You know that feeling of wanting to get in great shape but feeling limited by your inability to get to the gym (whether due to COVID, time constraints, lack of a babysitter, etc.) and not having access to all the gym equipment you need?
I certainly do, and I know I am not alone. We all know how beneficial working out and moving our bodies are, but it’s not always easy to accomplish when we live lives that are busier than ever. Which leads me to my next point, the number one excuse for not working out is being too tired... and so begins a vicious cycle of neglecting our personal health and wellbeing.
But what if there were a simple solution to the common woes of being a busy person who wants to work out but is having a hard time getting it done? Read on, because there might be a perfect solution for you!
Smart home gyms are the wave of the future - these AI-powered workout machines are all about efficiency and effectiveness. As a result, they’re allowing us to work out from home, saving us time and money, and doing so without the need for investing in a ton of large, bulky equipment. This is music to the ears of so many.
Today, I’m comparing two of the most popular smart home gyms on the market right now, the Tonal Home Gym and Forme Life Studio Lift. These are two similar products that are not the same, making it important to understand the differences before making a buying decision.
Let’s dig into this head-to-head versus and find out which of these smart training studios are going to be the most impactful for you. First, I'm going to discuss a few reasons why working out at home rather than going to the gym is more efficient and effective (thanks to powerful A.I. tech). Secondly, I'll show a head to head comparison chart, which will show the key similarities and differences. Third, you'll get an overview on each smart home gym (with pros and cons). Lastly, I'll reveal the final verdict and my personal recommendation. Here we go!
Working out at home vs. going to the gym
Before we begin comparing two of the best smart gyms for your home on the market, I want to first highlight the benefits (and potential drawbacks) of working out from home vs. going to the gym.
Making the decision to work out and live a healthier life is simple. The hard part becomes how you’re going to make it happen. It’s simple to sign up for a gym membership with the best of intentions, but sadly, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to execute. In fact, a recent study showed that 63% of Americans have gym memberships that go completely unused.
Why is this? Because it takes time to and from the gym, it’s a hassle to pack your bag and make sure you have everything you need before you head out the door, and it can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have a solid workout plan. So the easy thing to do is make excuses and not go.
On the other side of the coin is working out from home, a notion that was previously thought of as boring, ineffective, and redundant. Recently, the home fitness world has transformed in epic ways.
Today, working out from the comfort of your home provides you with:
- Time savings
- Cost savings
And now with the addition of AI-powered smart gyms and fitness apps, you can also enjoy efficiency, customization, community, and all-in-one fitness systems that eliminate the need for bulky, expensive equipment.
The bottom line is that you can now recreate the gym atmosphere (personal training, access to equipment, community) in your home thanks to the introduction of smart training studios. Next, let’s line up Tonal and Formal Life in a comparison chart to begin to understand the dynamics of each machine and what they offer.
Comparing Tonal Home Gym vs Forme Life Studio Lift
For the sake of this comparison, I will be featuring the Studio Lift model from Forme Life, which is the most similar to the Tonal home gym.
$2995 + $495 smart accessories
Height 50”, Width 22”
Height 70”, Width 26”
24” 1080 Pixel Display
43” 4K UHD Display
Display screen only
Mirror (70% reflectivity)
1X 5 Megapixel
2X 12 Megapixel
Touch Screen & Voice Control
Wall or Floor Mounted
Resistance Training Arms:
Arms fold to the side discreetly
Stowable for discrete integration in your home’s aesthetics
$49/month with a 12-month minimum commitment
Resistance training, Yoga, Pilates, Barre, Meditation
Resistance training, Yoga, Barre, Pilates, Mindfulness, Cardio
Key Similarities and Differences Between These Two Smart Gyms
Now that you’ve seen a visual representation of these two studio’s specs and attributes, I’ll make it simple by outlining their key differences and similarities that are going to help you decide which smart gym is the best for you and your fitness needs.
What do they have in common?
Let’s start with the ways in which these smart gym machines are similar, both studios:
- Use resistance training arms.
- Feature a large, interactive screen.
- Can be affixed to your wall.
- Offer exceptional training from leading fitness experts.
How are they different?
Now onto the differences:
- Forme Life’s screen is nearly twice the size of Tonal.
- Tonal's screen is display-only and features only touchscreen use, while Forme Life’s screen is reflective and is also voice-enabled.
- Tonal must be installed on a wall, Forme Life can be on a wall or the floor
The Tonal smart home gym system is one of the most comprehensive pieces of home gym equipment on the market today and was the first of its kind to become available. This gym attaches directly to your wall (with the help of certified installation experts) and includes two adjustable arms with cables that allow you to perform over 170 different movement patterns and exercises. The result is a full-body resistance-based workout.
Personal training and variety of workouts
Beyond the structure of the studio, there’s the real draw - the built-in personal training platform that takes the guesswork out of strength training. You’ll enjoy classes and programming led by leading fitness experts who will guide you through the movements, even counting your reps and adjusting your weights for you as you progress. There are hundreds of workouts to choose from, with more being added every day. Currently, live classes are not an option, however, I wouldn’t rule this out for the future. Workouts include strength training, HIIT, yoga, mobility, meditation, and more.
Innovative, Intuitive Cable System
Tonal is able to create resistance by using its digital weight system that utilizes electromagnetic energy to deliver up to 100 pounds of resistance per arm. This means that everyone from beginners to advanced lifters can safely and effectively use this machine to get great results. Additionally, the system comes equipped with sensors that use AI to detect your body and correct your form by watching your movement patterns. AI is the future of fitness and it’s adding so much value to the fitness space! It’s truly like having a personal trainer in your living room.
- Sleek design that's easy to integrate into your home’s aesthetics
- The range of motion for the pulleys is excellent, making it great for all heights
- Real-time feedback and form correction cues
- Resistance will automatically adjust for you for personalized workouts
- Once you buy the accessories package, you don’t need any other equipment
- There are hundreds of classes to choose from and several modalities
- Professional instructors that will help you progress efficiently towards your goals
- Advanced speaker system with dual controls - one for the volume of the music and the other for the instructor’s voice
- No live class options (yet)
- The sensors are a little sensitive which can lead to missed reps
- Heavy lifters may max out the value with the top weight being 100 pounds per arm
- It must be installed in a properly studded wall which limits your options
Forme Life Studio Lift Overview
One look at Forme Life’s Studio Lift and you’re going to be impressed. This massive, yet incredibly sleek and dynamic home studio is the epitome of luxury and design. The Lift was designed by a renowned designer who had the vision to make a smart gym that fits seamlessly into any space, which he certainly accomplished. Forme Life's screen is not simply a display, but also a mirror, so when the studio is off it looks like an elegant mirror - especially considering the arms tuck away at the sides of the machine nicely when not in use.
While Forme certainly stands out with its impeccable design, the programming is where this studio really shines. The brand wanted to take a unique approach to programming by recruiting some of the best, most renowned fitness experts in the industry and bringing them right to your living room. They offer a ton of class varieties, from strength training and HIIT to yoga and Pilates. This is truly an all-in-one system that will bring you a wealth of value and progress towards your goals.
Highly customized workouts
Forme believes in customized workouts that are tailored specifically to each individual’s needs and goals. They curate workouts for you based on your ability, fitness goals, and even your mood. You can choose to do the hand-selected workouts they design for you each day or you can choose from their giant library of on-demand options. There are an abundance of possibilities and ways to cater to your needs on any given day. The key to a lasting relationship with fitness is to make sure it’s fun and sustainable and Forme Life certainly accomplishes that with their one-of-a-kind programming.
As mentioned in my complete analysis of Forme Life, this is truly the most technologically advanced (and beautiful!) piece of fitness equipment I’ve ever seen. It's an all-inclusive solution to working out from home that takes all the guesswork, anxiety, and intimidation out of working out. All you have to do is show up and the studio Lift will take care of the rest.
- Gorgeous mirror design
- Industry-leading screen size
- Touchscreen and voice-activated
- Fold-away arms for discreet storage
- AI technology that selects your weights, counts your reps and makes adjustments as needed
- Human-centric computer vision provides you with guidance on your form and techniques
- Instruction led by the best of the best in the fitness field
- Live class options for a true personal training experience
- You have the option to attach it to your wall or to have on the floor
- Classes feature real music that you know and love (not the generic stuff you hear in the back of other studios)
- It’s brand new to the market so there isn’t a ton of information out there yet
- The studio is on the larger size, so those with very small spaces may run into trouble finding a good place to station it
Final Verdict: Which Smart Training Studio is Right For You and Your Home Gym?
If you’re deciding between Tonal and Forme Life, you have a lot to consider. To be honest, both studios are amazing, featuring the kind of technology that we only previously dreamt of. It’s an exciting time to be into fitness, that’s for sure!
As you’re navigating which studio is going to be the best fit for you, I recommend considering the following:
What’s your budget?
When all is said and done, both gyms are very similar in pricing, but Tonal’s monthly membership is a little more costly and they require a 12-month commitment.
Do you like the idea of seeing yourself in a mirror?
Only Forme’s Studio is reflective. Do you want access to live classes? Currently, Tonal is not offering live training, but Forme Life is.
Are you ok with having it fixed to your wall or would you like the option to have it on the floor?
Tonal is wall-mounted only and Forme Life has a little more flexibility.
My Personal Recommendation
Personally, I am very impressed with Forme Life. After reviewing the brand and seeing that they spent years designing their studio, with the help of many renowned professionals, I am convinced that this machine is going to make a giant impact in the industry. Forme Life has set a new bar to which other fitness brands will now try to replicate.
Yes, a smart home gym is an investment, but when you stop and calculate the costs associated with a gym membership, personal training, and traditional equipment, it’s easy to see how the investment is well worth your while. Plus, both Forme Life and Tonal offer payment plans for those who qualify, which really helps to soften the financial burden.