So you have made up your mind to get into some training, or you have been training and are looking for a less expensive and less time consuming way to train. One of the areas you might explore is the Bodylastics home training system featuring resistance elastic bands. This system was developed by Blake Kessel and first marketed in 1998. Total customers are over 1,200,000.
For the last 4 years, I have been a Michigan wintertime member of the local YMCA and under the supervision of a personal trainer directed system there. My motivation to join was brought about by my being a prostate cancer survivor and recognizing the need to stay in good physical shape to help prevent any return of the cancer. In the summer I leave my exercise to approximately 100 plus rounds of golf. After some dissatisfaction with the time and money associated with the YMCA program, I started looking for some alternatives. Having heard much about the Bodylastics system, I thought I would do a comparison. The following is a summary of that comparison as to effectiveness, cost, and time efficiency.
Is Bodylastics an adequate substitute for free weights and weight machines in a gym atmosphere such as the YMCA?
Each year I start out at the Y with a 30-60 minute session with a personal trainer. She puts together an exercise program that best keeps me in good health ( I am not a muscle builder, but simply want to be in reasonably good shape) These exercises make use of the myriad machines available and generally consist of 3 different machines for the legs, and nine different machines for the back, shoulder, and arms. There is also a small amount of time devoted to free weights. Total time to perform these exercises usually is 20-25 minutes, followed by a cardiovascular routine that consists of fast walking laps on the indoor track for about an hour. In looking at Bodylastics I found at minimum it offered 140 different exercises, many of which duplicated the ones done at the YMCA. In terms of the amount of resistance, the special Bodylastics “quick clip system” allows not only quick changes to different exercises, but also allow adding up to 7 resistance bands to give all the resistance needed.
Even though the Bodylastics system compared favorable from a weight resistance training standpoint, there is one negative…..it does not offer cardiovascular exercise such as the indoor track at the Y. Of course, a substitute is simply walking outside or purchasing a machine for use in the home. In Michigan walking outside is available most of the year with the exception of some exceptionally cold and/or snow filled days. Thus, this may be an area that is going to be limited with just the Bodylastics approach.
Bodylastics’ basic unit for beginners of average strength is $49.95, with upgrades to $59.95 for those of above average strength, and $99.82 for exceptionally strong individuals. Now let’s compare this to belonging to a gym, specifically, in my case, to the YMCA. Monthly membership fees are $44/month. This includes weight training and cardiovascular, but also a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, basketball gym, and a roller blade rink. The latter 4 areas I do not use at all.
The distance from my home was 6.9 miles, or a round trip of approximately 14 miles. With my MPG of 22, and an average exercise frequency of 5 times per week, and cost of gas at $2.25 per gallon, travel costs were $7.15 per week, or $30.80 per month. For the 6 months each year that I am a member, the cost is $185.00.
The total cost of the YMCA for membership and travel for 6 months that is duplicated each and every year is $449.00 versus the beginning Bodylasts set cost of $49.95, a one time expenditure. Needless to say, this is a significant difference.
Bodylastics does not require a daily 20 minute round trip to the YMCA. This trip can be considerably longer in Michigan when the snow flies, or icy roads are encountered. Once at the gym, there is time check in, change into workout clothes, and sometimes having to wait to use a machine.
Probably the most significant time savings occur when out of town. This is when I have to search for the local YMCA, find out how to get there, actually get there, and then pay a guest fee. With the Bodylastics contained in a 3# bag with a door attachment, it can simply be taken to and used at any travel destination.