Even before 2020 where we’ve all had to resort to home workouts for exercise, going to the gym or for a run outdoors isn’t for everyone. That’s where an app like Apple Fitness+ comes in. Sure it’s yet another subscription service to add to your bill but it is a viable option to get regular exercise.
Apple Fitness+ is still a relatively new subscription from Apple. It launched in late 2020 with a hefty range of workouts and its timing couldn’t have been better.
If you’re looking for a home exercise option or just an alternative to a gym or personal trainer, Apple Fitness+ could be for you. Let’s break down what you get.
Apple Fitness+ price
Fitness+ costs a bit more than your average streaming service at $14.99 a month or $119.99 a year.
There’s also the option of purchasing an Apple One subscription at $39.95 a month which will give you Fitness+ as well as Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+ and 2TB of iCloud storage.
There is a one-month free trial on offer for new users but those who purchase an Apple Watch Series 3 or later will receive three months for free.
One benefit of Fitness+ is that one subscription can be shared amongst six other family members. All you have to do is add your household members via Family Sharing on your Apple account and everyone can gain access to your subscriptions.
Do you need an Apple Watch to use the service?
Fitness+ relies heavily on the integration with the Apple Watch which is why you will need one to sign up to the service.
Using an Apple Watch with Fitness+ allows personalised workouts and for you to track your exercise via metrics on the screen and within the Fitness app on your other devices.
You are able to start a Fitness+ workout on iPhone or iPad without using an Apple Watch. A prompt on the screen will say ‘Work out without Watch’ which allows you to watch the video without any integrated metrics.
If you don’t have an Apple Watch but someone else in your household does, you can do a workout together, but only the person with an Apple Watch will see their fitness data on the screen.
Apple Fitness+ Workouts
So what does that $14.99 a month get you?
Fitness+ is home to a range of different workout categories including:
- Treadmill (walk or run options)
- Mindful Cooldown
- Pilates (new)
- Guided Meditation (new)
These workouts can come in 5, 10, 20, 30 or 45-minute sessions with multiple trainer options for each category. There are also beginner options if you’re new to a style of workout or just want a refresher.
New workouts are added in every category each Monday.
While most Fitness+ workouts are tailored for indoors there are some outdoor guided walks on offer, too. Labelled as ‘Time to Walk‘ these sessions are immersive audio experiences featuring stories and music from inspiring people around the world. Think the likes of Shawn Mendes, Dolly Parton and Nick Jonas.
Update: September 15, 2021
At Apple’s California Streaming event in September, Apple gave a pretty decent update to Fitness+.
The app is getting two new workout types on September 27 – guided meditation and pilates.
There are nine themes in guided meditation including purpose, kindness, creativity, gratitude, awareness, wisdom, calm, focus and resilience, which are practised in 5, 10 or 20-minute sessions. They can also be followed in audio-only form through the Fitness app.
Pilates will bring two new trainers into the fold, Marimba Gold-Watts and Darryl Whiting, who will conduct low-impact workouts in 10, 20 or 30-minute sessions.
Lastly, Apple is also introducing a new snow season training program, just in time for winter in the northern hemisphere.
Fitness+ Accessibility options
Every workout on Fitness+ features three trainers and one of them will always offer low-intensity options for each movement, making them accessible for as many people as possible.
Apple has also introduced some additional workouts aimed specifically at older or pregnant users.
Another neat audio session Apple has produced is a Time To Walk or Push episode with Australian Paralympian Kurt Fearnley. The episode not only allows Fearnley to share his inspiring story but it also automatically switches to Time to Push mode for wheelchair users.
Aside from a compatible Apple Watch, there’s a range of equipment you may need to complete your workout.
Each video listing on Fitness+ will outline what equipment you need prior to starting. For some workouts, this is as simple as a mat, whereas others will require you to BYO dumbbells.
It’s worth checking your workout description before starting to make sure you have the right equipment on hand.
For some workout types, the equipment you’ll need is fairly obvious. Treadmill, cycling and rowing workouts all require access to one of these machines.
Which devices can you use?
The Fitness+ app is available on the following devices:
- iPhone (6s or later running at least iOS 14.3)
- iPad (iPadOS 14.3 or later)
- Apple TV (tvOS 14.3 or later)
Smart TVs that are AirPlay2 enabled will also allow you to stream workouts from your iPhone or iPad to the big screen.
Don’t forget you’ll also want to use an Apple Watch Series 3 or later with watchOS 7.2 installed to get the most of the experience.
Later in 2021 Apple will integrating a new group workout feature into Fitness+.
Using SharePlay, users will be able to start a workout with up to 32 other people from a group chat or FaceTime call on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. Audio and video along with the metrics of users will be displayed on screen.
So, is Apple Fitness+ worth it? It really depends on your workout preference.
I’ve found it to be a viable alternative to the gym, particularly with COVID-19 restrictions still rampant. But even without restrictions, Fitness+ workouts are an easy and convenient way to fit some exercise into your day.
You can learn more about Fitness+ here.