It's been a whirlwind of a ride during the world pandemic caused by COVID-19 for us gym lovers. Here at Fitness Training Star, our lives were different before the coronavirus hit us like a ton of bricks. We would go to the gym 4 days per week, using dumbbells, barbells, benches, squat racks and their cardio equipment for a small monthly fee. But, as we all know, that all changed very quickly.
The pandemic forced local gyms to shut down and caused a lot of stress since many busy working people couldn't relieve it at the gym anymore. The University of Michigan published one of the most influential pieces of information on the importance of physical activity during the pandemic that everyone should read. Their 1st of 3 key points is that physical activity and exercise is one of the most effective treatment strategies for symptoms of both anxiety and depression.
But, how can people work out if the local gyms are closed? How can anyone afford all the gym equipment and hire personal trainers to replace what they've been used to at the gym?
Enter smart home gyms that include literally everything you need including equipment, on-demand and live classes, world class trainers, community and a whole lot more. Today, we're going HARD CORE, in-depth versus style between two brands that specialize in all-in-one home gym systems. If you're on Facebook (who isn't?) then most likely you've been targeted by their marketing department and got ads shoved in your face until you just can't take it anymore. So, you head on over to Instagram only to find that Tempo or Tonal keep re-appearing and are pleading their case of the best option for your all-in-one smart home gym.
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How expensive are these things? Do they really provide everything I need to get in a killer workout from home? How long do they last until I need to buy a new one?
These are all great questions and we'll answer those for you within the article. But first…
Should You Jump on The Smart Home Gym (Tonal and Tempo) Band Wagon?
You've probably noticed a big shift in the way people work out during the past 12 months. You've probably also noticed that a lot of people can't resist showing off their fancy smart home gyms. It's hard to blame them when today's smart home gyms are full of so many high-tech, integrated features controlled by futuristic-looking screens built into ultra-flexible configurations. The big deal about smart home gyms is that you're getting a workout apparatus, personal instruction and progress documentation all in one package. They're also a ton of fun to use!
Another big appeal of the smart home gym is that you're going to be using the equipment for a long time. A lot of people find that owning a gym that they can simply “walk into” at home after waking up in the morning is a better, more reliable investment than a gym membership these days. What's more, most home-gym brands offer payment plans that make it easy to pay off your gym the same way you'd make monthly membership payments at a gym. Overall, a smart home gym is a top bet if you want a smart long-term investment.
The home-gym space is getting crowded out there. However, a few gyms rise above to provide the most cutting-edge, pulse-pounding experience at home. Two of the superstar home gyms out there at the moment are the Tempo Studio and Tonal Home Gym. While both are relatively affordable “dream” gyms for anyone, you'll want to do a good comparison before picking one. Take a look at how things shake out between the Tempo Studio and Tonal Home Gym.
Comparison: TONAL versus TEMPO
First, we're going to compare specs and pricing models so you can get a great feel each home gym machine. Then, we'll get into the overviews of each smart gym, highlighting advantages, disadvantages, which one you should buy, and if they're worth the money.
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Tempo Home Gym Studio Overview
The Tempo is a great place to start because it's actually the less expensive of the two options. Starting at $2,495, the Tempo packs a massive punch into a very sleek, attractive design. What's more, it really lacks nothing that the more expensive smart gyms out there offer.
Tempo is designed for all fitness levels. This is where that “smart” technology comes in to tailor your experience based on whether you're a novice or a gym expert. If you want to know where tempo really shines, check out its 3D sensors that track your motion in real time. That means that any errors in form or execution will be logged in real time to allow coaches to provide you with corrections and suggestions. As a result, your squats and lunges will actually help you burn the most calories because you're doing them correctly. During classes, Tempo will provide you visual cues and notes letting you know where there's room for improvement. It really recreates that “in person” experience of taking a class at the gym.
In addition to your custom workouts, Tempo's roster of guided classes impresses. You're getting access to hundreds of live and on-demand classes customized for various fitness goals. This includes big ones like strength training, cardio, recovery and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). They even lump in some yoga and mobility workouts that are fabulous! It all delivers on a 42-inch screen. Yes, the screen really is 42 inches!
Tempo's all-inclusive membership offering complete access to all live and on-demand programming is $39 per month. This membership also covers your guidance from coaches and performance tracking. You're also getting premium stainless-steel dumbbells and a barbell with rubber-coated plates. The dimensions on the Tempo are 6 feet (height) x 2.2 feet (width). When placing your gym, give yourself at least 8 feet of room to be able to do extended-arm maneuvers.
- Counts reps for you!
- Comes with beautiful, long-lasting equipment.
- Personalized stats allow you to track your progress.
- Beautiful performance for muscle-building through resistance. The Tempo's barbell can reach up to 300 pounds!
- Weights store easily in the front and back of the machine.
- Tempo's real-time form checks ensure that you're not wasting your time doing workouts incorrectly!
- The price is so reasonable compared to other options!
- The 42-inch screen is absolutely huge and crisp!
- This machine would really benefit from a bench feature. If you do a lot of work with the bar for chest strength, the lack of bench could be a hindrance.
- You can't customize the music selections that play during workouts.
- If you veer “off radar” your reps may not be counted properly. The system is a little finicky in this regard.
- No option for pairing up with a workout partner like you'll see offered on some machines.
- Tempo won't let you use this machine without an active subscription.
Who should buy the Tempo Studio?
How can you know if this is the machine of your dreams? It's a perfect fit if you're looking for something that feels very intuitive, stable and easy to learn on. While this is a high-tech machine by all accounts, Tempo hasn't made a machine so fancy that there's a learning curve. You can really jump right in to enjoy all of your go-to workouts straight away. Someone choosing the Tempo is looking for excellent guided workouts, on-demand classes, personalized feedback and a chance to work various zones of the body.
Is Tempo worth the money?
When looking at Tempo's price, it's all about perspective. $2,495 is certainly a commitment. While you can find some gyms for just a sliver less, Tempo is still one of the more affordable smart gyms out there. What's more, you're getting a nice price point without giving up any big features. Anyone who is serious about working out and staying fit would probably end up spending a comparable amount on memberships and classes during a year. If the goal is to shift to more convenient, consistent workouts at home, the price is more than justified.
Tonal Home Gym Overview
With the Tonal, you are looking at a price jump compared to the Tempo. The starting price is $2,995. Let's talk about whether or not that price leap is justified.
Where the Tonal really shines is with its completeness. It offers a little more in terms of technology than competing home gyms. For instance, it's built with two adjustable, cable-handled arms that allow you to complete more than 170 movements for the upper and lower parts of your body. If you don't have quite that many movements stored in your head, just pick one of the hundreds of classes available. These high-energy classes will keep you motivated! Tonal adds new classes every week for high-intensity, strength raining, yoga and more. However, Tonal unfortunately falls short by not offering any live classes.
Tonal is a good home gym for someone who wants to go big. The high-tech weight system on this machine allows you to reach resistance levels of up to 100 pounds on each arm. As you work out, sensors track your form to provide real-time correction. This live correction does sort of take the sting out of the lack of live classes because you're technically getting that real-time feedback that you'd get from an instructor. You can also use settings that intuitively change your resistance levels during your workout.
One of the things you'll notice when your Tonal arrives at your home is that it's missing dumbbells and weights. It's no accident! Tonal has actually swapped physical weights for magnets and electricity that create weight and resistance. During setup, Tonal will put you through a quick assessment that's going to help you get an idea of the strength levels that are appropriate for your workouts. It's a very fun, high-tech way to approach your fitness goals using a totally reinvented way of working out!
- This machine has a really gorgeous design.
- There's a special “spotter” feature that prevents you from getting in over head by adjusting weight resistance.
- As you lift, different modes kick in for dynamic resistance. This is how you get an elite workout.
- Tonal gives you the option to work with a human partner during a class!
- The real-time feedback for resistance adjustments always makes you feel like you're using your time wisely on the machine to get the best workout possible.
- You can use the Tonal without a subscription if you choose.
- The fact that Tonal doesn't offer any live classes is a bit of a disappointment.
- At $2,995, it's close to $1,000 more than the Tempo. You should also know that you'll almost certainly need to purchase Tonal's smart accessories kit for $495 to get a complete workout.
- While classes are generally good, the multi-week classes sometime feel a little stale and repetitive.
- The screen is only 24 inches (Tempo's is 42 inches).
Who should you buy Tonal Home Gym?
If you're ready to stop collecting weights, the virtual resistance of the Tonal makes this the perfect machine for you! It's also a good pick if your motivation for at-home workouts isn't heavy weightlifting. If you're used to serious weightlifting, the fact that the arms cap out at 100 pounds per arm probably won't do it for you.
Is Tonal worth the money?
If you're looking for a neat, complete and smart home gym, the Tonal is worth the price tag. This machine's selling point is its high-tech, AI-led design. It does a good job of balancing out its lack of live classes with real-time monitoring during your workouts that provides all the feedback you could need for getting the best results.
Real vs Digital Weights: Is Tempo or Tonal Better?
When deciding between Tempo and Tonal, your workout profile is all that matters! Since both Tempo and Tonal offer cardio and strength training workouts, it really comes down to resistance training with digital weights or strength training with Olympic weights. If you're looking for AI-led training using real free weights, Tempo is the better option for getting that classic, familiar gym experience at home. If you're looking for a digital weight system that delivers intuitive, adjusting resistance training, it's all about the Tonal!
Tonal vs Tempo Conclusion
Visions of walking up to your own home gym to “plug in” for an intensive, personalized workout that's going to get your heart, limbs and muscles in a supercharged, super-pumped state are probably running through your head after getting glimpses of what these two smart home gyms offer. It's decision time! Which smart home gym is the best based on your workout style?
The Tempo is really an “easier” machine to get started with. At $2,495, it's about $500 less than the competing Tonal. If you like a classic gym experience, the machine's familiar barbell and dumbbells will be welcomed. If you don't feel that the weights provided are enough, Tempo allows you to order more.
Tempo also checks all the boxes for live classes, great on-demand classes and real-time correction. Everything from strength to yoga is represented. You're also getting rep counting. The scalability of this machine means that everyone from first-time fitness enthusiasts to expert lifters will get what they need. Lastly, that 42-inch screen is a big selling point if you're concerned about motivation because it really immerses you in your workout with a “tunnel vision” effect.
Tonal provide a dynamic cable-weight workout that allows you to truly move your exercise into the virtual space without the need to handle “real weights.” For many people, this is optimal. However, the 100-pound cap for each arm with the cable system may not be enough if you're buying a smart home gym specifically for weight lifting. The $2,995 price tag is going to make this machine restrictive for some people. There's also understandable hesitation about spending that much on a cable system that you're not really familiar with if you typically use real weights. However, it provides a truly elegant, effective full-body workout for anyone looking for amazing strength training with real-time, intuitive adjustments and corrections based on your personal fitness goals and abilities.
Ultimately, it's hard to imagine anyone being disappointed by either of these smart home gyms. Both provide an incredible value if you're looking for a way to consistently get in your gym hours from home. The big choice you're ultimately making comes down to tangible weights versus smart weights.
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