“Close the ring,” is the resonating mantra among the energetic Apple Fitness+ trainers and artists at the end of each uplifting session.
The saying is a reference to users effectively completing target goals (as represented by their colourful Activity Ring) on the Apple Watch, and the subsequent digital celebration that ensues on-screen. The anticipated Apple Watch-based Apple Fitness+ fitness app officially made its debut this morning.
Apple Fitness+, the first fitness experience built around Apple Watch, brings studio-style workouts hosted by a team of top trainers to iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. It incorporates personal workout metrics from Apple Watch for a tailored, immersive, and – dare we say – highly addictive experience.
Apple devotees looking to burn off steam can now access their new favourite trainers and workouts on their Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, depending on wherever and whenever is convenient for them. For many of us, that obviously means the home right now (thanks, COVID), but Apple Fitness+ also lends itself to a jet-setting lifestyle for the travel (and Apple) lover once collecting passport stamps becomes a reality again.
With the ability to work out in hotel rooms, hotel gyms, or via scenic runs, the app may very well become your next go-to travel essential for when we can safely travel again (whenever that sweet day may be).
“Being more active is one of the most important things we can do for our health, but we know choosing to work out can often be a challenge whether you’re very active or just getting started, ” said Jay Blahnik, Apple’s Senior Director of Fitness Technologies. “We’re excited for Apple Fitness+ to bring together the metrics from Apple Watch, great music, and a diverse and inspiring trainer team — in a uniquely simple, easy-to-access way across devices — to encourage our users to get fit and stay healthy.”
Apple Fitness+ launches with 10 of the most popular workout types, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT), strength, yoga, dance, core, cycling, treadmill (for running and walking), rowing, and mindful cooldown. All workouts are accompanied by music that keeps motivation levels high – whether that means the top hits from artists of today like Drake, Selena Gomez, and Rascal Flats, or nostalgic favourites from times past (you know, the kind that almost makes you forget you’re working out), like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.”
Music actually plays a central role in the experience. Users can choose from nine different styles – including latest hits, chill vibes, upbeat anthems, pure dance, throwback hits, everything rock, Latin grooves, hip hop/R&B, and top country – and see the full workout playlist before they start. They can also filter by music to find the best workout to fit their current mood –whether that’s chilled out and subdued, or high-strung and energy-filled. While an Apple Music subscription is not required to enjoy the music, those who do have one can download their favourite songs or an entire playlist from Fitness+ workouts to their Apple Music library.
Apple Fitness+ is tailored to people of all fitness levels and is so user friendly that even the tech-challenged set can figure it out. Each video features wide shots of three different trainers on screen at the same time, at least one of which is doing a simpler or modified version of the exercise. Something else that makes workouts seem less daunting for the newbie are 10 and 20-minute workout options. This also offers a chance for users to test out a new workout before committing to a full 30 or 45-minute workout session.
The Apple Watch – the obvious star of the show – collects and displays data with the workout video, allowing users to simply track stats like heart rate, calories burned, and workout time. While they may display on a TV or iPad screen across the room, workouts can be easily paused on the Apple Watch.
An appreciated preview feature offers a look at what type of vibe users can expect from each class. A filter feature also makes life easier, allowing users to sort experiences based on the trainer, class length, and music type. Each class can be downloaded to a specific device, so you don’t need to be connected to the Internet, should you decide to take your workout outdoors or somewhere (like a cozy chalet in the woods) with no connection.
For the more seasoned fitness enthusiasts, the shorter workouts offer a means to switch up an hour devoted to fitness with variety. Though brief, the 10-minute workout options are still incredibly impactful – and you’ll feel the HIIT and strength options the next day. For example, Bakari Williams’s 10-minute HIIT offers just six total body exercises done twice. And if you opt for heavy enough weights, Betina Gozo’s 10-minute strength class will leave you sweating and aptly fuelled.
While some workouts – like dance or running – require zero equipment at all, others require things like a yoga mat, weights, a stationary bike, and a rowing machine. There is also an intelligent recommendation engine that considers workouts previously completed in Fitness+ and favourite third-party fitness apps that integrate with the Health app.
For the competitive set, the HIIT, treadmill, cycling, and rowing workouts have an optional Burn Bar that shows, in real-time, how a user’s effort stacks up against anyone who has previously completed the same workout. With Activity Sharing, users can allow friends and family to see Fitness+ workouts completed, and workouts can also be shared to their favourite social media channels.
Keeping things fresh – it’s easy to plough through the classes, especially during quarantine, after all – the service will release new classes each Monday. Upon launch, rest assured that it’s fully loaded with hundreds of workouts to get you through the holidays – whether you want to burn off the turkey feast or family stress.
Although Blahnik says the product has been in the works much longer than COVID-19 has been a term in our collective vocabularies, with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis closing many gyms across the country and inevitable fitness-related New Year’s resolutions looming, the timing of the Apple Fitness+ app couldn’t be better. This is especially true for everyone who had an Apple Watch on a holiday wish list this year; three months of Apple Fitness+ are included for customers who purchase Apple Watch Series 3.
Fitness+ will be available as a subscription service for $12.99 (CAD) per month or $99.99 (CAD) per year. And yes, that’s more affordable than now rival Peloton.
Apple Fitness+ requires iOS 14.3, watchOS 7.2, iPadOS 14.3, and tvOS 14.3. For Apple Watch users, Apple Fitness+ will automatically appear as a new tab in the Fitness app on iPhone; the Fitness app for iPad will be available to download from the App Store; and on Apple TV, the Fitness app will automatically appear once users upgrade to tvOS 14.3.