In this article, we’ll review the new FORME Life “smart” home gym to find out if it’s the best option among all the new premium home workout systems that you’re likely seeing ads for.
How many times do you work out per week, or rather how many times did you work out pre-COVID-19? The pandemic and the resulting stay-at-home orders disrupted too many people’s workout routine — and not in the innovative, Silicon Valley sense of the word.
In fact, as of May 2020, over 38,000 gyms closed as a result of the pandemic. Clearly the total number is much larger than that, and with so many amazing smart home gyms flooding the market, it seems unlikely all the regular gyms will come back.
FORME Life Overview
But what makes them so special? What makes them stand out from the crowd? Let’s take a look.
Source: FORME Life
Home Gyms 2.0: Why now is a great time to invest
Sure, you may have tried investing in a home gym before. Maybe you’ve owned an exercise bike or a treadmill, or both. And as recent as a decade ago, these were basically your only options when it came to home workouts. Unless, of course, you had a bench and some weights or an exercise DVD. But there’s something else all these have in common… Yep, you guessed it: after a few months of gungho dedication, they all end up as expensive, and ugly, pieces of furniture left collecting dust.
So, now you probably want to know what makes smart home gym equipment different than your old (dumb) models? For one, it’s far more interactive and offers a lot more variety. Connected fitness equipment provides loads of workout options, most of which are on demand, ready when you are. For example, you get to choose your program, specific workouts, or, in some cases, let the system pick one for you. So, there’s no more staring at a wall waiting for your run to finish. This, ultimately, ups the appeal of using a smart home gym because, let’s face it, if you enjoy it more, you’ll keep doing it.
Also, with some models you can download and stream new content, often as part of a subscription package and you can analyze your performance over time to see how your fitness is improving. And if you’re ever bored with your current plan, workout regime, or you feel that you’ve hit plateau, many of these gyms can recommend new options from their AI and/or human trainers. The simple fact is, these smart home gyms offer you everything you need for a more personalized fitness journey.
If the pandemic stays around, which, let’s face it, seems likely at this point — it’s easy to see why smart home gyms are appealing. It gives gym rats the opportunity to do highly effective workouts despite being stuck in their
cage home. And with the other benefits they offer, it’s not crazy to imagine that they’re here to stay even after it’s safe to go to a traditional gym again. Or put simply, they may just be the future of fitness.
Smart Home Gym Buying Guide: How to choose a smart gym for your home
But now the question is, what should you look for in a smart home gym? Should you just go out and buy the first one that looks like it will work. Well, at $1-$3k each, the simple answer is no. First of all because it’s not safe to go out during COVID. But more importantly, there are several things you should consider when choosing a smart home gym, such as:
- Personal Fitness Goals: Look at your long-term goals and what you want to achieve from the home gym. In other words, consider one that offers workouts, coaches, and content that you feel will make the most of your fitness journey.
- Don’t overreach: Know your limits. It’s better to leave your ego at the door, and be sure you’ll be able to do the exercises the machine offers. People often overcommit when buying gym memberships, but the same is true with home gyms.
- Positive Reviews: It must have a highly reviewed app. In this day and age, most will, but it’s best to avoid the gym if it doesn’t offer an app. This offers some flexibility when you, for instance, want to take your workout outdoors or when you travel.
- Frequently Updated Software: Look for a gym that gets updates often. These smart home gyms are only as good as their underlying code, so it’s important that the software be updated regularly. If not, it will only lead to trouble later as new technologies become available.
Now, with all this in mind, let’s review FORME Life, which is a newer entrant to the market that’s rapidly growing in popularity.
FORME Life opened a popup shop in my local mall and lured me in with their shiny screens.
What is FORME Life?
Launched in 2020, FORME Life is the most immersive and engaging experience you will find in home fitness. Or at least that’s according to Woman’s Health magazine who named it the Best Home Studio in the 2020 Fitness Awards.
|FORME LIfe’s streaming mirror and fitness system was developed by Yves Béhar, who founded the brand along with CEO Trent Ward. Béhar has been at the forefront of innovative product design and has brought many exciting products to market. And like many of his other designs, the FORME Life definitely does not disappoint aesthetically. We think this design-focus alone makes it well positioned to revolutionize its industry.|
When turned off, the device serves as a wall mounted or standing mirror. And just by looking at it when it’s off, one of its first benefits is immediately apparent. Like an Apple product, it’s clear that FORME Life’s smart home gym was designed for people who value elegant design.
When turned on, though, the real magic happens. Instructors appear in the mirror leading interactive workouts. These expert instructors guide users through their exercises and motivate them throughout. And it’s not like watching an instructor on a TV or smaller screen. FORME Life’s goal is to make the experience as lifelike as possible and make it feel like an in-person training session or group workout class. Their virtual workouts feel more like having a personal trainer than watching a Youtube video, as the instructor can comment on your form specifically.
How big is FORME Life’s Screen?
FORME Life offers a 43-inch 4K UHD display, with voice control, and a touch screen to compliment the live training content. It’s immersive enough to feel like the instructor is in the room with you. And there’s enough workout variety to never feel bored. With so many live classes, FORME Life is able to deliver a personalized workout any day of the week based on your fitness level and goals.
What other technology makes FORME Life unique?
By using machine learning and AI, FORME Life can suggest the correct resistance level for a specific exercise and adjust automatically as your fitness improves. Stereoscopic cameras and advanced human-like computer vision sense your movement and can provide real-time feedback on form. Should users, however, wish to train with a human instructor, the system is fully enabled for two-way live interaction — like a zoom call for fitness, but on a huge screen in your living room.
FORME Life Studio vs Studio Lift: What’s the difference between FORME Life’s two models?
Depending on your needs, either of FORME Life’s models could work well. The screen only “Studio” allows users to train with free weights, bodyweight, or barre. With this model users can also do meditation sessions or dance.
By contrast, the “Studio Lift” adds resistance training into the mix and comes with strength training arms that tuck behind the unit when not in use. Accessories for both models include the Barre, and an adjustable bench and wellness mat that’s slated to launch soon.
In our opinion, the Studio offers more than enough workout variety without the resistance arms, especially since you can always add additional accessories. Thus you shouldn’t feel obligated to upgrade to the higher-end Lift, unless you’re already hooked on resistance workouts. FORME Life also makes the following accessory bundles to augment your workout experience:
- Sculpt: a bundle with 3 weights, weight tree, ankle bands and weights
- Barre: a bundle with the barre, ball, and barre socks
- Have it all: a bundle with the barre, 3 weights, weight tree, ankle weights, bands, ball, barre socks.
How much does FORME Life cost?
When it comes to pricing, the “Studio” comes in at $2,495 and the “Studio Lift” costs $4,495. That’s no small investment, but unfortunately that’s not all. Customers must also pay $39/month for the FORME Life app subscription to access the newest and ever-evolving workout content. That said, FORME Life’s home gym is competitively priced in the market compared to similar home workout experiences like Tonal, and considering everything it offers, it may well be the best smart home gym you can buy. See the comparison chart below for more details on FORME Life’s pricing vs competitors.
How does FORME Life compare to other smart home gyms?
So, the FORME Life sounds awesome, but what’s a review without looking at some competitors, right?
Here, we compare FORME Life to three players in the market: one more established brand, two recent entries, and one new kid on the block. All viable and well-reviewed with thousands of happy customers. Here’s how FORME Life stacks up to other leading home gyms:
Smart Home Gym Comparison
|Equipment Type||Wall mounted, floor mounter, or free standing||Wall mounted screen and pulley system||Workout armoire||Workout armoire|
|Resistance Equipment||Free FORME handles, premium rope handle, short bar, and ankle straps.||Built-in electromagnetic arms||Dumbbells and kettlebell||Barbells, dumbbells and plates|
|Color||Mirror finish||Black||Grey||White or black|
|Speakers||–||15w stereo speakers||20w surround bar||60w stereo speakers|
|Price||$2,495 for the Studio and $4495 for the Studio Lift||$2,995 for the base model and $495 for the accessories||$2,199||$1,995|
|Delivery Price||Included||Not included||Included||Not included|
|Financing||$69.31 per month for the Studio and $124.86 per month for the Studio Lift||$149 per month for 36 months||None||$55 per month for 36 months|
Tonal vs FORME Life: Which is best?
Launched in 2018, Tonal has been on the market the longest. With a form factor most similar to FORME Life’s, it’s a wall mounted system that uses electromagnetism to simulate weight training. And also like FORME Life, Tonal offers a membership that gives users access to a library of workouts and training plans. Where it differs, though, is that there is no live training, and its screen is significantly smaller. Most would agree that Tonal’s design — while sleek — isn’t quite as beautiful as FORME Life’s, in case that matters at all.
FORME Life vs Tempo Studio: Which is better?
On the other end of the spectrum is the Tempo Studio. Unlike FORME Life and the Tonal, it’s a completely different form factor. Instead of sitting affixed to your wall, Tempo’s Studio is a free-standing workout and weight stand with a built-in screen. It’s not as aesthetically pleasing, but you can move it around more easily, and offers many of the same features as the wall-mounted competitors, including free weights for resistance training. Starting at $1,995, Tempo’s home gyms are much more affordable than FORME Life, but if space is at a premium and you want something that lends itself to better aesthetics, FORME Life is worth splurging for.
FORME Life vs JaxJox
Currently only open for pre-orders, the JaxJox is the newest kid on the block. Like the Tempo Studio, JaxJox offers a weight stand with a built-in screen. It is, however, significantly bulkier than the Tempo, but features innovative Dumbbell Connect and Kettlebell Connect systems that digitally adjust the weight. Pretty cool, we have to admit. JaxJox offers high quality video workouts with plenty of variety. It’s a really versatile gym, but definitely requires the most space in your home. For those who want a less bulky option, we recommend wall-mounted options like FORME Life or Tonal.
FORME Life Reviews: What are customers saying?
When purchasing a $2k-$5k home gym, it’d be foolish to only consider our opinion alone, but we are far from the only ones impressed with FORME Life’s offering. Women’s Health magazine named it the Best Home Studio in their 2020 Fitness Awards, writing:
“Here’s a home studio that’s basically plateau-proof. It uses AI to ensure you’re always being challenged—be it during resistance training or barre class. (Oh, and celeb trainer Harley Pasternak happens to be its Chief Fitness Advisor, FYI.)”
Likewise, according to askmen.com, “FORME Life stands out from the rest thanks to its barre, adjustable foldaway bench, anti-fatigue wellness mat, and incredibly well thought out storing system. They added that the 4K video and voice command control, maybe makes it one of the best mirror gyms to date.”
Surface Magazine included FORME Life their 2020 tech gift guide, noting that:
“Wherever there is innovation, Yves Behar is usually near. That’s certainly the case with Forme Life, an A.I.–driven oversized fitness mirror equipped with resistance training equipment and a touch-screen experience that accesses a library of workouts for the body and mind. Compact, stylish, and tech-forward, Behar has done nothing short of revolutionize the home gym.”
Admittedly, FORME Life is a brand new product without a ton of public customer reviews yet. Having launched during the global pandemic, there are some customer complaints about supply chain / shipping delays. We understand that the last year has been difficult and that intense demand surges can lead to shortages, even in normal times, so we cut FORME Life some slack on this front.
Source: FORME Life
The Verdict: Is FORME Life the most legit home gym?
We’ve reviewed a lot of home gyms and fitness trackers since the start of COVID forced us to consider alternatives, and I can honestly say FORME Life is among the very best connected fitness devices on the market. Besides being the sexiest looking, it’s got a robust feature set that will enable you to feel the burn, regardless of current fitness levels or whether your prefer cardio, strength training, or a mix of both. The only major downside is FORME Life’s higher price vs the competition. With the Studio Lift at $4,495 being the single most expensive home gym we’ve seen emerge during the pandemic, FORME Life’s more basic Studio option is more reasonable at $2,495. That’s less than Tonal’s wall-mounted option, but it’s not quite an apples-to-apples comparison since Tonal has arms for a greater variety of resistance workouts.
Not ready to pull the trigger? FORME Life now offers you the opportunity to see and feel the exceptional difference of their Personal Training Studios at one of their retail stores in Westfield malls across the country. You can book an in-person demo to see for yourself if it’ll work for you. We’re confident you’ll want one after you give it a shot.