Getting the right elliptical for your body and budget!

A Commercial Quality Machine with Adjustable Stride

e5-elliptical-crosstrainer-go-lWe kept hoping we’d see adjustable stride with the E1 and E3 Ellipticals from Life Fitness.  Finally, here it is.. the perfect package!  The E5 Elliptical is a premium machine that sells at a premium price.  You can be confident that any purchase from Life Fitness is going to last for the long haul.  You just need to decide if you can cough up the bucks to make the initial purchase!

Life Fitness E5 Elliptical Sale!
The Life Fitness E5 Elliptical typicall sells for $4,299.
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Alternative Recommendation: Vision S70

Features on the Life Fitness E5 Elliptical

The adjustable stride on the E5 Elliptical is the feature we want to highlight since it is not available on the lower E1 and E3 models.  The stride can adjust from 18-24″ at the touch of a button.  This feature is extremely useful if you have multiple users of various heights using the machine.  With single stride length machines, someone is always going to be a little bit uncomfortable.  Plus, switching up the stride lengths can help you target different muscle groups in your legs!

Things We Like:

  • The adjustable stride length is awesome…LOVE IT!
  • This machine has a smooth and natural elliptical motion like all rear-drive ellipticals from Life Fitness.
  • The E5 comes with sophisticated heart rate monitoring.  It includes a wireless chest strap.
  • Use Activity Zones to gain motivation and guidance through different motivating workouts.  We like how this coaching program includes Total Body Trainer and Leg Sculptor Modes.

Things We Don’t Like:

  • The price is a bit high on this machine.  Yes, it’s an awesome machine.  Yes, it will last you forever.  But do you really need to spend $4,000 on an elliptical?  You should consider some lower priced machines before you settle on this option.

Also see the Life Fitness E3 Elliptical Review.

“Excellent” for Ergonomics & “Very Good” for Construction

e3-elliptical-crosstrainer-go-lThe Life Fitness E3 Elliptical has Whisper Stride technology so it is extremely quiet.  It also has a sturdy and durable build that will stand the test of time.

Life Fitness builds REALLY good machines.  Instead of including fancy interactive features, Life Fitness focuses on solid ergonomic design.  Their equipment is designed to mimic your exercise motion and minimize stress on your body.  The only problem is that the cost often reflects this increase in quality.  Let’s take a look at some of the features on the E3 Elliptical.

This machine scored an “Excellent” rating on ergonomics and a “Very Good” for construction from a popular consumer magazine.  It is also listed as one of their “Recommended Buys.”

Life Fitness E3 Elliptical Sale!
The Life Fitness E3 Elliptical typically sells for $2,999.
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Alternative Recommendation: Vision S7100-HRT

Features on the Life Fitness E3 Elliptical

The Life Fitness E3 is a pretty sweet machine.  It has the choice of two different consoles: the Go Console and the Track+ Console.  The Track+ console works in concert with your Android and Apple devices.  It also interacts with popular fitness apps that you’re already using.  You can view a virtual running course while you workout.  The E1 has a smooth and natural elliptical motion along with an included wireless chest strap for heart rate monitoring.  Finally, it has a feature called “Coach Zone” that leads you through workouts to target different parts of your body.

Things We Like:

  • We agree whole-heartedly with the ratings of a popular consumer magazine.  This machine has outstanding ergonomics.  It provides a very comfortable workout.
  • The Coach Zone program is pretty cool.  It compares to the  iFit Live features on ProForm and NordicTrack machines to help you make progress towards your fitness goals.
  • This rear drive elliptical has a very smooth and natural feeling motion.
  • The E3 has a wide range of settings including 20 resistance levels.

Things We Don’t Like:

  • The E3 Elliptical is a rear drive machine so it may be harder to mount for individuals with balance or mobility issues.
  • The stride length max on this machine is 20″.  We wish it had an adjustable stride.
  • The tech on this machine seems pretty cool, but falls a bit short of programs like iFit.  Remember, this is not a focus for Life Fitness.  If you want fancy interactive features, then you’d be better off with a brand like NordicTrack or Vision.

Life Fitness is perfect for you if…

You want a solid machine with awesome ergonomics.

You don’t care about interactive workout features.

Also see the Life Fitness E1 Elliptical Review.

A Low Impact Total-Body Workout

e1-elliptical-crosstrainer-go-lLife Fitness produces some of the best machines in the industry.  The E1 Elliptical combines smooth and natural motion with durability.  It’s also extremely quiet!  Life Fitness is well known in the fitness industry for creating extremely high quality machines.  The company’s focus is on great ergonomic design and lasting components. Machines from Life Fitness will not have many fancy bells and whistles but you can be sure they’ll last.

They often come at a pretty penny, so we urge you to consider your budget.  Sometimes you can get similar specs from companies like NordicTrack or ProForm for much less money.

Life Fitness E1 Elliptical Sale!
The Life Fitness E1 Elliptical typicall sells for $2,199.
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Alternative Recommendation: Vision X40

e1-elliptical_consoleFeatures on the Life Fitness E1 Elliptical

The Life Fitness E1 Elliptical Cross Trainer comes with a choice of two console designs.  The Go console is a basic LCD display with stats arranged on one window.  The Track+ Console display is compatible with Android and Apple devices.  The E1 Elliptical comes with a 20″ stride length that will work for most people.  It also has a near silent Whisper Stride.  The machine is incredibly stable with a weight of 211 lbs and is rated to carry a user up to 400 lbs.  It is a rear drive machine that provides a more natural and smooth elliptical motion.

Things We Like:

  • We like that you are given the choice of two different console designs for this machine.  It lets you choose which level of technology you’d like and how much you’d like to spend.
  • The E1 comes with three choices for the warranty.  You can choose between the standard warranty, the 3 year extended package and the 5 year extended package.
  • The Whisper Stride on this machine is pretty cool.  It’s an almost silent machine!

Things We Don’t Like:

  • We wish that this machine had adjustable stride lengths.  Yes, the 20″ stride will work well for  many users,  but it’s nice to adjust the stride according to the user’s height.
  • This is a rear-drive machine so it can  be a bit more difficult to mount for users with balance or mobility issues.

Life Fitness is a good fit for you if…

You want a quality machine with great components.

You don’t mind spending a little bit extra.

You just want a quality workout without fancy virtual features.

Also see the Life Fitness X5 Elliptical Review.

6 Tips for Effective Elliptical Workouts

matrix e30Research has shown that workout sessions with higher intensity are more effective at jump starting your metabolism and burning more fat throughout the day. Exercise can help you manage your stress levels, slow aging symptoms, and even help you manage ADHD symptoms.  Ellipticals are wonderful machines with many benefits help you get in a workout that is easy on your joints while providing muscle toning and a cardio workout.

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A Full Home Gym for Under $1300

gravity-gymThe Yowza Gravity Gym is an anti-gravity strength training machine that uses your body weight to simulate over 17 exercises.  Compared to the bulky and extremely expensive gym stations at your local club, this is a very compact and lightweight machine.  We were extremely impressed by the versatility and smart design of the Gravity Gym.  For less than $1300, you can have a gym station in your home ready to assist you with a full body workout.

Our team has been down to the Florida corporate headquarters for Yowza to meet the staff and talk one-on-one with machine experts.  This company used to be awesome, but things have changed the last few months.  We’re still waiting to see what happens…

Yowza Fitness is OUT OF BUSINESS.

We are still waiting to hear more information about this company but it seems they are no longer producing machines.  

The Yowza Gravitiy Gym was typically priced around $1,299.  

See Our Team Review of the Yowza Gravity Gym:

Yowza Gravity Gym Expert Review

 Yowza Gravity Gym Features

gravitygym_deckBody Weight Resistance – Instead of expensive and bulky weight-based resistance machines, the Gravity Gym uses your own body weight to provide resistance.  It uses an easy-to-adjust electric dial so you can program the percentage of your body weight you wish to lift.  The percentages range from 20-90%.  The Gravity deck is assisted by two nitrogen cylinders.

Safety Features – The Yowza Gravity Gym has a front Gravity Deck on which you can stand, kneel, or sit while performing your exercises.  Two orange buttons on the platform must be engaged in order for the machine to move.  In addition, there is a safety bar in the front that can be manually switched each time you step off to avoid injury.  The seat pad is available as a separate purchase.  It’s a good idea to go ahead and get the seat cushion as it allows you to perform many more exercise variations.

Adjustable Height – There are five height levels that can be easily switched to accommodate users of different sizes.  Plus, your type of exercise might require a different height setting.  This was a handy option that worked well for our team members.

Range of Exercises – The Gravity Gym provides exercises from gymnastics, cable resistance, and weight lifting categories.  Over 17 different exercises are possible covering your upper body, lower body, and core.  Switch the pulley locations with quick-disconnect clips.  We were impressed with the smooth action of the cables and the effectiveness of the exercises.

Size – This home gym is relatively light weight and has wheels for easy movement in your home.  We found it easy to maneuver around the gym where we were performing our tests.

Our Review of the Yowza Gravity Gym

gravitygym_programmingWe were really impressed with the Gravity Gym from Yowza Fitness.  Based on the versatility of this machine, you simply cannot beat the price for a home gym system.  The gravity assist design allows for users to focus on proper form and repetitions with less risk of injury.  We also liked the size of this machine since it does not take up a lot of room and can easily be rolled into a corner when not in use.

The only downside for this machine may be its limitation on resistance levels.  The Gravity Gym can be programmed to provide resistance ranging from 20-90% of your body weight.  If your exercises require a weight greater than this, you may find the machine insufficient.  Still, it should be well-suited for most users.  An equivalent machine like this would cost thousands of dollars at a professional facility.  If you’re looking for a full body workout gym machine for your home, the Yowza Gravity Gym should be at the top of your consideration list.

  A Trusted Commercial Brand – Now In Your Home!

Johnson fitness facilities

Rachael and Brad in Wisconsin to visit Johnson Fitness facilities.

Pieces of Matrix fitness equipment are familiar sights at commercial gyms across the nation.  This is in part because it is the fastest growing commercial brand on the globe.  Now, the company has released a new line of machines that are specially designed for use within the home.  Their suspension ellipticals offer quiet and comfortable rides with tech features that compare well to competition brands.

The parent company for Matrix is Johnson Fitness, based out of Madison, Wisconsin.  This is the same company that builds popular Vision Fitness and Horizon Fitness ellipticals.  We had the opportunity to tour their facilities and we were impressed with the thorough job they do on all stages of elliptical manufacturing.

Check out this video of our visit to the Johnson Fitness facility:

Review of Horizon and Vision Fitness Headquarters in WI

What Sets Johnson Fitness and Matrix Apart From the Competition?

  1. Johnson Fitness employees participate in yoga on the front lawn.

    Johnson Fitness employees participate in yoga on the front lawn.

    Vertical Integration – Many competition brands source their machine components from third-party companies so the parts don’t always work in perfect harmony.  In contrast to this, Matrix makes all of their own parts.  The machines are well built, durable, and tend to be low maintenance.

  2. Good Customer Service – Customer service for fitness companies is extremely important.  The consumer needs to be able to understand what they are purchasing, get help when it’s needed, and avoid hassle from unresponsive companies.  In the past, Johnson has excelled head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to customer service.  Lately, other companies have been stepping up their game to match this level.  Matrix customer service staff are located right in headquarters and have access to the machine designers and working models to answer any questions.  One area that they could and should improve is the addition of a quick chat feature on their website.  Currently they don’t have this feature.
  3. Integrity – A company who treats their employees well will value and treat their customers well too.  When we visited the Johnson facilities, we were impressed with the employee gym facilities, locker rooms, amenities, and general positive atmosphere.

See Individual Horizon Elliptical Reviews

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Matrix Ellipticals At-A-Glance

E30This compact suspension elliptical features a 23.1 lb. flywheel, 20” stride, and 20 levels of resistance.  Choose from three console options on all Matrix ellipticals.

E50The next machine includes Exact Force Induction Brakes that operate smoothly and precisely to change resistance at the touch of a button.  It also has 30 levels of resistance and a 7 year parts warranty on the same compact suspension frame.

A30 The A30 is another suspension elliptical / ascent trainer with a 30 lb. flywheel.  It has a longer frame than the E-series but allows the user to increase the incline from 24-54% for a butt-busting workout.

A50The final elliptical from Matrix again includes Exact Force Induction Brakes for a smooth and effortless ride.  Along with the incline feature, this top model includes a 7 year parts warranty, and oversized rubber foot petals.

Download the Matrix Elliptical Comparison Chart Here


Key Treadmill Features on Matrix Ellipticals

induction-brakeExact Force Induction Brake (E50 and A50) – Most quality ellipticals use eddy current brake (ECB) systems, but the top Matrix models instead use a new technology called Exact Force Induction Braking.  This resistance system is more price than the standard ECB system and uses electricity to create a magnetic field for braking.  Since there are no moving parts, the machine is quiet and wears very slowly (no moving parts equates to limited friction.)  Best of all, the elliptical responds with instant resistance changes that are great for interval work.  Most at-home ellipticals won’t use this level of technology.

Suspension Elliptical Design (E30, E50, A30, A50) – Traditional ellipticals have wheels that role along a single or double track resulting in increased noise, wear, and roughness.  A suspension elliptical is different in that your petals are suspended in the air.  These types of ellipticals tend to be extremely quiet and smooth to ride.  Matrix suspension ellipticals employ their Perfect Stride system to combine an ideal stride motion with ergonomically correct foot position to avoid toe numbness.  Suspension ellipticals are great for active aging buyers with limited mobility or joint issues.  It has a low step-on height and the E30 and E50 have an extremely compact footprint.

Compact Design (E30 and E50) – These two machines have a surprisingly small footprint so they fit well in smaller spaces.  The machines will take up a space 57.5” x 29.5”.  Other elliptical models can be major space hogs at 80” in length.

Warranties – The length of a warranty is a good reflection of the quality of the product.  The E30 and A30 both include a 5 year parts, 2 years labor, and lifetime frame warranty.  The E50 and A50 increase the parts warranty to 7 years.

Unique Console Technology from Matrix

One of our favorite features with the Matrix ellipticals is the option to choose one of three console designs.  Why pay for tech that you’re not going to use?  Here are some of their top tech options:

sprint 8

Sprint 8 – The Sprint 8 program was developed by Dr. Phil Campbell and is designed to give real results within a short 8 week program.  Work out for just 20 minutes a day and 3 times a week to lower body fat, improve cholesterol, boost energy, and see awesome changes in your body.  The program is available on both the XER and XIR consoles and has onscreen coaching to guide you through the intervals.  This form of high intensity interval training can be challenging on regular ellipticals because you need to manually increase the resistance and track your time intervals.  The Sprint 8 program has the entire workout programmed in so you just need to follow the instructions on the screen.  This program is only available from Matrix and Vision machines on certain consoles.

viafitVirtual Active and Passport – Working out on your elliptical can get boring after a while.  The Virtual Active program lets you exercise along fun filmed locations to add some interest to your workout session.  Use one of the pre-programmed courses or purchase additional race routes to upload via USB.  You can also purchase a Passport module to link your machine to a TV for a bigger viewing experience.  Virtual Active is only available on the XIR and XER consoles.  Passport is compatible with all three consoles.

ViaFit Connectivity – How would you like the ability to track the fitness data from ALL aspects of your life in one place?  The data from your FitBit, your MapMyRun app, and your nutrition tracker could all be in one place with ViaFit.  Plus, this platform lets you record your elliptical work outs, set goals, and join online challenges.  This program is entirely free, which is a nice benefit over competition fitness trackers that require a subscription.

Choice of 3 Different Consoles


XIR – The top console option for your new Matrix elliptical features a lovely 16” HD touchscreen with smart device style apps for Netflix, Facebook, Web Browsing, and more.  This console also sports Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, a free Polar HR strap ($50 value), and the ability to use Virtual Active, ViaFit, and Sprint 8.

Receive a free Polar HR Strap ($50 value) with the XIR and XER consoles.

XER – If you want to save about $500, you can keep all of the same tech features, but downgrade to a smaller display screen.  This console has a 10” touchscreen.

XR – Save an additional $500 to purchase the most basic console option.  The display on the XR console is an extra wide 8.5” blue backlit LCD screen.  It displays your basic stats like time, resistance and calories.  Never fear though.  It is still has ViaFit connectivity and the ability to connect to Passport for virtual runs.  You will just be missing the Sprint 8 program with this console.

Review for the Matrix Ellipticals

Matrix ellipticals are near the top of our list because we love the suspension design.  Plus, we think that the quality on these machines is worth the price.  They have excellent tech options, nice flexibility on console designs, and strong warranties backing up their products.  If you like the features on these machines but are thrown off by the pricing, you may consider checking out some less expensive models from sister companies Horizon or Vision.

To learn more, visit

The Ultimate Ascent Trainer

matrix a30 xirThe latest technology was used on this Matrix suspension elliptical to provide instant, smooth, and precise resistance changes with the push of a button.  The Matrix A50 is the ultimate ascent trainer from the fastest growing commercial brand in the world.  This machine also features 30 resistance levels, 20-24” variable stride length, a low step up height of 8.7”, and a choice of three different console designs.

Matrix ellipticals are manufactured by Johnson Fitness located in Madison, Wisconsin.  This company is also responsible for Horizon and Vision machines.  They are known for their quality machines that have few maintenance issues.  They manufacture all of their machine components which results in machines that operate smoothly without problems associated with third party parts.

MID-WEEK SALE ENDS THURSDAY: The Matrix A50 Elliptical is on SALE!  The Matrix A50-XR is typically priced at $2,999, the Matrix A50-XER is typically priced at $3,499, and the Matrix A50-XIR sells for around $3,999.  Pick the console that works best for you!  We also suggest you check out the Life Fitness E3 for premium quality.
Shop for the A50 XR at
Shop for the A50 XER at MatrixFitness.comShop for the A50 XIR at

Matrix A50 Features You Will Love

induction-brakeExact Force Induction Brakes – This type of resistance system is more precise than the ECB system used on most other elliptical models.  It uses electricity to create a magnetic field with no moving parts.  The result is a durable and quiet machine that provides instant resistance changes at the touch of a button.

Suspension Elliptical Design – The wheels and tracks on traditional ellipticals can be noisy and uncomfortable.  In contrast the suspension elliptical design on the Matrix A50 provides a quiet and smooth ride.

Power Incline 24-54% – The best thing about an ascent trainer like this is the ability to crank up the incline and work your glute muscles.  Most other ascent trainers raise the user higher off the ground when a steep incline is engaged.  The Matrix A50 doesn’t do this so you don’t need to worry about putting this machine in a room with a lower ceiling.

a50-mop-step-on20-24” Variable Stride Length – The Perfect Stride system from Matrix Fitness allows for ideal stride motion and ergonomically correct foot position for a smooth and natural workout.  We like the feel of this machine!

8.7” Step-On Height – A low step up height is good for older users.  It is easier to mount this machine than some competition models with a rear drive system.

Warranty – This machine comes with a strong warranty that reflects the confidence from the manufacturers.  It has a lifetime frame warranty along with 7 years parts and 2 years labor.

Tech Features You Will Love:

Matrix machines have a trio of tech that lets you get fast effective results from your workouts, track your progress, and enjoy virtual landscapes while you sweat!

Sprint 8 – Dr. Phil Campbell developed this program so that users could be guided through a high intensity interval training (HIIT) program that would deliver fast results with minimal workout time.  A scientific study showed that participates lowered their body fat percentages, improved cholesterol, experience increases in energy and showed positive changes in bone density after their eight week program.  Sprint 8 is built into the XER and XIR consoles so you can begin your workout without additional materials.  Go to to learn more.

sprint 8

viafitViaFit – Many of us already use fitness tracking apps on our phones or use wearables like FitBit to record our stats each day.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all of this information could be collected in one place for easy viewing?  The ViaFit platform from Matrix does exactly that while incorporating information from your elliptical workout.  You can set goals, track progress, and even join online challenges using your free account.

Virtual Active – Let’s face it, spending hours each week on the elliptical can become boring after a while!  The Virtual Active program battles this boredom with the addition of filmed courses that transport you into fun locations around the world.  The XER and XIR have the program built in so you can view your course directly on the elliptical display.  Or, you can purchase the Passport Player to view your course on a TV screen with any one of the three console options.  Additional courses can be purchased and uploaded via thumb drive.

Choice of 3 Consoles:

passportWhy pay for features you won’t use?  With the Matrix A50, you have a choice of three different consoles with varying levels of tech so you are only paying for the features you truly want.

XIR – The top level console comes with the Matrix A50-XIR for $3,999 and includes a luxurious 16” HD touchscreen.  We’re not trying to be dramatic.  It’s just a really nice screen!  The apps are laid out like they would be on a smart phone so you can easily select and view programs like Netflix, Facebook, or a Web Browser.  The XIR console also has all three tech features highlighted above: ViaFit, Virtual Active and Sprint 8.

XER – If saving $500 sounds attractive to you, then you can enjoy all of the same tech features on a slightly smaller screen with the Matrix A50-XER.  It comes with a 10” touchscreen.

XR – Finally, you may want to save an additional $500 for the basic option of the Matrix A50-XR.  This display has an 8.5” extra wide blue back-lit LCD screen with regular stats like time, speed, and resistance level.  It does not have all of the tech options of the first two, but you can still use ViaFit and the Passport to run virtual courses displayed on your TV.


Our Review — Matrix A50 Elliptical

The Matrix A50 is a fantastic ascent trainer from a great company.  We really liked how the power incline feature allowed us to vary the incline.  Plus, the choice of three consoles provides the buyer with a unique option to only pay for the tech they plan to use.  The main drawback of this machine is its size at almost 75”.  If you’re looking for a smaller machine, you might want to check out the Matrix E50.  You will need to sacrifice the incline feature though.  The Exact Force Induction Brakes on the A50 are really nice to provide instant resistance changes however you may be perfectly happy with regular ECB brakes.  In which case, you should also check out the Matrix A30.  In the end, you can’t go wrong with a suspension elliptical from Matrix.  They are really nice, quiet, and smooth riding machines that will deliver a great workout.

Learn more at

Advanced Braking System for Instance Resistance Changes

matrix e50 xirMatrix Fitness has the fastest growing brand of any commercial fitness equipment company in the world.  You can imagine that we were pretty excited when they released a new line of machines designed for use right in your own home.  The Matrix E50 is a suspension elliptical with a compact footprint, Exact Force Induction Brakes, multi-grip handlebars, and a choice of three consoles.

The parent company, Johnson Fitness, is also the manufacturer of Horizon and Vision ellipticals.  The company manufacturers all of their own machine components so their products tend to be low maintenance and well-built.  With multiple console options, you can choose the level of tech and display quality that best suits your budget and preferences.

MID-WEEK SALE ENDS THURSDAY:  The Matrix E50 Elliptical is on SALE!  Choose from three different consoles to customize your machine’s technology.  The Matrix E50-XR is typically priced around $2,399.  The Matrix E50-XER is typically priced around $2,899 and the Matrix E50-XIR is usually priced around $3,399.


You may also want to check out the Life Fitness X3 for premium quality.
Shop for the E50 XR at
Shop for the E50 XER at
Shop for the E50 XIR at

Top Features on the Matrix E50 Elliptical:

induction-brakeExact Force Induction Brake – This braking system is more precise than the standard ECB system used by the Matrix E30 and most other ellipticals.  The Matrix E50’s resistance system has no moving parts and instead relies on the latest technology to provide instant and smooth resistance transitions at the touch of a button.  It tends to be more quiet and durable than other machines too.

Suspension Elliptical Design – The Matrix E50 is a suspension elliptical so it does not have rollers and tracks which often add noise and uneven motion.  Instead, you’ll be on pedals suspended above the ground.  Suspension ellipticals provide a smooth and quiet ride not found with other types of machines.

Compact Footprint – One of the top advantages of the Matrix suspension ellipticals is their small footprint of only 57.5” x 29.5”.  This is much smaller than the typical 80” found on many ellipticals.

20” Stride Length – The 20” stride length will work well for almost all users and provides a comfortable and smooth workout experience.

9.1” Step-On Height – Many rear-drive ellipticals are hard to mount because you need to step over the mechanics in order to reach the pedals.  This can be a challenge for older users with limited mobility.  This machine is easy to mount with a low step on height.

Warranty – A warranty is a good indicator for the amount of confidence a company has in their product.  The Matrix E50 elliptical has a lifetime frame warranty, 7 years parts, and 2 years labor.

Matrix Technology Features:

sprint 8Sprint 8 – We really like the Sprint 8 High Intensity Interval Training program on the Matrix and Vision machines.  This program allows you to work out just 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week, for 8 weeks to achieve impressive results.  Short intense workouts do a better job of increasing your heart rate and burning fat over a longer period of time than extended slow workouts.  The Sprint 8 program is designed to automatically progress through the interval stages with an on-screen display while a virtual coach guides you through the workout.

ViaFit – There are a number of workout tracking platforms available from other elliptical brands, viafitbut ViaFit does the best job of incorporating many of the fitness tracking apps that you’re already using into one interface.  For instance, you can use ViaFit to track elliptical workouts, outdoor runs with MapMyRun, or steps at work from your FitBit.  All of the data is stored in one place so you can set goals, join online challenges, and track your progress.  The program is free, which is a huge plus when you consider that competitor trackers, like iFit Live, require an ongoing subscription.

Virtual Active – Virtual Active allows you to work out while viewing a virtual course on the display of your Matrix elliptical.  The console comes with two courses, but more courses can be purchased and uploaded via passportthumb drive.  A Passport Player can also be purchased and used to link your machine to a television for a larger viewing screen.  Virtual Active is only available on the XER and XIR consoles, however the XR console is Passport Player ready so you don’t need to miss out on your virtual courses.

Choice of 3 Consoles:

One of the best things about Matrix ellipticals is that you can choose which level of console you want.  Each of the three options varies in price and features.

XR Console – This basic console is on sale for $2,399 and includes an extra wide 8.5” blue LCD screen with basic level stats.  The XR console also includes ViaFit connectivity, is Passport Ready, and can link to a wireless heart rate monitor.

XER Console – For an additional $500, you can instead choose the XER console with its 10” touchscreen, 10 workout programs, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, Virtual Active, ViaFit, Passport Ready, and Console apps.  The apps are display like they would be on a smart device and include apps for Sprint 8, Weather, a Web Browser, Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

XIR Console – Finally, if you want the top-of-the-line technology, you will want the Matrix E50 with the XIR console.  This display has a 16” HD touchscreen along with Bluetooth, a USB port, Virtual Active, ViaFit, Passport Ready, and Console Apps.  This comes with 11 workout programs.


Our Review — Matrix E50 Elliptical

The main advantages of the Matrix E50 over the E30 model are the addition of the Exact Force Induction Brakes, additional resistance levels, multi-grip handlebars, and cushioned foot pedals.  Both machines have a very compact footprint that would fit well into a smaller home and an extremely quiet and smooth ride.  If you’ve never been on a suspension elliptical, you should definitely visit a nearby gym and try one out.  They may be more expensive than traditional ellipticals, but the absence of tracks and rollers cuts way down on noise and delivers a silky smooth ride.  The only negative point we can find on this machine is that it does not have the ability to change incline levels.  If you want this feature, you should look at the ascent trainer suspension ellipticals from Matrix including the A30 and A50.

Learn more at

A Suspension Elliptical with a Small Footprint

e30-hero-xir_ellipticalIt is likely that you’ve heard of the Matrix Fitness brand. They are rapidly gaining popularity in commercial gyms across the nation.  In fact, it’s the fastest growing commercial brand in the world.  Usually products gain popularity for a good reason.  With Matrix, that reason is smartly design machines, low maintenance, and great customer service from the parent company.  The Matrix E30 is the introductory level model of Matrix ellipticals that have been specially designed for home use.

Matrix Fitness comes from a parent company called Johnson Fitness.  This is the same company that makes popular home brands Horizon and Vision.  With the Matrix machines, you will see many of the same features like interchangeable consoles, interactive workout programs, and a workout tracking program called ViaFit.  The Matrix E30 features suspension elliptical technology, a 20” stride, and a 23.1 lb. flywheel.

MID-WEEK SALE ENDS THURSDAY:  The Matrix E30 Elliptical is on SALE!  Choose from three different consoles to customize your machine’s technology.  The Matrix E30-XR is typically priced around $2,099.  The Matrix E30-XER is typically priced around $2,599 and the Matrix E30-XIR is usually around $3,099
 We also suggest you check out the Life Fitness E1 for premium quality.
Shop for the E30 XR at 

Shop for the E30 XER at 

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Top Features on the Matrix E30 Elliptical:

matrix e30Compact Footprint – The Matrix E30 is a suspension elliptical with a footprint of 57.5” x 29.5”.  Some ellipticals are space hogs with lengths up to 80”. This smaller machine will fit much better into your home space.

Suspension Elliptical Design – Since it does not have tracks and rollers, this suspension elliptical is going to be extremely quiet and smooth feeling.

20” Stride Length – The stride lengths on ellipticals can vary greatly, but a 20” stride length is well within the acceptable range.  It will work well even for taller individuals.  This size pattern provides a smooth and natural feeling gait.

9.1” Step-On Height – As opposed to rear drive ellipticals, a suspension elliptical tends to be much easier to step onto.  This is especially nice for older users with more limited mobility.

23.1 lb. Flywheel – A heavier flywheel like this will help provide a smooth and natural motion.  Some brands will go up to 30 lbs., so this isn’t the heaviest wheel on the market but it gets the job done nicely.

20 Resistance Levels – The resistance on this machine is provided by Eddy Current Brake (ECB) magnetic system.  This type of braking is found on most of the top quality machines.

Warranty – A long warranty is usually a good indicator of high quality on any piece of exercise equipment.  The Matrix E30 comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame, 5 years parts, and 2 years labor.

Technology Features That Set Matrix Apart:

viafitViaFit – This workout tracking program allows users to wirelessly communicate workout data from their machine, popular fitness apps or by manual entry into a single online platform.  ViaFit is different from other elliptical brand tracking programs (like iFit or MyLiveLight).  It takes data from all of your existing tracking apps and puts it into one location at no cost.  In contrast, iFit Live requires a regular subscription.  With ViaFit, you can track workouts, set goals, join online challenges, and link to your existing trackers like MapMyRun or FitBit.

Sprint 8 – High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) programs allow you to complete a short high intensity workout that lets you burn fat longer.  With Sprint 8, an online coach and automatic interval speed adjustments will guide you through a workout for just 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week, for 8 weeks.  This program has been scientifically shown to produce amazing results.  Just know, it’s no joke!  You’ll be seriously sweating by the end of each session.

sprint 8

passportVirtual Active – Many elliptical brands have started incorporated virtual courses onto their elliptical consoles.  With the Matrix E30, you will be able to work out on two courses loaded directly onto the machine.  Additional courses can be purchased and uploaded via thumb drive.  If you purchase the Passport Player, these courses can be displayed on your TV.  The Virtual Active is available on the XER and XIR consoles.  Passport connectivity is available on all three console options.

Choice of 3 Consoles:

Johnson Fitness is one of the only companies to give you a choice of consoles with your new elliptical trainer.  Matrix ellipticals come with three options:  A basic screen called XR, an intermediate option called XER, and the ultimate in console tech with the XIR.  Pricing and features vary between options so see below for a basic description of each.


XR Console – This console is perfect for people who just want the basic stats clearly displayed on the 8.5” extra wide LCD screen.  Five programs are included along with ViaFit connectivity and the ability to connect to a Passport Player for around $2,099.

XER Console – The intermediate option comes with ten workout programs and an included Polar HR Strap for wireless heart rate monitoring.  The screen is a 10” touchscreen enabled with Bluetooth technology, a USB port, Virtual Active, ViaFit, Passport Ready, and Console apps for Sprint 8, Media, Weather, YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, and a web browser.  A Matrix E30-XER will cost around $500.

XIR Console – If you want the ultimate in elliptical technology than the Matrix E30-XIR is available for $3,099.  It includes a 16” HD touchscreen, Bluetooth capability, USB port, Virtual Active, ViaFit, Passport Ready, and all of the same console apps.

Our Review — Matrix E30 Elliptical

Suspension ellipticals from Matrix are nice because they are very compact, comfortable to ride, and provide a smooth and natural feeling motion.  This particular model is a good option for aging athletes who want an easy step-up while enjoying a smooth and quiet ride.  The benefits of the E30 include the wide range of tech options and the choice of consoles.  The only drawback on this model is that it does not have incline capability.  If you want to vary the incline, you will need to look at the larger ascent trainers from Matrix, the A30 and A50.  Look at the Matrix E50 if you are interested in a more advanced resistance system, more resistance levels, multi-grip handlebars, premium cushioned pedals and an upgraded warranty.

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A Great Lower Body Workout With Less Stress on Your Joints


PRICE ALERT: This is the lowest price you’ll see for the holidays.

The Sole SC200 Stepper is a new arc trainer machine from Sole Fitness.  This type of machine has a different motion pattern than a typical elliptical which can be very beneficial for those who experience knee and hip pain.  In addition, an arc trainer can provide a fantastic lower body workout at low and high intensities.

Since the SC200 is also 26″ shorter than some of Sole’s other machines, it will be a more compact option to fit inside your home. The Sole SC200 comes with free shipping and no sales tax on all orders, so it is an excellent value at $899.99.  It has a strong lifetime frame warranty, three years on parts, three years on parts, and one year on labor.  If you’re interested in a similar machine that adds an incline feature, check out this machine’s big brother – the Sole SC300 Stepper.

Sole SC200 Stepper Features

Sole_SC200_ConsoleCustom Designed Foot Pedals – The foot pedals on the Sole Fitness machines have a slight two-degree inward slope that is designed to reduce ankle and knee stress.

2-in-1 Design – This arc trainer is designed to provide a high intensity workout that burns calories efficiently with a comfortable low impact pace.  It delivers an effective lower body workout.

Strong Frame – The SC200 Stepper uses heavy 34 mm strong steel frame that can support up to 330 lbs.

Programs – The SC200 Stepper comes with 10 pre-installed programs.

Warranty – Lifetime Frame, 3 years electronics and parts, and 1 year labor.

Check out our complete comparison list of Sole Ellipticals

Fitness Source SC200 Stepper Review

The SC200 Stepper does not qualify as an elliptical because its motion does not fit the typical elliptical motion.  Instead it sweeps forward and backwards along the same movement path to provide an effective workout for your lower body.  This type of motion is especially attractive for people who experience knee and hip stress on a typical elliptical.

Another major perk for this machine is the size.  It is only 56″ in length (compared to 82″ for many of Sole’s other machines) so it is less of a space hog in your home. Based on the quality of the other Sole Fitness machines, we feel confident in recommending the Sole SC200 Stepper.  Or, if you want an incline feature, check out the Sole SC300 model.

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