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Thread: Tonal Gym

  1. #31
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    Originally Posted by BiGx5MurF View Post
    Just to clarify, my post doesn't refer to the Tonal specifically. But rather the market as a whole.

    I believe this business model is the future of most home gym equipment. For example, I purchased an Inspire FTX a couple of months ago. A very traditional home gym market functional trainer. It came with a "free 1 year subscription", to their app which offers live classes (similar to peloton). Despite the FTX being the barebone cut down model, they put in a tablet stand above the accessory hooks. No doubt hoping the app gets used, and data mining becomes another revenue source. This probably plays into why the machine can be sold for so much less when purchased through costco.
    PC software, phone apps, TV, movies, etc. has been largely subscription based for years, so I think fitness equipment is inevitably going the same route. They're looking for perpetual revenue sources that 1-time purchases don't provide. They don't even want you to be able to use the item you own if you aren't paying a monthly fee as well.
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    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    PC software, phone apps, TV, movies, etc. has been largely subscription based for years, so I think fitness equipment is inevitably going the same route. They're looking for perpetual revenue sources that 1-time purchases don't provide. They don't even want you to be able to use the item you own if you aren't paying a monthly fee as well.
    Not to get too off topic, but what I'm referring to is not a voluntary monthly subscription fee. What I'm referring to is data collection (mining), and then selling that data for profit. Traditionally this business model profits from selling the data to advertisers for targeted advertising (if the service is free, you are the product). But not to get too conspiratorial, or dystopian. But it's likely the governments (intelligence agencies) will be willing to pay for this data as well, using tax dollars.

    I think it's only a matter of time before tablet styled devices meant to be attached to our existing equipment come onto market. Promising to provide all sorts of interactive services, exercise tracking, social media functionality etc. Which will primarily be used to generate data mining revenue. Hardware wise, the tech already exists, think Xbox kinect camera, on a tablet, that attaches to a power rack.
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  3. #33
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    Originally Posted by BiGx5MurF View Post
    Not to get too off topic, but what I'm referring to is not a voluntary monthly subscription fee. What I'm referring to is data collection (mining), and then selling that data for profit. Traditionally this business model profits from selling the data to advertisers for targeted advertising (if the service is free, you are the product). But not to get too conspiratorial, or dystopian. But it's likely the governments (intelligence agencies) will be willing to pay for this data as well, using tax dollars.

    I think it's only a matter of time before tablet styled devices meant to be attached to our existing equipment come onto market. Promising to provide all sorts of interactive services, exercise tracking, social media functionality etc. Which will primarily be used to generate data mining revenue. Hardware wise, the tech already exists, think Xbox kinect camera, on a tablet, that attaches to a power rack.
    Yeah, I got what you were saying. I've been an IT pro for 23 years and used to write code for people that made their living harvesting data. That's truly not the primary goal of these subscription-based models though. Obviously, all data has monetary value to someone and it's the entire basis of existence for every social media platform out there. The primary goal of these subscription-based products, however, is to keep users paying in perpetuity. It's the same reason why car dealers provide free oil changes and/or state inspections for 1-3 years. If you keep coming in, they keep charging you for other services. Loyalty clubs are the same premise. Phone trade-up programs too. And so on. Selling users a single piece of equipment presents a very finite market. Selling them use of said equipment while requiring them to keep paying if they want to maintain use of said equipment provides a much, much longer - even potentially infinite - stream of income.
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  4. #34
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    I’m going to get torched for sharing this, but it’s how I feel. It’s my turn to whack this hornet’s nest. I’ve always been a barbell, bumper plate, pull-up cage, HIIT kinda guy. I’m over lifting in my my 125 degree FL garage after 12 years. Two years ago, I saw this Tonal thing come up in my FB feed and thought WTF?! Then, amused, I researched it. Then, curiously I researched it. Then, I seriously researched it. Then, two months ago, I bought it. I’ve only had the Tonal for three weeks, but I’m way in. The programs and trainers are good, especially for less experienced folks. But the variable resistance is its strength in my opinion for advanced lifters - it can do “chains” mode where the weight gets heavier as you lift the weight, “eccentric” mode where the load gets heavier as you lower the weight, and “smart flex” mode where the weight matches various muscles’ strength curve. It has “spotter mode” which recognizes when you struggle to complete a rep and it drops the resistance a few pounds so you can finish. I’ve used all of these modes, and they’re all legit and elevate the experience and effectiveness.

    I’m not a big guy at 5’10”, 170lbs, and 48 years old. For example, I warm up benching at 135 and work my way up to a few heavier sets around 225 on free weights. On the Tonal, I programmed the weight to 135 and could barely finish three reps before my arms were shaking uncontrollably and I almost felt pinned underneath the machine. So, the magnetic resistance does seem to play at a much higher resistance than free weights. 100lbs per arm (200lbs total) is plenty for me.

    My background is a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology, a CSCS certification through the NSCA, formerly USA Weightlifting Level I certification, and has worked in professional athletics high performance for over a decade. Not peacocking but just saying I’m not a know-nothing newbie here trying to convince all the experts out there.

    I totally agree with the posts about the subscription traps. That’s real and it does suck. And once you cancel your subscription, you lose all the worthwhile functionality except for a manually programmed wall mounted functional trainer. I totally disagree with the non-owners who, without actually training on it, want to flame a product I feel has a ton of future potential for something we all love - strength and fitness.
    Last edited by bernieholliday; 08-15-2021 at 03:19 AM.
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  5. #35
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    Originally Posted by bernieholliday View Post
    And this beta male has a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology, a CSCS certification through the NSCA, formerly USA Weightlifting Level I certification, and has worked in professional athletics high performance for over a decade. Not peacocking but just saying I’m not a no-nothing newbie here trying to convince all the experts out there.
    The word you were seeking is know-nothing, Doc.
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    Yikes, well that’s ironic. Dang it. Corrected and edited to be more informational and less reactionary.
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    Originally Posted by bernieholliday View Post
    I totally disagree with the non-owners who, without actually training on it, want to flame a product I feel has a ton of future potential for something we all love - strength and fitness.
    In all fairness I've never jumped off a bridge either, but I'm fairly certain of the outcome without having 'hands on' experience. The issue I have with the Tonal gym is mainly the price, for the same amount of money you can outfit a high quality home gym with no monthly subscription. In addition to price what you have described doesn't sound appealing. It's not magically providing more effective resistance than free weights, you were shaking because you are pressing on an awkward (an potentially unbalanced) cable driven machine. Coincidentally you get that same feeling when you press on a Bowflex machine, they also have magical rubber band technology proven to be 99.99% more effective than training with free weights.
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  8. #38
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    The issue I have with the Tonal gym is mainly the price, for the same amount of money you can outfit a high quality home gym with no monthly subscription.
    Tonal really isn't going for the person who has an idea of outfitting a full garage gym or even a room within a house, they may claim that's in the target market, but they're really going after the person with limited space who was a gym goer who no longer wants to go to a gym and has the money for the ongoing monthly subscription. I do agree with you that the price is high and you have to pay for this ongoing subscription, but I doubt Tonal fits for a lot of us who've put together nice spaces to train in their garage or house outside of the person with money to blow who's looking for a really clean functional trainer to hang on a wall so that his wife or girlfriend can workout as well.
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  9. #39
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    Originally Posted by bernieholliday View Post
    I’m going to get torched for sharing this, but it’s how I feel. It’s my turn to whack this hornet’s nest. I’ve always been a barbell, bumper plate, pull-up cage, HIIT kinda guy. I’m over lifting in my my 125 degree FL garage after 12 years. Two years ago, I saw this Tonal thing come up in my FB feed and thought WTF?! Then, amused, I researched it. Then, curiously I researched it. Then, I seriously researched it. Then, two months ago, I bought it. I’ve only had the Tonal for three weeks, but I’m way in. The programs and trainers are good, especially for less experienced folks. But the variable resistance is its strength in my opinion for advanced lifters - it can do “chains” mode where the weight gets heavier as you lift the weight, “eccentric” mode where the load gets heavier as you lower the weight, and “smart flex” mode where the weight matches various muscles’ strength curve. It has “spotter mode” which recognizes when you struggle to complete a rep and it drops the resistance a few pounds so you can finish. I’ve used all of these modes, and they’re all legit and elevate the experience and effectiveness.

    I’m not a big guy at 5’10”, 170lbs, and 48 years old. For example, I warm up benching at 135 and work my way up to a few heavier sets around 225 on free weights. On the Tonal, I programmed the weight to 135 and could barely finish three reps before my arms were shaking uncontrollably and I almost felt pinned underneath the machine. So, the magnetic resistance does seem to play at a much higher resistance than free weights. 100lbs per arm (200lbs total) is plenty for me.

    My background is a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology, a CSCS certification through the NSCA, formerly USA Weightlifting Level I certification, and has worked in professional athletics high performance for over a decade. Not peacocking but just saying I’m not a know-nothing newbie here trying to convince all the experts out there.

    I totally agree with the posts about the subscription traps. That’s real and it does suck. And once you cancel your subscription, you lose all the worthwhile functionality except for a manually programmed wall mounted functional trainer. I totally disagree with the non-owners who, without actually training on it, want to flame a product I feel has a ton of future potential for something we all love - strength and fitness.
    No matter how you spin it, you're still paying considerably more for considerably less. Even if we concede that the Tonal at 200 lbs is equal to an FT with a 200-lb weight stack, you are paying 3 times the price of an Inspire FTX (closer to 2 times if you upgrade the weight stack on the FTX to 210 lbs). Heck, for less than the price of the Tonal you could get a pristine, used Cybex Bravo (the Cadillac of FTs). Moreover, you are required to pay that subscription fee forever and you have the added cost of regular repairs that are inherent to every piece of magnetic-resistance equipment. The Tonal is also a residential piece, so I would wager that you'll be servicing these components more often than you would a commercial elliptical (for example). At the end of the day, you're paying far, far more than you would for a quality FT simply so you can have the interactive element. If that's what you need to keep you going, then it has value. For me though, it would just be paying more for less.
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    I appreciate the willingness to dialogue here and I agree with much of what’s been said - especially the upfront cost and the monthly subscription to maintain the machine’s full functionality, and that a bar, rack, plates, and some used Powerblocks will cost thousands less. Yes, the cost is a huge pill to swallow. I’m willing to give this a sincere run and pay the upfront and monthly costs not because of the online programming, but because of the AI variable resistance modes. I largely lift and train alone (I enjoy training alone) and won’t do a lot of the things I want to do in my garage rack without a spotter. So, I find myself backing off going really heavy at times or risking an extra rep at the end of a set, etc. The Tonal variable AI stuff that piqued my curiosity were eccentric load, chains mode, smart flex mode (resistance adjusts within a rep to match a movement’s strength curve), spotter mode, and burnout mode - many of these things I’m afraid to attempt alone in my garage. This week, I hit failure during the final set on a few exercises, and after coming to a dead stop 2/3 of the way through the rep ROM, I felt the AI decrease the resistance by 2-3lbs allowing me to complete the set. I sat up surprised and intrigued by that experience.

    And I likely had a ton more money invested in my garage setups the past decade as I constantly attempted to score all sorts of like-new bargain finds, and for where I’m at now in life and my fitness journey, this actually feels cheaper, more form-fitting and consolidated, and more consistently utilized compared to where I was at with my sprawling garage of stuff - ha!

    I don’t know how this will play out and I don’t know if I’ll walk away from my experience thrilled or disappointed, but for now, it’s a fun and different experience seeing how moving weight intersects with high technology and gamification. We’ll see!
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    All workout equipment hits a different target audience. I can't say that I'd NEVER consider a Tonal. If I had a very tight space then I probably would. I wouldn't need the subscription, I'm assuming the subscription really only lets Tonal program your workouts for you, I'm not sure on that though. If the function of the machine was the same, I can program my own workouts. The truth is, we the people who dedicate space in our homes to workout equipment and actually use it are in the vast minority. The majority of people have zero desire to learn how to do a barbell back squat, they just want to do some leg extensions and curls for their legs. In my training I need variety. In my home gym I can do just about any movement with either a barbell, smith machine, lever machine, dumbbell, or from my functional trainer. If I have to do every workout using a power cage and barbell, I'd probably quit. If I ever needed to truly downsize I can see being able to do everything I need on just my functional trainer, but I'd probably do them sporadically and it would eventually gather dust. The percentage of people in this country that have never walked into a gym is astounding. The fitness industry for years have been trying to find a way to attract these people. Tonal may well just become a mechanized BowFlex in the future, it wouldn't surprise me. They'll end up sitting on the wall of some small room attracting dust. If people are not motivated to go into a gym and workout they probably never will be at home either. We just probably won't see as many Tonal's on the used market since they really take up little to no room and you have to have them installed.
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    The other challenge with anything electronic that relies on a subscription is you're depending on that company to support the device. What if they decide they don't want to support a certain version of product anymore? Maybe they jack up the price? What if the company goes bankrupt? You're really at the mercy of the owner of the necessary subscription. That type of thing really scares me long term.

    Cricut was a recent example of subscription shenanigans. Wink too.
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