iFit -- a fitness module that allows you to stream extra workouts, compete against others and personalize many features -- is produced by ICON Health & Fitness and, as such, is only available for cardio equipment from brands that fall under the ICON umbrella. If you narrow it down to only elliptical trainers, that leaves you four ICON brands to choose from: NordicTrack, ProForm, Reebok and HealthRider.
Compatible vs. Enabled
All but the lowest-end of ICON-produced elliptical trainers are either iFit enabled or iFit compatible. An iFit-enabled exercise machine already has everything you need to connect to iFit; however, you must still purchase an iFit subscription. If your elliptical trainer is iFit compatible, you must also purchase a separate iFit module that includes a one-year subscription to iFit.
A Range of Workouts
ICON Health & Fitness is famous for loading its cardio machines with a wide range of features, particularly preprogrammed workouts. iFit allows you to expand this capability even further by downloading or streaming additional workouts, including eight-week weight-loss programs coached by celebrity fitness trainer Jillian Michaels. Some workouts also feature HD video of the simulated surroundings, as your elliptical trainer automatically adjusts resistance and incline to match the terrain, if available.
iFit also offers a range of interactive features to help you stay engaged with your workouts and fitness goals. If you download the iFit app for your mobile device, you can record your outdoor workouts and then upload them to your iFit account, to be reproduced indoors on your elliptical trainer. Other interactive features include the opportunity to track your progress against those of others in the iFit community and automatic tracking of your workout metrics. You can also create your own workouts by drawing a route on Google Maps; the elliptical trainer will display a Google Street View of your progress through the workout.
Things to Keep in Mind
In addition to an iFit module, subscription or both, you must also have access to a wireless network at home to use iFit. If you have an elliptical trainer with a screen that can't provide HD video, you can stream the HD video or Google Street View of your workout on a mobile device instead. And finally, if your gym has FreeMotion cardio machines, you can log right into your iFit account from the gym machines -- even if the machine you're using doesn't happen to be an elliptical trainer.