Fitness Equipment Choices


A look at the pros and cons of some fitness equipment systems

As summer has given way to deep fall and soon we will be in the holiday season, it may be the right time to consider an investment into your own personal fitness equipment. Typically, pre-holiday deals can be found, but the type of fitness gear to buy can be daunting. I have a few options for you to consider, but as always, fitness is highly individualized and what you choose is entirely your decision. As always, consult a physician before starting any fitness program and do your own research prior to spending a large sum of money on equipment that may just end up becoming a dust collector. Full disclosure: I am a TRX certified trainer and I own several of the items we will discuss, but I am not sponsored by any company. 

TRX® suspension system. The TRX system was developed by members of the military as a way to do some type of physical activity when deployed to locations that didn’t have any fitness equipment. Just think old-school calisthenics meets gymnastics. You can even augment the TRX system buy purchasing a jump rope, I have several, including weighted ropes.


  • These items take up little space and can be thrown into your carry-on bag and is ideal for fitness on the go. 
  • Low barrier into entry. Cost is relative to the amount you can afford to pay, but for around $150.00, you have a few pieces of equipment that can start you on your fitness journey


  • These items won’t “build” muscle in the long run but will help you increase your cardio system.
  • Finding a place to hang the TRX when you’re on the go can be prohibitive. Although the system is advertised as “anywhere you go you can use” system, imagine trying to hang it from a tree at your local hotel courtyard. It may not go over well. The same is true for home use. You have to mount it somewhere, be it on a wall or from a tree, but that can old get fast.

The Lululemon Studio Mirror or Tonal. I personally own the Studio Mirror and it’s a decent device for the person who wants to work out at home. Of course, my wife is the real owner of this system as she enjoys all the classes that Lululemon produces for the Mirror. She also enjoys the privacy of doing those classes without feeling pressured or judged for what programs or classes she chooses. I have tested the Tonal Mirror system at a local Nordstrom and it’s a good product that allows the user to have a sizable resistance platform system with the benefit of classes pushed tot the device.


  • Both systems have classes that are constantly being pushed to them via the subscription, which means you’ll have new classes or workouts to choose from.
  • Each system has numerous accessories that you can purchase to really take your fitness program to the next level.


  • Both systems are expensive. The Studio Mirror comes in around $2000, before you start adding accessories. The Tonal starts at $3400 and goes up with accessories. This could be cost prohibitive for the average user.
  • Each requires dedicated space to either be mounted (Tonal must be wall mounted) or sat upon the floor (Studio Mirror has an option to rest on the floor or be wall mounted).
  • If you attend virtual classes, the systems have cameras that show the coaches how you’re doing the moves. Is this a lack of privacy?
  • Each of these are subscription based, which means outside of the initial cost you’ll incur a monthly user fee. The Mirror currently has monthly fees in excess of $35.

Home gym(s). This can be a little misleading as any exercise equipment you combine will technically become your home gym. Think free weights with some sort of bench (be it a traditional bench/bar combo) or a rack. I personally have a half rack which allows me to do pull-ups, squats, and bench presses. Of course, you can always go crazy with the number of weights you have. Currently I have nearly 400lbs. of free weights, an Olympic bar, plus the Select-Tech dumbbells by Bowflex®.


  • You can build out your home gym to your own personal preferences. I have spent several years adding to my design and am always searching for ways to improve my system. 
  • It’s your home and your design which means you’ll be working out in the comfort of your own space. 
  • You can always find deals on used equipment


  • You will always find ways to keep spending money on ways to get more out of your gym. This can be expensive over time because you’ll find ways to add to what you have. 
  • Commercial quality equipment is expensive. I recently found a “total home gym” that was reduced to only $5,500.00, but it has a lifetime warranty.

As I have said, fitness is personal and while I have listed a few options, there are so many more out there. If you want to invest in a home-gym option do your own research and have a plan based on your goals. These investments won’t bring you revenue, but will work to create a healthier, longer life for you and your family

As always, if you have questions or ideas for future articles, please send an email to and I will do my best to include your idea. 

SOURCEAero Crew News, November 2022
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Eric Ray is a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. Eric is also a pilot, whose latest type rating is the Boeing 737. To contact Eric, please email him:


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