January 23, 2022

We tested Fitness +, Apple’s new video sports courses

“Go a little effort, go for it!” This sentence, fans of indoor sports with a coach are used to it. But the sportsmen of living room hear it less from their television sets. Apple has just launched its Fitness + service in France in early November and we tested these new kind of online courses.

Because to stand out in a market already occupied by many YouTube videos or applications (FizzUp, Nike Trainning Club …), Apple is betting here on a platform that works hand in hand with the Apple Watch, an essential accessory for whom wants to seriously subscribe to this offer.

Buying a new one also gives you free access to Fitness + for a three-month trial. Without this sesame, you will have to go through the monthly subscription box at 9.99 euros per month or at 79.99 euros per year.

In order to lose a little fat before attacking the end of the year holidays as it should, I embarked on this test for two weeks, motivated and determined to see what less technology could bring. to my beads.

Setup and operation

Concretely, Fitness + is accessible like Apple Music, Apple Arcade or Apple TV +. To activate your subscription, you have to go to the Fitness application on your iPhone and especially not to forget to slip your Apple Watch on your wrist. If you subscribe to this offer through the new Fitness + tab (located at the bottom of the screen), the app will sync the subscription with your Watch.

This opens access to an interface offering various types of courses. Small gray tabs highlight the eleven categories announced: Meditation, Fractional, Yoga, Strengthening, Strengthening, Pilates, Dance, Cycling, Treadmill, Rowing and Mindful Recovery. Each offering dozens of exercises, both for beginners, but also for more seasoned athletes.

Interesting point proposed by Apple, there are exercises designed especially for the elderly and pregnant women. Some will even opt for the training program for winter sports, where a real American Olympic champion shares his secrets to limit sores in the knees and ligaments before putting on his skis.

For my part, I opt for a first session of “sheathing with Gregg”, a nice coach (and that I do not curse yet) to attack the first ten minutes. But before starting, Fitness + gives me the choice to switch this course to my TV if I have an Apple TV box, on an iPad, on a Mac or to stay on my iPhone. It is then the entire Apple ecosystem that can be used according to your needs or the ease of use you are looking for. Interesting, but for what will follow I strongly recommend that you opt for a larger screen, because the lessons are still in English with French subtitles. For an English speaker, this won’t be a big problem, but for users who have a more approximate relationship with Shakespeare’s language you will have to read the subtitles, and if you really want to follow the advice and the positions it is better to see those. here in a big way. Asked about this, Apple says it is already considering content in French, the pandemic having slowed down some projects on this point.

Moving on to exercises

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Let’s go ahead and get this going now. When I activate the selected workout video, a countdown appears and my watch syncs in real time to the video. This is the famous “+” put forward by the Apple brand since my screen displays at the top right the health information that my watch communicates to it live. We then find the time spent exercising, his heart rate, the calories burned during the activity and finally those burned on the total of the session. Interesting data that can be found on his watch, but reading them on the screen allows for clearer feedback. Another well thought out bonus, if you like a music, the application indicates at the top right which song is playing live, which allows you to look for it later on Apple Music for example. Finally, FaceTime is also used so as not to exercise alone or in bad company. It is indeed possible to join a friend who would have the same subscription to see it in a small square, as during a video call. A good point for motivation and discussion. Only problem, all this implies being 100% Apple equipped to take advantage of all the facets of this subscription.

As for coaches, we are dealing with experts and even stars across the Atlantic with courses offered by champions or fitness teachers like Jeanette Jenkins, who coach Hollywood stars. They therefore entrust their tips and Gregg (if you are still following) is didactic for this intensive cladding exercise which should draw the first outlines of my chocolate bars at home. At the end of the session, a small statistical report is drawn up and it is possible to switch to other courses or switch to a mindfulness recovery session.

In general, there are always sets of defined exercises or real classes, for sessions that can last between five and thirty minutes depending on your choice. The meditation classes are also instructive and the themes offered are sometimes surprising, like this class given by Jonelle to stimulate her creativity. But it’s with Janette Jenkins that we sweat the most. The coach focuses here on interval training and strengthening, with particularly intense 20-minute sessions. As for those who get bored a little quickly, the Dance category is more pleasant since you can work your hips on Latin rhythms without risking the mockery around.

Speaking of music, Apple also offers classes focused entirely on exercises to be done following the beat of your favorite artists. The musical playlists offered here are therefore entirely focused on a singer. Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj or Calvin Harris are among the first artists offered on this fun section for fans of the personalities highlighted.

walk with the stars

Beyond the classes designed to be carried out at home, Fitness + also invites you to leave your home to go for walks … with stars. In the era of podcasts, Apple offers audio programs that invite you to walk for about thirty minutes, giving you the feeling that a celebrity is accompanying you and telling you his little secrets or telling you his life. All you have to do is put on your headphones and Jane Fonda, Naomi Campbell or Shawn Mendes tell each other. About twenty such programs are offered. But then again, all are in English and here no subtitles will come to save you. The idea is good, but we will have to wait a few more months to take advantage of content that should speak more to our culture. Again, Apple should expand this content later.

an interesting service, but …

After having completed ten sessions, you can be enthusiastic about the quality of the courses offered. Well filmed, didactic, active coaches and often renowned, allow to follow very diverse exercises according to the objectives that can be set. Especially since Apple is enriching its Fitness + catalog over the weeks with new courses and well thought out seasonal themes.

Synchronization with the Apple Watch remains an interesting accessory to observe its progress and more personalized compared to watching a classic fitness video. We can however regret that the watch is compulsory to subscribe to this subscription. Above all, Apple is still addressing too much to an English-speaking audience, because of a content initially designed for the American public. A localization of exercises and podcasts “Walk” would undoubtedly be more judicious to quickly retain its public. It will then be the little “+” that will really be added to these Fitness classes.