Online Poster Portal

  • Author
    Maximiliano Abundez Toledo
  • PI

    Dr. Brett Dolezal

  • Co-Author

    Maximiliano Abundez Toledo

  • Title

    Adherence to and Efficacy of a Connected, Home-Based Digital Resistance Training Platform Incorporating Virtual Workouts (Tonal®) on Physical Performance, Indices of Cardiometabolic Health, Feasibility, and System Usability:  An Exploratory Study 

  • Program


  • Other Program (if not listed above)

    UF Fit Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory

  • Abstract

    Intro & Background:

    Spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders mandating the nationwide closure of most public and private gyms, Americans began to prioritize at-home workouts as a means of maintaining their health and fitness. While social distancing and limiting exposure in public spaces were necessary strategies to slow the coronavirus spread, these also led to greater inactivity amongst the general population. This increase in inactivity poses widespread health consequences with many bodies of research supporting the link between physical inactivity and chronic disease progression. Thus, the demand for an effective at-home exercise alternative is at an all-time high. Nascent technological advances have emerged in the home-based fitness landscape with new products and applications incorporating virtual training via connected fitness equipment. Such systems have become known as ‘smart/AI home gyms’ and they seek to improve the user’s fitness and cardiometabolic health from the comfort of their own home. Studies have found that home-based exercise training interventions utilizing remote, ‘virtual trainers’ are just as efficacious and economically viable compared to face-to-face training. The relative convenience and constant access to virtually guided workouts have also resulted in increased adherence in a myriad of these exercise regimens. For this reason, more diligent research is required to validate the benefits of home-based digital exercise training in respect to consumer health and fitness. 

    Workout adherence serves as the predominant limiting factor in health and fitness outcomes. Many studies examine the effects of exercise programs, noting a high proportion of participants failing to follow the program and dropping out after an extended period. Tonal’s multimodal platform, as a home-based alternative to traditional training at commercial fitness clubs, has the potential to produce a different result. Tonal’s combination of proprietary digital weight, artificial intelligence, and expert-led coaching provides hundreds of virtual training workouts that are physically demanding, emotionally appealing, and socially engaging. The equipment’s accessibility offers individuals the convenience to select the duration of their workouts. Such flexibility of choice has been shown to increase the frequency of workouts performed in the long term. The virtual coaching, self-monitoring, and goal setting integrated into the Tonal platform may also contribute to adherence. Virtual coaches play a vital role in regular supervision, positive reinforcement, and workout accountability which are all essential for adherence. Moreover, the Tonal platform enables users to monitor their form and exertion in real time, offering insight into their pace, positioning, and range of motion. It's AI technology allows for maximum exertion at all points due to mid-workout machine response based on user muscle fatigue. Finally, the Tonal platform allows users to track their progress and encourages reasonable goal-setting, promoting task appreciation which also contributes to greater motivation and adherence.


    This research will be a 12-week, prospective, single-blind study using a convenience sample of participants who will be randomized into one of two treatment groups, the intervention Tonal digital exercise training (TONAL) or the control Self-directed training (SELF). The participants will work out 3-4 weekly for ~1 hour with the primary objective of increasing muscle strength and lean body mass with concomitant decrease in fat mass. Both groups will train at personal discretion, choosing workouts in the absence of direct coaching while stipulating to the guidelines aforementioned. Physical and physiological measures will be taken at baseline and post training for assessment of training efficacy.


    Data is pending and results are expected at end of the posted timeline.

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