To App or Not to App
Have you ever missed your favorite workout class because you woke up late or found yourself at the gym asking “now what?” Well, there's an app for that! Fitness apps are great when you want to workout anytime, on your own time, and in a space you feel most comfortable. While we love our favorite studios and appreciate our personal trainers, apps have been a great way for us to stay on track and keep a little extra green in our pockets! In the last few years, fitness apps have grown in popularity, but are they worth it?
Here are some pros and cons of our favorite fitness apps:
Nike Training Club (Android / Apple)
Nike Training Club (NTC) is one of our favorite fitness apps. It caters to both novices and seasoned athletes alike with workouts from some of our favorite athletes, Hey Serena, girl! If you only have time to get in a 20-minute workout, are traveling, or find yourself at the gym in need of a little inspiration this is the app for you.
Not only do you get over 185 free workouts, but the variety can’t be beat. You can customize your workouts by choosing: space, equipment, time, and type (strength training, endurance, flexibility and yoga). One of our favorite features is the customized workout programs ranging from four to eight weeks.
NTC is free, period. No hidden costs for extra workouts. It’s all there ready and waiting for you.
Accountability and Community (3/5)
If you sign up for one of NTC’s programs or a new workout appears in the app, you’ll get a notification, reminding you to work out, otherwise, it’s easy to forget the app is on your phone. But once you complete your workout, you can share your progress with other NTC users. The app touts sharing to your personal social profiles more than a true community. They even offer hashtags to help you connect, but overall you’re pretty much solo dolo.
If we were to Finesse the app
Man, it would be cool if NTC connected to Spotify directly. You can currently have both apps open and working simultaneously, but you have to switch between them to change songs. We also wish there was some modifications for some of the tougher workout.
Studio Tone it Up (Android / Apple)
Studio Tone it Up (TIU) is a fun and beautifully designed app. You can tell the creators, Karena and Katrina, really want you to feel a part of their TIU Community . When you sign up for the app, you are asked about yourself, including your interests outside of fitness. You also get daily inspirational quotes (Daily love from K&K) to help keep you stay motivated.
What’s unique about this app is that it caters to both lovers of group fitness classes, and those who like to work out by themselves. You can attend virtual studio classes, at different times throughout the day, along with other users. You can even invite your friends to join. Don’t want to join a class, they also have on-demand workout videos in real time that focus on different muscle groups and types of workout, i.e. kickboxing). You can also cast the workout on your smart TV.
There is a free 7-day trial. Afterward, you choose between a 12.99 monthly plan or a 6.99/month annual plan. It’s pricey for an app, but cheaper than a gym membership.
You see other users profiles, but there isn’t a way to directly connect. It is nice to know that others are taking a class with you, so you get the comradery of a fitness class, even if you are at home.
If we were to Finesse the app:
We would add a way to connect with other users directly in the app. It has all the makings, just needs to take it one step further.
We love a good high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session. The idea behind a HIIT workout is alternating between a short period of maximum effort (usually 30 - 60 seconds), followed by a quick rest (Usually 10 - 20 seconds). It’s short, effective, and challenging. However, we’ve found that keeping an eye on our stopwatch, while remembering the next exercise can be distracting and slow us down. There are a lot of workout timers out there but we love the Tabata Timer. It is so much more than a countdown watch. If you like to design your own workouts, keep a log of your favorite workouts, or just need to stay on track in the middle of your session, this is the app for you.
Tabata Timer has a simple interface and is user-friendly. All you have to do is type in the exercise and time required, press start, and let the voice, bells and dings, guide you through your active periods and rest sessions. You also have the option to use the app in “Reps” mode, which allows the user to do as many reps as their workout calls for before moving on.
This app is free. But if you want to save more workouts, you can purchase the premium version for $4.99.
Tabata Timer keeps you accountable in a different way. It’s tempting to stop a workout 10 seconds early because you’re tired or “over it” but those buzzers keep you honest.
How would we Finesse this app:
We wish there was a way to categorize the saved workouts so that it’s easier to find your workouts.