Review: Pros and cons of 5 different workout apps
Updated: Jul 28
I have tried and tested these five programs: Sam Wood 28, Sweat with Kayla Itsines, Fresh Body Fit Mind by Amanda Bisk, Nike Training Club and Apple's Fitness Plus. I have used these workout apps over months and years and below I have detailed what I love and loath about each one. I have not been paid or asked by any of these apps/programs to review or write this piece.
Workout apps are increasing in popularity since many of us have had to lock down, working from home more and as our phone apps have gotten better over time. Whether you are looking for a program to do at home, outdoors or at the gym, a workout program helps to give you structure, time effective workouts and motivation. I have been using these on and off since 2015 as part of my workout routine both at the gym and at home.
1. Sam Wood 28
I started this program when I was pregnant as it has a pregnancy program and I used it for quite some time. I really wanted to like it but I honestly couldn’t by the end! Every workout is a set 28 minutes which is a great length but there just isn’t enough variety as the format is a set of moves done in 3 rounds all time based. While the moves are switched around and different each day, each one is a pre-recorded singular move by Sam, so you soon know what he is going to say for that move, what joke he cracks, what he points out - unfortunately it gets old quickly! Even as moves get repeated in the same workout 3 times so does what he says - explaining how to do it again. I just wished he did full workouts recorded so each one flowed properly and was new and different as if you were training with him - it would be fantastic if it was. Also the pregnancy program isn’t actually tailered to it in a personal way, it’s just only got the moves which are low impact or beginner moves. There is no mention or consideration of your pregnancy in the workout.
Pros: Has a full meal planner that links with your shopping and customizable to your food preference. There a lot of great recipes on it. It’s a proper planned program that lays out each day with the workouts and food it has picked for you.
Cons: Very little variety and feels very disconnected as it just chops together prerecorded moves into the same format day after day. Causing it to be boring and not motivating. Its also expensive for what you get.
Price: $59 per month or $49 of billed quarterly
2. Sweat with Kayla Itsines
I first did Kayla’s workouts when she used to do the BBG ebooks and I would print them out or have them on my phone. Her workouts were always quite effective and easy to follow but was annoying to try and look at the book and set your timer on and off and do the moves, so once it went into an app I thought it would be great. And while it does solve the issue of having to try do everything at once it hasn’t progressed like other programs. It’s like the book is just in the app - like Sam’s program it just shows a prerecorded move for each step (at least without all the repetitive chit chat). It’s not interactive or personal in anyway which is disappointing.
Pros: Highly effective moves, decent variety of moves with use of weights and basic equipment, has multiple trainers. It’s a proper planned program that lays out your week with the workouts and rest days. Has full meal plans
Cons: Only limited style of training- all timed movements body weight training and HIIT, all prerecorded moves chopped together - not personable or interactive.
Price: $19.99 per month or $9.99 if billed yearly
3. Fresh Body Fit Mind by Amanda Bisk
I first trained with Amanda at a fitness holiday and just loved her engergy and style of training. Once she released her ebook I got it and like with Kayla’s I would print it out or have it on my phone. Her workout program was effective, easy to follow and had great testing days to see your progress. Like Kayla’s it was annoying to try and look at the book and set your timer on and off and do the moves, so now she has moved it to an app it’s great. I love how she is making the most of an app format by having full workouts all filmed at once where you follow along with her, new ones added weekly and also a variety of HIIT, yoga, pilates, stretch, and strength. Its well rounded and something that you can continue for months on end without getting bored and dreading it.
Pros: Variety of training styles, full recorded workouts which are all unique and different, good value for money.
Cons: not much really - only that workouts are only by her at the moment, no variety of trainers but you would expect that as it’s her program and no different to the others listed above!
Price: $12.99 USD per month or $9.99 of billed yearly
4. Nike Training Club
The Nike training club app is something I have been using for years and years, since about 2015. It’s such a hidden gem - I am not sure why not as many people know about it as the best thing about it is that it’s completely free! It has so many workouts on it at all different lengths, styles, with and without equipment and connects in with Apple Watch and other Nike apps like Nike running and your Nike profile. I have used this at the gym, at home, in hotels, everywhere! It’s a great resource.
Pros: It’s a free program with no ads, no in app purchases or limits. Workouts are made by professional trainers and athletes across the word and across all sports and styles. Huge library of workouts by type, effort and length. You can create personalized programs.
Cons: Every workout is a selection of individual prerecorded movements each one by different people with a lady voice over guiding you though it - while she isn’t super repetitive like Sam, the workout flows - she is a bit like a robot and not overly engaging!
Price: Completely free!
5. Apple's Fitness Plus
Fitness plus came out just before I got a new Apple Watch and took advantage of the 6 months free to give it a go and I have to say it’s my favourite app by far. Like true Apple style they have thought of everything combining a big library of great trainers doing full workouts in real-time with you, connecting it with your heart rate on screen and other metrics, great music included and a wide range of workout styles such as stength, core, yoga, dance, mindful cool downs, HIIT, core, but also if you have access to equipment such as rowing, treadmill, and spin. It’s like the Nike app but so much more interactive and personal. Lots of new workouts added weekly by all different trainers who have such high energy. It also has ‘time to walk’ where each episode has a biography on a huge range of people which is super interesting. I feel like this is a mix between what’s great about Fresh Body Fit Mind and Nike Training. It’s like going to your favourite gym classes but on demand and where ever you want.
Pros: Real-time workouts by multiple trainers across a big range of training styles who do the workout with you and has another person doing low impact options the whole way through too, full connection to your metrics through Apple Watch, workouts added weekly. Highly motivating and fun workouts. Filter by trainer, what’s new, whats popular and ability to save and download workouts.
Cons: Doesn’t have a program you can make for yourself so you need to be motivated enough to open the app and pick something to do each day and decide what and how much to do each week.
Price: $14.99 USD per month
So this is my take on these workout apps, hope it’s helps you to make the right decision for you and your needs, and gives you some ideas on what to look for in a fitness app. Now, get your body moving!