With gym classes not opening until mid-May at the earlier Apple’s Fitness+ is a godsend for exercise lovers. The fitness app, which launched in December last year, fuels the online workout boom, promising to make your home workouts more engaging than ever with real-time metrics and leader boards to appeal to your competitive streak, plus workouts based on your music tastes, synced with your Apple Music account. The platform has over 200 on-demand workouts, covering multiple fitness genres from HIIT to yoga, dance to strength, for £9.99 per month, with new sessions added each Monday.
Home workouts have taken off in an unprecedented way since last year and there's been a steep rise in uptake of workout apps, with a 25 per cent increase in downloads of fitness apps in Europe in the first half of 2020, according to customer service body MoEngage and Apptopia. It’s no surprise then that traditional gyms are losing members with people favouring home workouts over traditional gym sessions; budget gym chain The Gym Group reported losing 178,000 members during the first lockdown in March. The online and virtual fitness industry was worth more than $6billion in 2019 and is predicted to grow to $59.2billion by 2027 according to market research body Allied Market Research.
What’s unique about Apple Fitness+?
What sets Apple Fitness+ apart from its competitors such as Peloton, who offer at-home spin bikes as well as strength, fitness and outdoor running classes you can do without the bike, and Fiit who offer HIIT, strength and yoga and pilates, for which you don't need any equipment; Fiit recently signed a deal with Sky to allows its subscribers to stream directly to their TV?
1. You see your metrics in real-time
You have to be a full Apple convert to use Apple Fitness+; you need an Apple Watch , from £199, to track your movement, workout length, calories burned, heart rate etc. which allows you to see your metrics in real-time as you workout (acting as fitness tracker), though the workouts themselves can be viewed on your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV. Your metrics sync from your watch to the screen you're watching the workout on, which means you don't have to keep glancing down at your watch mid-exercise
Being Apple, it syncs up with all your other devices too including Apple Music and allows you to choose your workout based on the music you’re in the mood for.
2. You can make it competitive
As with Peloton, which allows you to see how others fared if they did the same workout as you, you can make Apple Fitness+ competitive with both strangers and people you know, by comparing your results with others who are dong the workout live via a leaderboard, similarly to Pelotons, but the main motivation comes from the trainers who are peppy bunch who it's impossible not to be inspired by.
3. It has diverse, engaging trainers
Anyone who's a Peloton user will have their favourite trainers, thanks to their coaching style, music choices and workout preferences, and Apple Fitness+ is hoping to create similar relationships between users and trainers. The platform has 21 upbeat, energetic trainers ranging from 20-year-olds to sixty-year-olds of all ethnicities and backgrounds making it a totally inclusive space. While all of the trainers are of course super fit now, they don’t all have an unrelatable fitness background; in their day jobs they work as everything from nurses to maths teachers to accountants, while US strength trainer Amir is an amputee who can now squat more on one leg than he ever could on two – seriously impressive.
Three trainers hail from the UK (but have now relocated to LA) and include yoga teacher Jessica Skye of London’s Fat Buddha Yoga, Jamie Ray Hartshorne, former head trainer at London's boutique gym Another Space and Kim Ngo, a former maths teacher who whizzes through cardio workouts for Apple Fitness+.
The workouts are filmed in a studio in LA with multiple cameras so you can see the exercises from every angle and get your form just right. Plus, there are often three trainers per sessions, all performing different modifications of the workouts to suit your level of fitness.
4. 13 different workout options
Apple Fitness+ launched with 10 different workouts including Hiit, dance, strength, yoga, core, mindful cooldown and if you have equipment at home, you can do cycling, rowing and treadmill walking and running sessions. You can of course follow the classes at the gym (live-stream or on-demand) to use their equipment if you don’t have them at home.
The classes range from 10-minute yoga sessions to 45-minute cycling classes, so they’re easy to fit into your day.
This week sees the unveiling of two new categories of workout on Apple Fitness+; workouts for pregnancy and workouts for older adults plus the addition of new workouts to the beginners sessions to help exercise newbies ease into working out. The ten ten-minute long pregnancy sessions feature three trainers including one existing trainer who is now pregnant herself and two other new-mum trainers with each performing exercises for each trimester.
Workouts for Older Adults help fitness fans stay active at any age with a focus on strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and mobility in eight ten-minute sessions on yoga, dance and strength. The series includes eight workouts led by Fitness+ trainer Molly Fox who is in her 60s and shows exercise modifications designed purposefully for older exercisers including leaning on a chair or wall for stability.
5. Celebrity-led walking sessions
In our quest to make our daily walks more interesting during lockdown , we came across Apple Fitness+'s Time To Walk sessions, which are edits of music, stories and photos hosted by well-known faces including musicians Dolly Parton and Shawn Mendes as well as fitness oracle Jane Fonda. They share life lessons learned, the advice they've been given and stories from their careers, as well as a short playlist of songs that has given them motivation and inspiration.
New episodes launch each Monday and they've between 25 and 40 minutes long each time. Never have we been keener to get out the door than when we've queued a Time To Walk session on our watch.
6. It’s cheaper than other workout apps
Once you get over the initial price of the imperative Apple Watch (from £199) Apple Fitness+ is less expensive than Peloton (£12.99 per month) and Fiit (£20 per month).
Apple Fitness+ is available now for Apple Watch users; it can be found through your Apple Fitness app when you update your watch/phone software.