Everything you need to know about AppleFitness+ — and why it’s all the rage

There are many things to miss in 2020 — too many to count. But for the gym rats and fitness junkies of the world, the gym and other workout facilities are one of the biggest losses from pre-pandemic life.

This loss has resulted in an explosion of online and tech-centered fitness offerings. Many yoga studios and fitness classes have gone online, there are digital running groups and races, and products like the Peloton bike have shot up in popularity.

One of the most recent and biggest releases of the year is Apple Fitness+, which is Apple’s new subscription fitness app. Apple describes the app as “a new fitness experience for everyone.”

The app consists of video workouts, which can be streamed on your iPhone, iPad, or AppleTV. But in order to activate the app and get the full Apple Fitness+ experience, which includes personal metrics, such as heart rate, calories burned, and time active, you need an Apple Watch. Other than that, you really don’t need any exercise gear, though having free weights, a treadmill, a stationary bicycle, or other exercise equipment always helps — and gives you more workout options to choose from.

Speaking of workout options, Apple Fitness+ includes video workouts in yoga, dance, cycling, treadmill running, HIIT, treadmill walking, strength, core, rowing, and “mindful cooldown.” The classes are taught by skilled, experienced, professional instructors, with (no surprise) high-quality videos, so there’s little to complain about on the quality front. At the moment, there are 21 instructors in total.

If you’d like to try it out, risk-free, Apple offers a one-month trial to any Apple Watch owners. After that, it’s $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.

If you aren’t already an Apple Watch owner, customers can buy an Apple Watch and automatically get three months of Apple Fitness+ for free. So, there are definitely ways of trying it out without a long-term commitment.

The app interface itself is easy to navigate, and you can browse according to workout type or level. For example, they have a “For Beginners” section for those who want to get started and ease into the higher intensity workout videos. You can also filter according to the length of time (5, 10, 20, 30, or 45 minutes), instructor, and music genre. They’ve got a variety of music genres to pick from, including “Latest Hits,” “Top Country,” and “Latin Grooves,” to name a few. There’s also the “Preview” feature, which allows you to watch a 30-second video in order to get a better sense of the workout and whether it’s what you’re in the mood for.

Apple Fitness+ versus Peloton

It’s already widely acknowledged that Apple Fitness+’s biggest competitor is and will be Peloton, the in-person and at-home mega-success in the world of fitness. Or maybe, put another way, Apple Fitness+ is now Peloton’s biggest competitor.

Peloton even gave a nod to their newest competitor, in a tweet on September 15, 2020, which read “Friendly competition is in our DNA. Welcome to the world of digital fitness, @Apple.” Peloton is clearly aware that Apple Fitness+ could be about to pull a whole lot of business from them, but they appear to be handling it calmly and confidently — at least from the outside.

But how do Apple Fitness+ and Peloton’s app actually compare?

For starters, Peloton’s app costs $12.99 a month — and you don’t need to buy an Apple Watch, as long as you have an iPhone, iPad, Android device, Fire TV, or computer. But, obviously, it is slightly more expensive than the $9.99 for Apple Fitness+, and definitely ends up being more than the annual Apple Fitness+ subscription. On the other hand, you can try out Peloton’s app for free, just like Apple’s version. The Peloton app is also included in the Peloton All-Access Membership, in case you already have it or are looking for an even more comprehensive (and costly) option.

As for the experience itself, so far reviews are pretty great for both. On the whole, they are of comparable quality and a comparable experience. If you’ve already got an Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+ may be the logical next step. But if you don’t, and if you have a decent collection of fitness equipment at home, Peloton might be a better bet.

Read more about each, or try them out for 30 days, and see for yourself which one works best for you and your workout.

The takeaway

All in all (unless, perhaps, if you’re Peloton), Apple Fitness+ is good news for the at-home fitness lovers of the world. It makes working out at home that much more convenient, effective, and accessible. And while we’re all still stuck at home, we can definitely benefit from an affordable, easy-to-use app that helps us keep ourselves healthy, well, and in great shape.