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The RW snack: After a four-month evaluation of the Tempo Plus, our author provides a detailed analysis of its functions and whether the effort is worth it.
Price: Starting at $ 2,495 plus $ 39 / month membership fee (with a one-year commitment)
Oh, strength training. It’s the thing that most runners have a love-hate relationship with – including me. I know it is necessary to improve my running shape and speed, but it’s not running. Hence, it is much harder to gather the motivation to do it consistently.
But when the coronavirus pandemic happened, which forced us all to stay home for a while, and I had to undergo ACL surgery after a soccer incident in early 2020, I knew I didn’t just need a treadmill to rest on mine Kneeling feels good, but it was finally time to focus on weight training so I can get back to myself before surgery.
Enter the wave of smart home devices. While companies have been trying for years to break runners’ aversion to weight training, these smart devices are arguably the closest thing to true success. Gone are the days of repetitive online videos and lackluster coaches. Now systems like Mirror and Tonal have recruited elite teachers to build strong programs, run live and on-demand courses, and form communities.
When it came time to put you to the test, I decided to go for speed. Propagating 3D sensors that analyze shape and artificial intelligence to count my repetitions, track metrics over time, and offer weight and programming advances sounded like just the right amount of hand posture I needed to keep myself engaged keep going while achieving my ultimate goal back to running.
After putting my Tempo Plus through its paces for over four months, here’s what you need to know about it – including whether it’s really worth the price for runners.
What is the tempo system?
Put simply, Tempo is a smart home gym with live and on-demand classes, as well as series programs (think 6-week off-season athlete or 2-week intro to strength). While most will focus on strength training, there are a number of other course options – from HIIT and boxing to yoga and mobility work, everything is available. There are also a variety of courses – over 1,150, with nearly 30 added each week – based on proficiency, which the brand categorizes into Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert.
The story goes on
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As for the device itself, Tempo is unique in that it does not encourage wall mounting. Instead, the slim design stands as a 72 x 26 x 16 inch easel tower with a storage cabinet on the front for weight plates and collars, as well as rear hooks for hanging dumbbells and a barbell. (There’s even space between the floor and closet to stow a foam roller, yoga mat, or extra weight plates.) The package you choose – Starter, Plus, or Pro – will dictate how much gear comes with your pace.
Activating the pace and creating a custom profile was super quick and easy – all I had to do was fill in some basic physical stats, tell them what equipment I have, and outline my fitness goals and strength training experience. It also asked about my preferred days of training; While that was nice in theory, my schedule changes weekly so it wasn’t realistic to set those days in advance. I also didn’t receive any notifications asking me to log in if I didn’t exercise on those preselected days (unless I haven’t exercised for a full week, at which point I received a “Come back into the game!” Message at that point). “Email).
Given the difficulty many have had with finding weights both in stores and online, one of the great things about Tempo is that it’s an all-in-one strength training package. The Starter Bundle includes the basics – a set of dumbbells with 75 pound interchangeable weight plates (and the Tempo itself, of course).
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Those who want a more sophisticated space can upgrade to the Plus and Pro packages – you get a folding bench, barbell, heart rate monitor, foam roller, yoga mat, and 50 pounds of extra weights for the Plus; Tack on a folding squat rack, kettlebell system, 90 pounds of extra weights, and more storage space for all of those plates with the Pro.
While the comparable system from NordicTrack, Vault, offers pairs of dumbbells in five-pound increments, Tempo offers removable plates that you can swap in and out. Since they weigh only 1.25 pounds, it’s easy to adjust how much you lift. (The bars were comfortable too, whether I was doing presses, deadlifts, or squats.)
The downside is a waste of time: trainers give time to swap plates when different weight recommendations are programmed, and you can even pause your workout if you can’t change quickly enough. But changing plates turned out to be a bit of a hassle as the plates didn’t slide off the bars as smoothly as I would like. Sometimes I wish I just had another set of dumbbells that I could quickly grab and move on.
One of my biggest advantages with Tempo was the automatic re-counting and real-time form feedback. I loved that I knew if I was leaning too far back on a biceps curl, for example, or not pushing forward enough on an overhead press.
No special equipment is required to use these features – I just had to stand about eight feet from the screen. Whenever I messed up my form, the device wrote it down on the screen and told me when it was fixed. (Points for instant gratification.) If I didn’t get up before the set was over, there were clues on how to improve for the next round. During a live class, coaches could see the shape in real time so they could often make adjustments for the entire class.
However, during my four month trial period, I found that form corrections were limited. Given my ACL surgery, I knew it was important to give preference to my surgical leg for squats. And while the mirror-like surface allowed me to track my shape, leaning too far to one side never got me corrected – even if I knew I was doing it. With 3D sensors that can sense these nuanced adjustments, the pace really is better suited for those new to weight training who may not know when to compromise on shape.
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Tempo also remembers how much you lift with each workout and suggests weight at the beginning of each exercise. After a set, it even asks if it was too difficult, too easy, or just right. But it could use a little more finesse. The recommendations are definitely close enough in range for seasoned athletes, but it’s important not to treat them as the very last thing for runners who are just relating to weights. Often times I had to adjust (higher for lower body work, lower for upper body work), and while the higher recommendations served as good motivation to see if I could get through the set at that weight, it requires an understanding of the correct form to make sure this is the case you are not preparing for potential injury.
There are now seven trainers to choose from, all of which are National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified, so you are in knowledgeable hands. Each one offers their own unique training and motivational style, so it’s best to test them all out to see which style best suits yours. My personal favorites: Melissa Boyd and Cole Charlton. Both had well thought-out programming, were very personable, and tended to have a fun, positive style of coaching that had an “I have you” feel to it.
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Where speed was neglected: their Tempo Games. Inspired by the Olympic Games, seven professional athletes led classes lasting 15 to 30 minutes at various levels. The overarching idea is not unique – other brands such as Peloton and NordicTrack also recruited Olympians. But when compared to the regular Tempo Trainer program, the few Olympian-led courses I attended felt incoherent, often lacking consistency in reps or rounds, and little discussion of shape or possible modifications a user might want might need. If anything, these workouts have proven the worth of having a real professional trainer on top. Next time around, I would recommend Tempo to let the Olympians take the classes and tell their unique stories as the pro instructors lead alongside them.
Is it worth the cost?
There’s no getting around it: With prices starting at US $ 2,495 and up to US $ 3,995, the pace is expensive for the average everyday athlete. When you add in a $ 39 / month membership requirement and a one year new customer commitment, it’s a pretty penny to invest in a fitness program.
However, keep in mind that the monthly membership covers your entire household and you don’t have to buy any additional equipment. (There are monthly funding options, too.) Plus, the brand says that in theory, you’ll save money. According to their website, if all of the gear in the starter package were bought separately, it would cost you a whopping $ 3,200, as opposed to the package price of $ 2,495.
Bottom line: For runners who are willing to seriously incorporate rigorous strength training into their routine, the pace is effective, of high quality, and with regular use – especially by more than one family member – has the potential to certainly be worth its value. And hey, it can only be the trigger that eventually gets you involved and, ultimately, reaped greater running rewards.
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