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Since the coronavirus pandemic shut down gyms in March, most of us have been scrambling for new ways to exercise and stay healthy. Luckily, setting up a home gym isn’t as hard (or as space-consuming) as it once was. This is largely thanks to the best high-end fitness equipment we’ve ever had access to.
But what is “high-end fitness equipment” anyway? Essentially, we’re talking about premium, all-in-one workout stations that can fit in most houses or apartments. This could take the form of a fitness mirror, connected stationary bike or connected treadmill. The best high-end fitness equipment also delivers access to coaching and personal training, replacing the fitness studios that were blowing up before coronavirus.
What to Know Before Buying High-End Fitness Equipment
Everyone has different requirements and preferences when it comes to breaking a sweat. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind while choosing the best high-end fitness equipment for your needs.
Activities: Before making any purchases, take note of your favorite workouts and exercise activities. Do you like long, grueling cardio workouts or quick weight training sessions? Or maybe you’re looking to try out new activities such as boxing or yoga? Be sure to look over what’s possible with any piece of fitness equipment to make sure it can help you reach your goals.
Muscle Groups: When building a minimal home gym, it’s important to check off as many muscle groups as possible with the proper gear. Ideally, you’ll want a piece of gear (or a training device) that can hit your legs, abs, chest, arms and back while improving cardio.
Space: Unless you have a mansion with a dedicated home gym room, space will probably be a major concern when shopping for fitness equipment. Figure out a room in your home where you can workout, and measure it before buying any new gear.
Connectivity: The best high-end fitness gear should have some sort of connection to a training program. Even if you’re already a certified athlete, access to training programs will improve your performance and help motivate you to keep exercising.
What is the Best At-Home Fitness Equipment?
Whether you’re looking to improve your cardio, learn yoga, build muscle, or all of the above, read on. We’ve rounded up some of the best pieces of high-end fitness equipment around, including mirrors, bikes and rowing machines. They’re ideal for advancing your fitness goals while gyms are closed, but they just might permanently replace the gym altogether.
BEST ALL-IN-ONE WORKOUT: Tempo
Tempo is an all-in-one fitness station that can fit in nearly any house or apartment. If you’re looking for maximum versatility and minimal space usage, this is the best piece of high-end fitness equipment around.
The Tempo device is a vertical, standing touchscreen with an equipment shelf underneath. The shelf is loaded with dumbbells and bars that offer various degrees of resistance – similar to the racks of weights you’d find in a gym. The touchscreen shows hundreds of hours worth of pre-recorded, coached lessons, plus your workout stats. Strap in the included heart rate monitor and see your heart rate, calories burned and other metrics on the screen as well.
It’s a streamlined piece of workout gear, but the technology is where Tempo really shines. The device uses a built-in sensor to detect and automatically adjust body positioning to ensure the best — and safest — possible workout, plus your weight recommendations are customized based on your fitness level and stats (I.e. height). Tap through a few questions on the screen after each workout and the Tempo algorithm will automatically adjust settings for your next workout based on how difficult or easy you found the activities to be.
Advanced tech and included gear aside, the Tempo is a top-of-the-line fitness studio experience with popular tunes blasting through the built-in stereo speakers, and fun and engaging classes. Unlike some programs, where we lose interest or doze off after the first few moves, Tempo’s instructors kept us motivated and entertained — so much so that we found ourselves doing multiple classes a day.
BEST FITNESS MIRROR: Mirror Fit
Another streamlined, connected piece of high-end fitness equipment is Mirror. As the name suggests, the device looks like a full-length mirror (either wall-mounted or leaning) but turns on to provide live-coached fitness classes and workout data, all while staying reflective to self-assess.
Here’s how it works: using your phone as a remote, choose from thousands of workouts in 20+ fitness categories ranging from boxing to yoga to cardio and beyond. A trainer pops up on the screen (either live or recorded) and leads you through the workout. If you’re in a live class, a front-facing camera allows the coach to give live tips while you workout. In short, you get on-demand fitness classes from professionals right in your home.
Mirror displays workout data including heart rate by connecting to an apple watch or Bluetooth heart rate monitor. Your progression and stats will also appear on the Mirror smartphone app. Plus, high-tech fitness aside, the mirror looks great as a piece of decor and because it’s mounted, stays out of your way, making it great for a bedroom or small studio.
BEST ROWING MACHINE: Echelon Row-S
Unlike the brands above, Echelon has a range of high-tech, connected fitness equipment. Some of their best pieces are connected stationary bikes (that give Pendleton a run for their money), the Echelon Reflect (a touchscreen fitness mirror similar to Mirror) and connected treadmills. Have a look at their impressive lineup here.
But we think one of Echelon’s best pieces is their connected rower. Before scrolling back up, hear us out on why rowers are one of the best (and most underrated) pieces of high-end fitness equipment.
Rowing machines work by simulating Olympic-style rowing, providing a low-impact, full-body workout while massively boosting your cardio. By pushing with your legs, stabilizing with your core and pulling with your back and shoulders, you’re engaging far more muscle groups than, say, running. This movement can lead to some serious results, upping your overall performance and building that sought-after athletic V-shape.
Echelon upgrades the typical rower machine with a connected system, giving you access to classes taught by professional trainers. This screen can also be swiveled around and used for a huge variety of non-rowing workouts including strength-training, bodyweight cardio, yoga and more.
If you prefer a spin bike or fitness mirror, Echelon offers sleek, streamlined versions of those on its site too.
BEST EXERCISE BIKE: MYX PLUS
This Peloton alternative is half the cost with more intuitive features, and none of the intimidation factor. This set gets you a top-of-the-line exercise bike, plus a set of weights, a kettlebell, resistance band, mats, a heart rate monitor and a foam roller — basically an entire home gym.
The bike is well-made and feels sturdy under your foot, encouraging you to really push it on the pedals (no wobbling here!) We loved how comfortable the handlebars felt, and there’s a large water bottle holder within easy reach. The knobs let you adjust your seat and settings in seconds, and the monitor is positioned comfortably at eye level, encouraging you to sit up and look forward, rather than stayed hunch over during your ride.
Choose one of the easy-to-follow classes (the music is an upbeat mix of Top 40 and the bike’s speakers are surprisingly great) or clip in for a ride to your own playlist. The large-screen display shows your stats and progression, with enough information to keep you motivated without feeling overwhelmed or confused. The best part: the monitor swivels and rotates so you can easily follow classes off the bike as well (think cross-training, yoga, pilates, HIIT, barre, kickboxing, dance and more).
While creating a “vibe” or battling your friends or favorite instructor can be motivating, sometimes we just want a straight-forward workout that really turns up the beats — and the sweat. That’s what you get with the MYX Plus. It’s a no-nonsense exercise bike that delivers an accessible, full-body workout for all fitness levels and workout styles.