Aaptiv is a fitness app for anyone unwilling or unable to plan their day around a regularly scheduled class, or for someone like me – someone who wants to stay active but doesn’t want to be told when, how, or for how long to do it.
I used it for a few weeks last year, and only stopped because I started a membership at a specialty gym. At the latter, I loved the workout, the instructors, and the facility, but I decided I much prefer not being on someone else’s schedule, especially on those weekends when I had to travel – and the fee was starting to get to me.
Aaptiv’s $US10 a month (or $US50 a year, which is about the monthly fee of an affordable New York gym) gives you over 2,500 audio-guided workout classes on your smartphone, with 40 new classes each week. The classes help you make the most of the facilities you have access to – or lack thereof – and can be filtered by workout type, intensity, length of time, music genre, or even by trainer.
In the two years since it launched, Aaptiv gained 200,000 users and has raised a total of $US52 million as of June 2018. Since it’s striking a chord with users (and some investors), I decided to give it a shot – well, another shot.
Here’s how to use Aaptiv, the app that gives you on-demand audio-guided workout classes for $US10 a month:
When you sign up, the app asks you three questions so it can recommend workouts accordingly:
I signed up with my email address so I only had to share my first and last name, email address, and password, but there’s also the option to sign up via Facebook.
Now you’re ready to go. On the ‘Discover’ tab, you’ll see recommended workouts across the top, and all of the available classes organised by type of workout underneath.
When you go into one of the “Recommended for you” modules or the “Training” categories for long-distance runs, the workouts are listed in chronological order by day, to help you reach your goal.
The rest of the categories — which is where I spent most of my time — are filled with hundreds of workouts that vary by length, trainer, and level of intensity.
Here are the categories, from top to bottom:
Outdoor running, Treadmill, Elliptical, Indoor Cycling, Rowing, Stair Climber, Strength Training, Stretching, Workouts for Weight Loss, Ab Workouts, Programs, Yoga, Boxing (just released last month), Walking, Meditation, 5K training, 10K Training, Half Marathon Training, Full Marathon Training, and Featured Collections.
To filter down the type of workouts from here, you can select the upside down triangle in the top right-hand corner, and choose your preference(s). You can select multiple from each section at once.
Alternatively, you can go into one of the categories, and filter down from there, which is what I generally do since I get to the gym knowing what machine I want to use.
It gets a little more specific in this option too: you can set a more precise length of time, incline where applicable, and at the bottom you have the option to filter out courses that you’ve either taken or haven’t taken.
If you enjoyed a workout, or come across one you liked and couldn’t get to right away, you can select the bookmark icon, and add it to your Favourites or To Do lists.
These can be accessed with the “Saved” tab at the bottom of the app’s screen.
About a week in, I realised there were some trainers I liked more than others — some of them I avoided completely. Fortunately, there’s a tab at the bottom that lets you pick workouts by trainer, and you can filter through these the same way you can elsewhere.
When I first saw this tab, I didn’t understand the need. But when getting to the gym is a chore in itself, the last thing I want is to spend the next 30 minutes with someone in my ear who I really can’t stand. Some people are energised by energy, while others need a trainer who will say and do the bare minimum.
I appreciated that the Aaptiv team thought through that, for the sake of my morning.
And for the more goal-oriented people, there’s the Profile tab. Here, you can see your workout statistics, access classes you’ve already taken, and set a reminder to keep yourself on track.
Unfortunately, you can’t edit this section. That seems like a given, since it’s tracking your progress, except that the app counts your stats the second you hit “Play” on a class. That means if you go in and decide you’re not into the music or the trainer even a minute in, the whole workout counts on your profile.
This matters more if you’re competing with a friend or keeping score – a minor setback in the grand scheme of things – but does bring to mind a bigger issue with how the app works.
My main problem with Aaptiv was that I had no idea what I was getting into when the workout started.
The trainers will run you through the workout when the audio begins, but if the info had a short description or a line graph showing me how speeds or inclines would go, picking my workouts would be a much smoother process.
This, I found, bothered me more when I chose a workout for the treadmill or the stair climber – two machines I use a lot and have my own regimen on – than it did on machines I hardly ever use.
Plus, once I found trainers and workouts I liked, this became a less frequent issue.
There are days when I want to listen to my own music a podcast, or have a workout in mind. But for $US10 a month, I’ll probably continue to use Aaptiv through the summer since it’s feasible, easy to use, and offers plenty of options so I hopefully won’t get bored of it altogether any time soon.
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