COURIER-JOURNAL – 5/9/13
My wife, Anita, is always seeking new and different ways to exercise. Not me, especially when it comes to resistance training. Give me a barbell and dumbbells and I’m happy. What’s more, when I’ve tried other modes of resistance training (machines, bands, springs, etc.), I’ve always come away disappointed. So, when she mentioned that for years she’s been watching Total Gym commercials with Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley, and always wanted to give it a try, I didn’t encourage her. Quite the opposite. It’s another exercise gimmick, I told her.
Undeterred, Anita began her investigation. How was it rated by the pros, and what was being said about the Total Gym by those who owned it? Where and how could she get the best deal? Then, after amassing her information, she made her case to me, capping it off with the fact that it comes with a 30-day free trial and free shipping. I went along with the purchase. My thinking was, the worst that could happen is that we’d have to pay to have it shipped back to the manufacturer.
We’ve had the Total Gym a few months now, and I’m ready to report on it. But let me first say that I’m regularly bombarded with products to try and then endorse, but I decline unless I’ve used them for quite a while and am convinced of their value over the long haul.
The Total Gym Arrives
The Total Gym arrived in a huge box that was much heavier than I imagined. We carried it down the stairs to our workout room, then eased it out so as to preserve the box (at my insistence) for reshipping back to the manufacturer. I frowned as I looked over the parts needing to be assembled. If you knew how completely inept I am at putting anything together, and how irritated and annoyed I get, you’d know why I was frowning. But, surprisingly, we had it up and going in no time.
I watched as Anita did a few exercises on it. It looked as if it might work well for her, and I began resigning myself to the fact that it was likely going to stay. I didn’t use it (my ego wouldn’t allow me to give in that easily).
The more Anita used it, the more enthused she became, especially when trying some of the exercise variations for the waistline demonstrated on the accompanying DVDs. Hearing her brag on the Total Gym day after day, I decided to give it a try when she wasn’t around.
I performed some of my old standby exercises, biceps curls, triceps extensions and lateral raises for the shoulders. Wow! Two things jumped out at me. One, I was working my muscles hard, raising the incline on the sled to increase resistance. And, two, joy of joys, I did the exercises without the slightest twinge of pain in my surgically repaired shoulders.
Not only that, when I was finished, I did some of my barbell/dumbbell exercises and was amazed how my shoulders responded. The Total Gym warmed up my shoulders and stretched them out in a new and unique way, allowing me to do more with free weights than I had been able to do in years. I was hooked.
The Total Gym isn’t cheap, the models ranging up to about $800. Anita had been convinced that eventually I would come around and use it, which meant getting something that can take a beating, so she ordered the top of the line, the XLS. In her research, she learned that this model is much more durable, especially the pulleys, and the action is smoother. It was money well spent.
I use the Total Gym several days a week and love it. If you are interested, shop around, wait for the best deal, and return it in 30 days if you aren’t satisfied.