, hip hop, arm + abs, and Latin dance. Thousands of on demand classes span these categories, allowing you to have truly diverse home workouts. In addition to on demand, Mirror offers weekly live classes. All of these classes can range from 5 – 60 minutes, with filters to find shorter workouts when you are in a rush. There are different challenges you can undertake, as well as a built-in camera to display yourself to the instructor and others during the workout if you so choose to. Upload pictures of yourself after a home workout to show off to your competition. These 3 features can keep you motivated during your home workouts. If you connect a tracking device to mirror, your stats can be displayed on screen during your workout. The smart gym also includes an app to favorite workouts, track stats, and look at your prior workouts. Unfortunately, on top of the initial investment of $1,495, you have to purchase additional equipment for some of the class types. On top of this, you will have to pay a recurring fee for all live and on demand classes effectively making it mandatory for use. The fee is $39.99 a month which equates to $479.88 a year making your first-year investment $1,974.88 without purchasing additional equipment to utilize all classes. Those looking to focus on raw strength in particular may find mirror less valuable as its bodyweight focus lends it more to proportional strength gain.

Peloton is an industry leader when it comes to smart gyms. We are going to be looking at the standard Peloton in this comparison. The hardware costs $1,895 with professional installation which is necessary for the 130+ lbs bike. You may be surprised to hear that Peloton functions as much more than just a fancy stationary bike. With Magnetic resistance, it is nearly silent when in use, minus the user’s own noises. The space needed to operate a Peloton is minimal at 2×4 Feet. The product consists of the bike portion, and a touch screen that displays the class and stats. Peloton offers a variety of classes beyond cycling, that can be streamed or routed to other devices with ease. Class types offered by Peloton include cycling, running, strength, yoga, bootcamp, cardio, meditation, outdoor, stretching, and walking. These classes are available as live and on demand. You can watch your cycling class while monitoring and adjusting your cadence and resistance for an optimal workout, or you can cycle at your own pace and resistance while enjoying a scenic ride—scenery will be streamed to provide a more realistic experience. A user can search by trainer, music, time, or class type, allowing you to find exactly what you are looking for. Additionally, you can stay motivated by seeing where you are placing during a home workout and your placement in regard to your personal best. A camera allows you to workout with your friends as well. The system rewards you by recognizing milestones that you hit, providing extra motivation to achieve more. The Peloton app allows you to watch classes, track your workout and achievements, and workout alongside others. Unfortunately, there is a subscription element to access all classes. The subscription is $39 a month, which equates to $468 a year, making your first-year investment $2,363. The subscription allows for you to create individual profiles to record stats. On top of the investment in the bike, you have to purchase product specific shoes or clips to use the bike, with the shoes costing upwards of $100 a pair. Additionally, the company practices obsoletion by making their older products unsupported over time meaning that it is likely at some point you will have to replace part or all of your Peloton. They offer deals for users who upgrade. Reviews found that heavy use of the bike lead to some amount of breakage meaning that you will need to get your bike maintained at a certain point. Without purchasing additional equipment, Peloton is not particularly suited for individuals who are looking to develop raw strength.

Tonal Fitness is a weight room replacement smart gym designed for compact home workouts. It is the highest priced smart gym we will be evaluating, at $2,995. It requires professional installation as it needs to be sturdily mounted. Additionally, you need an area of 7×7 feet by 7’10” tall to workout in. The gym consists of a screen panel that displays the trainer and stats. Alongside the screen, there are two arms that allow you to perform cable machine style weightlifting, with up to 100 pounds per arm—200 pounds max. Unlike a normal cable machine, the arms create resistance with magnetic force, eliminating any kind of momentum you are able to produce. This produces smoother and more challenging lifting. Additionally, the weight can be loaded in a multitude of ways (dynamic modes) including, smartflex, eccentric, chains, and burnout. These modes effect at what points the weight reaches its heaviest in the motion (concentric and eccentric) and how much weight is loaded per rep, allowing you to challenge your muscles in different ways. The machine can spot you and has 17 different sensors for form correction. Furthermore, it provides substitutes for exercises if you know they are not appropriate for you. The machine builds your programming for you and adjusts automatically. Alongside this, the program contains on demand classes and courses for strength training, yoga, pilates, barre, meditation, kickboxing, dance cardio, pre + postnatal, triathlon, family fun, HIIT, recovery, mobility, quick fit, and bootcamp. You can create custom workouts and lift freely as well. You can workout with a partner, as the system will adjust weights to switch off in person. You can also workout remotely with others so you can stay motivated as group and send each other encouragement. As described by Tonal, “The Tonal mobile app is your ultimate training tool. Use it to access your progress stats and streaks. Explore, plan, and create new workouts–all on the go.” To get full functionality out of the system, you have to spend an additional $495 for the smart accessories. Alongside that, the classes and dynamic lifting modes are part of a subscription that runs $49 a month, totaling to $588 a year. This makes the Tonal System a $4,078 dollar investment in the first year. The system is basically impossible to move without professionals as it is extremely heavy and mounted. Individuals with particularly strong lower bodies might find that they are not fully satisfied with the max load available.

Let’s recap the overall information. The pros of smart gyms include a diverse range of classes, ease of use, home workouts, live classes, and remote workouts. The cons include, high cost products, recurring charges for full access, low mobility of the products, and eventual obsoletion. You can basically get all of the pros of smart gyms from a personal trainer who does hybrid training at a lower cost while avoiding 3 out of 4 of the cons. Additionally, you cannot replace a real personal trainer with a smart gym. Meeting with a personal trainer allows them to assess your body, hear about your injuries and restrictions, so you can work together to come up with programs that will allow you to avoid injury and fix your imbalances while you accomplish your goals. A smart gym is not going to pick up on the fact that you should be avoiding an exercise because you are exacerbating a problem. Personal trainers see very minor form errors and help optimize the movements you’re performing. Additionally, a personal trainer can answer your questions immediately and help you actually learn the subjects that comprise fitness instead of just telling you what to do. Furthermore, personal trainers who have specializations such as massage, nutrition, and recovery are going to be able to provide far more value than a smart gym. At Tony Tran fitness, we have a professional video editing team to create specific video workouts just for you. We can assess you in person to find out what to avoid and train you remotely with our app that includes hundreds of exercises. Nutrition, recovery, and customized workouts are available to you to help you tackle all the elements of fitness you need to achieve your goals.

A professional fitness trainer such as Tony can prescribe a custom and accurate workout plan based off your body type, lifestyle, and goals. Tony and his team will program a combination of HIIT, functional movements, Core, Strength, Flexibility, and even Corrective exercises. For significant results, you need serious intentional planning specific to you.  It’s all planned out on a calendar, so you know which days are dedicated to what. Some days you will focus on recovery, some days a traditional workout or cardio plan, while other days will be for resting. You have the ability to adjust and move workouts around as needed. The personalized app is integrated with Apple watches and Fit Bits to let your personal trainer see how active you are and how your workouts are going. 

To take it to the next level, combine Myzone fitness heart rate monitor to your workout programming to see real time stats on how effective your workouts are. Most beginners they tend to over work leading to injuries and burnout. This in turn leads to losing motivation to keep a consistent plan. The idea is to develop good habits. Having something sustainable is key. Myzone heart rate monitors will give you that. Your trainer will let you know what color coordinated zones you should be in during certain stages of your custom workout. For example, when you are doing your cardio stay in zone 4 (yellow) for 25 minutes. This is an ideal heart rate zone that is custom to every person’s estimated maximum heart. Your age, sex, and weight determine this. Staying in zone 4 allows you to be in an oxidative state where you are able to burn an enormous about of fat, and even stimulate EPOC—excess post oxidative consumption—in which your body will burn calories even after your workout.

Lastly, MyFitnessPal is also synced up to your custom program calendar where your trainer can see how many calories you are consuming per day to stay accountable.  Through the years, MyFitnessPal has become a powerhouse that is one of the most potent nutrition apps that one can use. 

It can track your calories, nutrients, and most importantly your macros.  MyFitnessPal combined with your fitness coach will educate you on what macro nutrition profile you should follow based on your lifestyle and eating preference.

Hybrid Training at Tony Tran Fitness, a combination of limited in person training and virtual coaching, costs $300 for 6 months of training. That is 20% the price of the cheapest smart gym hardware we covered, but with more options, more education, and more specification for you as an individual. Once you get the training, you will be educated and can choose to pay for more training as opposed being stuck with a subscription for however long you can foot the bill.

  • TRX
  • DB
  • Sliders

This is the equipment of choice with the Tony Tran Fitness team. With these inexpensive types of equipment, you will be able to get some of the most challenging workouts you can imagine. If you are the person who wants the best for themselves, this is the solution. This is just not something that the Tony Tran fitness team endorses, but many other personal trainers say the same thing about these 3 types of equipment.  Get strength, stabilization, core, flexibility, corrective exercises, HIIT, and functional movements with the TRX, DB, and sliders.  Best of all, they are widely available during the pandemic, inexpensive, and effective.

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Tony’s Gym Facility:  formulafitness.co

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About Author

Tony T.
Business Owner

I offer you a world class fitness experience. Attention to detail, friendly, & innovative. Satisfaction Guaranteed!