The effectiveness of cardio workout has been obvious for a long time to professional athletes, fans of fitness and active lifestyle, supporters of home trainings and even beginners who know only the basics of building a healthy fit body.
But the modern way of life also leaves an imprint – not everyone is able to allocate time in personal schedule to spend on the road to the gym and back for the sake of cardio.
Regarding to this fact, more and more people acquire fitness machines for home activities, especially smart simulators with touchscreen monitors.
Why do they buy exactly these simulators?
In addition to key training indicators (time, speed, burned calories, etc.), an athlete can view entertaining, sporting and motivational content on the screen and thereby increase the duration of the workout. In addition, exercise machines of this class are implied to have connection to WI-FI. However, each manufacturer of similar fitness machines has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is sometimes difficult for a consumer to make a decision.
To slightly simplify this difficult task, in this article we decided to compare three American brands – Life Fitness, Peloton Interactive and Watson Dynamics – in order to choose the best option for home fitness.
Briefly about selected manufacturers of cardiovascular machines:
The Life Fitness brand has been known since 1968. At the moment, this transnational company is a leading manufacturer and supplier of simulators and additional premium fitness equipment. They implement their equipment under the brands Life Fitness and Hammer Strength.
What is released in the line with touchscreen screens?
• Treadmills for home,
• Lifecycle Bicycle for Home,
• Elliptical cross-simulators for home,
• ARC Home Simulators,
• Stepper PowerMill for stimulation of climbing up the staires.
As you can see, the line of smart trainers for cardio is quite extensive.
The company began its work in the fitness domain in 2012 and is currently based in New York. It specializes on the production of stationary fitness machines connected to the Internet with a monthly subscription for access to workout.
What is released in the line with touchscreen screens?
Here the range is narrower due to the focus on software and content for subscription.
The brand was founded in 2011 by a team of enthusiasts consisted of experienced engineers, scientists and specialists in biomechanics. Initially, it was not a commercial project: the company was engaged in the development of smart simulators commissioned by the US Sports Federation in athletics, cross-country running, highway running and racing in collaboration with the Association for Applied Sports Psychology and AI application development team from the Silicon Valley.
Only after successfull completion of the project and check of the efficiency of their simulators with the participation of professional athletes and Olympic champions, Watson Dynamics decided to make the simulators available for the mass market and home fitness trainings. They produce treadmills, cycling, rowing and elliptical simulators.
Since 2016 up to this date, the company has been continued to work on improving its simulators. Watson Dynamics is developing a neural network (based on artificial intelligence), which will increase the performance of training by 50%. The idea is that the neural network will independently regulate the workload, taking into account the peculiarities of health, level of physical training and endurance of each athlete.
Let’s draw a line under the comparison of brands:
• The most diverse is the Life Fitness brand. Their range of simulators is significantly wider than the one by Peloton Interactive or Watson Dynamics in terms of range.
• The most promising is the Watson Dynamics brand due to the upcoming implementation of artificial intelligence in the entire line of cardiovascular machines, embodied in the application.
To make the comparison more objective and understandable, we suggest to compare specific models of simulators of these brands with each other.
To do this, we selected the treadmills with touchscreen monitors, because they are represented in the array of each manufacturer.
Let’s take the following features:
• Depreciation system
• Engine power
• Technical features
• Interactive component
We move to the most interesting part:
Our “objects” of sports research:
• Life Fitness Platinum D SE3 HD treadmill
• TREAD Treadmill from Peloton Interactive
• Pro 300 treadmill from Watson Dynamics
Quality. Here all simulators prove themselves equally well – hypoallergenic materials, reliable components. All the above-mentioned models comply to international standards and this indicates their quality.
Depreciation system. The Life Fitness treadmill is equipped with a FlexDeck 2.0 damping system with 8 Lifespring damping devices — it reduces strain on the joints by up to 30% compared to non-damping surfaces. Nevertheless, such a number of shock absorbers can be called excessive. It is lake a feeling of a certain “trampoline” – the foot simply bounces off the roadbed of the track. Subsequently, this “bad habit” will significantly hinder running on the asphalt.
The Watson Dynamics treadmill, in its turn, is equipped with 4 cylindrical elastomers with variable level of stiffness, which is the optimal number of shock absorbers for the running roadbed. This number is enough to relieve the strain in the joints and provide comfort to the sportsman, but at the same time not to «wean» him from running in real conditions.
The characteristics of the Peloton Interactive treadmill do not indicate the depreciation system at all. If the reason of this reticense is the complete absence of this option, then this threatens not only to load up the joints, but also increase the risk of receiving severe injuries.
It turns out that in the matter of the depreciation system, the “palm of the championship” is held by a Watson Dynamics treadmill.
Engine power. According to this parameter, the tracks from Watson Dynamics and Life Fitness go hand-in-hand – 4 h.p., which is the optimal indicator for cardiovascular machines of this class. The Peloton Interactive model is equipped with a 3 h.p. engine, which may be insufficient during the intense loads.
Technical features. All models belong to the class of motorized treadmills, have a convenient adjustment system and are equipped with the function of changing the inclination angle for a variety of loads. Each model exhibites a low noise level, which is very relevant for use at home. Well, and everything that regards the information useful for the athlete is identical here – on the monitors of the treadmills of specific manufacturers all necessary information – speed, duration of occupation, number of burned calories, etc – is displayed.
The most curious thing here is an approach to the creation and testing of cardiovascular machines itself:
In Life Fitness, track development is carried out using the computer modeling of human and simulator interaction parameters, and in Watson Dynamics, development and final testing is carried out with the involvement of professional athletes and even Olympic champions in athletics.
Peloton Interactive, for its part, is generally silent about such features. In addition, at one period the manufacturer recorded 40 cases of injuries due to safety problems specifically on treadmills.
According to this, Watson Dynamics forges ahead in technical features because of the “real” testing with athletes. and Peloton Interactive is left behind due to such a negative page in their history.
Interactive component. Perhaps one of the most important parameters in the question of fitness machines with monitors!
Life Fitness and Watson Dynamics are quite similar to each other in this regard. Both manufacturers offer quite an extensive training library with different levels of complexity and duration, as well as a large selection of entertaining content for their athletes. At the moment, we can even say that their interactive platforms are equal.
But here the perspective joins the game! As mentioned before, Watson Dynamics continues to upgrade the interactive fitness platform and aim to create a neural network.
The meaning is following: AI, connected to this network, independently selects the load for the sportsman based on his well-being and level of physical training. Additionally, it controls the accuracy of each exercise, allowing you to avoid injuries and “empty” approaches, and also signals you about overwork or negative reaction of your body to the load. A rather tempting prospect that opens up new opportunities for fitness at home !
Life Fitness does not plan any innovations of this kind.
What about Peloton Interactive? They focus exclusively on sports content. Thousands of running tutorials of various duration, complexity and training styles are offered to users. To record tutorials, they also attract eminent fitness coaches and professional athletes. Entertainment content is not included in the range of their interests.
There is another “BUT”: to access sports classes, you will have to buy a subscription for $64 per month. With this arrangement, access to Peloton Interactive training will cost you $768 per year. Not the most profitable investment!
Based on the information above, Watson Dynamics is more preferable here thanks to the development of a neural network, which upon completion of work, will be available to all owners of equipment and Peloton Interactive is less beneficial due to the mandatory additional expenses.
Cost. Here is the most agitative data:
• Life Fitness’s Platinum D SE3 HD treadmill is $9,299.
• TREAD treadmill from Peloton Interactive – $2,495.
• Pro 300 treadmill from Watson Dynamics – $1700.
How do you like this run? If you do not want to overpay for the brand, then the choice is obvious – of course it’s Watson Dynamics!
What do we have as a result?
According to 4 parameters out of 6, the cardiovascular machine from Watson Dynamics gains a confident victory.
The line of smart-cardio simulators from this manufacturer will really be the optimal choice for sport activities at home. Excellent quality, impressive technical characteristics, a fitness platform saturated with diverse content, adequate cost and the tempting prospect of becoming the owner of the neural network – Watson Dynamics has everything you can want both at the amateur and professional level of sports!