There are plenty of fantastic free health and fitness apps, which means that a subscription-based app that offers pre-recorded fitness classes to follow at home has to offer something pretty special. Fortunately, Fiit is special. It’s especially great if you’re partial to exercise classes at boutique gyms and want to recreate that experience at home.
Fiit’s ever-expanding range of classes is divided into three sections: Strength, Cardio and Rebalance, the latter offering yoga and Pilates sessions. There are 10-minute, 25-minute and 40-minute classes available, as well as entry-level, beginner, intermediate and advanced options for each. The catalogue of classes is also searchable to help you find a body part you think needs particular attention 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.
There are an awful lot of apps out there that also offer this fitness DVD experience for the online age, 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 those qualities are present throughout the entire Fiit experience.
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.
With each 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. While Fiit will now sync with the Apple Watch and the latest Fitbit smartwatches, you are restricted to following a class on a smartphone.
Your heart rate and reps are displayed on screen and these stats are used to motivate you in Cardio and Strength classes. Strength workouts have sections where they 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 is to beat your tally next time.
I found the heart rate more useful than the rep counting, in part because there are a limited number of exercises which involve enough movement for the chest strap to recognise and count reps. Many of the strength classes I did on the app had sections where the reps weren’t counted, although there was also a challenge section where they were counted and you were encouraged to do as many as possible.
If you book into a live broadcast of a class you’ll see a leaderboard where participants are rated by Fiit points according to how hard they’re working. It’s an extra incentive and doing a live class provides a welcome sense of camaraderie if you miss the communality of the gym.
Fiit launched with on-demand, bodyweight classes only, but now has sessions that use equipment, like free weights or resistance bands.
You can also find classes which support your performance in certain sports, such as running and cycling. Filter by cycling and you get mainly mobility workouts – useful, but not that sport specific – but the running section has strength, Pilates and yoga/stretching sessions that cater to runners. These are brilliantly done and the instructors seem knowledgeable about running, rather than just being PTs reeling off leg exercises.
Along with individual classes, there are also training plans available based around targets like losing weight, becoming more flexible, building muscle or general fitness. These plans pick out classes in the app for you to do each week, and the plans range from two to six weeks. These plans are a great way to introduce yourself to the app and avoid being overwhelmed by choice.
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The Fiit experience undoubtedly gets a big thumbs up, and it’s far ahead of the other home workout apps I’ve tried in the quality, range and presentation of its classes. It’s more expensive than those apps, however, especially if you opt to pay a monthly fee of £20 a pop. However, the £45 for three months is more reasonable and an annual subscription of £120 is undoubtedly good value, especially considering that most live boutique 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 or even £45 in advance is a big commitment, but you can try the app free for 14 days to get a better sense of how much you’d use it.
Join Fiit (opens in new tab) | £20 a month, £45 for three months, £120 a year
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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