Sometimes stuff just hits you right between the eyes. Sometimes it just resonates so totally you know it’s true, that its tonality is utterly undeniable. Then you recoil with the knowledge that you have seen your future.

For Jon Landau, such a moment occurred in 1974, as he watched Bruce Springsteen perform for the first time. He was transfixed by what he saw and heard, motivating him to write that he had seen rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.

For me, such a moment occurred when I saw my first Tonal advertisement. We were at Jeff’s, house watching football games and chatting. Besides the games, the big event of the day for me was the blind bourbon tasting Jeff had planned.

I had come into a windfall late in 2019, ending up with two bottles of 20 year aged Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve bourbon, arguably the most overvalued bourbon in history. Over the years, Jeff has plied Pam and me with copious amounts of ridiculously expensive tequila, so I gave one of my bottles of Pappy to Jeff as payback. Rightly, Jeff felt that the Pappy should be the featured bourbon in the taste test.

As I was sampling bourbon, I suddenly knew I would be leaving Equinox sooner rather than later, and that my exercise future would be home based. This realization must have thrown my bourbon taste buds into a tizzy. I ended up ranking my go to bourbon, Woodford Reserve, a great, reasonably priced bourbon, slightly above the 20 year Pappy, which at the time was selling for over $2,000 a bottle. That was the first time Tonal impacted my life. It would not be the last.

Exercise has been important to me since the summer of 1974. both in terms of health and enjoyment. I have enjoyed my years of running by myself and with a track club, swimming with a masters team, and pretending to lift weights at the gym, not to mention my couple of year stint in the Pilates studio.

For the past 17 years, I have been working out at Equinox, spending more time on treadmills than pushing weights. I am a weird guy. I do not exercise with music, and I generally avoid classes. I like listening to my body when I run, and I am not motivated by group grinds in spin classes. As I have aged, nearing and reaching the medicare threshold earlier this year, I have grudgingly admitted to myself that weight training may be more important for my health than cardio.

The thing was, though, that I just was not super motivated to lift. And when I did, I just went through the motions. I spent some money with a trainer which helped, but I could not justify the cost on an ongoing basis.

As Equinox prices continued to climb, I was thinking about quitting. What held me back were my gym cronies. I had been working out at 5 AM in the same place for 17 years. I was part of a great group. We were consistent. We were nice. We got to the gym at the same time. Heck, we even parked at the same meters in the same places year after year. The group was what kept me at Equinox. I would miss Doug, Gene, Josh, Shelley, Gavin, David, Three Bottles, and all the rest if I quit. So I hadn’t.

But I kept thinking about it. Then I saw the Tonal ad. I was mesmerized. I was intrigued. I was blown away with its functional, space saving design. I knew I should get one, but Doug, Gene, Josh, Shelley, Gavin, David, Three Bottles kept popping into my mind.

Then we went into Covid-19 lockdown. The gym was a four letter word to me. I did not care how clean the machines were kept. I just could not get over being that close to the exhalations of the other people. All of a sudden Doug, Gene, Josh, Shelley, Gavin, David, Three Bottles were not so important. I knew I was ready to make the change, but still not quite ready to pull the trigger.

One day I was speaking with my sister, Arlene, and I mentioned that I was thinking about getting a Tonal. She gasped and said, “I just ordered mine!”

At that point, I decided to act. I ordered my Tonal and began the tortuous wait for it to arrive. Well, it finally got here a couple of weeks ago. I am easing my way into it, as I have spent the past five months running and doing light calisthenics, including pushing around five pound weights, not a good platform for beginning a weight training regime.

I love the machine. I am using the coached workouts to get my body back into an overall toned state. More importantly, I am learning how to do the exercises correctly. The machine keeps tons of statistics. I ignore them. It has a killer AI that sets weights for me, I generally ignore that, too. I do not care about my strength score, about how much stronger I am or about how much I have lifted. I just like how I feel after doing the workouts. It is the best of both worlds for me. Coaches without judgement and without the competition of others. Equinox is in my rear view mirror and fading fast. I can see me using this machine for years.

Now I just need to find a few cronies.