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REVIEW: Apple dives into exercise programs with Fitness+

All you need is your Apple Watch, a screen and anywhere from five to 45 minutes to fit a fun and tough workout into your day

Photo by: Apple

Fitness+, the newest program from Apple that will excite runners and non-runners alike, launched on Monday morning. This new virtual exercise platform couldn’t have come at a better time, as so many people are working out at home these days. With Fitness+, you can continue your at-home workouts, but with some guidance from Apple’s lineup of certified trainers. As long as you have an Apple Watch and a screen to connect to, the program can be used anywhere (at home, in the gym, outside), and new workouts are added regularly, so you’ll never have to repeat a class (although you can if you like). Fitness+ is, quite simply, a fun way to work out, and it will have you looking forward to your treadmill runs or strength sessions rather than dreading them.

Photo: Apple

How it works

To use Fitness+, you’ll need an Apple Watch and an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV. You’ll be able to watch your trainer on the screen in front of you, along with your workout metrics (heart rate, calories burned, time remaining). These metrics will also be displayed on your watch, which you can use to start and stop the workout. If your watch is dead, you do have the option of working out without it, but for the full experience, it’s best to wear it during each session.

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So much variety

One of the best parts of Fitness+ is its wide selection of workouts, which you can easily filter on the app’s homepage. Start by selecting the type of workout you’re looking for. There are more basic classes that require little to no equipment, including strength routines, core workouts, high intensity interval training (HIIT) and more. If you have access to the right machines, you can take treadmill, cycling and rowing classes, too.

Easily find the best class for you with the workout filter on Fitness+. Photo: Apple

After you’ve selected what type of workout you’ll perform, you can narrow your search down by picking a trainer (after a while you might have a few favourites), selecting the duration of your session and choosing what type of music you’d like to listen to while exercising. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be ready to go, and you’ll never run out of options, as new classes will be posted every week.

A fun way to work out

The trainers and music are what make this a fun exercise program. Since Apple has the rights to pretty much every song out there thanks to Apple Music, you’ll hear familiar playlists that you actually like during each workout. As for the trainers, they do a great job of making sure you enjoy yourself throughout the workout. They’re doing the same moves along with you, so they know what you’re going through, and they talk you through each set, often reminding you to smile through the pain.

Photo: Apple

They all obviously know what they’re doing, too, as they’re certified trainers. With this knowledge, they know exactly when to say what in terms of form and technique. It’s uncanny how they know when to say, “Don’t tuck your chin,” or, “Remember to keep your back straight,” just as you’re about to do those things and drift toward improper form. These classes are filmed in a studio in California, thousands of kilometres away from us in Canada, but this makes it feel like you’re right there with your trainers as they coach you through each move.

Final thoughts

Once again, Fitness+ is a lot of fun. It makes strength training (which so many runners hate) something to look forward to, and once your session is over, you might find yourself wishing you had more time. If you have an Apple Watch and an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, it’s worth testing this program out. Subscriptions cost $12.99 per month or $99.99 for a full year, but a free trial is also available. To learn more about Fitness+, head over to the Apple website.