Home fitness platforms have boomed during COVID-19 and Apple Fitness + is no exception.
The service was launched in December 2020 and since the ongoing pandemic kept several countries around the world on lockdown, it took off as a way to stay active from home. Apple Fitness + is a fitness subscription service that you can add to your Apple Watch for $ 100 per year or $ 13 per month to get access to a wide variety of on-demand fitness courses.
While it has its pros and cons, Fitness + remains an attractive service for Apple Watch owners and people looking for an easy way to start exercising.
What do you need to be ready?
The three essentials you need to get started are an Apple Watch Series 3 or newer, an iPhone, and a subscription to Apple Fitness + or the Apple One Premier bundle.
That said, with this setup, you’re stuck doing yoga, core training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), dance, and mindful cooldowns. You will likely want a yoga mat for many of these exercises as well. This is still a great starting point and for people like me looking for easy ways to stretch and stay active.
If you want to take things to the next level, you can add free weights, a treadmill, an exercise bike, or a rowing machine for more intense workouts. This also means that you can take your iPhone and Apple Watch to the gym (if not for COVID-19) and do Apple Workouts using the equipment there.
This makes the service surprisingly versatile, as you are not restricted to specific exercise hardware. As long as you are using an Apple Watch, it is good to go. That said, you are still tied to wearing an Apple Watch and possibly many of these workouts could be done just as effectively without any stat tracking.
How is the application?
You can open the Fitness + service through the Apple Fitness app on iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV. You can also stream the service via AirPlay 2 to compatible TVs. Fitness + is in the middle tab between your regular Fitness data and the social functions of the app on the iPhone. On iPad and Apple TV, the Fitness app is just the Fitness + section.
The main screen presents all exercise categories at the top. Below are the ‘Time to Walk’ programs, which are a nice way to turn a little exercise into a short walk.
If you keep scrolling, you’ll start to see some workouts related to what you’ve already done, what’s new in the service this week, and exercises that might be outside your comfort zone. 4
There are also themed trainings like a beginner category and a more themed one for Black History Month.
The other two notable categories are ‘Trainers’ and ‘My Workouts’. The Trainer category allows you to see all the workouts that each trainer has done if you liked the style of a specific instructor. The My Workouts area is where you can save your classes for later. You can even download them if you go on vacation to a place without Internet.
All of this is accessible and cleanly designed, but each workout is titled with the type of job and the name of the trainer. This means that there are 16 different episodes of ‘Yoga with Molly’, and the only way to differentiate them is to remember the pictures or read the descriptions. It would have been nice for Apple to number them or give them some other kind of identifier to make it easier to remember which workouts you like.
Choose a workout
Once you dive into a category, you have the option to filter by trainers, duration, and music. While it may seem strange that Apple doesn’t distinguish between beginner, intermediate, and expert level classes, each episode features three trainers, each operating at a different level, making each class open to all. This means that if you are a beginner, you can follow the movements of the trainer on the left. The trainer in the middle does the basic routine and the person on the right pushes things a bit more.
With that said, I found that longer classes are more challenging and move faster than shorter ones.
Once you choose a class, you will see a brief description of the training, the option to see a preview, and the music to be played. I never chose a music-based activity, but it’s nice to see the song list after you’re done if you hear a song that you like.
The previews are pretty well done too, each one tailored for the episode showing some of the moves and the trainer explaining what makes this workout special.
A small set of icons in the upper left of the screen shows your heartbeat, calories burned, time spent training, and heart rate during training. Some of the more intense workouts will also display a ‘Burn Bar’ to indicate how well you compare to other people doing that workout.
At the top right of the screen, you will see your Fitness rings and how close you are to closing them. Both are nice touches that will keep you motivated as you go.
I’ve had more success doing the workouts on an Apple TV since it’s easier to watch, but the iPad works great too. Exercising on the iPhone is possible, but I find that I need to adjust and move it several times to keep it within my vision, as I mainly do yoga. The smartphone works best on machines like an exercise bike.
As for the workouts themselves, each coach brings a fun personality to the class and since there is such a wide variety of characters, I think most people will be able to connect with at least one instructor per exercise type. However, I found that switching between different trainers often helped me better understand certain yoga poses and stretches.
For example, while doing a Warrior 3 pose with Jessica, she focuses on your shoulders. When you do the same pose with Molly, she helps you focus on your posture. By exercising with multiple trainers, you’ll learn more than stick to one.
Other Apple Fitness Features
While Fitness + may be new, several other fitness-related features within the Apple Fitness app are worth mentioning as they are closely related to the Fitness + experience, but are offered free of charge in the Apple Fitness app for users. Apple Watch owners.
For starters, the most important part of the Apple Fitness app and using an Apple Watch in general for exercise are the exercise rings. Each Apple Watch user has three rings to close each day. There is a blue ring for standing at least one minute every hour, a green circle for exercising, and the final red ring is how many calories you have burned.
To close the foot ring, you must stand up at least once an hour during the time you are awake. The green and red circles for which you can set your own goals. I have my green ring at 30 minutes a day and my red ring at 560 calories. I’d suggest setting them high enough that you need to exercise a bit to get them, but not so high that you never reach them. Closing your rings is one of the most motivating parts of the whole system and ever doing it.
You can also share your stats with friends to see how they stack up against each other.
Along with a few others, these features are part of the Fitness app and do not require a Fitness + subscription.
Fitness + offers a lot of value for $ 100 if you get a yearly subscription. Being able to wake up and do a quiet yoga session with a real trainer is really nice and since I started, I enjoy being able to do these simple workouts on demand.
While the app may not seem like the most organized, I find the disorganization helps me jump into whatever class is my selected training type and time limit.
I’m not the most fitness-inclined person, but I did enjoy the slower pace of Fitness + and the simple fact that I could do small workouts without feeling like I’m wasting money on a gym membership.
If you’re someone who already exercises a lot I’m sure you could get a lot out of this as you can take it with you on your phone to the gym or on your existing equipment, but you should find out. figure out how to balance costs. Fitness + probably won’t replace everyone’s fitness routines.
The fact that you need an Apple Watch to do this is a bit annoying. I understand that Fitness + is basically an Apple Watch add-on, but I am not that keen on tracking my health metrics or stats and would enjoy this program as much if I could only do the videos without wearing a watch. My girlfriend can’t even do the yoga courses unless I start it from my watch, which makes the service somewhat limited for larger households unless everyone has an Apple Watch.
That said, it is cheaper than many other home training programs and offers a wide variety of classes, with new ones added every week. There is a ton of value here if you already have an iPhone and an Apple Watch. With that in mind, if you don’t live in the Apple ecosystem, it’s difficult to commit to Fitness + as the initial cost can range from a few hundred to a few thousand, depending on how much Apple gear you need.
Fitness + classes feel far above the competition with their great music, well-lit environment, and accessible class styles. After using Fitness + for a month, I gave Fitbit Premium an opportunity and although you do not need so many devices, the experience is not even close. The menus are overloaded with information and the videos themselves are just edits from a person doing static workouts rather than an actual program with a trainer. Both Peleton Y Fiit They offer classes that I found on par with Apple, and their apps have even more features, but they cost a little more per month, so you’d have to weigh what you’re looking for before making a decision.
If you already have an Apple Watch, you should give Fitness + a try. The simple fact that these videos are so accessible means that I am exercising more, which is great for my health and something other people looking to find a home workout solution should consider.