The app market is laden with fantastic free health and fitness apps, which means that a subscription app that offers pre-recorded fitness classes to follow at home has to offer something pretty special to tempt people into parting with their hard-earned cash. Fortunately, Fiit is pretty special, and it’s worth checking out if you’re a big fan of classes at boutique gyms (or would be if it wasn’t for their high prices).
Fiit’s ever-expanding range of classes is divided into three sections – Strength, Cardio and Rebalance, with the latter offering yoga and Pilates sessions. There are 25-minute and 40-minute classes available across the board as well as beginner, intermediate and advanced options for each. The catalogue of classes is also searchable by the part of the body you want to work on, or the type of music that will play in the background. And if you think one of the trainers is particularly good, you can easily find all the classes they instruct on Fiit.
Once you pick your class, you select the screen you want it played on – TV, phone or tablet – and then the app connects with the heart rate chest strap that’s provided with your membership. This is a Fiit-branded Wahoo Tickr X, and, as well as being accurate and easy to use, it’s able to count reps for certain exercises, a feature that’s used in the Strength classes on Fiit.
There are an awful lot of apps out there that also offer this 21st-century fitness DVD experience, but Fiit offers the best user experience of those I’ve tried for several reasons. It starts with the app design itself, which is slick and intuitive, and runs through the whole process of using Fiit.
The videos are all well produced and Fiit has rounded up an excellent group of trainers to lead the classes, who all give clear instructions. That’s handy in all the classes but essential in the yoga and Pilates sessions. I have very little experience of either but I was able to follow the beginner classes on a phone screen and be reasonably confident that I was in the right positions.
Your heart rate and reps are displayed on screen and these stats are used to motivate you in Cardio and Strength classes. Strength workouts challenge you to beat your rep totals for certain exercises within a class and the next time you try the class. The heart rate is used in the Cardio classes to evaluate how hard you’re working and if you are pushing yourself enough. The heart rate zone you should be in is displayed on screen and you earn more Fiit points for being in the right zone, the goal being to beat your tally next time.
I found the heart rate more useful than the rep counting, and having to build workouts entirely around exercises that involve enough movement for the chest strap to count reps might prove restrictive in the long run. However, I didn’t notice too much repetition of exercises in my time with Fiit and the rep counting worked perfectly. For example, when I tried just doing squats when I was meant to be doing jump squats, I got zero credit for those reps.
If your main aim is to bulk up and you want to use weights, Fiit doesn’t cater to you right now. I did grab a kettlebell that was hand and use it for some exercises during Strength classes, but all the workouts are designed to use your bodyweight only.
Although I got on fine with Fiit on my phone, it is a far better experience on a big screen and the pending addition of Chromecast to the app will be a major improvement. The HDMI cable connection was the only unreliable part of my experience with the app, and often I’d give up and just use the phone itself (Fiit is also available for tablets, but not on my venerable iPad 2, which isn’t up to date enough).
The Fiit experience gets a big thumbs up, but whether it justifies the cost is another matter. The monthly rate of £20 is pushing it, but the £45 per quarter is more reasonable and an annual subscription of £120 is undoubtedly good value for money, especially considering that most fitness classes are £20 a pop. There is enough in Fiit that you can use it several times a week, and that’s true even if the classes are not your main activity – I run regularly and would mainly use Fiit for a bit of strength training and Pilates to support that.
Splashing out £120 in advance is a big commitment, but there is currently a deal available where you get your money back after trying ten classes if you then decide it’s not for you. There’s no joining fee either, and membership includes the chest strap tracker (which you can use for other things – the Wahoo Tickr X is a great tracker).
Fiit does offer value then, but that doesn’t change the fact that part of the appeal of fitness classes is doing them with other people you can see and interact with (even if that’s just trying to outperform or keep up with them). Fiit can’t offer that, but it can provide everything else you get from fitness classes in a convenient and well-presented form, so if you’re not going to classes to make friends, save yourself the money and get Fiit instead.
Fiit is currently available for iOS devices on the App Store (a version for Android devices is forthcoming), fiit.tv