As well as working from home, more of us are also continuing to work out from home. According to a survey by RunRepeat, 70 per cent of gym-goers ditched memberships post-lockdown.
Instead, us Brits are turning to on-demand at-home fitness subscriptions from the likes of Fiit, Peloton and Les Mills, getting a sweat on at our leisure in living rooms, gardens and garages – with entire libraries of classes on offer to choose from. With the global fitness app market expected to grow at a rate of 21.1 per cent from 2019 to 2026, the future of fitness is here - and it’s digital.
Peloton, the cult at-home spin bike, offers immersive cycling exercise from the comfort of your own home but also a number of equipment-free classes to users via its new app, including strength, boxing yoga and running. Its market value is set to double by 2024, up to $60 billion from $30 billion.
Meanwhile, UK fitness startup Fiit saw a 1,663 per cent growth in subscribers during lockdown, with the average user taking 3.3 classes per week.
Now, technology giant Apple has joined in the race to win new digital fitness consumers, announcing the impending launch of its new Apple Fitness+ subscription service, unveiled this week alongside the new Series 6 Watch.
So, is Apple’s new fitness subscription a threat to Peloton’s dominion over the at-home exercise market?
Since the newly launched Peloton Bike+ is an Apple GymKit-enabled machine which can be connected to Apple Fitness+, the two options aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. But which fitness subscription is the best one for you to sign up for to reach your autumn 2020 fitness goals? And is Peloton really worthy of the evangelical fervour it inspires in its fans? We compared the big players to help you decide…
Best suited to die-hard Apple devotees
Apple Fitness+, built for Apple Watch, costs £9.99 a month or £79.99 a year as a standalone service after a free one-month trial, and can be shared with five family members.
When you buy an Apple Watch Series 3 or later from Apple, you’ll receive a free three-month Apple Fitness+ trial. Classes can be streamed from an Apple Watch onto iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.
Like its rivals Fiit and Peloton, Apple Fitness+ allows users with a competitive streak to see how their own efforts compare with others on the Burn Bar leaderboard, boosting motivation and offering community and accountability to spur users on. You can share and celebrate your progress with connected friends and family, and share on social media.
Custom workout recommendations are suggested depending on the workout type, the trainer, the duration or the music you’re into, and any music you discover on workout playlists while you’re working out can be transferred to your Apple Music account. Thanks to Apple Watch metrics, expect to be encouraged by trainers to check your heart rate or be propelled to the finish of a set by a countdown timer during your class.
Many workouts featured (including HIIT, strength, yoga, dance, core and ‘mindful cooldowns’) require no equipment, or just a set of dumbbells. While you can use any brand of rowing machine, treadmill or spin bike for the classes that do require cardio machines, Apple GymKit-enabled machines will connect to your Apple Watch so the metrics are in sync.
Apple Fitness+ will also be available for purchase alongside other Apple services like Arcade video games and Apple Music as a bundle for a cheaper price, in a move criticised by Spotify, which has accused the company of abusing its power to dominate the market.
Not just for spin bike enthusiasts
Non-bike owners can now join the Peloton App to access other classes available to work out on any equipment or with none at all with a Peloton Digital Membership, for £12.99 a month after a 30-day free trial – available on App Store, Roku, Google Play and Amazon Appstore.
The original Peloton Bike is now available for £1,750 or £45 a month for 39 months, complete with a 22in HD touchscreen. You’ll also need to pay £39 a month for the Peloton All-Access membership separately to access all the spin classes.
Peloton has also launched the upgraded Peloton Bike+ with extra features, like a larger 24in rotating touch screen and front and rear speakers - starting at £2,295 or from £59 a month.
During a class you can ride with other members live and on demand and send high fives, and measure your real time data including heart rate, resistance, cadence (speed) and output. Programmes and challenges allow you to commit to a fitness-focused goal and earn badges – offering the validation and sense of achievement we all need in 2020, accompanied by shout-outs and encouragement from trainers like Ally Love (read how Telegraph writer and former cardio-phobe Annabel Davidson found herself “addicted” and why it’s one quarantine habit she won’t be giving up).
Spin classes range from low impact to intervals to climbing/strength (a lot of standing up on the pedals), and from five minutes (warm-up, cool-down and intro rides) to 90 minutes in length. Most are are high-intensity, achievable in 30 or 45 minutes and can be filtered by music genre or trainer. You can link it to your Apple Music or Spotify account to add the songs that keep you moving to your own playlist using the Track Love feature during workouts.
Ideal for those missing the buzz of studio-style workouts
After a 14-day free trial, Fiit will cost you £10 a month for an annual membership (£120 overall), £20 a month for a monthly membership, or £45 every three months for a quarterly membership.
Fiit’s workouts are cool, slick and club-like, featuring celebrity UK-based trainers including Cat Meffan, Adrienne Herbert and Richie Norton. Via an iOS or Android app, the app can be streamed from your phone onto a TV or laptop. Each workout in the library comes with an upbeat playlist of tracks.
Fiit’s fit devices – heart rate monitors that strap around your chest and link to the app – track your heart rate and calorie burn, and allow you to compete in an online leaderboard, record personal bests, track calories burnt and count your reps in strength classes to keep you motivated. It makes you feel part of a connected community, just like in a real boutique gym.
You can add classes from the app to your calendar, share your profile and see your own weekly overview, and measure your latest streak. As well as the library of workouts, there are personalised training plans and scheduled live group classes to book (obligatory post-workout selfies can be shared afterwards).
Fiit feels exclusive, and offers many of the benefits of the UK’s best studios with far more convenience. There are more than 600 workouts on the app, at least two different classes for every day of the year, including high intensity cardio, body weight training, Pilates and mobility.
Have you been trying out fitness apps and subscriptions at home this year? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
If you’re searching for other at-home fitness services to try, our definitive guide to the best fitness apps and subscriptions, tried and tested is on hand to help you choose.