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The best bang for your buck when it comes to home workout equipment

Whether money is no issue or you're working on a zero dollar budget, there is something that will help inspire you to get fit.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Gyms are open, gyms are closed, then they are open again. COVID has certainly given our fitness routines a workout. Maybe you’ve decided during all of this that you'd rather work out at home? We sat down with the folks at PCMag to help break down how to get the most bang for your buck.

Remember when working out from home was nothing more than a VCR tape or a DVD that promised you could dance your way to fitness? Well, the world has changed.

“It makes it so much more interactive, these smart fitness machines. They almost make it feel like you're not working out alone, that you're working out with other people,” says Angela Moscaritolo with PCMag.

The folks at PCMag rated all the stuff, and all the things, so you can get a better idea before you buy. And the biggest category right now is smart fitness machines.

“They all basically have screens attached that connect to the internet and give you live and on demand fitness classes with trainers,” explains Angela.

Cardio machines like the Peloton bike, NordicTrack treadmill and rower. And the classes aren't just limited to the machines themselves.

“They have like yoga, there's Pilates now, there's HIIT classes, strength classes, so really all you need is a couple dumbbells, and you can participate in all of the strength classes,” she says.

If strength is your goal, there's Tempo Studio and Tonal. And if you're short on space, body weight platforms like Mirror, and Echelon, that simply mount on the wall. All of these will cost you anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 and there's a monthly membership fee too.

“All of these companies offer financing that breaks down the cost, including the membership, for like $100 a month. And then once you're done paying off the equipment, then the membership would be like $39 a month,” says Angela.

So, if you're not paying a gym membership anymore, suddenly these options may seem more affordable. That said, it still might not fit your budget.

“It's just not feasible to spend a couple thousand for a lot of people, most people. There are plenty of affordable, even free options that people can take advantage of,” she says.

And who doesn’t like free?

"At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nike made its Training Club app, which previously you had to pay for, completely free, so that offers like 200 workouts on there,” she says.

FitOn is another free app you can download. Have an Apple Watch? Fitness Plus is $9.99 a month or $79 bucks a year.

“They have strength training, they have HIIT, they have yoga, and they even have treadmill workouts, cycling workouts, and rowing workouts,” she says.

“You can potentially do the exact same thing people are doing with peloton digital, with Apple Fitness Plus, where you get the workouts on Apple Fitness Plus and use your own equipment,” she suggests.

There's no shortage of apps out there. Some of the ones Angela recommends are Open Fit at $14.99 a month, Obe for $27 bucks and Forte at $39 dollars a month. 

Want to keep it local? Check with your regular gym which has likely started some sort of virtual content too.

Another category of fitness product are wearables. They encourage you to stay fit and active.

"Both Fitbit and Garmin offer really amazing fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and then even getting into more advanced metrics like respiration rate, which measures how many times you breathe per minute,” she says.

The wearables start around $100 and go up, sometimes way up, from there. But, the point is, pick something that will keep you motivated without breaking your back or your bank.