NordicTrack Fusion CST Review – In-home Strength Trainer with iFIT

by Kevin Lee

March 17, 2020

NordicTrack Fusion CST review

Strength training can be difficult to get into, especially on your own. Not only can it seem intimidating and challenging, but it also requires a lot of discipline, drive, and attentiveness, not to mention proper form and movement, in order to achieve results and avoid injury.

To help make strength training simpler, safer, and more interesting for people who want to work out at home, NordicTrack introduced the Fusion CST.

The NordicTrack Fusion CST is an in-home strength trainer designed to help you build muscle and burn fat. It’s a versatile fitness machine on which you can do a variety of strength and high-intensity exercises without needing other equipment. It also provides its users with access to virtual professional training via iFit.

Its smart, innovative design may help you achieve your fitness goals within the convenience of your own home, but is the machine really worth investing in?

Quick Answer:

If you are looking for a HIIT training machine that is versatile and well built. The NordicTrack Fusion CST is a great choice, while not cheap the CST will last for many years and always offer you a challenging workout.

NordicTrack Fusion CST

NordicTrack Fusion CST Includes 1-Year iFit Membership

Silent Magnetic Resistance

Built with an inertia-enhanced flywheel that’s similar to the ones used in indoor cycles or ellipticals, the Fusion CST has a Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR) system. This SMR system uses a magnet to control the resistance level of the flywheel, letting the machine operate smoothly and quietly.

20 Digital Resistance Levels

The NordicTrack Fusion CST has 20 different resistance levels that can immediately be adjusted digitally. Its power intensities are sufficient for toning and developing lean muscle. However, the Fusion CST’s maximum resistance level might not be enough for people who intend to bulk up and are seeking powerlifting challenges.

Ergonomic Design

The Fusion CST has 3 pairs of pulleys located at the upper, middle, and bottom sections of the machine respectively. While the height of these pulleys cannot be adjusted, which might limit your ability to accurately refine your form for certain workouts, the diverse pulley positions would allow you to vary your exercises.

Each of the machine’s high-quality cables, which smoothly run over the pulleys, has a 95” independent cable travel. This enables you to stretch out considerably or extend exercise movement without worrying about cable length.

NordicTrack Fusion CST Includes 1-Year iFit Membership

The Fusion CST comes with 6 handles that can easily be attached to or detached from the machine, depending on your workout requirements. It also has 2 ankle straps that you can use for lower body workouts.

To further enhance user convenience, the machine provides a Bluetooth chest strap monitor for tracking heart rate.

High-Definition Touchscreen Tablet

One of the CST’s biggest features is the inclusion of a Portal 10i HD Touchscreen Tablet. Not every strength machine comes with an interactive device.

This tablet displays fitness data (like resistance, intensity, and heart rate) and serves as the interface for the iFit app.

NordicTrack Fusion CST Includes 1-Year iFit Membership

Workout Programs and iFit Compatibility

iFit is a subscription-based fitness streaming program designed to provide an interactive personal training experience for people working out at home. It gives users unlimited virtual access to numerous world-class trainers and coach-led classes.

Because the Fusion CST is compatible with this platform, users can enjoy trainer-controlled strength sessions, cross-training courses, and an assortment of workouts that demand different degrees of effort, from beginner level to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises. Users can also choose from pre-recorded training videos and live coaching sessions.

Most classes are actually high in intensity because iFit programs are meant to help you burn calories and build muscle at the same time.

Also, iFit trainers can digitally adjust your machine’s resistance level based on the settings you apply. This allows you to make every workout session unique.

The purchase of a NordicTrack Fusion CST comes with a free 12-month subscription. Users will have to pay for continued membership after the free year.

Dimensions

The CST takes up relatively little space overall; it is 73.7” tall, 41.5” long, and 59.4” wide. Do keep in mind that despite the machine’s compact footprint, you should still leave ample space in front of it so you can maximize the actual space that you can work with.

Build Quality

The Fusion CST has a heavy-duty frame that houses all of its internal components. The frame itself is a very solid free-standing base. It wouldn’t easily be subjected to serious physical damage.

It’s also very heavy, weighing around 400lbs, so you’ll need to station it on top of solid ground.

In general, this strength trainer seems like a sturdy, heavy-duty machine.

NordicTrack Fusion CST Includes 1-Year iFit Membership

Warranty

NordicTrack offers a 10-year warranty for the Fusion CST’s frame and a 1-year warranty for parts and labor.

PROS
  • Silent Magnetic Resistance20 resistance level options and 3 levels of pulleys
  • High-end cables with long cable travel
  • Ergonomic handles and ankle straps
  • Free touchscreen tablet
  • Wireless heart rate monitor
  • Combined cardio and strength training exercises
  • iFit-enabled
  • Space-efficient
  • Strong, durable frame
  • Satisfactory warranty
CONS
  • Non-adjustable pulley heights
  • Inadequate resistance level for powerlifting
  • iFit subscription fees (after the first year)

What Users Are Saying

The NordicTrack Fusion CST has been generally well-received by users and fitness experts. Critics have praised its integration with iFit. The more mechanical features of the Fusion CST, like its SMR system and the quality and strength of its frame and cables, have all been met with positive reactions.

Bowflex HVT vs NordicTrack Fusion CST

NordicTrack CST

Bowflex HVT

NordicTrack Fusion CST
Bowflex HVT

Workouts:

Cardio and strength

Workouts:

Cardio and strength

Workout Programs:

iFIT 1 year membership included

Workout Programs:

3 pre-installed, HVT app

Magnetic resistance:

20

Magnetic resistance:

16

Dimensions:

73.7” H x 41.5” L x  59.4” W

Dimensions:

83” H x 45.2” L x  65.3” W

Weight:

400 lbs

Weight:

180 lbs

Price:

$$$$

Price:

$$

The Bowflex HVT (High-Velocity Training) is one of the NordicTrack Fusion CST’s top competitors. Bowflex is a home gym brand known for combining elements from different machines into one piece of equipment that is both cost- and space-efficient.

Like the Fusion CST, the Bowflex HVT combines cardio and strength workouts into one efficient package. It’s also compatible with a workout streaming platform.

But while the Fusion CST and the Bowflex HVT share major similarities, they still have notable differences.

Unlike the Fusion CST, which relies on iFit for workout courses, the Bowflex HVT comes with 3 pre-installed workout programs. Users can choose between HIIT and strength training exercises even without connecting the machine to a streaming app.

For users seeking more guidance, the Bowflex trainer is pairable with the Bowflex HVT App—it’s a free application that’s compatible with iOS and Android devices and provides 50 coach-led exercise videos, as well as several preset routines. Through the app, you can also customize programs according to your workout goals. While this platform doesn’t offer a vast selection of trainers and classes as iFit does, it doesn’t require a paid subscription.

However, the Bowflex HVT only has 16 levels of magnetic resistance, compared to the 20 that the Fusion CST offers. It also lacks automated features, which means that you’ll have to set resistance levels manually.

In terms of dimensions, the Bowflex HVT takes up a bit more space than the Fusion CST. It’s roughly 83” tall, 45.2” long, and 65.3” wide. On the other hand, it is considerably lighter than the Fusion CST, only weighing 180 pounds, while the NordicTrack machine weighs 400 pounds.

All in all, the main difference between the Fusion CST and the Bowflex HVT is the variety of workout programs they offer. The Fusion CST’s access to iFit’s fitness programs gives it a huge advantage over the Bowflex HVT, but it comes out as a more expensive machine, considering iFit’s subscription fees.

FAQ:

How much does the NordicTrack Fusion CST weigh?

The machine’s weight is 400lbs when fully assembled. It’s heavy to move around, but the weight gives the machine more stability.

How much room would the trainer take?

The Fusion CST would occupy roughly around 3.5’ x 5’ of floor space, but having an additional 6’ space allowance around the machine is recommended to ensure optimal and safe use.

How is the NordicTrack Fusion CST assembled?

The trainer is usually mostly preassembled. Users will only need to attach the machine’s legs, arms, and handles.

The most challenging aspects of assembly are attaching its feet and moving the actual machine, given the Fusion CST’s weight.

Can I use the Fusion CST without an iFit subscription?

Yes. The Fusion CST can be used manually. However, without an iFit subscription, users won’t be able to access online workout programs.

How much are iFit membership fees?

The purchase of a NordicTrack Fusion CST comes with a free 1-year iFit subscription. After the year expires, users will have to pay a monthly fee to continue unlimited iFit access.

iFit subscription plans start at $15 a month. This might sound costly, but it’s still more affordable than a gym membership or hiring a personal trainer.

Final Thoughts:

The NordicTrack Fusion CST is a sturdy stand-alone machine that can enhance your home exercise experience. It allows for high-intensity workouts that combine cardio exercises and muscle building. The coach-led programs that are accessible via iFit offer tremendous value to users who want convenient interactive workouts. And with virtual motivation and guidance from world-class trainers, strength training can be simpler, more exciting, more effective, and safer.

However, you can only fully maximize the Fusion CST’s benefits if you continually subscribe to iFit. If an iFit membership does not appeal to you or is beyond your fitness budget, it might be better to opt for another machine that comes with a free, non-subscription app, such as the Bowflex HVT.

And although the Fusion CST’s digital resistance is adequate—not to mention safe—for body toning, the machine might not be suitable for bodybuilders in need of much heavier resistance.

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About the author 

Kevin Lee  -  Health and fitness have always been a passion for me; whether its being in the weight room, going for a run before work or even participating in a half iron man triathlon. ShapeJunkie was created to share to knowledge and love of fitness with others.

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