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A year and a half ago, in the middle of the first lockdown, we tried to take stock of the phenomenon of online fitness: gyms had closed their doors to the public by ministerial decree, and thus sports activities had moved within the home , between compulsive purchases of sports equipment and online courses.
Today the gyms are open again, but on the one hand there are those who couldn’t wait to lose out foot, on the other are several people who have maintained the habits developed during the pandemic. This is confirmed by various reports according to which the 46% of Italians train from home; on the other hand, the top three trends identified by the ACSM’s global fitness survey for the 2021 are online training , wearable technologies and bodyweight exercises .
To crown the picture, the wearables market is booming, with Apple maintaining the first position in the field of smartwatches and has just launched Fitness + in Italy, the service of training in streaming that precisely on these trends makes lever. for the Italian market is a bit of a novelty, and therefore a bet: here is my opinion net of a few days test.
- WHAT IS APPLE FITNESS +
- WHAT I LIKE
- WHAT HE LEFT ME PUZZLED
- PRICES AND CONCLUSIONS
WHAT IS APPLE FITNESS +
Already launched in the US last year, Apple Fitness + has landed in Italy – and in others 15 Countries, bringing the total to 21 – for just over a week: it is a service that allows you to stay in form following workouts led by a personal trainer on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.
But what changes compared to the workouts that can already be found on YouTube , some of which are also made with great care from a video point of view , which have totaled millions of views over the last few months and – above all – are they free?
The first difference concerns the hardware and ecosystem experience : it can be said without hesitation that Fitness + is built entirely around the Apple Watch (HERE our review of the latest model ), so much so that without the latter it is not possible to access the service. Integration with the smartwatch is essential because it allows you to view your values (heart rate, calories burned, time elapsed and activity ring) right on the screen where you are following the guided training.
Another difference concerns the personalization of the service in the sense that, compared to the fact of going to any training video on YouTube hoping to intercept one suitable for your needs, Fitness + has on its side the fact that the Apple Watch is on the user’s wrist all day or so. And therefore it has some more tools to suggest a workout, also based on our level of sedentary lifestyle or on the exercises carried out during the week; for example, if we have done a lot of cardio sessions, it could offer yoga.
The activities are quite varied, including HIIT, strengthening, yoga, dance, core training, biking, pilates, meditation, walking, treadmill, rowing machine, cool down and pre-skiing held by the Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety. The training sessions are held in English, with subtitles in French, English, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and German, and there are also parts in sign language to make everything more inclusive.
All this is enclosed, as per Apple tradition, in a very accurate frame and in an intuitive system for the user. The strengths are undoubtedly the integrated system and the care employed in making it and keeping it updated; the downside is represented by the price of its Apple-centricity , because in order to access the service you need a series of devices that are not always cheap: at least a third generation or later Apple Watch and an iPhone 6S or later with iOS 14. 3 (or an iPad with at least iPadOS 14. 3, or an Apple TV 4K or HD with tvOS 14. 3).
WHAT I LIKE
One of the aspects that I appreciated the most is the integration with the Apple Watch , which ends up being also motivating: for example, in the course of some particularly intense exercises there is also a burn bar that indicates how much you are trying to do compared to other users who they did the same training, which in the right conditions can push them to give their all. Also interesting is the possibility of sharing workouts in sync with friends and family via FaceTime with the SharePlay mode.
Another plus point is the care in the realization of the contents : the personal trainers are of all ages, and participate in each training in three to show the variations to the exercises in order to make them accessible to users with a different level of athletic training.
Everything takes place to the sound of music and there a certain care is taken in the selection of playlists (which, however, cannot be customized but only exported to Apple Music for those who have a subscription to this service); there are also trainings all dedicated to a single artist or era, I particularly appreciated the selection return to the past where I found some memorable hits.
The images are in 4K and make the most of when they are used through an Apple TV 4K , although most users will likely end up following them on mobile devices such as iPhones or iPads. The platform is also well done, which is intuitive, easy to use and rich in content: workouts can be filtered by type, trainer, duration and music. The proposal Time to walk was a nice surprise: it takes you for a walk in the company of a famous person who also shares music and photos with you directly on the smartwatch display; so far I have taken a walk with Naomi Campbell and Jane Fonda.
In general I appreciated the possibility of customization and it seemed to me that the Apple ecosystem points to a “holistic” vision of personal well-being: for example the mindfulness function every morning and every evening proposes to take stock of the day ; not only fitness, therefore, but also quality of sleep and introspection. In short, a bit of a lifestyle program that sells not so much a notification but a lifestyle : how much it manages to affect everyone is subjective, and depends on the individual predisposition.
WHAT HAS LEFT MYSELF
My main concern is the safety of solo workouts : sure, compared to choosing a random video on YouTube, Apple takes a step further , advising the user on programs for beginners and those that may be more suitable based on training habits, as well as providing simplifications of each exercise.
However, the fact remains that during the execution there is no one to supervise the correct setting of the exercises , as it happens in all training programs at a distance za in deferred. Having started practicing yoga during the lockdown first deferred (and therefore unilaterally) and then live on Zoom, with the possibility in this case to be corrected by the teacher, I can say that there is a certain difference between the two practices.
The ideal, to be honest, it would be to have a minimum of background with a live personal trainer regarding the fitness exercises so that you can then repeat them at home in the most correct way possible.
And indeed, in the United States, Apple also offers a hybrid solution of this type : it has collaborated with traditional gyms chains that have begun to include the service in their subscription package Fitness +, so users can also take advantage of this possibility. In Italy such a solution has not yet been made available, but it could be the ideal recipe for many fitness enthusiasts.
PRICES AND CONCLUSIONS
Finally, the prices: Apple Fitness + is a subscription service, it costs 9, 99 euro per month or 79, 99 euro per year ; alternatively, it is included in the Apple One Premium plan, which also offers access to Apple Music, Apple TV +, Apple Arcade and iCloud + with 2 TB of storage at 28, 95 euro per month .
In short, given the completeness of the package and the presumable addition of always new exercises I find it an interesting alternative for those who have opted to train at home (without prejudice to the prudence and the importance of setting the exercises correctly ), or even for those who, like me, alternate this type of training with those in the gym, because it adds a touch of novelty to home sessions by offering engaging and structured exercises.
If you have all the necessary equipment, giving it a chance costs nothing , and indeed I recommend it , since those who buy an Apple Watch Series 3 or later can take advantage of three months of free trial, while those who already owned one can try the service for free for one month. And what about you, have you tried it or would you try it? What do you think of a future in which workouts become more and more interactive and hybrid thanks to technology?
Care in the realization of the service Engaging exercises thanks to Watch metrics Personalization
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