A service that requires an iPhone, an Apple Watch an Apple TV, and some home fitness equipment for the full experience may not seem very frugal.
But hear me out. Apple Fitness+ is really good, and it is an excellent value if you already have the required Apple devices.
What is it?
Apple Fitness+ is a service that provides a library of recorded workout videos. It includes yoga, rowing, spin, treadmill, dance, core, HIIT and strength training classes. It also has several post-workout mindful cool-down videos.
The value proposition is the variety of quality videos in a slick app, the on-screen integration of the heart rate and calorie calculations of your Apple Watch, automatic logging of all your activities, and integration with weekly fitness goals.
Is it good?
I’ve been using Apple Fitness+ for about two weeks, mostly the yoga and rowing classes through my Apple TV.
The app is simple and makes it easy to quickly find and start a class.
The instructors are great. I enjoy yoga with Jessica and Dustin, as well as rowing with Josh and Anja. There is a strong focus on correct form, which is especially valuable for beginners. For yoga, there are two trainers in the background, with the one on the left offering easier alternatives to many of the poses.
Apple has also done a great job creating a welcoming atmosphere. The studio is beautiful and the various instructors participate in the other classes. I enjoy seeing who will show up in each video. Below, there is one of my favourite yoga instructors rowing along with Josh.
Seeing the time and my heart rate on the screen has been surprisingly enjoyable. I’m not sure why, but it helps creates a more immersive and motivating experience.
There is a three-month trial if you have recently bought an Apple Watch on September 15, 2020, or later. For all other Apple Watch owners, the trial is one month.
After that, a subscription (which includes family sharing) costs $12.99/month or $99/year (equivalent to $8.25/month).
The actual cost to you could be less if you subscribe to other Apple services. Apple One Premier ($33.95/month) includes family subscriptions to Apple Fitness+, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, 2TB of iCloud Storage, and Apple News+. I would not subscribe to all of these services individually, but I do have an Apply Music family subscription ($14.99/month) and will soon need the 2TB iCloud storage tier ($12.99/month).
So, if I decide to keep Apple Fitness+ after the free trial, Apple One Premier would cost me an additional $5.97/month (plus tax) over what I would otherwise be paying.
Also, I typically fund my Apple service subscriptions through discounted Apple Store e-gift cards from Costco. This saves me 16%, so Apple One Premier would actually cost $28.52, or an additional $5.01/month (plus tax).
Paying $28.52 per month to Apple may seem bananas, but I have family sharing set up with my wife and four other family members, so it would be an average of $4.75/person for all of Apple’s services.
For Apple Fitness+, every user needs their own Apple Watch. Although, currently my wife is happy to just borrow mine for her workouts. She’s not able to log workouts to her account this way (and I have to delete them from mine), but she still finds the on-screen metrics motivating.
It’s easy to dismiss Apple Fitness+ as a way for Apple to get you to pay for content similar to what is available on YouTube for free.
This is true to some degree, and as someone who loves Yoga with Adriene, I was pretty skeptical at first.
But it is faster and easier to find quality content on Apple Fitness+. And the integration with the Apple Watch metrics and goal tracking have a strong motivating effect on me. You can also download the videos for offline viewing and there are no ads. YouTube charges $11.99/month for these last two features.
Other platforms (e.g., Peloton)
I have not used other similar paid platforms. In general, though, I understand them to either be more expensive, require additional equipment that I don’t own, or offer less variety in terms of the activities.
This isn’t an option at the moment, but in general yoga or spin class memberships near me are generally about $100-$150/month. In addition to that, there is commute and prep involved that aren’t necessary with Apple Fitness+. I have never heard of a rowing machine or treadmill class.
I’m honestly surprised how much I like Apple Fitness+. My wife and I are both more active because of it, and it’s become a part of my day that I look forward to. As long as that is the case, it is more than worth the $5.01/month (plus tax) that I will have to pay when my free trial ends.