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Top Fitness Gear To Buy With Your Stimulus Check

The ill effects of Covid-19 linger as governments issue stimulus checks to offset the financial impact of a year in quarantine. That said, tax refunds are also soon to be issued, and this has millions of health-conscious fitness fans thinking big.

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Treadmill: Horizon 7.0 AT Treadmill
Bike: MYX Fitness Bike
Trainer: NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 Elliptical
All-in-One: Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE
Rower: Horizon Oxford 6 Rower

Home fitness certainly became the go-to during 2020, and this trend will undoubtedly continue as folks add to their cadre of equipment. At $1,400 per individual, the third round of stimulus checks, combined with income tax refunds, certainly makes for a great opportunity to add a treadmill, spin bike, elliptical, rower, or all-in-one strength trainer, to the home gym. And we’d recommend smart shoppers consider our highly-rated, budget-friendly suggestions listed below.

Outfitting a home gym is a bit like creating a workshop, with each machine designed to address a slightly different need, and some better for multi-tasking than others. The treadmill is the classic cardio piece, designed for either walking, jogging, or running. Great whether training for a marathon, or just to break up a day spent hunched over a computer, a good treadmill can be a key piece to a home gym.

With live streaming apps now all the rage, exercise bikes have found a prominent place in home gyms, as every spin class fan has openly dreamed about feeding their need for speed in their own home. Great for riding irrespective of the weather, the home exercise bike can certainly help burn up calories without taking up travel time to and from a gym.

While not as commonly used in commercial gyms, the rower is fast becoming a home gym must-have, as it combines strength and cardio work into one machine.

Likewise, the elliptical is literally and figuratively a step up from the treadmill, and while a bit more advanced in terms of the burn, certainly a hot item for those considering working remote on a full-time basis.

And of the course the all-in-one strength trainer is among the most commonly thought of machines in terms of a home gym. Look for machines that can handle the growth in strength and stamina expected over time.

Building out a home gym can take some time, and often it’s a buy-as-you-go experience while shopping around. But whether just getting started, or perhaps putting on the finishing touches, any of these machines can make for a very budget-friendly addition to one’s home fitness arsenal.

Stimulating Treadmill: Horizon 7.0 AT Treadmill

Built for runners, the Horizon 7.0 AT is a high-tech treadmill friendly on the budget. Powered by a 3.0 CHP motor, the steel framed treadmill sports a 20-inch by 60-inch running deck, and holds up to 325 pounds in user weight. Whereas many other home treadmills offer a shorter, 55-inch deck, and perhaps 300 pounds in weight capacity, the Horizon 7.0 AT offers longer stride capacity and stability.

Speeds range up to 12 mph, with incline up to 15%. The treadmill features a heart rate monitor by way of grip pulse in the front handles, and data can be seen via the 7-inch screen.

Bluetooth-ready, the treadmill is compatible with both Android and Apple devices, and the free AFG Pro App can be utilized via tablet or phone, meaning most other training apps will also work. The treadmill also works with Record by Under Armour and FitBit. For those unaccustomed to apps, the machine has five built-in programs: 5K, Calorie, Distance, Fat Burn, Manual, Max Heart Rate.


  • Folds Up Easily
  • Sized right at 77″ x 36″ 60″
  • 60-inch running deck
  • Works with apps and has built-in programs
  • Lifetime warranty for frame and motor, 3 years parts, 1-year labor


  • 7-inch screen a bit small

Our Rating: 89.5

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Stimulating Bike: MYX Fitness Bike

In the ebbing battle of the exercise bikes, the MYX Fitness Bike continues to shine in terms of performance on a budget. The bike can be bundled to include dumbbells, a kettlebell, resistance band, foam roller, and stabilizing mat. Equipped with a 41-pound flywheel, the bike’s welded steel frame measures 54 by 24 and 47 inches, and boasts a 350-pound weight capacity.

As with most machines in the age of live streaming, the MYX Fitness Bike comes complete with an app for interactive training, and at $29 per month is a bit lower than the rivals. Whereas other bike-related apps focus on speed and resistance, the MYX community is more concerned with heart rate zones, which have proven to be an effective strategy in workout performance.


  • Welded Steel Frame
  • MYX Fitness App only $29/mo
  • Bundle package includes additional workout gear
  • Sized right at 54″ x 24″ x 47″


  • 1-year warranty a bit short

Our Rating: 91.5

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Stimulating Trainer: NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 Elliptical

The NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 Commercial Elliptical is among the most highly rated fitness machines on the market, and priced at $1,299, it’s definitely a value buy. Measuring 68.25 inches in length, 28.75 inches in width, 68.5 inches in height, the machine comes iFit-enabled and ready to introduce users to a community full of professional trainers who can control it from remote. Equipped with a 7-inch HD touchscreen, the Commercial 9.9 features 22 levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance. Built to work with the iFit Coach programming, professional trainers can increase and decrease resistance from their location. Dual CardioGrip Heart Rate Monitors built into the machine provide bio-feedback and tracking.

With a user weight capacity of 350 pounds, the machine has a 25-pound flywheel and 20-22-inch adjustable stride length.


  • Comes iFit-enabled
  • 22 levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance
  • Warranty of 10 years for frame, 2 years for parts, 1-year labor


  • No built-in workout programs
  • Subscription is required for iFit

Our Rating: 92.2

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Stimulating All-in-One: Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE utilizes patented Power Rod technology to deliver between 5 and 210 pounds of resistance, upgradeable to 410 pounds with the purchase of additional rods.

Designed to afford users up to 70 different exercises, the machine includes with purchase: A two-position adjustable lab tower; four-position lower pulley squat station; and a no-change cable pulley. Additional attachments can be purchased separately. Exercises are designed to accommodate workouts for the arms, shoulders, back, legs, chest, abs, triceps, biceps, wrists, hips, calves, and lower back. The machine also comes with a unique five-way hand grip/ankle cuffs.

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE can handle up to 300 pounds in user weight, and measures 58 inches in length, 49 inches in width, and 83 inches in height.


  • Unique Power Rods
  • Bowflex Body Plan and fitness guide included
  • 70+ exercises and even more variations supported
  • Warranty of 7 years for the machine, lifetime for the rods


  • Assembly can be difficult

Our Rating: 90.6

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Stimulating Rower: Horizon Oxford 6 Rower

The Horizon Oxford 6 Rower brings 20 levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance to the home fitness scene, with an easy to handle machine built to burn calories. Measuring 82.7 inches in length, 24.5 inches in width, and 43 inches in height, the rower is foldable and yet still holds up to 350 pounds in user weight.

A 5.4-inch screen in backlit blue helps users with workout data. The machine is compatible with the majority of fitness trackers, as well as ViaFit, a connected tracking app. The Horizon Oxford 6 Rower includes a Polar wireless heart rate monitor, as well as 12 built-in programs.

A solid machine, the rower comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame, three-year guarantee on electronics, and one year for parts and labor.


  • 20 levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance
  • Lifetime warranty for frame, 3 years electronics, 1-year parts/labor
  • Wireless Polar heart rate monitor included


  • Relatively basic console

Our Rating: 86

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Home Fitness Is Here To Stay

While the Covid-19 pandemic appears to be on the downswing, live-streaming workouts from the home is on the boom. With a significantly more health-conscious public, the days of swapping sweat Best in a commercial gym may be limited not just due to health concerns, but a growth in work-remote opportunities. As more professionals around the world begin commuting from their living rooms, fitness manufacturers are keeping pace with products improving by the season. If this round of stimulus checks is burning holes in the pockets, consider that investing in workout gear can save time and money in the long-run.

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