Just like working from home, working out from home has its perks, like no commute and a flexible schedule. But after a few months, exercising between the same four walls every day may start to feel repetitive. That’s why connected fitness has become so popular. By giving you access to classes synced to your machine, working out becomes way more interesting.
Ready to elevate your home fitness studio with a smart workout machine? Here, we help you decide which one is right for your fitness goals.
1What is connected fitness?
The term “connected fitness” once referred to workout apps and fitness trackers (like our fave Fitbits). However, the category has evolved and now includes smart gym equipment like treadmills and stationary bikes. Equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, smart gym equipment allows users to try instructor-led workouts (similar to an in-person class) or simulated outdoor workouts (like virtual rowing on rivers around the world).
Smart exercise equipment connects to the internet and links to a compatible app that provides tutorials, customized insights and live and on-demand workouts, which you stream on the machine’s display screen. If there’s no screen, the equipment will connect to the app on your phone, tablet or smart TV, where you can view these features.
It’s sort of like having a personal trainer, only it’s actually the high-tech fitness equipment that guides you based on your goals and fitness level.
There are a variety of smart home gym machines on the market with different approaches to getting you in shape. Many are smart upgrades to traditional cardio equipment like treadmills and bikes, which bring the in-person class experience into your home. Others rely heavily on technology to turn your workout into more of a game via virtual locations and challenges.
Smart cardio equipment can even automatically adjust things like speed, incline, and resistance.
|Treadmill||Getting in steps and building cardiovascular endurance|
|Bike||A sweaty, calorie-torching cardio workout|
|Elliptical||Taking the load off bad knees or easing into regular cardio|
|Rower||Low-impact cardio and a total-body workout|
|Mirror||A wide variety of workout styles|
A treadmill is versatile and a great choice for almost anyone looking to improve their cardiovascular fitness. And with a smart treadmill, you’ll get the same benefits of a traditional treadmill with the added bonus of access to expert trainers and on-demand studio sessions.
|You can try virtual runs in breathtaking locations around the world.||Treadmills tend to be the bulkiest workout machines. However, some models can fold up.|
|Many smart treadmills automatically adjust your speed and incline according to your chosen workout.|
Shop connected treadmills
Riding a regular exercise bike is very much a solo workout, but a connected bike will give you a cycling experience similar to what you’d get in a studio class.
|You’ll get encouragement and feedback from an instructor and be able to feed off the energy of people taking the class.||It’s a one-track workout so you better love cycling to make it worth the investment.|
|If your bike has a leaderboard (most do!), use it as motivation to push harder and move up in rank.|
We’ve also rounded up our favourite exercise bikes at Walmart—connected and not!
Shop connected exercise bikes
Choose a connected elliptical if you want a low-impact cardio workout that will be easier on your joints than running on a treadmill.
|An elliptical offers both upper and lower body resistance.||It’s not as versatile as a smart treadmill, which allows for side shuffles, walking lunges, treadmill push-ups and more.|
|They take up less floor space than treadmills.|
Shop connected ellipticals
A smart rower may appear to primarily offer an arm workout, but rowing machines actually provide a low-impact, high-cardio total-body workout that challenges the legs, arms and back while also increasing your heart rate.
|It’s a compact piece of cardio equipment and one of the quietest.||It may be intimidating to use for beginners.|
|You can virtually transport to lakes and rivers around the world, taking in the sights while getting in a sweat.|
Shop connected rowers
If space and design are priorities for you and you enjoy a variety of workout styles, a fitness mirror is the best option for you. This smart home gym looks like a full-length mirror but is actually a complete fitness centre with a touchscreen, access to personal trainers and plenty of live and on-demand classes. You can add dumbbells and accessories to increase resistance.
|You can see your reflection in the mirror to keep tabs on your form and progress.||It’s currently one of the most expensive types of connected fitness equipment.|
|When not in use, a fitness mirror will blend seamlessly into your home decor.|
Shop smart mirrors
3Why choose connected fitness?
Connected fitness is all about creating a great home-workout experience thanks to a wide selection of virtual classes and customization options. There are several benefits to smart gym equipment:
- Variety: Enjoy playlists, themed workouts and access to hundreds of live and on-demand classes led by expert instructors.
- Convenience: Get an in-studio experience that accommodates your schedule, so you’ll never lose your spot in class again.
- Motivation: If working out with others is part of what motivates you, live classes or virtual challenges can help recreate that accountability.
- Personalization: Some connected fitness machines act as virtual personal trainers, either through live trainers or fitness-calibrated AI technology.
- Community: Connect with others via live leaderboards that show class rankings or through community chat groups where members can share tips and encouragement.
- Safety: Since the trainer and other participants aren’t physically in the room with you, you don’t have to worry about bacteria or viruses spreading on the equipment or through the air.
- Privacy: Want to work out in your PJs? Go right ahead.
Virtually all smart gym equipment requires a subscription to a specific fitness app to access the full set of features. Most machines will come with at least a 30-day free trial with purchase. After that, expect to pay for continuous access to trainers, live and on-demand classes and virtual workouts.
Here are some of the common apps:
||Exerpeutic, Fitness Reality, WHMH||$14.99 USD/month|
Walmart carries brands at price points that offer something for everyone.
- Echelon makes a variety of gym equipment but is probably best known for its spin bikes, which are a great Peloton alternative. They have comparable connectivity and sleek design—but you’ll save more than $1,000—and the Echelon app even looks similar to Peloton’s version.
- NordicTrack has been manufacturing exercise equipment for nearly 50 years. They’re known for inventing the original cross-country ski machine and have since expanded into manufacturing premium exercise machines like their smart ellipticals. They’re the most luxe brand of connected fitness that Walmart carries.
- ProForm offers budget-friendly smart treadmills and ellipticals. Their machines don’t have screens but still offer great connectivity and app compatibility.
- Schwinn is well known among outdoor cyclists as a leading bike manufacturer. The company has combined years of expertise with tech to create well-designed smart bikes.
- Exerpeutic is known for reasonably priced home exercise equipment—especially folding, easy-to-transport indoor bikes.
The higher price point of smart gym equipment can be chalked up to its interactivity and customization. You’re paying for the workout technology in addition to the actual equipment.
|Machine||Price: Connected||Price: Not connected|
|Bike||$400 to $2,000+||$200 to $800|
|Treadmill||$600 to $2,300+||$300 to $1,500|
|Elliptical||$500 to $2,300+||$300 to $1,000|
|Rower||$500 to $1,400+||$200 to $1,000|
Additional fees will include your monthly subscription to a fitness app (usually $20 to $50 per month), but that’s a drop in the bucket if you compared it to the cost of the average spin class ($15 to $25 every time).
What about subscribing to an app with a regular exercise machine? That’s one way to hack your own connected fitness set-up. But you’ll miss out on a few things:
- If you’re following along with a guided workout via the app, your basic machine won’t automatically increase in speed, incline or resistance the way a smart machine would.
- Your stats won’t sync up to the leaderboard, so you’ll miss the motivation of competing with classmates.
Even more home gym equipment
Prices shown are subject to change. Please check Walmart.ca for the latest pricing.
This article is intended as general information. To be sure a product is right for you, always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.