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The fitness test

Published December 21, 2020

Apple Fitness+

It feels like Apple Fitness+ was announced so long ago - time moves slowly these days, right? But finally, mid-December, the new service launched and I was very keen to try it out.

It’s a subscription service that you can either purchase separately or as part of a bundle of Apple services (my option), but it’s squarely aimed at people who have an Apple Watch as well. Once you’re on board, the integration with the watch is incredible and makes it all worthwhile - without a Watch, I’m not 100% sure it stacks up against the vast array of fitness alternatives.

Picking a workout on your TV or iPad automatically selects and starts the workout on your Watch which means you’re never faced with that situation of being halfway through an intense workout and realising you forgot to press the right buttons on your wrist. And it gives you all your stats on screen as you work out, heart rate, calories, etc, as well as your progress through the workout and how your rings are looking as you progress. All of that is accessible on your wrist, obviously, but having it up there on the screen means you keep focus and have all the information you need at your fingertips.

It’s the infrastructure of Fitness+ that I like best, because if I’m honest, the workouts aren’t perfect.

At first glance, there are a lot of different types of workout to get involved in but once you remove the three that require equipment (treadmill, bike, rowing machine) it does narrow the scope quite significantly. And for a service that ties itself to the music app so well - playlists, etc - few of them actually seem to work well with the tunes they’ve chosen.

In a HIIT workout, you go at your own pace because you’re pushing yourself as hard as you can go and that’s an individual thing. In a strength workout, what’s the rationale for not lifting in time with the music? I’ve been a Les Mills fan for many years and their integration with the music is incredible, so perhaps my standards are too high.

There are lots of levels within each workout and the trainers all seem very welcoming to all fitness types, rather than the slightly judgemental air some instructors have when they tell you about the easier option. I also love the additional accessability features Apple have tried to introduce. As I say, the infrastructure around these workouts are brilliant.

It’s early days and new content is meant to be coming regularly, so it will be interesting to see how it all develops with the feedback and data they get about what works and what doesn’t. I’m glad to have this service to mix things up a bit but it’s not going to be my primary source of workout out. However, as being indoors is the current recommended situation - more choice is always better.

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