Apple Fitness

I Tried Every Type of Workout on Apple Fitness Plus—Here's My Review

Through core, strength, and dance workouts, Apple Fitness Plus significantly improved my weekly exercise routine.
By Madison Yauger
September 14, 2021
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"Working out" is an expression that brings excitement to some and heavy sighs to others. I fall into the latter category. It's not that I don't enjoy exercise, because I do, especially once I'm in the thick of it. It's just that the idea of working out leaves something to be desired, and the motivation to schedule said exercise and drag myself to a class can be lacking at times. That's why I was excited to try the Apple Fitness Plus free trial, because it's really convenient and acts as a choose-your-own-adventure when it comes to workouts.

I like the group dynamic of fitness classes because the eyes of others add more motivation than my apartment walls. But truthfully, they're expensive, and with commute times and my schedule, I'm usually only able to attend one or two classes a week. Apple Fitness Plus allowed me to increase the frequency of my workouts, fitting in a 10-minute session here and 20-minute session there, all within the convenience of my apartment and my building's gym (only a few floors away as opposed to a train ride).

Apple Fitness Plus offers nine different types of workouts, including HIIT (high intensity interval training), yoga, core, strength (weights), treadmill, cycling, rowing, dance, and mindful cooldown. Because wedding season is approaching and I have to squeeze into six dresses over the next several months, your girl can use all the help she can get, so I attempted the goal of trying 27 different classes offered on Apple Fitness Plus (three in each workout category). It was a journey, but it was also really fun. After two weeks of exercise, here's my review of Apple Fitness Plus.

Apple Fitness
Credit: Madison Yauger

How Apple Fitness Plus Works

The first thing you should know is Apple Fitness Plus requires an Apple Watch to participate, so if you don't have one, the Apple Store should be your first stop. Once you've acquired an Apple Watch (series 3 or higher), you can sign up for a free month-long trial to test out each class and workout like I did. 

Once you've signed up, you'll have access to over 1,000 classes in the above categories, allowing you to meditate in a yoga session one day and do an intense cycling workout the next. The treadmill, cycling, and rowing classes require exercise equipment or a gym membership, but most workouts just require sneakers, weights, or a yoga mat. New classes are added to the collection every week, so you won't run out of options unless you're doing 50 classes a day (and in that case, kudos to you, honey). 

Each class is taught by top-certified fitness instructors such as Kym Perfetto, Jhon Gonzalez, and Kim Ngo. As you move through the workouts, your Apple Watch will track your progress through metrics such as heart rate, kilocalories burned, and time spent, as well as your activity rings. There's also a "burn bar" on the Apple Fitness app which shows you how many calories you burned compared to others using the app. Nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, but if you'd prefer not to compare your progress, you can always turn this feature off. 

Apple Fitness Plus helps you work to close your "rings," the tracking system for workouts on the Apple Watch. How long or hard you have to work to close these rings depends on what you set as your fitness goals when you were setting up the Apple Fitness app. If you're curious how to change fitness goals on the Apple Watch, you're not alone. The trick is to go to the fitness app on your Apple Watch, scroll down to a button that says "Change Goals," and use the plus or minus buttons to change the move (calories burned), stand, and exercise goals.

Sign up now: $10 per month; fitness.apple.com

Overall Rating: 9.7/10

Pros

  • Conveniently timed workouts for every schedule (5, 10, 15, 20, 30, and 45 minute options)
  • Diversity among instructors
  • Workouts are accessible (instructors offer modifications and use sign language)
  • Large collection of over 1,000 workouts within different exercise categories
  • Competitive pricing
  • Ability to share membership with family members through family sharing

Cons

  • Must have an Apple Watch Series 3 or higher to use the Fitness+ platform
  • Must have an additional Apple product (Apple TV, iPad, or iPhone) to see the workouts. Fitness Plus doesn't work on Macbooks
  • Some classes require additional equipment, such as a treadmill, weights, and a rowing machine
Apple Fitness
Credit: apple.com

Signing Up for Apple Fitness Plus

There are three ways to sign up for a free trial of Apple Fitness Plus. Simply go to the fitness app on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV; tap on the "Fitness+" tab; and click "Try it Free" or "Get Started." You'll need to sign in with your Apple ID, so have that handy. And that's the signup process. It's that easy.

Once you're signed up for Apple Fitness Plus, you have the option of bundling your subscription with other Apple services, like Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple News+, through Apple One Premier. This allows you to pay just one monthly fee for all Apple services to streamline the billing process. 

For added convenience, you can share your Apple Fitness Plus membership with up to five family members through the Family Sharing plan. This can create a fun opportunity for an at-home workout "class" with those already in your household.

Sign up now: $10 per month; fitness.apple.com

Apple Fitness Plus Review

Classes I Took:

HIIT

10 min - Anja

10 min - Kim

10 min - Jamie-Ray

Yoga

30 min - Jessica

10 min - Jonelle

10 min - Dustin

Core

10 min - Sam

5 min - Molly

5 min - Amir

Strength

20 min - Sam

10 min - Amir

10 min - Kyle

Treadmill

10 min - Scott

10 min - Jamie-Ray

10 min - Sam

Cycling

10 min - Emily

10 min - Kym

10 min - Bakari

Rowing

10 min - Anja

10 min - Josh

10 min - Josh

Dance

30 min - LaShawn

20 min - Ben

20 min - Jhon

Mindful Cooldown

5 min - Gregg

5 min - Jessica

5 min - Dustin

Classes

I tried classes in every exercise category and thoroughly enjoyed the workouts in each one. To start my Apple Fitness Plus journey, I tried Sam Sanchez's 10 minute core class. Through a quick series of ab workouts, I could feel my stomach muscles contracting and tightening. As I added more workouts to my daily routine, changing up the times and types of workouts to keep it interesting, I felt more well-rounded. My arms and legs were treated to strength training, my back stretched and lengthened during yoga, and I got my cardio in doing HIIT workouts. I have a gym in my building, so I was able to try the treadmill, cycling, and rowing workouts and enjoyed those, too. 

As a former dancer, I found the dance classes particularly exciting. I did a "throwbacks" class with instructor LaShawn Jones and got to practice different dance combinations to 2000s icons like Britney, Ciara, and the Backstreet Boys. In another class with Ben Allen, I learned whimsical hip hop moves for a high-energy cardio performance. All of the music included in workouts are featured in playlists on the screen so you can find any song that best motivates you. Once you've completed the more intense workouts, the mindfulness cooldowns really help ground you, allowing your muscles to recover. They even include mild meditation to bring your mind to rest alongside your body. 

Instructors

The Apple Fitness Plus instructors are all high energy, engaging, and motivational, while keeping the conversation relatable and light. They speak to you as though you're in the room, making the class feel more like a community than a digital app. I also observed how instructors promoted accessibility by using sign language when they spoke before and after each workout. There is also one instructor in every class that does the workout with low-impact modifications—for example, walking vs. running on the treadmill or squatting and then standing instead of doing burpees. 

Diversity is present amid these instructors, with fitness professionals of all ages, races, sexes, and abilities. Amir Ekbatani is a great example of diversity and accessibility among instructors. Amir lost his leg to a motorcycle crash in 2012 and leads both strength and core classes, creating awareness while promoting inclusion opportunities in fitness for those with physical disabilities.

Workouts

Each workout targets a specific group of muscles, allowing you to improve overall fitness throughout your body. Personally, I liked the ability to track my progress using the provided metrics, and I used that data to inform my goals, noting which days of the week I consistently met them and which days could use improvement. For workouts that you like so much you want to repeat them, there's a section called My Workouts, where you can add your favorite classes for easy access later. 

To further promote inclusion, Apple Fitness Plus has expanded its classes to include those geared toward pregnant women as well as workouts for older adults and beginners. The pregnancy classes feature short 10-minute workouts led by Betina Gozo, who was pregnant at the time these workouts were filmed. For low impact workouts for seniors and older adults, Molly Fox leads yoga and strength classes that can accommodate different abilities. Finally, there are 10 classes for beginners, including HIIT, yoga, core, and strength workouts, to get you started so you can feel confident moving forward with different exercises.

Apple Fitness Plus also has a program called "Time to Walk" with weekly audio episodes led by a famous or influential person who will tell you stories and share photographs while you walk for a designated time. Previous episodes have featured Jane Fonda, Uzo Aduba, and Gabrielle Union.

Apple Fitness
Credit: apple.com

Most Popular Classes

According to Apple, yoga and HIIT workouts are the most popular classes on Apple Fitness Plus, and both exercise categories have added new instructors to keep up with demand. The yoga classes offer mellow exercises to increase flexibility, strengthen your muscles, and to practice balance and meditation. With the HIIT classes, you'll partake in a mix of different interval exercises with recovery periods in between. As the name suggests, these classes are high intensity, so if you're looking for something a little more zen, you may prefer yoga or certain strength and core classes. 

Apple Fitness Plus Price

Once your free trial ends, the subscription for Apple Fitness Plus costs $10 per month (or $80 for an annual subscription). If you compare this to a gym membership or a system where you're paying by the class, Apple Fitness Plus is a significantly more affordable option, and it also rings in lower than Peloton's Digital Membership ($13 per month). For the price, Apple Fitness Plus gives you more than one thousand quality workouts from top-rated instructors that you can participate in on a steady basis at a time that fits into your schedule. 

Apple Fitness
Credit: apple.com

Who is Apple Fitness Plus For?

Apple Fitness Plus works well for people who have busy schedules and can't easily get to in-person fitness classes, especially those classes that always book up within five minutes and are halfway across town. It's also great for beginners or those who just feel more comfortable with one-on-one instruction. For example, if you're reentering the world of fitness after an injury or sabbatical of some kind, it can be intimidating to jump into a class full of strangers and try to keep up. With Apple Fitness Plus workouts, you can rebuild your muscles and your confidence at the same time.

Customer Service and Reviews

Apple Fitness Plus uses a feedback system to gain customer insights on its services. Simply fill out this form with any comments you may have, and someone will read them over and respond if necessary. For additional support about billing or your subscription (including how to cancel it), you can reference this payment page

While there isn't one source for customer reviews, if you spend enough time gathering opinions across the internet like I've done, two things become clear. If you have an Apple Watch, Apple Fitness Plus is a no brainer—it helps you accomplish your goals, filling your activity rings in a fun, varied, and cost-effective way. That being said, there are definitely some ways the platform could improve, such as adding mixed workouts that involve weights and the treadmill. But many of the critiques that I found online have since been resolved through updates amid the innovation that is always surrounding Apple. 

Is It Worth It?

If you already own Apple products and don't have to go out and buy each accompanying device at the same time, then it is 100 percent worth it to get an Apple Fitness Plus membership. For what you're paying, the value and convenience of these workouts are hard to beat. If you don't own any Apple products, it may be a slightly expensive endeavor on the front end but with gratifying results moving forward. 

Sign up now: $10 per month; fitness.apple.com

My Rating

I gave Apple Fitness Plus a 9.7 rating after comparing factors such as quality of the classes, instructors, and workouts. I assigned Apple Fitness Plus a weighted score out of 10.

Factors

What it means

Numerical ranking (1-10)

Class Quality

Classes are engaging, and provide a solid workout.

10

Workout Variety

The service has a variety of workouts for varying interests. Class offerings are regularly updated and expanded.

9

Quality of Workouts

Workouts target specific areas of the body, and offer varied exercises and routines.

10

Quality of Instructors

Instructors are knowledgeable about the workout, easy to understand, and engaging.

10

Technology

Video quality was high, an app was available for enhanced learning, and there were online and offline options.

10

Value

The cost of the service was reasonable for the quality and quantity of classes.

10

Accessibility

Accommodations are made for those with different abilities.

10

Diversity

The service features classes taught by a diverse set of instructors in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

10

Customer Service

Customer service is helpful and responds quickly to queries.

9