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Jul 7

We trialled eight fitness apps. Heres our verdict – Sydney Morning Herald


Chris Hemsworths Centr app launched in 2019.

Highlights: Chris Hemsworths Centr app is a true one-stop shop. Theres an excellent library of workouts, from HIIT to strength, boxing and yoga. Each session is very easy to follow with demonstration videos playing throughout. I love that you can search according to your preferred training style, what youre trying to target, and what equipment you have. The app also takes a holistic approach to wellness with features for meditation, sleep, recipes and a customisable shopping list.

Lowlights: I found the weekly planner a bit confusing and busy, as it populates activities and recipes to tick off each day. My preference was to use the Explore tab to search for workouts and meals. That said, I can see others loving the planner. The app is also on the pricier side.

Recommend it? Definitely. Its a great all-rounder with heaps of interesting workouts that are easy to follow. Just keep in mind theyre tough. I made the mistake of trying the intermediate level first, but it was a killer. Start on beginner.

Cost: Seven-day free trial then $30 a month, or $60 for three months, or $120 for a year.

Best for: People who want a solid all-in-one, take their fitness seriously and love a challenge.

Sophie Aubrey

Apple Fitness+ features 10 different styles of workout, including from HIIT to Core, Dance and Treadmill.

Highlights: Apple Fitness+ offers a smorgasbord of studio-style workouts seamlessly curated in a fashion youd expect from the design-obsessed tech giant. Workouts are categorised in a number of ways from exercise type (such as HIIT, yoga and dance) to individual skill level and time frame. What makes this offering unique is its trainers. There are heaps of them, and each one doubles as your PT/cheerleader/annoyingly fit friend every step of the way. But what I enjoy most is the Artist Spotlight feature which allows you to select workouts based on the playlist cycling to Lady Gaga or strength training to Keith Urban a major drawcard for anyone who struggles to exercise without music. Added bonus: the majority of workouts require no equipment.

Lowlights: Like most things Apple, to get the full experience you need to have all the gadgets. Apple Fitness+ workouts can be viewed on either an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV while your Apple Watch simultaneously captures key metrics such as heart rate, distance and calories burned.

Recommend it? If you have an Apple Watch, love tracking your steps and activity via the Fitness app and enjoy instructor-led exercise, definitely.

Cost: $15/month or $120/year (Fitness+ can be shared among up to six family members).

Best for: People of all fitness levels looking for variety in their workouts.

Julia Naughton

Feel Fit in 4 Weeks will get you feeling strong, fast.

Highlights: Dont let the simplicity fool you. Feel Fit in 4 Weeks, the app by Sydney-based trainer Todd Liubinskas will have you feeling the burn. All bases are covered in the daily sessions, which include strength, HIIT, stretching and flow with Spotify playlists to match. Only 20 minutes each, I was able to crack out a workout easily during the work day and even on days both my kids are home with me.

Lowlights: While options are given for different fitness levels, you still need a base level of fitness to get through each session. It is $1 a day for the 28-day program and the fact that it is finite is either a plus or a minus depending on what youre looking for.

Recommend it? Yes, the app offers a great nuts and bolts workout to get you feeling fit fast, without the bells and whistles.

Cost: $1 a day for 28 days.

Best for: Those after a no-strings attached workout or those who dont want a long-term commitment.

Sarah Berry

KICBUMP is Keep It Cleaners program for pregnant women.

Highlights: The founders of Keep It Cleaner, Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw, have expanded their popular app to include a prenatal and postnatal program of pilates, meditation and advice on important issues such as pelvic floor health. I am enjoying the 25-minute pilates workouts; knowing they are especially tailored to my bump means not having to adjust any of the moves for my growing belly. The tone is also chatty and they arent afraid to have a laugh something thats often missing in online workouts.

Lowlights: Since the launch in early May, there havent been any new workouts added but hopefully those will come soon. The app is also only able to be viewed in portrait mode, whereas I usually like to work out with my phone on landscape for a larger screen experience.

Recommend it? Yes, definitely for any pregnant friends, but probably in conjunction with other exercise programs. If this was your only fitness option you may bore of it quickly.

Cost: Access to both the KIC and KICBUMP programs is $19.95 a month or $115 a year.

Best for: Bumps who want reassurance theyre doing appropriate exercises.

Melissa Singer

Highlights: Nikes 185-plus workouts incorporating cardio, mobility, body weight and yoga offer an opportunity to diversify your routine, with minimal to no equipment and for free. The focus does feel like its on supplementing people already into fitness, but you can adjust the level. The best bit is the sessions are easy to fit into my schedule, lasting as few as 10 minutes or as long as 60 minutes, and I enjoy having a personalised exercise program put together according to my metrics and goals. The app also has nutrition tools.

The Nike Training Club workouts are 10 to 60 minutes, making them easy to fit into your schedule.

Lowlights: While many athletes and trainers helped inspire the workouts, some lack buzz with monotone vocal instructions and demonstrations sidelined to the background. Beginners may find the pace challenging, and some workouts lack guidance on form.

Recommend it? Yes, especially for those who are self-motivated and are looking for an edge in their routine. Some intermediate workouts are quite intense, so if unsure, start on beginner.

Cost: Free.

Best for: Penny-pinchers and gym junkies who want a simple way to extend their progress at home or in studio.

Nicole Economos

Zwift connects you with a virtual cycling community.

Highlights: With its racing bikes, strong global cycling community and ability to control training conditions, Zwift has many serious cyclists hooked. As an amateur, however, I love the gaming aspect of it. The avatar you create on the app used with the bike rides in picturesque locations around the world with other riders. You can ride virtually with friends too. Having tussles with other riders is fun and keeps me in the game even as my legs turn to lead. Being able to ride any time of day and for as little or as long as you like also adds to its appeal.

Lowlights: You need space for an exercise bike and while the app is $19.99 a month, you need a bike and smart trainer too, which all adds up. With that kind of financial investment, you need to be committed.

Recommend it? For sure, if you want to fork out the cash. True to their slogan, Zwift makes indoor cycling fun.

Cost: App membership is $22 per month after a seven-day free trial. A Wahoo Kickr Smart Trainer (to go with whatever bike you have) costs $1799.95

Best for: Riders who want to control training conditions or engage in a global community of virtual cycling.

Sarah Berry

Highlights: I can see why WakeOut was the 2020 Apple App of the year. There is something for everyone here. Just choose your location the office, at home, outside, with the kids how much time you have and what kind of activity you feel like. There are over 1500 different exercises, demonstrated by people from all walks of life, many of them in their work clothes. This makes it feel both a bit dorky and highly accessible. This is not an exercise app designed for the select few. I had fun with my daughter doing the animal-themed kids exercises, used the relief section to stretch while working and did a quick HIIT session while the kids watched TV.


Lowlights: A technical glitch saw one exercise video playing on repeat while the text changed. This resolved itself when I quit the app and reopened.

Recommend it? Absolutely. I would recommend this to my parents, to other parents and to anyone who is stuck behind their desk for too much of the day.

Cost: From $5 a month.

Best for: The time-poor and anyone starting from scratch.

Sarah Berry

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We trialled eight fitness apps. Heres our verdict - Sydney Morning Herald

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