News Highlights: High Tech Fitness Equipment: How To Buy And What Features To Look For
Mirror, Tonal, Tempo, Jaxjox… If you’ve heard of these brands, you’ve heard of the latest workout trend: high-tech fitness. These high-tech systems help create a training studio experience in the comfort of your home. From streaming live workouts right on your wall to digitally adjustable weights, these setups are perhaps the best replacement we have for IRL fitness classes.
The space for home tech equipment has grown in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic – many of the products are space-saving, have adjustable weight settings, and offer varied workout content, Chris Howell, CSCS, founder of SPX Gym designtells SELF. The ability to bring all that into your home can appeal to those who want to avoid a crowded gym.
Some of these smart systems even include all the necessary equipment, eliminating the guesswork for the right tools for your workouts. Ava Fagin, CSCS, a coach and class instructor at Bodyspace Fitness in New York City, says SELF. And that’s huge, as home exercise equipment such as dumbbells and kettlebells were hard to come by during various times of the pandemic (especially without price increases).
When it comes to choosing one ‘smart’ brand over another, it’s important to ask yourself what type of athlete you are, Marcel Dinkins, CSCS, personal trainer and group fitness instructor in New York City, tells SELF. For example, do you long for community? Do you love boutique fitness? Like to be guided and motivated? Looking for instant feedback (from an AI-powered coach)? You may also want to consider long-term issues, such as whether to focus primarily on cardio or strength goals. The size of the configuration, the variety of workouts, and the tracking and sync capabilities are all important to consider as well. Once you know what’s important to you for your workouts at home, you can figure out which features to prioritize, Dinkins says.
Ideally, you could test the products in a showroom before buying them, Dinkins says. But due to safety concerns, that may not be feasible at this point. Some brands, such as Tonal, therefore offer you a personalized virtual demo. “You get to see how it works firsthand, and that’s pretty cool,” says Dinkins. Others may offer a 30-day trial, after which you can return the product if you don’t like it – although they may charge you for the return, Howell says.
It’s also important to do your research. “Companies are now racing to market to become the apple of the smart fitness movement,” says Dinkins. However, [some] companies sacrifice quality software and even production value of their streamed workouts to do this. “To find out which products live up to their claims, Dinkins suggests reading lots of reviews and noting both the relationship between positive and negative feedback and whether buyers are all complaining about the same things.” As affordable as anything up front may seem , if it doesn’t work as it should, it’s too expensive. Good products take time and will get a lot of good reviews and word of mouth. “
The bottom line is, if you’re going to splurge on a high-tech fitness setup – which is usually significantly more expensive than traditional fitness equipment, such as barbells and resistance bands – you want to make sure it’s safe, of good quality, and the right solution for your goals, Howell says.
For SELF’s product reviews, where we thoroughly test and evaluate all types of wellness products to help you decide what’s worth buying, we wanted to know exactly what to look for when looking for a high-tech fitness system for home. We spoke with Howell, Fagin and Dinkins to find out what the experts are suggesting. Based on their input, here’s what we look for when testing these smart fitness systems for reviews.
High-Tech Criteria for Evaluation and Testing of Home Fitness Systems
Make sure the trainers and coaches on the streaming platform are certified and qualified, Fagin says. “Because you learn from them, you want to make sure you can trust them!” Look for certification from an accredited organization (you can search here). It is also not always necessary, but certainly a plus, if an instructor has additional certification in the discipline he teaches – for example, a kettlebell certificate if he teaches kettlebell workouts.
High-quality display and instruction
You want to make sure that any device with a screen has one that’s clear, high quality, and big enough to actually see what the instructor is doing and monitor it during the workout. Some smart fitness systems have full-length screens, while others have screens about the size of a large tablet or small TV.
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