One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


Total Gym XLS Review

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Total Gym XLS Review I have been totally slacking in the workout department. Just haven’t been able to find my groove since moving and starting this full time job. So when Total Gym emailed asking if I’d review that, the Total Home Gym XLS, I hoped on the offer. Maybe having 80 odd exercises available to me on a moments notice would give me that much needed boost.

No such luck. It’s been sitting in my basement for over 2 weeks and I, unfortunately, only had a chance to use it twice. Both times were really great workouts! I just need to find more time to actually use it.

The machine is very pilates like. Which I didn’t expect. It’s got a great padded bench on a really smooth track. The pulley system is simply and I was surprised how it didn’t tangle or get twisted up.

There really are 80 different exercises you can do with the gym and they explain each one on large illustrated cards. There’s also routine recommendations, like upper body, lower body, 6-8 minute workouts and my personal favorite, long and lean. I did that one this morning and let me tell ya, I’m feeling it now.

My only complaint has to do with size. The unit is fairly large and you need a big area to workout as some of the exercises require you to swing your arms.

All in all it’s an awesome piece of equipment if you have the space and funds to afford it. Normally it goes for $1948.05 but right now they’re having a fall sale for $948.05. Click here to check it out.

Does anyone else have it or tried it? I’m hoping to get into a schedule with it. Working out 2-3 times a week would be nice. I have a question for all you home gym equipment people… do you workout regularly or does it collect dust in your basement? Because honestly, that’s what I’m worried about as I decide to keep it.

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There are 23 comments so far.


    October 24, 2009

    I’ve been looking into buying some type of equipment for a home gym. I don’t have the time to leave my house to workout because of my over-demaning job and young babies at home. The thought of working out whenever I want, any time of day I want, and no need for a babysitter is very appealing, but like you, I’m afraid it will be a new laundry and dust collector. I saw one of these today and wondered what they were like, so I’m glad you reviewed it!


    October 25, 2009

    I have workout equipment at home but, to be honest I don’t use them. I can always find something else to do if I’m home and “hope” to get exercise in later. Yet when I plan on going to the gym- I go.

    So for me, an at-home workout system (and sorry, this one is too large to fit in my home) would not use.

    However, you have it in your basement -which, when someone has one- is often the place where the laundry is done. Can you just stay downstairs when you’re doing a load and workout?


    October 25, 2009

    I had one a long time ago and I never used it. It probably wasn’t as nice a version as this. I think I WOULD use a treadmill or elliptical machine, though, but who wants to spend the money to find out they don’t ever use it?


    October 25, 2009

    I had bought their cheaper version a few years ago and it was a dust collector. I enjoy lifting free weights more, I like the mental thought of “Today I lifted 80 pounds”, know what I mean? I dont really like the pulley system. Hope you like it and I am glad you got to try it for free, that is a TON of money. Mine was under $500


    October 25, 2009

    I love my elliptical. It gets me through the winter months when I can’t find it in me to get out and run.

    Marisa (Trim The Fat)

    October 25, 2009

    That sounds like an interesting machine. I could have used that the past 2 years that I had been working out in my dreary basement! But, I decided to break out of the dungeon and join the gym!

    I think it would be a good piece of equipment for someone who likes to work out at home.

    Cynthia (It All Changes)

    October 25, 2009

    I don’t own one but my PT office has one and I’ve used it for many different exercises for rehab. My complaints would be the price and size. I don’t have a lot of space here and we move alot for work so I wouldn’t want to move it each time. But if I had the space I would totally like something like that.


    October 25, 2009

    I have an elliptical machine and it gets used. My hubby uses it too. I have been running outside but due to an injury, I’m out for a while. I hope to use my elliptical to get me thru the winter months so I can train for a half marathon in the spring. My also have free weights and the P90X DVD system…DH uses that but not me. I don’t have time to work out for an hour at a time. I have to work out when the baby sleeps or first thing in the morning. Before my injury, I would work out at night after the baby went to bed and the big kid was still awake playing outside or whatever. I find that the best time for me is first thing in the morning.


    October 25, 2009

    We have a serious gym in our house: Marcy Smith Press Machine, full bench, free weights up to 50 lbs., a treadmill and a recumbant bike that’s still in the box (we bought it 2 years ago-but don’t have room for it.) With all this, I still joined a gym to work out more regularly. It’s just hard with 2 preschoolers, a part-time job with a long commute, and all the responisibilities at home to dedicate time to work out here. I have been a little better recently since our gym cut back child-care hours and my oldest started 1/2 day Kindergarten this fall. But still, I wish I was more motivated to work out at home. I’ve set my alarm early quite a bit but to do it before the boys are up, but I end up snoozing until I need to get them up anyway.


    October 25, 2009

    I, like several of the other comments, also have equipment at home and it’s rarely or never used. We’ve had many different machines, from inexpensive weight/pulley benches available at Walmart to a Bowflex to a treadmill. I always told myself that “If I had something like that at home I would work out all the time!” Ennn! Wrong. I have had spurts when I’ve been consistent. But at home there are so many other distractions that no matter how bad you want to get yourself on the machine, I’ve always given into the other demands (or temptations: cookies and Survivor :). We have a gym membership, which is collecting as much dust as the Wii Fit under the television. I do better with the gym though. Once you’re there you are pretty much guaranteed to do something semi-worthwhile. I also have a demanding toddler as the others mentioned and once I bring her home from daycare this is no way to get workout time in until at least 8pm (and by that point, who’s fooling who?! :)
    Good luck with your machine. I hope you don’t fall into the trap if you do decide to keep it.


    October 25, 2009

    I have an elliptical and Its very easy to just skip it. I get home from work and Im so tired, it collected dust for a long time. Then I realized that I was just wasting 600 dollars, and I have been better about it. But honestly, I get a much better workout at the gym. Once youre there, youre there, and its not so easy to stop and do something else.


    October 25, 2009

    I finally realized that I cannot workout inside my home. My couch calls out to me to lay down! All my DVDs collect dust. I sold my treadmill. When I did own weight equipment at home I never used it. But I love going to the gym, running on the track or on the street.

    Keeping those two things seperate has helped me to workout on a regular basis. :-)

    Scott Tousignant

    October 26, 2009

    The sale price is pretty good for a home gym, but I couldn’t imagine paying the full price.

    My wife and I have been doing 10 minute home office workouts and cardio sessions for a while now. It only requires your body weight, a stability ball and a few dumbbells.

    Because we are both busy work at home moms and dads who love to spend loads of time with our children we didn’t want to spend hours in the gym and we don’t have a lot of room for equipment.

    Time should never be an excuse to not workout. There’s always time. Health should be your #1 priority because without it, nothing else matters.

    Scott Tousignant


    October 26, 2009

    Workout DVDs truly work best for me, and my boyfriend often points out. I have a gym membership and go to a class with a friend once a week, but other than that I pretty much stick to my DVDs. I’ve always wants an elliptical, but they’re so pricey, and it seems ridiculous to buy one when I pay for a gym that has 30 of them.


    October 26, 2009

    Ah, if only I had the space… I had an exercise bike for a while, and though I did use it fairly consistently the first few months I had it, I would much rather go to the gym (even if it takes more time), because people watching motivates me, or even better, go outside.


    October 26, 2009

    We have a home gym that includes treadmill, bike on a home trainer, spinner bike and a big equipment with bench press and a lot of free weights. Except for the equipment and the free weights I use everything else and so does my husband and HE uses the machine and the weights regulary.

    We have a room dedicated for the gym in our basement. But I must had that my husband does triathlons and Ironman ;-)

    Off course I don’t use it much in the summer because I run outside but in the winter it’s great, because we do get a lot of snow and it get’s very cold here (Ottawa, Ontario – Canada).

    I also have a gym membership that I use for spinning classes and for the treadmill in the winter at lunch time (it’s in front of my office).


    October 27, 2009

    I have a treadmill, weights, stability ball and mats and I use them regularly. I’d have a hard time convincing myself to leave the house and go to a gym, but walking down to the basement is easy.


    November 3, 2009

    Roni, How did you feel it did on lower body? The reviews and comparisons I’m reading say very limited lower body.

    I have a bowflex which I love and use 3 times a week, but it takes up a ton of room, making aerobics etc hard, so if this is good i might give it a shot to get rid of the bowflex and free up some space (yes, I know the original bowflex folds up small, but i have the lat tower, the leg and squat attachments and now its HUGE!)

    I do find having something at home works well for me, I do it more consistently because it’s there and so is the shower etc, just less time overall. The time to workout is not my problem but add in time to drive to the gym wait for equipment to become available and I’m done.


    November 9, 2009

    Alison – When I bump it up to a higher level with works great. You are, however, only using your own body weight so I just upped the amount of reps.

    If you are worried about the room I don’t think this is a better option then the bowflex. I’d say it’s even bigger. I was actually surprised how long it was.


    August 30, 2010

    My workout equipment gets USED. ;) I am extremely frugal and if I spend money on something, I do the math and try to get every last cent out of it. lol

    I just got the Total gym XLS for review on my blog and I’m loving it. My husband (who HATES exercise) has been sneaking out to use it every night. Someone needs to tell him that muscles need to rest, but I’m not going to jinx his new love of exercise.

    I’d recommend you come up with a 2 day plan for the total gym. Write down which muscle groups you want to hit (triceps, shoulders, back, core, legs…etc.) then take out the cards that came with the machine and pick out your two faves for each muscle set. Then take one of each muscle group and make a routine. Do 12 reps of each, rest a minute or two, then repeat two more times.

    I’m not a fan of doing legs on the Total gym, so I’d do some lunges or squats at the end of each set. But you can certainly do them on the gym.

    I’d take the other 3 workdays and make them your cardio days. Walk for 30-45 minutes while you read your mail or watch t.v.

    Or put in a fun exercise video – if you’ve never tried some of the kickboxing videos, you need to! They are awesome and fun! Or swim or ride bike or whatever you have time/energy for.

    Good luck finding a routine.


    December 21, 2010

    I just bought the Total Gym XLS this month, and yes it is long and you need enough room to swing your arms, but for a fitness machine (not bodybuilding) I think it is worth the sale price. The payment plan also makes it easier to handle. I can understand others feelings on working out in the afternoon, after work, as I feel the same way, So I workout in the AM before work. I feel that exercise is a commitment to ones health, and one should be sure they want to make the commitment before spending money on exercise equipment. It is rough in the beginning, but when you get into a routine, It gets easier and I look forward to my exercising now. It beats ending up in the doctors office because of lack of exercise.


    September 4, 2012

    I love the XLS, however it should have additional resistance, such as the ability to add weights or bands. It’s the only thing that lets it down in my opinion. But then I do prefer lifting heavy weights for low reps


      January 7, 2015

      It does have a weight bar attachment which is about $20 on Amazon and can build up to 400lb (including your own body weight)