dill & fennel

A few weeks with Apple Fitness +

When Apple announced they would add Fitness + content, I was pretty curious to see how it would work. I’ve had mixed results with online fitness courses, with my favorite being Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. On the 18th of December, the platform launched with way more classes than I imagined, and a variety of trainers. So, how is it?

Me

First, let’s set the stage: a few years ago I trained in powerlifting four days a week, then took a year break before starting weekly personal training. Since the pandemic, I began bicycling a bit, and working out in small private classes three times a week, mostly doing HIIT. I also hike every few weeks for a few hours in the redwoods.

I’m decently fit, though my cardio-vascular fitness is less than great from years of smoking. I mostly workout to stay healthy, and keep active during a time where staying inside is pretty important. Usually, I would have a few miles of walking built into my commute, but since that is currently a 20-step walk down the stairs, I’m in need of more.

I bought a few weights for my classes with a trainer, and fortunately have a small variety and a yoga mat as well. I probably own too many pairs of yoga pants.

The classes

Over the holidays, I started using Fitness + in earnest, with a few yoga classes to get going. After turning on my Apple TV, I just had to navigate to Fitness, then choose a class, and press the play button on my watch.

A brief aside: some folks are frustrated that this program requires the Apple Watch, but honestly the live-updates of the HR monitor and rings are part of the joy. More on that later.

The trainers are always flanked by a pair of other trainers, with one doing the modified workout, and the other cheerfully going all-out. Each trainer seems to have their own style, along with different playlist preferences, and a variety of class lengths to boot.

If you’re just getting started, there’s some beginner classes in each of the disciplines to learn how to do various exercises and get into the groove. That said, even the longer HIIT and strength classes are around a moderate level of effort, unless you get heavier weights. This rules, because it feels like these classes could be done pretty often during the week without being completely wiped-out.

My typical HIIT classes outside of Fitness + are around 45 minutes, and give me an average heart rate or 145, so these are in-line with that, though perhaps with a few less perverse exercises that my trainer loves to inflict on us.

The longer yoga classes are a nice expansion of the short ones; building on the basics. I’m curious if more advanced classes will happen later as the program grows. For now there’s some simple chaturanga work and a few stretches that I sorely need, but it’d be neat if they worked on crows or other inversions at some point.

Another month ahead

With the new year beginning, I think I’ll give Apple Fitness + the old college try, and replace my trainer sessions with this for January. We’ll see how long this sticks for, and if I decide to work with a trainer again over Zoom for a more personal touch. For now, it’s going to be pretty great to have a yoga or strength workout midday at work.