When gyms closed last March many people started looking for ways to work out at home. Weights, bands, and other common gym equipment sold out quickly and sales of Peloton bikes and the Mirror workout mirror hit all-time highs.
In December, Apple released its Fitness+ app and workout programs. How does it stack up with the other plans and apps?
Apple Fitness+ is an affordable option if you’re already in the Apple ecosystem of products. It’s only $10 a month for unlimited video classes, but also requires an Apple Watch.
If you don’t have an Apple Watch you’ll be on the hook for at least $200, which is where prices start for the Apple Watch 3. Fitness+ will not work with the original Apple Watch or the second generation. You can workout without wearing your watch, but you’ll at least need to have an Apple Watch paired with your phone for it to work.
You’ll find the Fitness+ workouts within Apple’s Fitness app. Once the app is opened, you’ll see dozens of workout videos available, and you can slide a bar at the top of the page to see only HIIT (high-intensity interval training), yoga, strength, rowing, dance, and other types of classes. Choose a workout and then “get started.”
When you start a workout, it opens in the app and on your watch where it gathers your biometric data such as heart rate and, using information already in your Fitness and Health App, will track calories burned. This is a great feature and worth getting an Apple Watch if you’re serious about using Fitness+ to lose weight or get in shape.
The videos play on an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV. One of the downsides to using the app is that the screen on an iPhone is very small and it’s difficult to follow the instructor to perform the workouts correctly. There is no option to stream the video to a smart TV, Roku or Amazon Fire Stick by using Airplay. I hope this feature is added at a later time. Right now the only way to play one of the videos on a TV screen is by purchasing an Apple TV device which starts at $150.
The instructors are high energy and very engaging and the video quality is better than any app I’ve tried before. Music from Apple Music is playing during the workouts and the instructors choose the playlist themselves. Most workouts are 10-30 minutes but you can adjust the time up to 45 minutes on certain workouts.
If you find an instructor you like, it is easy to follow their videos as new ones are released every week. There are some workouts that require no additional equipment but you’ll need dumbbells or bands for most of the strength workouts. You can stream the videos or download them to take to the gym or anywhere an internet connection is not possible or too slow to play the videos without interruption.
While the app, instructors, music, and selection of workouts are all perfect, I can’t enjoy the app as much as I would like by trying to follow it on the small screen of my iPhone Max. It’s easier on an iPad, but I’d like the ability to watch on a TV. I already have a smart TV, Roku, Firestick, and Google Chromecast so buying an Apple TV device is out of the question. If Apple adds this feature soon, my opinion of the Fitness+ app and workout program will change for the better.
Apple Fitness+ is $10/month or $80 for the year and you can share it with up to 5 family members. It is a good option for people who own a Peloton and an Apple Watch who don’t want to pay $40/month for Peloton classes. If you have your own treadmill or bike or rowing machine and want to feel like you’re in a class at the gym, Apple Fitness+ may be just what you want.