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Fitness+ Review Roundup

Apple debuted Fitness+ yesterday alongside iOS and iPadOS 14.3. The service, which integrates tightly with the Apple Watch, offers workout classes on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, and uses the Apple Watch to track your heart rate and other metrics. There are ten types of workouts available that are designed to accommodate beginners through experts. New workouts are recommended based on what you’ve done before and can be filtered by criteria like trainer, time, and music.

Apple invited a long list of press from health and fitness publications and a few from the tech world and other media outlets to try Fitness+ in advance of its launch. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Nicole Nguyen of The Wall Street Journal remarked on something that a lot of reviews highlighted:

What differentiates Apple’s app is its approach to workout newbies. There is a starter collection of videos designed for anyone who is “brand new to exercise,” as a sort of introductory course to each of the app’s disciplines. And even in the harder sessions, one of the trainers in the background offers a modified version for less-advanced practitioners.

Molly Ritterbeck appreciated the emphasis on beginners too in an in-depth review for Runners World:

This smart programming is not unique—there are competitor services that also do this well—but it is one feature that sets the service apart from the majority of apps out there in the oversaturated fitness category. There is a real risk of injury and getting in over your head for beginners, which can lead to decreased motivation or just quitting altogether, so this thoughtful approach is a highlight.

Nguyen and many others compared Fitness+ to Peloton Digital. Todd Haselton of CNBC concluded that Fitness+, which costs less than Peloton Digital, is just as good, and while Nguyen viewed the service’s requirement that you own an Apple Watch to sign up for Fitness+ as a drawback, Haselton was enthusiastic about the integration:

I love that Fitness+ syncs seamlessly with the Apple Watch. You just pick the workout you want and then hit start. Your heart rate, the time elapsed (or time left if you want) and your Apple Watch Fitness rings (red for calories, green for exercise minutes and blue for standing minutes) appear on the screen and close as you continue to work out. Any Apple Watch owner knows how addictive it can be to try to close all of your rings every day, and I like that the app puts this right on the screen to encourage me to close mine.

It’s worth noting too that you can do a workout on an iPhone or iPad without an Apple Watch once you’re signed up for the service but not from an Apple TV as MacRumors explains:

When using Fitness+ with the ‌Apple TV‌, Apple requires a synced and connected Apple Watch. Attempting to do a workout on ‌Apple TV‌ without the watch will only let you preview a workout, rather than begin one.

Another common refrain of the reviews is how fun the workouts are. Raymond Wong for Input:

Many Apple Fitness+ workouts later, I am hooked. It’s not just that Apple’s hired a bunch of attractive and fit trainers draped in immaculate Nike activewear to coach you through various workouts (there’s no shortage of those on YouTube), but that the fitness routines and the coaching are actually fun.

Although most reviewers note that there is room for improvement in some areas, the overall reaction to Fitness+ has been positive. Liz Plosser of Women’s Health Magazine concludes:

The bottom line: Apple Fitness+ is an easy and effective way to get moving for beginner and advanced exercisers alike, and is a particularly good value for those who are already part of the Apple ecosystem. You can use it at home or in the gym, with or without equipment.

Brett Williams of Men’s Health gave Fitness+ a thumbs-up too:

The workouts were solid, especially for people training at home. The bigger the screen, the better, but just using an iPhone propped against a wall worked well enough. I would’ve liked to have tried a few longer sessions (I stuck between 10 and 20 minutes due to time constraints), but I was impressed with how thorough the small sample size was. The trainers were all engaging, with a few clear standouts.

What’s clear from the reviews is that Apple has put a lot of time, money, and thought into Fitness+. For more coverage beyond what I’ve linked above, check out TechCrunch, Fashion Magazine, The Cut, Shape, and GQ, plus these videos by Justine Ezarik and Matthew Moniz:

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