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The workout app for (almost) everyone – Review Geek



Review:
8/10
?

  • 1 – Absolutely hot waste
  • 2 – Sorta lukewarm waste
  • 3 – Severely flawed design
  • 4 – Some advantages, many disadvantages
  • 5 – Acceptably imperfect
  • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great, but not best in class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money
  • 10 – Absolute design Nirvana

Price: $ 9.99 / month

fitness + sample image
Apple

Fitness + is a new $ 9.99 / month (or $ 79.99 / year) workout video subscription service from Apple. With all the free workouts available on YouTube and similar paid offerings from the likes of Peloton, it has to be excellent to stand out. That’s how it is? Let’s find out.

Here’s what we like

  • Great coaches, great app, great variety of workouts.
  • Very beginner-friendly.
  • The Apple Watch app and the other device apps work together seamlessly.

And what we don’t

  • You need an Apple Watch.
  • The mentioned Apple Watch features feel a bit redundant.
  • For some people it will not be difficult enough.

The watch requirement

Fitness + is “powered by the Apple Watch,” which means you need one to use it. You can’t even sign in without at least an Apple Watch Series 3 or newer. So this review needs to be split in two.

First off, if you don’t already own an Apple Watch or plan to buy one, Fitness + isn’t worth it. On top of $ 80 per year (after a three-month free trial), you still have to pay at least $ 199 for a Series 3 (which we don’t really recommend – the SE is a much better value); more if you want a newer watch. Fitness + is very good, but not so good that it is a reason to buy a watch. If you don’t have an Apple Watch and you need to include that purchase to access the service, we’d give it about a three out of ten. Feel free to read on to see what the fuss is about, but for the rest of the review, I’m going to focus on people who already own Apple Watches, plan to buy one anyway, or at least strongly consider for non-Fitness + reasons.

Apple Watch and iPhone Fitness +
You need an Apple Watch to use Fitness +. The statistics tracked by the Watch are displayed on your iPhone screen.

If you already have an Apple Watch, Fitness + is a much more interesting prospect. At $ 10 / month, it is cheaper than comparable services from Les Mills and Peloton. Sure, there are always free YouTube videos, personal trainers doing Instagram Live workouts, and dozens of other apps that offer workout plans, but the bottom line is whether Fitness + offers enough for the money. There is no crazy Apple tax imposed so this review should help you decide.

What’s on offer?

Fitness + offers 9 different types of workouts from 21 personal personal trainers. The categories are:

  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Yoga
  • Core
  • power
  • Treadmill
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Dance
  • Mindful Cooldown

About 200 workouts are now live, with more coming every week. Each lasts between 5 and 45 minutes with a warm-up and a cool-down. The app makes it easy to sort and filter through all options.

For most Fitness + workouts, you don’t need much more than a little room to swing your arms and maybe an exercise mat so you don’t slip. The exceptions are strength workouts (and a few HIIT workouts) that require two small dumbbells, and the treadmill, bike, and rowing classes that require the stated cardio trainer. Apple puts the equipment used in the videos on its website.

Apple Watch and iPad on fitness +

What supposedly sets Fitness + apart is how tightly it integrates with your Apple Watch (and other Apple devices). You are watching a workout on an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV and your heart rate and total calories burned are shown live from your watch. There is also the “Burn Bar” which tells you how your workout compares to other people of the same age, weight and gender who have taken the same class. It is not quite the same as the live rankings you get during a live Peloton Bike training, but it does give the feeling that other people are also training.

So far so decent. But is it okay?

A great app

fitness + filters
The filters make it easy to find the workouts you want.

The Fitness + app is really great and easy to use. The filters are perfect for bringing out the exact workout you want to do. For example, I quickly found a 10 minute HIIT class on country music. As the number of classes increases, the filters only become more useful and important.

Likewise, the app does a really good job of suggesting similar workouts to the one you have done. You can also save your favorite workouts so you can revisit them – and even download them when you don’t have an internet connection.

Overall, the app is one area where Fitness + is significantly better than unsorted free fitness classes on YouTube or Instagram. Finding what you’re looking for isn’t a challenge and you don’t have to worry about pre-roll ads. If this type of guided workout is something you enjoy doing and you don’t just want to repeat the same three videos, Fitness + might be worth it purely because of how well organized the app is. It saves you a lot of time with every workout.

High quality coaching

If you don’t like the coach, chances are you won’t like the workout – no matter how well programmed it is.

Apple has covered as many bases as possible with its collection of 21 different coaches. Despite being a diverse bunch, they all lead every workout with the same perma smile and a little out of breath to let you know that this is hard-work-for-me. coaching style. If it feels like their sympathy is feeling a little manufactured, it’s probably because it is. After all, Apple has a certain image that it must maintain. Still, it’s effective, and I really liked every trainer I tried.

fitness + trainers
Everyone laughs at Fitness +. Everybody.

As for the workouts themselves? I was impressed. Whether they were 10 minutes or 40 minutes long, they felt like a lot of exercise. The HIIT classes increased my heart rate, the strength classes felt like a real workout, and even the dance classes were pure fun. I think if you have an old treadmill, static bike, or rowing machine that’s been neglected, Fitness + could be the perfect way to break it back in.

Very beginner-friendly

Fitness + is designed for everyone at every fitness level. There’s a special playlist for beginners if you’re totally new, but basically almost anyone can just jump into whatever workout they want because of the way things are set up.

In almost every workout there are three coaches, one of whom always does a “low impact”, “no jump” or otherwise more accessible option. When squatting, they don’t go as deep, when there are pushups, they do with a shorter reach, and they even power-walk while walking the treadmill. It’s great when you’re starting (or restarting) your fitness journey because there’s never a workout you can’t do.

low impact demo
Gregg, the highlighted coach, is doing a low-impact version of the workout. You can see his step is less dynamic.

Likewise, the Burn Bar does not rank you against the general population, but against similar people. If you work hard during a workout, it will be reflected and you will be told that you are “Ahead of the Pack” or “Leading the Pack”. I think it can be quite motivating for the right person.

But just how beginner-friendly Fitness + is may well be a downside. The moves are deliberately chosen to be accessible, so you won’t find high rep sets of burpees or lots of jumping lunges. If you are used to workouts with more intense movements, you should consciously push yourself harder to get the same type of workout. The same goes for the strength sessions: they are for normal people, not powerlifters looking to set records.

Moreover, each lesson – until now – is an independent training. There are no progress or training plans. You can push yourself harder each week and try to burn more calories if you want, but Fitness + won’t guide you through the process. Think of it as more classes at a local gym than working out with a personal trainer.

For what it’s worth, I view this as someone who does a lot of CrossFit and strength training. I felt that Fitness + wasn’t enough for how I like to work out, but the workouts still made me sweat. You have to be quite fit before they won’t.

Music you know

True to Apple’s roots, music is a huge part of Fitness +. Each workout has an Apple Music playlist that you can save (although you don’t need an Apple Music account to use Fitness +). The trainers have (apparently) chosen the tracks themselves and mention them regularly during the sessions. You can even filter workouts by the genre of music being played.

If you haven’t taken a lot of online fitness classes, you might be surprised to see this getting its own section, but it’s actually quite a problem. Music licensing laws are Byzantine, and Peloton recently had to settle it. Most free training videos use generic, royalty-free electro, so it’s nice to hear recognizable tracks.

Really, the music options shouldn’t be a reason to choose Fitness +, but I was surprised by how much I liked them. They certainly don’t make the service, but they give it a little extra personality and shine.

Excellent – but not exceptional

I said I was surprised a few times in this review, and I really have been. Fitness + is very, very good. While the Apple Watch features are not tethered, they feel unnecessary in a way. The app, the trainers, and the quality of the workouts stole the show – I didn’t really care if my heart rate was on the screen or if the Burn Bar compared me to other people.

As I mentioned at the outset, Fitness + is by no means a good reason to buy an Apple Watch. But if you have one and you’re interested in these types of exercises, you’d be crazy not to look at the one-month free trial. Whether or not it’s worth the $ 10 / month, as with any workout-related thing, depends on whether you use it or not.

Really, Fitness + is exactly what it claims to be: a very good set of online workout videos from some very smiley and engaging trainers. If exercise is your thing (or you want it to be) and you’re not looking for something a lot more intense, it’s easy to recommend. If you didn’t need an Apple Watch I would recommend it even more.

Review: 8/10

Price: $ 9.99 / month

Here’s what we like

  • Great coaches, great app, great variety of workouts.
  • Very beginner-friendly.
  • The Apple Watch app and the other device apps work together seamlessly.

And what we don’t

  • You need an Apple Watch.
  • The mentioned Apple Watch features feel a bit redundant.
  • For some people it will not be difficult enough.




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