Personal fitness has evolved from the glossy, sweat-filled, fake-tanned classes of the nineties, to the boutique fitness craze of the 2010s and now the focus is on personal fitness, where you live.
I mean, who had time to actually go to the gym before the nationwide lockdowns? Between traffic, days crammed with meetings, and family commitments, you were lucky to squeeze in a few laps of the pool before your three hours of sleep a day. Yeah, suburban life sucks.
At least you’ve got space for a home gym, whether it’s half of your home office space or the part of your garage not taken up with a Tesla Supercharger. Now, there is a huge range of home fitness gear, most of which come with some sort of personal training program so you get all the benefits of guidance without having to leave your home.
Adding smart tech to those pieces of equipment completes the loop, making your exercise equipment able to adapt to your progress, track your performance, and give you feedback in real-time. Whether you just want to lift weights, work out your frustrations on the bag, or cycle as your life depended on it, we’ve got you covered with the best in in-home fitness tech.
Yves Béhar has worked on some of the coolest tech gadgets of recent years, so you just know that his workout gear is going to be great. Forme was designed to blur the lines between home and gym, looking like a super swanky mirror when it’s not doing dual duty as a personal trainer.
Hidden away are two handles for anaerobic exercises, a 43-inch interactive display for everything from strength training to yoga, barre, and dance, with eight different disciplines in total. All the workouts are filmed so it feels like you’re in the same room as your virtual trainer, and the range of workouts is designed for a holistic view of fitness. $149 a month for 39 months gets you the Studio version with all the accessories and the FORME Life multi-user workout plan.
Prefer to work your abs while sitting watching TV? The PowerDot is a tiny, portable, battery-powered muscle stimulator that can reduce your recovery times, increase your performance, and relieve pain. The app shows you exactly where to stick the pads, the cables are magnetically attached to those, and you’re away vibrating like you’re doing mad reps.
It’s easy to use, has loads of preset programs for everything from injury prevention to performance and training, and proven TENS tech for pain relief. I’ve got a set that I use whenever my sciatic nerve acts up, and my recovery times have never been shorter.
The $1,495 Mirror is like a high-tech version of the mirror in Snow White. It subtly hangs on the wall when you don’t want to exercise, transforming into a smart display when you do. Firing up a workout shows the instructor in real-size, but you can also see your reflection so you can correct your movements accordingly. It also tracks your metrics, so you’ll be the fairest of them all in no time.
This is a perfect option if you want your gym equipment to erm, not look like gym equipment. Bonus points for not taking up any floor space, except for when you’re exercising in front of it.
Peloton might be more of a cult than a fitness regime, but that doesn’t mean that the equipment isn’t great. Whether you prefer the $2,245 stationary bike for those in-home spinning classes or the $4,295 treadmill, the experience is still the same. You get the Peloton app with its thousands of classes, easy-to-use (and huge!) touchscreens, and a huge stable of popular instructors.
Oh, and never underestimate the allure of fighting for leaderboard positions against all the other Peloton users. You’ll find yourself spending more and more time on the equipment once your rankings start trending upwards, and isn’t that the whole point?
Want to work out your frustrations, and get fit at the same time? Maybe FightCamp is the answer to your flabby arms. They send you a free-standing punching bag (but not the sand or water you need to fill it), four foam mats, and punch tracking doohickeys that you slip into your gloves as you pound the bag. You’ll need an iOS device to watch the $39 a month classes though, as there’s no Android app. It does take up quite some space, so make sure your room is big enough to accommodate it.
NordicTrack has long been a class leader in the fitness space, and the new T series continue that trend. The 7-inch touchscreen shows your workout settings, and you can walk through virtual journeys as the special incline-matching technology mimics the terrain changes through the virtual walks.
You also get a two-year membership to iFit, bringing some of the best personal trainers straight to your living room. If you prefer a crowd, there are boutique studio classes, and you get sent three tailored workouts daily based on your fitness level and interests.
The biggest building block to both exercise and recovery is a good night’s sleep. The Eight Sleep Pod (from $2,295) or Pod Pro (from $2,795) helps you enable your best, by letting you control the temperature of your mattress’ surface. Prefer warm? No problem. How about cooler than ice? Well… not quite ice, but when you’re laid on it that’s what it’ll feel like with the coolest setting.
Both Pods have sleep tracking, breathing tracking, heart rate tracking, and thermal alarm functions so you can wake up without the jolt of an alarm. The Pod Pro comes with some new tricks, like Heart Rate Variability monitoring, daily health check reports, and a new foam topper that reduces being able to feel the Active Grid that the thermally-controlled water moves through.
If you want to skip the crushing brain fog that often comes after you finish an exhausting workout, chug a few ml of this exogenous ketone ester before you start crushing your workout. A study showed it to have a benefit on executive function, so it’s worth trying to see if it works for you. I’m no doctor but anecdotally-speaking, it works for me.
Tonal is another one of the home fitness companies attaching workout gear to huge smart displays to show you your workout on, making it like you’re almost in the gym. The $2,995 wall-mounted screen has resistance training arms that use electromagnets to supply up to 200 lbs of resistance. Freaking magnets man, how do they make gains?
If you want the full experience though, expect to open your wallet wider than your arms. You’ll need to add $500 to get the smart handles and smart bar that let you change the resistance of the arms on the fly and $49 a month for the workout subscription. Oh, and $250 for delivery and installation.
If weightlifting is your thing, but the gym is off-limits, Tempo Studio is going to be your best friend. It consists of two parts, the Tempo machine which looks like an easel with a huge smart screen, and an assortment of weights and bars. It’s not cheap at $1,995, but then it does replace your expensive gym membership, and you don’t have to deal with the stinky locker rooms. I call that a bonus.
You’ll need to shell out another $39 a month for the guided workouts, but they feel like one-to-one instruction, so they’re cheap in comparison to hiring a trainer. You’ll see things like rep count, rep rate, motion range, heart rate, and feedback cues on the smart display as you work out, so you can instantly correct your form. It’s actually the only smart option with realtime form feedback, so you can avoid injury while you work out.
JaxJox – KettlebellConnect Smart Kettlebell
If you don’t have the space needed for some of the larger equipment, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great workout at home. The $230 JaxJox Kettlebell Connect is a six-in-one kettlebell that can be changed from 12lbs to 42lbs, then tracked via Bluetooth so your movements can be studied. The app checks your progress by counting your reps, so you always know how many presses you’ve done.
LARQ Self-sanitizing water bottle
After all that exercise, you’ll need to hydrate. The thing is, most reusable water bottles are hard to clean, and filled with germs. LARQ fixes that problem with a UV-C lamp in the stopper, which can eliminate 99.99 percent of all bio-contaminates. Get your water on!
Now you’re armed with all the smart health stuff to get you in shape, all you have to supply is the motivation (and some cash). Happy exercising!
Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. It’s one of the ways we keep the lights on here. Click here for more.