Stuff I’ve Tried: Apple Fitness+ Review

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Everyone’s got a fitness app! Your favorite fitspo, your preferred exercise equipment maker, your neighbor with the weird fascination with crystals…EVERYONE! So it’s not surprising that the behemoth that is Apple wanted to find yet one more way to run your life. And here it is Apple Fitness+ designed to integrate with your Apple Watch it promises to inspire you with an overwhelming amount of metrics; well not really that many metrics, just time, distance, heart rate, and calories burned. Currently, Apple is offering a 3-Month Free Trial when you buy a new Apple Watch or a 1-Month Free Trial for existing Apple Watch owners, all you have to do is update your iPhone and Apple Watch and you should be good to go. I decided to try the app so you wouldn’t have to.

As an Apple Watch aficionado that does not function without her Apple Watch I was excited to see what I could do with a fully integrated for WatchOS workout experience. And then I saw the list of available workouts. Currently, the Apple Fitness+ offers HIIT, Yoga, Core, Strength, Treadmill, Cycling, Rowing, Dance, and Mindful Cooldown workouts. The workouts range between 5-45 minutes. You can filter workouts by Trainer, Time, and Genre of Music. Once in a workout it gives you a list of all the music played during the workout and lets you listen to the songs in Apple Music. After your trial period is over a subscription costs either $7.99/month or $79.99/year. While the workouts currently offered do offer a good starting range of workout options, notably missing are traditional aerobics, pilates, and barre. In light of this, I decided to do 3 workouts of the type that I usually do in my current programming. I did a Strength Workout, a Treadmill Workout, and a Yoga Workout.

Gearing up to do my first workout, I mistakingly thought that I would be able to view the workouts on my iMac. I usually use the iMac in the rec room/fitness room to watch my Obe Fitness workouts (or any other fitness workout that I may be following along). After wasting 15 minutes googling I realized that I couldn’t do that. You can only watch the workouts on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV device. It will not Airplay to your Airplay compatible television set, you have to have the actual Apple TV box. Spend another $179 when you’ve already spent $1400 between your Apple Watch and your iPhone? Hmmm, didn’t like that prospect. So I tried to do the workout while just looking at my iPhone screen.

The Strength Workout I did with Betina was actually fairly challenging even if it wasn’t very long and the music selection was great. While you’re working out you can see your metrics displayed on the top left corner of the screen. Included with your metrics is something Apple calls a ‘Burn Bar’ which compares your effort to the effort of others that have done the workout before you. It’s designed to motivate you to push harder while you’re working out. If you need a little competition to get you going that might be a helpful feature. Overall, I felt like I accomplished quite a bit in that first workout, even if it was really hard to see it and lift at the same time.

The next workout I did on the app was a Treadmill workout. This workout had no inclines. When you start the workout you can choose whether you want to run or walk during the workout. The prompts given by the trainer don’t change regardless of the workout style that you choose but it does change how your Apple Watch tracks your workout. Scott was my trainer for the Treadmill Workout and adequately motivating but didn’t really focus on providing instruction on how to be a better runner, which is something I’ve really come to appreciate from my iFit trainers. The Treadmill Workout consisted of the trainer in a studio running along on a treadmill. Again the music selection was good but I think other apps exist that do a better job of getting you fully engaged in a treadmill run.

After finishing the Treadmill Workout checking my Apple Watch.

The last workout I tried was a Yoga class. I was feeling sore and was hoping to stretch out. It was fun to find a Yoga class that used chill Hip-Hop and R&B as the playlist. The Yoga Class with Jessica was nice. If you’re someone that needs a lot of the spiritual, zen components of yoga, I didn’t get much of that in this particular class but there are other instructors who may offer more of that flavor. It gave me a good stretch but again because I couldn’t get it up on a bigger screen, I was left struggling to see what the heck I was supposed to be doing. I may have fallen over a couple of times during the class.

Apple Fitness+ Yoga with Jessica.
Me trying to follow along with Jessica.

Final Thoughts

I’m sure the app will improve over time as more people use it and give their feedback. It’s nice that it integrates so seamlessly into your Apple Watch but if you’re a moderate to advanced exerciser this may not be the app for you. If you’re a beginner and have all the necessary equipment, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV it might be a good idea to take advantage of the month (or 3 month) free trial to get your fitness journey started. It’s also a good option if you’re on a budget and really can’t afford to spend over $20+ a month on some of the other fitness apps. Most of the apps that have a variety of workouts are averaging around the $20+ range, with the exception of Open Fit which is about $13 a month if you pay quarterly. The music selection is also really great and it’s fun that if you subscribe to Apple Music you can easily add a song you hear during your workout to your playlist later. If music quality is important to you when it comes to getting a good pump on then this is an app to consider.

I’ve got 3 months to consider whether to keep the app so I’ll keep checking periodically to see if any changes are made to the platform and if they allow the use of Airplay. At this point I don’t see myself investing in a $179 device just to be able to see my workout instructor when I already own a smart tv and a couple of television streaming sticks. But let me tell you this blind Mama needs a big screen! If anything changes, I’ll be sure to update this post. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried Apple Fitness+ and what you think and whether there are any particular trainers that you think I just absolutely need to try working out with.

Happy lifting – you’re looking good,

Author: Grace G.

New Mom and Retired Lawyer trying to share the ride.

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