MY FRIENDS! We’re going to start reviewing fitness apps!!!!
I am SO, SO, SO intrigued by all of the fitness apps on the market now, especially since so many are geared for home workouts. I have a love/hate relationship with home workouts. In a lot of ways, it’s easier to get up and get it done. I mean, you don’t have to go anywhere or pack anything and you don’t have to look presentable at all (I mean, let’s be honest – gym presentable is a pretty low standard, but home workouts fall even lower than that.)
BUT it is also so much easier to quit. So much easier to get distracted, to give up early, to get so annoyed with all the pet fur on your carpet that you decide it’s better for your mental health to vacuum than to workout.
So apps that push you to workout like you’re at the gym without actually going to the gym totally have my attention.
So I decided I’m going to start reviewing them. It’s going to be a slow-going process since I probably need at LEAST a month testing out an app to give you a decent review. Which means at the absolute most, I’ll do one of these a month. But I’m super stoked.
FIRST up is Aaptiv! Partly because it’s the first of those apps that I saw really heavily advertised and partly because I love that it includes RUNNING. Now that I’ve scoured the internet for other apps to review, I’m finding that running workouts are even less common on these apps than I would have guessed.
Anyhow, I feel like I have a lot of material to cover, so I’m going to jump right in and try to be organized. No guarantee that the next review will follow the same format, but here’s what works for Aaptiv…
Aaptiv is an audio-based app with fitness “classes” that you can listen to. They have workouts for running, spin classes, treadmills and ellipticals, yoga, strength training, boxing, and more.
HOW IT WORKS:
You select what kind of workout you want to do, turn on headphones, and go! Their search and filter settings are great, so you can filter based on intensity of your workout, type of music, duration. You can search by a favorite instructor.
One of my favorite things about the app is that you can download the classes onto your phone, so you can listen to them without draining all your data or worrying about service interrupting you.
HOW I USED IT:
I stuck almost entirely to the running workouts, both for the treadmill and for outdoors. I tried one yoga workout and one strength training workout (spoiler: I hated them both.) Everything in this review except for the tiny section below about other types of workouts relates only to treadmill or outdoor running workouts. I tested it out for a month and wound up doing about 20 workouts. That’s just scratching the surface of what they have to offer, but I think it’s enough to give you some thoughts!
IMPORTANT INFO FOR YOU TO KNOW:
I actually tested this app out back in February, so it’s possible that there are some changes to the app already. I did review their website again and can’t see anything major that changed, except a change for the better of their subscription options. So let’s get to that first…
Free trial:30 days (YAY!)
Subscription options:$100/year (billed annually); $60 for 6 months; $30 for 3 months
几注:this off their website, but when I had the free trial, I swear up and down that the ONLY option I could see on the app was $100 for a year. I have done some digging since then and they DID have different subscription options at that time, so I don’t know if this is just me being a moron or if there really is some not-so-user-friendly options on the app.
你会得到一个30天免费试用的潜艇cription options above. I don’t understand why there’s no price difference for 6 months versus 3 so maybe that’s an error? Andthey have different subscription options on the help section of their website(the prices above are from the “sign up” part of the website) which only gives two option: $15 per month or $100 for a year. Soooo they’ve really got some issues with clarity going on that I certainly don’t appreciate.
Helpful tip on the trial:If you sign up through their website, you HAVE to contact customer service to cancel and it takes up to 48 hours to cancel (which — come on — does NOT sound believable.) If you sign up through the app on your phone, you can cancel on your phone immediately (the method depends on what kind of phone you have.)
On to the actual content of the app!!!I have very different opinions for the treadmill workouts than I do for the outdoor runs and other workouts, so I’m splitting them up into sections.
I LOVED the treadmill workouts.Every single one that I tried. The cues are super simple since you just adjust the speed and incline the way your instructor tells you to. And if you feel like you can handle something a little more intense, just increase either the speed or the incline a tiny. If you need a little break or to take it down a notch, same.
It’s really easy to pick a treadmill workout that is the right level of difficulty for you because the descriptions tell you the highest speed and incline you’ll reach, along with a great description of the workout.
我非常喜欢的treadmill climb workoutsso it was no mystery that I wound up totally loving those, even more than the running workouts. A lot of them had you jogging (slowly) for short intervals on the incline and I liked that push because I never make myself do that.
The treadmill workouts also wound up going by SO quickly because you get so focused on when you’re supposed to make the next adjustment to the treadmill.
我真的没有一个底片ative thing to say about the treadmill workouts.Now that there are more subscription options, I could totally see myself getting a 3-month winter subscription just for the treadmill workouts alone.
OUTDOOR RUNNING WORKOUTS:
Okay, now the criticism starts. The outdoor runs were significantly harder to get into than I expected.
My biggest problem with them was figuring out how to pace myself. The trainers typically used the terms “walk, run, sprint” and sometimes “jog” to describe the pace you’re supposed to take. But “run” sure includes a hell of a lot, yes? At least for me it does… and maybe this has something to do with the type of runner I am. I used to be a sprinter, wayyyy back in my track days (100 and 200 meter dashes), so to me, “sprint” means give it your absolute all for a verrrryyy short time. And while I can absolutely run long distances, I would always describe my pace as a “jog.”
The trainers were FANTASTIC, and a lot of the time they’d tell you at the beginning of a workout exactly what your intervals would be like for the entire workout. But using the terms “walk, jog, run, sprint” still meant that a lot of the time,I had absolutely no ability to set an appropriate pace for myself.Most of the time, this looked like me going overboard way too early in a workout and then feeling crappy because I couldn’t keep up for the rest of the workout. After that happened a few times, I overcorrected and had a couple pathetic workouts where I didn’t push myself enough.
So maybe if you’re a seasoned runner who does tempo runs and is familiar with how long of an interval you can maintain a certain speed, it would be easy for you to listen to cues and set an appropriate pace. But I am not that kind of runner. And I’m guessing most people trying this app aren’t.
Now that being said, there were a few workouts that went SO SMOOTHLY that I came home sweating, beaming, and convinced that I was going to get a year of the pro version of this app and use it religiously and get in the best shape of my life. When it works, it REALLY works. It is so motivating to have someone in your ear giving you motivation. And SO helpful to have reminders about proper running form.
Also, I was trying to mix it up and try a lot of different trainers and types of workouts so I could write a helpful review for you guys. I’ll bet this pacing frustration wouldn’t have existed if I’d stuck to a favorite trainer or repeated a workout a few times until I figured out the pacing issues.
A FEW OTHER THOUGHTS:
- You have no control over the music(and I found the descriptions misleading sometimes.) I am a big song-skipper and song-repeater on a run so I can have just the right feel, so for me this could get frustrating if I really wasn’t feeling the music. (Though because I liked the treadmill workouts so much and got so frustrated by the outdoor workouts, I noticed this only bothered me on outdoor runs…)
- I had one super annoying technical glitch. I guess once in 20 workouts isn’t bad. But I was 5 minutes from finishing one of my favorite smoothest outdoor runs, and the workout suddenly skipped back to the very beginning of the workout. And then it did the same thing four more times… I was not a happy camper.
- Strength training sessionsare suuuper unclear. I gave up really quickly in trying strength training. It’s just not something that’s practical for me to do with only audio cues – and I am pretty familiar with strength training exercises/terminology/etc.
- The yoga classesare even MORE unclear. Infuriatingly so. Okay, I may be generalizing because I only tried one class, but I got so mad at it less than 10 minutes in that I gave up and didn’t try another. I tried it after my attempt at strength training because I figured yoga would be way easier to do with audio since I KNOW yoga poses and all I have to do is follow the pose. But instead of cuing with the names of poses, I got some bizarre and terrible attempt at describing how to move your body without actually using the names of poses. Terrible.
I did not like it enough after 30 days to commit to spending $100 for a year-long subscription. But I did like it enough that I might try a shorter subscription so I can work through some of the issues I had with it. If you’re looking for an app for strength training, yoga, boxing, or circuit training classes, there are so many options that are VIDEO based (or at least include photos!) that are much easier to use. If you’re looking for something for running or spin that you really don’t need video for, it’s absolutely worth a try. If you’re a treadmill fan and just need an extra push, I HIGHLY recommend Aaptiv.
If I wind up giving this a longer shot over the winter and have anything extra to add, watch for a second review!
And if there’s an app you want me to review, let me know! I’m making a list