Apple Fitness+: The first few days

Apple Fitness+ launched on Monday of this week, so I haven’t had a lot of time to test it out. But I’ve managed to squeeze in a couple of workouts and thought I’d share my thoughts here.

So far, I’ve completed a couple of yoga workouts, a HIIT workout and a mindful cool down. So no, I haven’t been breaking any fitness records just yet.

I’ve been accessing the service via the AppleTV in our living room, giving me maximum space to flail about. Seeing the classes on a big TV screen is a revelation and makes them quite absorbing.

Navigating Apple Fitness+ is as simple as navigating any other AppleTV menu. You can search by exercise type, by duration, by instructor and by music. They also have a ‘complete beginners’ section, which includes a couple of workouts of each type to get you settled in.

I have to admit the HIIT workout was…thorough. I definitely broke a sweat and absolutely felt it in my glutes when I woke up the next day. It was easy to follow, if intense, and seeing my relative performance up on the screen was actually quite motivating. You can also watch as your fitness rings continue to fill up, which definitely helps keep me going.

The instructors’ guidance is generally clear and helpful and, especially for the HIIT content, an on-screen countdown is another motivational element.

I dabbled with the ‘complete beginners’ yoga, more to check it out than to get stuck in. But I quickly found myself really enjoying the class and will skip ahead to the more advanced content next time I log on.

A few stand-out positives from my perspective:

  • You can easily find an exercise class to suit your skills, time available and taste. Various filters make this easy, so there’s no excuse.
  • Having three instructors on screen and a moving camera means you can easily see how to follow along from various perspectives.
  • One of the instructors will always complete the exercises using modifications, to make it easier. This is a great, inclusive feature!
  • Controlling the class start from the Apple Watch is smart. No need to touch the (fiddly and over-sensitive) Apple TV remote once you’ve selected your class. You have time to get comfortable and ready before clicking ‘start’ on your watch.
  • You can preview a class to see how long it lasts, what equipment you’ll need and a few clips to preview what kinds of exercise and movement are required.

In fact, I’ve only identified a single gripe so far. I can’t get my head around a yoga class that plays R&B music in the background. It grates. It distracts. It’s just not a great fit. So here’s my appeal for some gentle strings and even whale song in future yoga classes. Hopefully I’m not the only yogi who feels this way!

I think it’s fair to say I’ll be making Apple Fitness+ a part of my exercise routine. And in 2021, when I’ll hopefully be traveling again, it’ll all come with me in the form of my iPad Pro.

I can’t wait to see how the service evolves. And if I’ll ever survive one of the ‘Core’ workouts. Last time I checked, I don’t posses a core…

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