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  • (soft music)

  • - Apple Fitness Plus.

  • It's the 10 bucks a month subscription service

  • with a bunch of exercise videos

  • that integrate with and actually require your Apple Watch

  • and you probably know it's been out for a few months now

  • but a bunch of us at the verge have been using it

  • for a couple of months to review it.

  • - Okay. So I'm about to do

  • my first Apple Fitness Plus workout.

  • - This is gonna be my first ever experience

  • with Apple Fitness Plus.

  • - We've been totally, absolutely being really, really good

  • at daily exercise and closing those rings

  • with a subscription service that we totally pay for

  • every month making it worth our money.

  • Yup.

  • - Speak for yourself.

  • I took it pretty seriously.

  • - Yes. Yes we did actually try.

  • - I took it kind of seriously.

  • - Look, I've never exercised regularly in my entire life.

  • I've never held on to a gym membership for more than a year.

  • I mean, I'm not a total slug, but I'm slug adjacent.

  • So I wanted to know if Fitness Plus could turn that around

  • for me and we'll get to that,

  • but first I think it's more important to hear from people

  • who actually do exercise on a regular basis

  • and who can compare Apple Fitness Plus

  • to other similar services.

  • Apple Fitness Plus has a bunch of different,

  • prerecorded exercise videos with three trainers

  • in each of them.

  • Two of them are offering accommodations

  • on the main exercise.

  • These videos can vary in length from 10 minutes

  • to up to 45 minutes.

  • It also has integration with Apple Music,

  • so you can listen to real actual music

  • that you'd actually wanna listen to

  • while you're working out.

  • Now, there are a few different categories of exercise.

  • There's Hitt and Yoga and Core and Dance

  • and this thing called Mindful Cooldown

  • which is basically just stretching with meditation.

  • But there are also exercise videos that require you

  • to have specific equipment,

  • so you might need dumbbells for strength,

  • there's cycling, there's treadmill and there's also rowing.

  • There's one more piece of equipment

  • that is absolutely required for all of the videos,

  • an Apple Watch and then also something

  • to watch the videos on,

  • so that would be an iPhone, an iPad, an Apple TV

  • or you can stream it to your TV via Airplay.

  • Sometimes with reviews, the only important question is,

  • is it good?

  • And for what it is, yeah.

  • Apple Fitness Plus is pretty good.

  • So for this review

  • I think a better question is who is it good for?

  • (upbeat music)

  • - So right off the bat, I loved using Apple Fitness Plus.

  • For someone who's already plugged into the Apple ecosystem

  • and is just getting started out with fitness,

  • I think it's a great program.

  • So I started using a Peloton bike last year.

  • I haven't loved Peloton, but it's the closest I can get

  • to my pre COVID fitness classes.

  • On paper, the cardio offerings from Peloton

  • and Fitness Plus look pretty similar.

  • In both programs, you can choose classes

  • with different lengths, playlists and levels of intensity.

  • There's a variety of instructors,

  • although not as many as Peloton

  • and Apple's workouts have an added emphasis on mental health

  • and general wellness in addition to physical health.

  • There's a lot more of a like throw away your cares,

  • throw away your worries,

  • how can we be better people today attitude

  • that you don't see across all the Peloton rides.

  • - [Instructor] Me, you and your Fitness Plus trainer team.

  • Let's start to add some resistance.

  • - [Monica] This instructor is excited

  • about being on a bike ride, it make me excited too.

  • But it's newer than Peloton's program

  • and that shows in a couple of ways.

  • First, there just aren't as many teachers to choose from.

  • There are only six Apple cycling instructors as of now

  • and Peloton has 23 to choose from.

  • Current playlist offerings are more generic as well.

  • So with Peloton, I've done everything from Hamilton rides

  • to Bon Jovi rides whereas Apple's rides

  • are still mostly like hip hop or rock.

  • But the one thing that bothered me the most

  • is that the workout lengths are more limited.

  • With Peloton, you can ride for up to 90 minutes.

  • Apple's cycling rides max out at 45 minutes

  • so I often found myself stringing multiple Apple workouts

  • together to get the workout lengths that I wanted.

  • These things are all functions of Apple Fitness Plus

  • being fairly new and there'll be easy to fix,

  • but some other things won't be.

  • For example, on Peloton the instructors

  • can give you an exact range to put your resistance at,

  • whereas on Apple Fitness Plus

  • because you know, everyone's using different bikes,

  • they can only be pretty general,

  • so easy or moderate or hard and that makes it more difficult

  • to know whether you're at the intensity

  • that you're supposed to be at.

  • Okay. In the cool-down now.

  • I've actually loved that.

  • I thought that was so much fun.

  • The instructor was great.

  • The music was great.

  • I burnt 195 calories.

  • So you know, for 20 minutes of biking that's not bad at all.

  • This was a lot of fun.

  • - So I'm already a committed Peloton user

  • and I wasn't willing to give up my bike time.

  • I decided to keep using the bike for my cardio workouts

  • and then use Fitness Plus for my Cooldown

  • and Strength classes.

  • Immediately, I noticed Apple's choice in instructors.

  • They're diverse and interesting

  • and I wanted to try their classes, which is a good sign.

  • I also appreciated that the Strength classes

  • offered three different levels.

  • One person demoed the regular exercise.

  • Another modified it to make it accessible for anyone

  • with injuries or needing to go easier on their bodies

  • and the third person made the movement more advanced.

  • Peloton doesn't do this and it's Strength classes

  • and I find it super frustrating,

  • especially as someone with chronic lower back pain

  • and like others have mentioned,

  • I really appreciated the deep integration

  • with the Apple Watch, even if it's super Apple like behavior

  • to make it mandatory.

  • I did however, like having my rings as a constant reminder

  • in the corner of the screen.

  • It motivated me, especially considering

  • that when I use my Peloton, my heart rate

  • only shows up on the screen and nothing else.

  • Otherwise though, Apple Fitness Plus didn't hook me.

  • I like to strength train specific parts of my body.

  • Usually my arms, because the bike works my lower body.

  • The app doesn't allow you to filter by workout type.

  • So to find an upper body Strength class,

  • I had to read through all the Strength class descriptions.

  • Filters feel like they should be table stakes

  • for a fitness app

  • and here's another potential barrier to entry.

  • I don't own an iPad or an Apple TV.

  • So I had to stream my workouts from my phone,

  • which was terrible.

  • The screen is small and especially terrible

  • when switching from Peloton's behemoth bike display

  • to my iPhone 11 Pro.

  • I don't understand why Apple wouldn't make Fitness Plus

  • available through a Mac Book.

  • How many Apple products do I need

  • to make this program work well?

  • As for the classes themselves, they were fine.

  • I didn't love or hate them.

  • The Strength classes were about what you'd expect from

  • any Strength class

  • and the Cooldowns were a little bit different,

  • in that they incorporated mindfulness into them

  • which I liked, but might be annoying

  • if you wanna just do your stretches and get in and out.

  • (upbeat music)

  • - Working out in one space has always been a struggle

  • for me.

  • I just get bored and uninterested

  • when I'm not actively going somewhere

  • or physically achieving something,

  • that's why I usually get my workouts on my bike.

  • Taking loops off in the park

  • or slack lining behind some trees or going for a jog.

  • So the at-home workouts within Apple Fitness Plus,

  • well they weren't really of interest to me.

  • That is until a few weeks ago though,

  • when Apple rolled out the Time to Walk feature

  • within Apple Fitness Plus.

  • That's something in theory, I can get behind.

  • Time to Walk pairs inspirational monologues,

  • music and photos from famous musicians, athletes,

  • notable people with Apple Watch's Exercise Tracking

  • to create a more engaging way to take a walk.

  • Now, there are only a couple of differences

  • between Time to Walk and a more traditional podcast.

  • Most notably about twice an episode, your watch will buzz

  • and a photo will appear on your watch

  • that relates to what the host is talking about.

  • It's cool.

  • It's not game changing.

  • And then secondly, the hosts are either also on a walk

  • or they're talking about what walking means to them

  • and this, I actually appreciated a bit more.

  • Ruby Bridges has a slow, calm pace you can hear

  • as she strolls through a park in New Orleans.

  • - [Ruby] Right now we are in Audubon park,

  • here in New Orleans.

  • - Well Dream on Greens, Heavier Foot on a Gravel Path

  • and Malibu is accompanied by the sounds of distant waves.

  • - [Instructor 2] I try to go on a walk

  • maybe once every couple of weeks.

  • Its your time to lose yourself in nature.

  • - Huge shout out to the audio engineers that worked on these

  • because it really makes it sound like

  • you're walking next to somebody

  • or in a different place entirely.

  • Now my big issues with Apple Fitness Plus at large

  • is just needing to be in the Apple ecosystem

  • and this definitely affects Time to Walk,

  • because if you're not using Apple's headphones,

  • it's just kind of a pain to have to manually connect

  • your Bluetooth headphones to your watch,

  • and then say you get a phone call on your iPhone

  • while you're walking, you have to manually your headphones

  • to your iPhone and then back to your watch

  • when you're done with your call to continue your walk.

  • I just found it a big pain

  • and navigating the 40 millimeter Apple watch screen

  • to do all of this is not easy either,

  • but if you can put all of that aside

  • and maybe you're already all within this ecosystem anyway,

  • Time to Walk is really a great feature and every Monday,

  • the new mystery slab shows up on your watch face.

  • And that's something I actually started to look forward to.

  • (upbeat music)

  • - So I went all out for this review because one thing

  • I've learned in my life is that buying stuff

  • like exercise equipment

  • means that you're totally gonna use it, right?

  • So I got this trainer for my bike.

  • I also bought this here, yoga mat

  • and I also even bought these pants from Lululemon that,

  • I am never wearing these in public, these are hideous.

  • Now, I have to admit for an absolute beginner like me,

  • Apple's Fitness Plus classes

  • are kind of right at the perfect level.

  • I can start with the really easy stuff

  • and then I can see the slightly more difficult classes

  • just waiting there as a kind of a goal to step up to

  • and if what I'm doing is too difficult,

  • there's always three different trainers on the screen.

  • One of them has got an accommodation to make something

  • a little bit easier if the exercise

  • that the main trainer showing is too tough.

  • So that's all great,

  • but can I just say that as a Gen X-er,

  • the whole vibe of all of these videos, is a lot.

  • - [Instructor 3] Be expressive. Let everything go.

  • Be who you wanna be.