Let it be said that I believe Fitness+ is a fantastic service and one of Apple's best version 1 releases in many years. It's straightforward to use, aesthetically tremendous and is very much using the best of Apple's positive talents. I've been doing rowing, core, strength, HIIT and mindful Cooldown workouts and my girlfriend has tried yoga as well. If you've investigated the dance workout, let me know; that looks intense and way beyond my drunk wedding-dance skills!
However, I think there's some great things Apple could add to make this service a world-beater. I wanted to look at how they might do this without changing the service's fundamental drive, which is 'everyone welcome'.
Starting off on the right foot
So let's start with the positives. I've been using Fitness+ every day to keep active while London is in yet another lockdown. We live in a flat without a garden so it's very easy not to do anything day to day. The ease of being able to turn on the TV or open the iPad, open the app and with only a few taps launch a workout, cannot be understated.
The wide variety of workouts are fantastic. As are the trainers. I wondered, as a classic lowkey Brit, whether the trainers would be a bit too ‘positive’. They are certainly smiley and cheerful, but in your face and annoying they are not. Some are genuinely funny and really make you feel part of the team. Oh, and Kim is from my area of London! They also cameo in each other's workouts. I’d be interested to see who does it most (my money’s on Greg), and how they organise it. Is there a sign up sheet at the Fitness+ Studios?
The music is also good. As a bit of a music snob I was worried I'd have to listen to a lot of annoying pop or mind-numbing dance but it's all been good vibes so far. And you can't beat a rowing sprint to Song 2 by Blur!
The integration with the watch is also good. The trainers call out your heart rate, Burn Bar or rings quite often which gives you a great push and as a competitive person, that Burn Bar is a great addition.
As someone who's pretty fit (or used to be before COVID!), most of the workouts a quite challenging and allow me to push myself. I say 'most of the workouts' - I'll get into that later. For someone who is less fit the modifications by the other trainers on screen are a great addition.
The trainers are closing their rings too! I've spotted several in the background tapping their watches just before they start.
All the trainers use American Sign Language at beginning and end. While hard of hearing users will have subtitles on, this isn't even needed, it's just another great addition to make you feel part of the 'crew'.
While they have a set workout, there doesn't seem to be a script. They’re very relaxed with what they say. It doesn’t feel awkward and silent but also doesn’t feel forced. They have natural charisma and are great to have with you.
They sweat! This helps as being shouted at by very attractive, smiling, toned people is not fun if they don't struggle too. Knowing they're going through what you're going through really motivates you. Rowing trainer Josh (my favourite trainer) often has to stop speaking for a few seconds to catch his breath!
Well that's a surprise
I think the biggest surprise (mostly since they've thought about including ASL gestures) is that there are no workouts for users that are less able-bodied. Every single workout requires the use of your arms and legs. Apple has made fantastic progress for accessibility on iOS and Mac over recent years so this surprised me. It surely wouldn't have taken much to do some wheelchair/seated workouts.