Finding the Best Home Gym: Should You Choose the Forme Life, Tempo or Tonal?
A better at-home workout is coming. If you’re shopping for a new smart gym, you’re probably already dreaming of plugging in, sweating it out and watching those results emerge in the mirror. However, you may be a little overwhelmed regarding which smart home gym to go for in a sea of promises about world-class instruction, body-toning workouts and life-enhancing wellness features. If you’ve done a cursory spin on the review circuit, you’ve probably established that you’ll be going with Tonal vs Tempo vs Forme Life when all is said and done. By most measures, these really are the best games in town for upping your fitness game.
The first thing that’s probably going to happen when you dive in to start configuring your own home-gym setup is sticker shock. Yes, these smart gyms are investments. However, you’re already used to making investments in your health and body if you pay for gym memberships or private classes. The difference here is that you’re making a lump payment instead of “class” payments. Keep in mind that popular manufacturers allow you to go on payment plans that make bringing home a gym a little more realistic for everyone. Before going into the specifics of Forme Life, Tempo and Tonal, let’s go over some of the benefits of bringing that pro-gym experience home:
While all three smart gyms being covered here offer all of these perks, they each offer them with a slightly different spin. It’s important to look at everything from price point to variety of classes offered when picking out a smart home gym that’s going to work with your lifestyle. At the end of the day, the goal is to look at lifetime value for fitness needs and convenience.
|Tempo vs||Tonal||Forme Life|
|On demand classes||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Complete home gym||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|High intensity cardio||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|World class fitness instructors||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|How much weight||Real weights – unlimited||Cable machine – 200 lbs||Cable machine – 150 lbs|
|Membership cost||$39 per month||$49 per month||$39 per month|
The Vibe: An elegant, high-tech design with a huge screen, robust AI features and world-class workouts.
With a starting price of $2,495, the Forme Life Studio actually falls in the middle on this list of three smart home gyms. It’s definitely the most elegant design among the three. On the tech end, you’re looking at cameras with advanced motion capture, a heart-rate monitor, a 43-inch 4K display and machine-learning AI that tailors the machine’s specs to your needs. In addition to customizing your workout to make every move you make more efficient, these tech features actually make your workout much safer by confirming appropriate weight levels.
On the content end, Forme Life impresses with highly motivational, world-class instruction delivered in classes with fun themes for all workout styles and personality temperaments. After a long workday, you can do everything from “boxing out” your frustrations to melting into a yoga session. Using Forme Life’s fancy two-way cameras, you can actually work out with a real-life trainer. Offering a little bit of everything, the Forme Life environment makes it easy to sweat it out with resistance training, cardio, barre, yoga, Pilates and wellness classes. Here’s a final rundown of the highlights of Forme Life:
The Vibe: A budget option that more than holds its own against the competition, the Tempo is the obvious choice if your goal is immersive strength training.
This is another powerhouse pick if a big screen is important to you. While just an inch below the Forme Life’s 43-inch screen, the 42-inch screen on the Tempo still outdoes the 24-inch screen on the Tonal by a mile!
The Tempo also gives the Forme Life a run for its money in terms of tech features. First, you’re getting 3D motion sensors to provide a crisp display of your form for the instructor on the other end. This allows you to get real feedback based on your actual movements that will allow you to maximize your workout while preventing you from needlessly injuring yourself. You’re also getting elegant tracking to help you with milestones and progress. However, there’s one detail that might put you over the edge on clicking that “buy” button with this one. At $2,495, the Tempo is the cheapest option on our list. It’s almost a full $1,000 cheaper than the Tonal.
If you’re looking for that classic, gritty gym experience, the Tempo is the top pick. While you’re getting the high-tech, smooth experience offered by the other smart gyms on this list, you’re also getting the familiar experience of actually lifting weights. That makes this the best smart home gym if you love resistance workouts.
Related Reading: Tempo Studio review
This is the only gym that comes with actually weights (dumbbells, barbell and rubber-coated plates) on the list. The unit also has built-in storage for neat presentation. The weights-versus-simulation question is one that really needs to be considered. If you’re not ready to make the leap to virtual weights, the Tempo may be for you. The only thing to keep in mind is that you will have to fork over more money for weights if the 115 pounds included with your purchase of this gym won’t be enough. The Tonal also doesn’t provide you with a bench to use when lifting the real weights that are included. Honestly, it’s a little bit of an oversight. Here’s a final rundown of the highlights of the Tempo Home Gym:
The Vibe: The most complete option for whole-body workouts.
At first glance, the Tonal dazzles by coming across as a more complete home gym than the other two competitors on the list. While the Forme Life probably has the most sophisticated design, it still lacks the side arms of the Tonal. These adjustable arms supercharge your workouts with more than 170 different movements that allow you to turn up the heat for both your lower and upper body. If you’re feeling intimidated by the arms, rest assured that your instructors are going to show you exactly how to integrate them into your movements. Each arm delivers up to 100 pounds of resistance for a combined total of 200 pounds of potential resistance in each workout. Can you practically feel the sweet, sweet burn already?
The tech is phenomenal on this home gym. To track user movements, Tonal decided to use a series of 17 different sensors that allow AI to watch your movements in real time. You’re provided with form correction for safer, more effective movements without feeling judged! There’s an update to know about if you’ve reviewed Tonal in the past without jumping on. This gym is in the process of rolling out beta live classes!
As covered above, only the Tempo offers real weights for strength training. However, the Tonal is still worth looking at if you’re a strength junkie. This home gym uses magnets and electricity to simulate weights and dumbbells using technology that feels smooth and intuitive. What’s more, the limitations of traditional weight usage are blasted away to allow you to tap into advanced features that range from spotter mode to range-of-motion resistance leveling. It’s enough to make you rethink your “traditionalist” position. You never have to worry about keeping your head above water with these simulated weights because the Tonal ecosystem actually welcomes you in using a strength assessment that makes recommendations for how much you should be lifting based on your personal strength.
We still haven’t talked about price. This is where some people slowly begin to back away from the Tonal if they’re not full committed to the features offered. At $2,995, it’s the priciest smart home gym on our list. Taking the long view, the value added by the arms on this unit could ultimately help you to avoid in-person gym costs forever. The only place where this gym falls a little short when compared to Forme Life and Tempo is that its screen is just 24 inches. Here’s a final rundown of the highlights of Tonal Home Gym:
Both Tonal and Tempo provide real time feedback when weight training, and they can both replace your gym membership and personal trainers. However, for those who want serious #gains through strength training plus cardio, the Tempo Home Gym is better than the Tonal gym. On the other hand, Tonal is the best option between the two if you don’t want physical weights and are more inclined to use a digital weight training system. Furthermore, if you are worried about a smart home gym being mounted on your wall, then Tempo is again the better choice over Tonal since Tempo’s home gym is freestanding while Tonal’s home gym is mounted on your wall.
Considering both Forme Life and Tempo Studio have the largest screens of these 3 smart gyms, it would then come down to programming, design and real vs digital weights.
Tempo Studio crushes Forme Life in the fitness classes category. Tempo’s on-demand classes, as well as live classes are far superior than Forme Life’s (especially on-demand classes). On the other hand, Forme Life is the better choice if you want a piece of smart home gym equipment that can fit in literally any room in an apartment or home.
Setting up resistance training equipment in your home isn’t easy, unless you choose either Tonal or Forme Life. These smart home gyms provide weight training from home with a digital weight system. That said, Forme Life is the better choice for you if elegance and a large immersive screen excites you. However, since Tonal has been around longer than Forme Life, Tonal is better than Forme Life for fitness enthusiasts that want to rely on a proven system and that may never go out of business.
As a true fitness enthusiast and fitness equipment review expert, I love to provide cheaper alternatives that are comparable to the three products listed above, especially for those who really want to reach their personal fitness goals.
Many people compare Tempo vs Mirror, a LuLuLemon purchased company that started the smart mirror gym craze. It is a worthy comparison and a much cheaper alternative to Tempo, Tonal and Forme Life. However, Mirror does not focus on in-depth muscle building and strength training as much as the other three.
You can also compare Tempo vs Echelon Reflect vs Tonal and Forme Life. Echelon Reflect is very similar to Mirror. That said, if you want a cheaper alternative to the three gyms listed on this article, then you’ll want to look into Reflect as well.
It’s probably not possible for anyone to feel even a flutter of disappointment when stepping back to see any of these smart home gyms installed in their home for the first time. However, you really want to make sure that you don’t have any nagging questions over whether or not you compromised once your gym has arrived. If you love a sleek, state-of-the-art design for a price that feels very fair, the Forme Life won’t let you down. If you’re looking for the most complete gym experience at home, splurging on the Tonal will leave you satisfied. However, you probably won’t feel fully comfortable with either option if you just can’t see yourself ever getting used to lifting weights without actually holding weights. If that’s you, keep it classic with the Tempo.
The big thing to know is that all three home smart gyms offer very comparable workout classes that cover all genres. You won’t feel limited or deprived by any of these home smart gyms. What’s more, the fact that these are AI-enhanced, fully connected units means that new classes and experiences are being added all the time. There is definitely a big push to add more live and one-on-one classes because these are what people want. The nice thing about a high-tech home gym is that you don’t have to wait until a brand has “perfected” its class offerings because your home gym will be updated every time the class lists are updated!
#1 – Best for Strength Training: Tempo Studio
#2 – Best For Cardio Workouts: FORME Life
#3 – Best for Resistance Training: Tonal
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