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Apple Fitness + review: a mobile fitness studio and a little more

Apple Fitness + featured image
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2021 TechnikNews)

Apple Fitness + can finally do it too be booked with us. I have been testing the service for the last few days and now want to report my conclusion.

But what exactly is Fitness +? It's another subscription service from Apple that comes with hundreds of workout videos and more. These can be streamed via an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV while the Apple Watch is responsible for recording heart rate, calories burned and other metrics. The service also offers guided meditations and podcasts for walking.

For a few weeks now, Apple Fitness + has also been activated for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I will now explain to you how it does in everyday life and what I think of it.

Apple Fitness +: requirements

At the beginning we will quickly clarify what you need to be able to start with Fitness +. The most important thing is the Apple Watch, because nothing works without it. All models from Series 3 with watchOS 7.2 or later are supported. Then you have to have an iPhone with iOS 14.3 or newer, an iPad with iPadOS 14.3 or newer and an Apple TV with tvOS 14.3 or newer.

Fitness + can be found in the fitness app. This should already be installed on the iPhone and Apple TV; on the iPad, it must first be downloaded from the App Store.

These workouts exist

Apple Fitness + currently offers several 100 videos, spread over 11 different categories. New content is added every week, with all innovations being summarized in a compact video at the beginning of the week. So you always get a good impression of what to expect in the coming week.

Of course, there are very well-known types of training, such as strength training, core workouts, HIIT or, more recently, Pilates. But running, cycling and rowing are also on board. There are separate exercises for mindful cool-down, as well as yoga units and guided meditations, when you come down after exercise. Apple also put together its own collections, for example “Training for beginners: inside”, “Workouts for pregnancy”, something new is “Get ready for the snow season” with ski star Ted Ligety.

Most of the units can be completed without additional equipment. Should something special be required, it will be listed in the app or briefly mentioned in the preview video. The latter give an impression of what to expect in the training session. So you can judge quite well whether this is suitable for you or not. All workouts are between five and 45 minutes long, so you can even integrate them into small holes in your daily schedule.

Experience during a workout

If you have a suitable workout, you can start. Before the playback, only the Apple Watch and the respective other device need to be found. In my test it always went very fast, often not even a second passed. Even during training, the connection has always remained uninterrupted.

Then the view opens with the selected video and the most important data. At the top left you can see the elapsed time, the current heart rate, the calories burned and the "burn bar", which is shown in certain sports when you pull away your friends with the number of calories. At the top right you can see the well-known three rings for most activities, which are sometimes shown larger during training for more motivation.

Apple Fitness + Training

Slight modifications to an exercise are also shown. (Image: TechnikNews)

As some may have already noticed, additional trainers can be seen in core sessions, strength training, runs and other videos. These show ever easier variations on the exercise that the main coach is showing, with the modifications being explained in detail each time. I think that's very good because it makes the workouts accessible to even more people. I also like the fact that it is emphasized several times that you should move within your own ability and strength.

All videos are accompanied by music from Apple Music. With just one click you get to the corresponding playlist in the music app, which you can then save in your own collection.

To compensate: guided meditations

As a small contrast, Apple Fitness + offers guided meditations. These can not only be consumed via the fitness app, but also via the mindfulness app on the Apple Watch. However, AirPods are also required for audio output.

Each meditation is between five and 20 minutes long and is based on a specific topic, such as calmness or focus. It was positively noticeable here that one is optimally taken by the hand and that even a beginner quickly understands the meaning behind the matter. In addition, the exercises are often quite simple. For example, one is about concentrating on ambient noise and using it as an anchor for better concentration.

Apple Fitness + Meditation

Picture: TechnikNews

For me personally, these units are a good way to balance out a long day, as they help me to sort through my thoughts and to calm down.

The trainers

A fairly unremarkable aspect of Fitness + is the trainers. Apple came up with some good points here that you may not even be aware of at first.

First of all, the company did not look for just any old person, but rather people who had an idea of ​​the subject. You only have to read through the biographies of the individual coaches to see what I mean. There you can find key data such as "star on the offensive line on the UCLA football team" and "kicked as a radprofi in various competitions on six continents".

Then you always get the feeling that you are training together and not just imitating certain processes. You could say that Apple wants them to be like friends working out together. My assessment is supported by the fact that there is a link to the corresponding Instagram account on every trainer page. And to be honest, that's not even such an unwise move, since many people are motivated to perform better when doing sports in groups with people they trust.

Time to go

“Time to go” is still fairly new. This is a collection of podcasts with famous personalities from all over the world, which should accompany you on a walk. These can only be found in the training app on the Apple Watch.

Apple wound it up so that the person the episode is about also walks, creating the effect of talking to you directly. And then we would have a major disadvantage. So far I have listened to one episode while walking through Graz and in this it happened several times that cars honk their horns or vehicles drive past with sirens. So it was not uncommon for me to look back and forth frantically to see if this was really real or not.

The person in an episode not only tells stories, but also includes music and photos in the episodes. The latter are displayed on the Apple Watch and a small vibration indicates that there is something to see.

Apple Fitness + time to walk

Actress Uzo Aduba from Orange Is The New Black as a child with her sister. (Image: TechnikNews)

Big catch: Currently only in English

As is well known, Apple Fitness + did not come into the German-speaking area for a long time, as the videos are only recorded in English. I actually thought that Apple would synchronize the sessions for a launch with us, but it didn't work out that way. Instead, Apple only added German subtitles, which (at least for me) are even deactivated by default on the iPhone and iPad.

For me it is not Proproblem as I can get by well with the English language and all the trainers speak very clearly. You can say that you understand the videos well if you can follow the keynotes well. Only the "technical vocabulary" caused me some difficulties at the beginning.

Otherwise you can just switch to the subtitles. It's not that simple, however, as reading along and doing gymnastics in combination can be stressful. For Apple, the localization would be for it quite conceivable, but from my point of view it should not be expected all too soon.

Apple Fitness +: prices and conclusion

Apple Fitness+ costs 9,99 euros pro month or 79,99 euros pro Year. Alternatively, the service is included in Apple One Premium, which costs 28,95 euros pro month is available. With a new Apple Watch you get the subscription for three months free of charge.

The bottom line is that I can say that I will probably still be using Fitness + after the free trial period. I like the fact that I now have help with integrating other workouts - previously I only went running - and that I can also keep fit in a simple way. In addition, the meditations help me to organize my thoughts and "time to go" is a nice accent on walks.

Nevertheless, I would like to make a few negative points. I already explained the background noise in "Time to go", just like my assumption that some subscribers might not be able to get along with the English videos. A German synchronization would definitely be desirable here. I would also be happy if Fitness + could come to the Mac. Many do not have an Apple TV and still want to watch the training on a big screen. But: What is not yet can still be done.

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1144 articles and left 108 comments.

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