Like most iPhone toting fitness fans, I was more than a little intrigued when Apple first announced its newest product back in September. Apple Fitness+ promised to be the ultimate streaming workout subscription—and then some. The stakes were high: Not only could you select from a wide variety of at-home workouts, Fitness+ also promised that it would go with you to the gym for treadmill, rowing, and cycling routines. But perhaps most importantly: The entire experience was built to pair with your Apple Watch and live within the existing Fitness app. (If you’re unfamiliar with the Fitness app, it’s the app with the brightly colored activity rings where you have been able to track workouts, standing, and movement via the watch for the past several years.) Fitness+ adds a new tab within the Fitness app, so you won’t have to download a new one; Fitness+ will just appear once you update to the latest software on your Apple devices.?
After months of waiting, we got a chance to road test Apple Fitness+, and in short: It definitely lives up its promises. (Apple sent me a new Apple Watch Series 6, iPhone 12, iPad Air, and Apple TV ahead of the release with Fitness+ preloaded and ready to go for the purposes of testing since it was not yet available for download.)
Getting started with Fitness+ was pretty seamless because, like I mentioned, the new streaming service already lives in an existing app on your iPhone. If you’re starting completely from scratch (as in, you just bought a brand new Watch and iPhone), you’ll need to pair your Watch with your iPhone, but if you’ve already got a Watch and iPhone you’ll just open the app and log in to Fitness+ (or sign up for a free trial) to begin.
Fitness+ currently features 21 trainers in a variety of disciplines. You can cycle with Kym Perfetto, an elite cyclist who has competed on The Amazing Race; do HIIT training with Kim Ngo, an award-winning instructor hailing from London; or lift weights with Amir Ekbatani, an adaptive athlete and former offensive lineman for the UCLA football team—just to name a few. Fitness+ taps into the existing Apple Music library, so there’s no canned muzak for these workouts. You’ll see the playlist for each workout on the individual workout page, and if you have an Apple Music subscription, you can save the playlist to listen to later.
As someone who is (probably a little too) serious about my workout music selection, this was one of the features I ended up enjoying most. The style of music is listed directly under the workout title (think: Latest Hits, Chill Vibes, Pure Dance, Hip-Hop/R&B), a factor that often helped me decide which workout to pick.
The trainers each have their own pages within the app (Apple calls them “rooms”), so you can read more about them. Trainers also appear in each other’s videos (for instance, in a treadmill workout I did, one of the cardio dance instructors appeared in the background and did a modified walking version of the workout). And the videos are nicely shot. This is probably very nitpicky, but as someone who has watched a lot of fitness videos, I enjoyed that these include multiple camera angles, so you can really see what the trainer is doing during a particular yoga posture, or get the right angle during a strength move.