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In the two weeks I spent cycling, dancing, squatting, and mindful cooldown with Apple Fitness Plus, I closed my rings every day. Honestly, I close my rings most days but it was a strange experience, mainly exercising to satisfy the activity of the push notification gods – an experience that made me wonder who else is doing this service for other than Apple Watch is avid user who is already exercising.

Apple Fitness Plus feels incomplete for a service that costs $ 9.99 per month. It’s not that the promises are broken – in fact, it looks every bit as good as the ads – but there are major loopholes in budding service right now that make it less mandatory for Apple’s legions of users than Apple Music or even Apple, for example TV Plus. It’s an effective way to work up a sweat, but the fitness subscription market is crowded like never before, and Fitness Plus is only different for being those who own an Apple Watch.

So, if you’re already excited about closing your rings every day, you’ll appreciate the activities at Fitness Plus and the courteous instructors at Apple’s So-Cal studios. It’s also an upgrade on your Amazon treadmill or exercise bike. However, if you are a complete beginner in training there may be something missing to get you started. If I hadn’t already had a foundation in cycling and weight training, I might have felt lost on this Apple Fitness Plus test.

Apple Fitness Plus rating

(Photo credit: future)

Apple Fitness Plus test: price, availability and compatibility

Apple Fitness Plus was announced in September alongside the Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE and is positioned as a wrist-based program. However, it works with iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs to stream exercise classes.

Apple Fitness Plus costs $ 9.99 per month or $ 79.99 per year (the latter is clearly cheaper.) But if you buy the Apple Watch 6, you get 3 months free. Otherwise, first-time users get one month free before they are charged the monthly or annual membership fee.

Of course, Apple Fitness Plus is also included in an Apple One bundle. The Premier tier, which costs $ 29.95 per month, offers Fitness Plus in addition to Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, Apple News Plus, and 2 TB of iCloud storage. If you already use some of Apple’s services, it may be worthwhile to package them under a single monthly fee.

Apple Fitness Plus Test: Setup and Equipment

Before reading any other word on this Apple Fitness Plus review, you should know that you must own an Apple Watch Series 3 or later to use this fitness regimen. That means you must have an iPhone too.

If you want to use Apple Fitness Plus but you don’t have the hardware to do it, check out the best Apple Watch deals. Me? I had my Apple Watch Series 6 ready to use.

Apple Fitness Plus

(Image credit: Apple)

Also, Apple Fitness Plus is mostly a video-based program, so unless you’re using Time to Walk, you’ll likely need a screen to watch classes. An iPhone is fine, but if you’re using an iPad or Apple TV 4K you might be better able to get on with it. I’ve used all three and found the iPad Air useful for cycling workouts, while my 55-inch TV display is better for HIIT, dancing, and yoga.

That’s not all – depending on the type of workout you prefer, you may need equipment. At least one of the best yoga mats is useful for floor-based exercises. If you have one of the best treadmills or exercise bikes, you can take advantage of more classes too.

Apple Fitness Plus rating

While owning a Peloton bike is not a must for peloton bike classes, Apple Fitness Plus bike classes are for “most indoor bike bikes.” (Photo credit: future)

I wrote a guide on how to set up Apple Fitness Plus, but here’s the short version: make sure your watchOS and iOS software are up to date, then open the Fitness Plus tab in your Fitness app. Follow the on-screen instructions, watch the introductory video, and you should be ready to begin exercising.

Apple Fitness Plus Rating: Class Selection

If you’ve been hoping for more hand-holding, you won’t find it with Apple Fitness Plus. While there is a “Workouts to Get Started” program that consists of 10-minute explanations, there are very few introductions for new members of the “team” once they take actual classes.

There are currently around 200 classes with new classes being uploaded as the week progresses. Unlike the Peloton app, which costs $ 12.99 per month, Apple Fitness Plus doesn’t have live classes. Peloton also lags behind when it comes to on-demand classes as it has been around longer. There is also an outdoor treadmill.

Apple Fitness Plus rating

While I recommend reading the Workouts to Get Started series, I would like Fitness Plus to have more content for beginners. (Photo credit: future)

In addition to Time to Walk, all Apple Fitness Plus classes are held indoors (in stunning Hollywood-quality studios, I could mention) and include 10 different types of workouts with built-in soundtracks that absolutely rival Peloton’s coveted playlists. Better still, the classes are categorized by music genre so you can train with scared rock or stretch to slow down pop.

Lessons are also marked by instructor and time. A useful filtering tool allows you to search for options anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes, although most classes take 10, 20, or 30 minutes. This is pretty common with home exercise programs these days, and it gives users the chance to get a sweat session even on a busy day.

However, there is a labeling flaw that indicates a major weakness in Apple Fitness Plus: classes are not rated based on difficulty or experience level. While trailers offer a unique sneak peak in the upcoming workout, it is not enough to just tell a user if a workout is right for them.

Apple Fitness Plus rating

(Photo credit: future)

Fortunately, in most classes there are several trainers on the screen who are based on a so-called lead coach. One of these additional trainers usually offers a modification that I needed for a 20 minute yoga practice that was too difficult for me. Although I practice once a week, yoga is one of those types of workouts that is characterized for its skills because of its design. So, I think adding reviews should definitely be on Apple’s short list of Fitness Plus updates.

Apple Fitness Plus test: how are the workouts?

Since I’m already an active person with a varied exercise program, I now only do cardio dancing, which I didn’t do before Fitness Plus. And I tell you, groove with LaShawn is a great thing.

I’m also a big fan of the cycling classes. Sherica, Kym, and Tyrell compete with the infectious energy of the peloton instructor, but provide clues in a way that includes all exercise bike models. That said, if I don’t understand the form or terminology of cycling, I don’t think Apple Fitness Plus classes are the best options for me or any other beginner. I also wish the service would offer warm up and cool down rides.

Apple Fitness Plus

(Photo credit: future)

When it comes to HIIT and strength training, Bakari and Betina know how to work up a sweat. I chose these training styles when I only had 10 or 20 minutes to exercise that day. Sometimes I’ve paired core workouts and I swear my abs felt stronger for it, even though I’ll never actually see them.

During training, Apple Fitness Plus always showed me my ring progress. “Close your rings” is the not-so-subtle mantra of the service, as the real-time ring sequence plastered on the screen shows. When I exercise with other Apple Health compatible programs, my rings won’t move until the activity is over. With Apple Fitness Plus, my movement and exercise rings closed inch by inch over the course of my class.

Apple Fitness Plus rating

Here are some summaries of my completed Apple Fitness Plus workouts. I turned Burn Bar on, which shows me how many calories I burned compared to other users who took the same class. (Photo credit: future)

I could imagine this being addicting for people who need to close their rings to get a good night’s sleep, but it’s not me. I am not a sociopath. I’m obviously happy when I earn a new badge or my triumvirate of daily goals, but it’s not my workout motivator.

I appreciate how Fitness Plus kept a detailed log of all of my past classes, including the time I exercised, the number of active calories I burned, my heart rate chart, and other conditions based on where I exercise have. In addition, there is a Burn Bar function that shows how many calories you have burned compared to other users who have occupied the same class. If a level of competition isn’t your thing, this metric is optional. This also doesn’t apply to Mindful Cooldown classes where the goal is to find Namaste instead of sweat.

Apple Fitness Plus Review: Verdict

If I’ve learned anything from my quarantine fitness chronicles, there isn’t a perfect app or platform that everyone can enjoy. Apple Fitness Plus has the potential to be the platform every Apple Watch wearer wants, but there are still a few steps to be taken before the $ 9.99 per month price tag is justified.

Right now this fee might be worth it for someone interested in exercise bikes but can’t afford a peloton or get one shipped on time. Get a $ 400 bike on Amazon and ride Sherica. I promise you will not be disappointed. I will take the same vows to Apple Watch owners who need to close their rings or want access to the ring-closing cult. Seriously, it’s rare to find HIIT classes that you won’t hate to exercise.

Until Apple Fitness Plus adds levels of difficulty and warm-up classes, I’m not entirely convinced. I’m not canceling my trial, but if it ends in a couple of weeks I need to see updates to stay.

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