According to a recent survey by international data and analytics group YouGov, more than 50% of Americans made the same New Year’s resolution this year to “do more exercise and improve their fitness.” However, by the second week of February, about 80% of us give up and go straight back to bad habits and old excuses.
My long-term contact: “Tomorrow I will train tomorrow.”
Sound familiar? Yes, it was the same for me until I tried more than 20 different fitness apps and gadgets in the past few months. I’ve used each one at least three times, some adored and some loathed.
Some clear patterns emerged within the first week. Today’s top exercise apps and gadgets aren’t for everyone – and the best on the market reflect that.
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The bright and bubbly Instagram-inspired app my 19-year-old daughter uses is in stark contrast to the no-nonsense, austere aesthetic of those my cyclist swears by. And both are dramatically different from the apps my yoga-loving husband or CrossFit sister-in-law now use most days of the week – no matter what.
As fitness apps develop, so too do their ability to use whatever motivates you – especially you – to stick with them. For some people, canceling the annual membership in advance is sufficient to keep it locked. For the rest of us, however, there are many different forms of accountability, from tapping into a social network to the latest human-modeled, artificial intelligence-based “mindset” coaching.
Here are some examples of what’s happening at the intersection of technology and fitness to motivate, inspire and improve your stick-to-itiveness – forever.
Play with your strengths
Freeletics (iOS, Android) is one of the newest fitness app entries in the US market that uses a powerful blend of AI, psychology and exercise science to make you feel like you have a personal trainer in your pocket.
I have to admit, however, that it wasn’t love at first sight for me and the newly updated app, but rather a slow burn that became (in a good way) an absolute obsession. Sure, it’s the world’s most popular personalized AI-based fitness app with more than 50 million users in 175 countries worldwide. But it’s still relatively new to the US, and I think some of its magic was lost in translation until I really figured it out.
According to a company data sheet, the app offers more than 300 different exercises and “1 billion possible training combinations” that are tailored to everyone, from beginners to top athletes. You decide how much time you have and what you want to work on – strength, general fitness, weight loss, etc – and whether you want to incorporate equipment like barbells or skipping ropes, or just stick to weight-bearing movements. Audio and video instructions provide step-by-step sequences for your workout and are easy to follow.
Most sessions involve some form of high intensity interval training (HIIT). An average 20-minute workout can include a handful of exercises that you do a total of three times, such as: B. Squats, burpees, sit-ups, planks, and push-ups. The AI coach learns from your feedback. So be honest. It’s going to be really good.
You can create a limited free version, but the subscription programs, which cost around $ 2.69 per month, are worth a look at the near-psychic personalization.
I’ve set it up to be used three times a week for 20 minutes each time. Whenever I tap the app, I can adjust the workout based on how my aching knee or shoulder feels that day, and work it into my already solid trail running routine. It only took me two weeks to see and feel customized results.
I’ve had this experience before – with a personal trainer for $ 100 / hour. Getting it from an app now is a really pleasant surprise.
“We want to give (people) the right plan and guidance to achieve their goals on their terms and ultimately lead to long-term behavioral change so that they can continue this lifestyle for the rest of their lives,” said Daniel, CEO from Freeletics Sobhani wrote to me in an email.
Tap your trunk
Most of us have a favorite teacher at some point in our lives who seemed to speak to our souls in a way that led us to be our best selves. Like Oprah. The same concept applies to the latest fitness app lights that stream hours of inspiration to a screen near you.
Two people I found at the beginning of our shelter-in-place days and who are doing it for me now are BODY from Blogilates’ Cassey Ho and Peloton’s Sundays with Love host Ally Love. Their courses are perfect for all the right reasons – you sweat (and swear) and get an amazing full body workout. But the added ingredient is their ability to connect with you in a way that feels supportive and dare I say it, spiritually? It’s like going to church, but not particularly religious.
“Having a tough experience with someone is much less painful than doing it alone,” Ho wrote in an email when I asked her advice on the whole matter. She says workout friends can be a big key to success, but responsibility and support don’t have to come from someone you actually know in real life.
“Your training partner can be a friend you met on Instagram. To be able to share an achievement with someone who “gets” it … and makes you proud of your hard work. Real support is what you should be looking for, ”she wrote.
In this case, for me, Ho is the training partner she’s talking about. She makes sense of the world and adds a touch of empathy to her classes – it goes beyond bending my body on the floor.
Anyone who has a long-term, dedicated relationship with an exercise app says the same thing. They feel part of a tribe, a movement, a group that only “gets” them. It’s a powerful pull in these pandemic times.
Even my 76 year old mom is trending. “I use HASfit’s free YouTube workouts. It’s perfect for me I found it through Googling for Seniors. “
According to its website, HASfit stands for “heart-soul fitness”. When I ask my mother if she is a #HASfitTRIBE member, she says, “Tribes are very ‘in’ these days, aren’t they? But I’m not on Instagram, so I guess I’m not in the club. “
Start your routine again
“People are really looking for a place where they belong, are accountable and can more easily get well from home,” Katy Neville, lead trainer for the new fitness / wellness app Cure.fit, told me on the phone.
Most new apps allow you to try them out for free for between a week and a month and then charge a subscription fee (Heilung.fit offers you a free 7-day trial, then $ 6.25 monthly or $ 74.99 annually). It’s actually fun to take a few of them out for a test drive first. As with me, patterns will show up showing what works best for you.
“What’s your why? This is something you need to ask yourself and find out before you spend any money or make a commitment that doesn’t really work for you, ”said Neville. Would you like to run 6 miles before summer, get leaner arms and abs, or lose the quarantine-15 weight you’ve put on since the pandemic started?
“There is now an app that is perfect for everyone, but not for everyone. It’s a slippery slope, ”said Neville. “Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself. We’ve all been through enough. And yes, wellness is just getting easier from home, but that doesn’t mean we should put more stress on ourselves. ”
The secret of holding on
The other big takeaway here revolves around what makes you want to come back more, and it’s hard to come up with a better example than Peloton.
I was one of the earliest reviewers of the connected bike in 2015 and have used it a few times a week since then. This type of addictive adoption is unknown in the home fitness equipment world and offers several key ingredients to the secret sauce of stick-to-itiveness: Peloton offers connection, community, competition, and camaraderie in ways that actually work for real people in our very much real life.
They feel like they know the instructors and are speaking to them directly. Sometimes they actually speak to you directly.
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“See you Jenn J. in Northern California! Keep your cadence up, you’re fine! Go, go, GOOOOO” is still one of my favorite calls from my spiritual spin sister Christine MD ‘Ercole.
As long as you can afford it, of course. Peloton motorcycles are $ 1,895 and treadmills are $ 2,495 plus $ 39 per month for membership in all classes.
Peloton offers a wide range of classes that go beyond the bike or treadmill, including weight training, yoga, meditation, and more. You can use their app for free for 30 days, after which it is $ 12.99 per month.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and explore, because among all of the apps – and online teachers – there is likely a perfect solution for you.
Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech columnist and host of USA TODAY’s TECHNOW digital video show. Email to [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @JenniferJolly.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the US TODAY.