Gyms are closed, cities are in lockdown, and I don’t own a dog. All of these factors have led to a nosedive in my daily step count, and I desperately needed a home workout solution. I tested five apps to find out which one is best for these quarantine times we’re living in.
The best: Nike Training Club
I was immediately impressed with Nike Training Club (iOS, Android) when, after the quick sign-up process, I got a message that said Nike was offering its Premium service for free during the coronavirus pandemic. Access to slickly produced workouts led by expert trainers and programs designed to get me in shape would have normally cost me $US9.99 ($16)/month. Even in normal non-pandemic times, a majority of Nike’s 300+ workouts are available without a Premium subscription.
The app itself is polished and easy to navigate. It was simple to filter the workouts and find the ones I could do with no equipment in my small New York City apartment. I could even filter by skill level, time, and workout type.
The workouts themselves start with a warm-up, as a reassuring voice guides you through each technique. A looping video makes it easy to get your form right, and I never found myself falling behind or feeling frustrated. The workouts are easy to follow, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy. A free 16-minute workout called Full Body Goal Crusher had me winded by the end. Maybe that says more about me than the workout.
The app also tracks your workouts and motivates you with goals and achievements. Overall, it really felt like the complete package.
The rest: Peloton, Adidas Training, Fitbit Coach, Adaptiv
The rest of the apps I tested all fell short in some way.
Peloton’s (iOS, Android) costly subscriptions ($US12.99 ($21)/month) gives you access to daily classes with expert trainers, but I found the energy just wasn’t for me. The trainers are energetic, vocal, and move quickly from one technique to the nest. That’s just not the vibe for me. I don’t need someone yelling, “NEVER GIVE UP!” in my ear as I tremble in the plank position.
Adidas Training (iOS, Android) and Fitbit Coach (iOS, Android) were similar to Nike Training Club, but didn’t quite measure up. Adidas only has 30 workouts and, while most of them are free, it just felt like the app wasn’t regularly updated. Fitbit Coach locks most of its workouts behind a $US9.99 ($16)/month premium subscription, and its interface was clunky to use. It was nearly impossible for me to find the workouts that could be done from home with no equipment.
I never even got around to testing Adaptiv (iOS, Android) because the sign-up process was so scummy that I was totally turned off from using it. The app locks all of its workouts and features behind a $US14.99 ($24)/month subscription, and there’s no free trial unless you sign up for the $US99.99 ($158)/year option. I couldn’t even try a basic workout, and the app constantly reminded me that I needed to sign up. No thanks.
I’ll be sticking with Nike Training Club during this pandemic, and it’s the app I recommend for anyone looking to get in a good workout while stuck at home.