In this review article I compare Total Gym’s longstanding & best-selling model – the XLS – with their newest home model, the Fit.
I’ll be focusing primarily on the Fit’s features that are different from those on the XLS, since it’s those features that put its price tag around 500 bucks more than the XLS at this time.
This process is so we each can answer for ourselves the following question:
Is the Fit $500 better than the XLS?
That’ll depend of course if all of the added perks that come with the Fit are worth it for anyone who’s taking a serious look at the Total Gym to fill their at-home fitness needs.
I’ll evaluate each & every one of those additional items in a bit.
The XLS is a well-known commodity
I’m very familiar with the XLS.
Its been around forever and I’ve product-tested it a couple of times now.
I think the XLS is a great all-in-one home gym for certain people, and I get into those reasons a little later.
In fact, the only bummer I have now with the Total Gym XLS is that it — just like about every piece of fitness equipment on the market these days — has seen a healthy bump up in its price.
Shortly before COVID blew us all away, I was in a retail sporting goods store playing around with a floor model of the XLS.
Its price tag was close to 700 bucks if I recall correctly, and now I see they’re selling for $900-$1000, depending on where you’re looking.
Many gyms are still closed & therefore demand for at-home exercise equipment is higher than its ever been, in my nearly 40 years of hanging around the fitness world…
…but I digress.
Science resources included
As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.
Below is a listed summary of the notable areas where the Fit & the XLS differ.
Total Gym’s Fit vs the XLS: 4 main differences
*The Fit costs $500-$600 more than the XLS these days.
*The Fit’s parts warranty is 4 times longer than the warranty offered on the XLS.
*The Total Gym Fit has a higher weight capacity than the XLS, by 50 pounds.
*The Fit comes with Total Gym’s AbCrunch Accessory and the XLS doesn’t.
There are a few more differences between these two Total Gyms, but — and this is just my very subjective opinion — those things do not add any significant value to the Fit model.
I’ll still be discussing them, along with these four main differences I just listed, in detail in this article.
Perhaps this next issue of mine is obvious, but it bears pointing out for sure:
A used Total Gym has zero warranty protection.
And buying it new from anyone who’s not a licensed retailer invalidates all warranty protection as well.
And note that those 3rd-party resellers proliferating on Amazon these days are not licensed retailers.
Meaning, a new Total Gym purchased from one of them will have no warranty protection for you either.
Non-transferable means the warranty is only valid for the original purchaser — who happens to be that 3rd party reseller you just bought it from.
Given all that, a used Total Gym may not interest you, so here’s a link to the Fit model’s page on Total Gym’s website:
And here’s a much better pic of the Fit than that pile of used parts in the Amazon photo:
And its product page with the discount you see is located HERE, on their website.
Up ahead I’ll be going over all of the features where the Fit has been modified (& often upgraded) over what’s on the XLS.
I think by laying out all the changes it’ll help each of us decide if the Fit’s worth the extra $500 or not, according to our unique needs & preferences.
Quick Total Gym overview
I figure if you’re reading this Total Gym Fit vs. XLS article, then you may already be familiar with what Total Gym’s product line is about.
But if not, in this next section I want to provide you with a brief overview of the Total Gym concept, and answer a few of the most-asked Total Gym FAQs.
Total Gym Overview
All Total Gyms operate off the same principle of using your own body weight to provide the resistance while you perform a variety of exercises.
Your body rests on the glide board in one position or another.
And depending on the exercise, you’ll utilize the pulley cables or your legs to slide up the glide rails using your body acting as the weight you’re “lifting”.
Over two dozen Total Gym versions
While Total Gym currently only has four main at-home models currently featured on their website…
…by my count they also have (at least) twenty-five discontinued models being sold being sold on retail sites like Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc.
Very similar design for all Total Gyms
Despite the size of this Total Gym fleet, all of their models are designed similarly.
Here’s a pic showing their four current versions; you’ll see they look quite a bit alike:
I discuss how to best use the Total Gym a bit further into the article.
Total Gym FAQs
Here are answers to a few of the more commonly asked questions about Total Gym.
Who is a Total Gym well-suited for?
I sincerely believe that a Total Gym (regardless of model) is a good product that’s appropriate for certain groups of people:
*those who are just starting out with resistance training and aren’t real strong;
*those who want a full-body workout at home with equipment that’s easy to use with exercises that are easy to correctly perform;
*those who don’t have or don’t want to dedicate a large amount of floor space to traditional strength training equipment (benches, racks, dumbbells, plates, barbells, etc.);
*those who want/need at-home resistance training equipment that they can easily fold up & stash out of the way.
How to use the Total Gym
You’ll be able to get a full-body workout using your Total Gym, since the range of exercises they’ve come up with cover all seven of your major muscle groups:
No experience necessary
All of these workout resources Total Gym provides you access to have been designed with the brand new, unfamiliar-with-Total-Gym, novice workout trainee in mind.
Meaning, you could be starting from scratch knowing nothing, and yet still easily understand and perform all of the exercises you want to do…
…thanks to their simple & expertly presented instructional material.
Learn the Total Gym version of familiar gym exercises
Since the Total Gym is a uniquely-designed product, you’ll be learning their suggested exercises for working each of those muscle groups.
If you’ve lifted weights before, you’ll notice how they’ve adapted the tried-and-true barbell, dumbbell, & cable exercises you’ve done at the gym into the Total Gym exercise plan.
Available exercise info galore
There are lots of resources easily available to you after you’ve received your Total Gym.
What comes in the box
First there’s the wall chart of 35 exercises, and then there’s also the set of Training Deck cards that arrive with your Total Gym.
The deck is made to hang off of your Total Gym so you have easy access to all of its available exercises.
And they’re color-coded to help you learn which muscle groups you’re working on while performing each of the various exercises.
Then there’s Total Gym TV
Registering your Total Gym product on their website grants you free access to their Total Gym TV portal.
There are several workout programs you can follow along with, led by different instructors covering a wide variety of workouts.
Back in the day (not too long ago, actually) Total Gym used to ship workout DVDs along with the exercise equipment.
A few years ago they converted those workout programs over to a new streaming service.
Bottom line on using the Total Gym:
They make it very easy for even the most inexperienced beginner to hit the ground running with their Total Gym.
The machine is easy-to-use & the exercises are easy-to-understand.
And the provided workout programs are more than enough to tone & strengthen your muscles and get you onto a higher fitness level.
This is a shot of the portal to Total Gym TV, where the free workouts are.
How to assemble the Total Gym
All of the Total Gyms I’ve seen over the years — which isn’t every single one of them, but several — come 95%+ pre-assembled.
And putting it together from that point is a breeze.
If I can do it, you can do it.
I had a chance to put an XLS together out of the box a few years ago, and I think it took me all of 5 minutes.
And some of that time was spent reading the instructions.
Here’s a 4-minute full assembly vid made by Total Gym:
How to fold the Total Gym
One of the great reasons to have a Total Gym in your home is its ability to be quickly folded, moved, & stored somewhere out of the way if need be.
Like the assembly I just talked about, folding up your Total Gym is a piece of cake…it’ll take you well under a minute once you’ve learned the 5 or so steps involved.
Here’s another how-to tutorial video courtesy of Total Gym, walking you through those steps:
Total Gym buyers’ ratings & their comments
As I said at the very beginning, the XLS is Total Gym’s best-selling product.
To me this is not a surprise, because:
- it’s been around a looong time;
- it has thousands of very satisfied owners
More than a few owners have gone on record to share how their Total Gym has lasted 10 years or more.
15 years’ worth!
One person on Amazon was writing a review and announced his XLS had broken down.
But as in, “finally” broke down…after 15 years, and they were online shopping for a new one.
Total Gym Fit vs XLS: owner reviews
Here I gathered & combined as many reviews & star ratings I could scrape up online, so as to compare the two Total Gym models by their owner satisfaction level.
You’ll see that both have received well-above average marks from their buyers.
And their numbers are very close to one another too, with the Fit holding the tiniest of margins, 4.7⭐ versus 4.6⭐.
Note that the Fit model hasn’t been out for anywhere near as long as the XLS, hence the reason it doesn’t have as many owner ratings.
The ⭐ rating is calculated using all online reviews available at the time I wrote this article.
And the % you see is the percentage of owners who gave the product a 4- or 5-star rating.
To read more buyer comments, click on the pics or the links below it.
Total Gym Fit
4.7⭐ 91% – 1,300+ online reviews
Total Gym XLS
4.6⭐ 90% – 6,100+ online reviews
*At this time anyway, the Total Gym Fit is not being sold on Amazon by Total Gym at this time, only by resellers. Remember the warranty issue I mentioned earlier.
That’s why I’m providing links to Total Gym’s website in addition to the usual ones I use for Amazon.
Total Gym’s prices are sometimes higher than Amazon’s, and sometimes lower; timing is everything.
At least the lifetime warranty will be honored. 😉
Total Gym Fit vs XLS – the 4 main differences explained
OK, here’s where I’ll go into the details on the only things that separate the two home gyms from each other.
As you’ll learn, these two Total Gyms are very similar except for the add-on features that come with the Fit and its much higher price tag.
The four main things the Total Gym Fit has that the XLS doesn’t are:
- A price tag that’s $500 higher
- A longer parts warranty, 2 years vs. 6 months
- The $160 Ab Crunch accessory
- A 450 lb. user capacity vs. 400 lb.
1. Cost differential of 500 bucks
So we already know about this, and it’s self-explanatory.
The one thing is, this difference isn’t an additional feature; it’s just a fact about their prices.
This (rather obvious) fact means that in reality there are only 3 things to factor in deciding whether or not the Total Gym Fit is worth dropping that extra 500 on it or not.
2. The Fit’s parts warranty is 18 months longer
Both the Total Gym XLS & the Fit have lifetime warranties on their frames.
The Total Gym Fit has a 2-year warranty on parts, which is a year and a half longer than the XLS’ 6 months.
3. The Fit has a higher user capacity
Both the Total Gym XLS & the Fit have high user capacities, but the Fit’s is 50 lb. higher: 450 lb. vs. the 400 lb. provided by the XLS.
4. The Fit comes with their AbCrunch accessory
This add-on is currently listed on the Total Gym website for $160.
As you can see, the decision on whether to go with the Total Gym Fit over the XLS really comes down to one single point:
Do you value the better parts warranty plus the extra 50 pounds of user weight capacity at more than $340?
(That’s the $500 price difference minus the 160 bucks for the AbCrunch add-on accessory.)
Total Gym Fit vs XLS – minor points
Here are the (what I consider) really minor differences that in my opinion don’t offer any additional value.
And if they don’t offer additional value to me in my universe, then I don’t include them as something I should be paying for.
Number of exercises
The Fit has 85 possible exercises and the XLS offers 80.
Not much of a difference.
But to me, there’s a bigger issue that many people unfamiliar with strength training may not get, and that is simply this:
Fantastic-looking & very strong female & male bodies have been built using FAR fewer exercises than 80 or 85.
Try 20-30, tops. (Let that sink in.)
This applies to physique/fitness models, fashion models, bodybuilders, and professional & elite athletes.
I’ve been around fitness & strength training for nearly 40 years, and in all those tens of thousands of gym workouts I’ve done…
…I’ve NEVER seen a single advanced workout warrior need or do 80-85 exercises in order to accomplish some very impressive goals.
So I assign a value-added score of $0 for the 5 extra exercises the Fit has.
The 2-piece Wing Attachment
I also assign a value-added score of $0 to this accessory that comes with the Total Gym Fit but not with the XLS.
Because the XLS comes with a perfectly useful wing attachment** of its own.
Here’s what the two of them look like side by side…not much difference, whether one’s in 2 pieces or not:
** wing attachment – Total Gym’s words, not mine.
They’re really just simple old handles like you’d use at the gym attached to pulley cables for triceps pushdowns or seated rows, etc.
Total Gym sells it for $70 on their Total Gym Attachments page.
They tout that it provides the ability to do even more exercises.
Please see my recent point about 80-85 exercises being overkill, especially on a machine that’s nowhere near as hardcore as real weightlifting. 😉
Everything else is too similar
All of the other features listed on Total Gym’s Product Comparison page are actually too similar to each other to be considered as a value-added perk for the Fit model.
Let me provide you a list of those items in this next section here.
Total Gym Fit & XLS – similarities
There’s no getting around it:
There are quite a number of similarities between these two Total Gym models.
In fact, there are a lot more features that are in essence identical to each other on the Fit & XLS than there are differences.
I mention this to help us keep in mind that there is that $500 price difference between the two of them.
Here’s a list of What’s the Same between these two Total Gym models.
The Total Gym Fit & the XLS:
* both fold easily for storage
* both come pre-assembled
* have the same dimensions folded & unfolded
* weigh the same (66 vs 68 lb.)
* have the same Lifetime Warranty on the frame
* same # of exercises, but I banged on that one already
* have the same included accessories, except for the AbCrunch
Total Gym Fit vs. XLS summary
Here at the end of the day with this comparison review, I’m sure you can see that it comes down to that point I made earlier:
“Do you value the better parts warranty plus the extra 50 pounds of user weight capacity at more than $340?”
If so, then the Fit is obviously a better choice for you than the XLS. If you do not, then there’s no reason that I could find for you to spend that additional 500 bucks.
I hope that my article detailing the differences between Total Gym’s Fit & XLS models is useful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.