I Tried It: Aaptiv, the App That Brings Boutique Fitness Classes to Your Phone
It’s easy to understand why boutique fitness classes have achieved cult level status in the wellness world. The combined power of a motivational leader and blaring tunes, perfectly timed to the rhythm of your workout, is undeniable. Unfortunately, though, many boutique fitness classes come with high price tags and the added stress of trying to book yourself into an overcrowded class, which is anything but motivating.
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Here to change the workout class game is Aaptiv, an on-demand audio fitness app that brings both the power of a personal motivator and the necessity of well-curated music directly to your phone in the form of digital classes you can take literally anywhere. I downloaded the app with haste because, hello, cardio is hardio and I’m not afraid to admit that I need all the help I can get on those days when an elliptical minute feels like a lifetime.
I was greeted with a screen full of workout types in the realms of cardio (outdoor running, treadmill, elliptical, indoor cycling), strength training, and yoga, as well as the options to start a training program for a 5k, 10k, and even a full marathon. Upon selecting my exercice de choix, the app then brought up a comprehensive list of classes, each categorized as either beginner, intermediate, or difficult denoted by a color marker of either green, yellow, or red. Each class is given a name appropriate to the style of workout you will experience. For example, a “Time to Climb” elliptical workout entails high resistance and even higher incline intervals, whereas a “'90s Rock Ramp Up” offers a steadier workout for those simply trying to get back into the fitness game. I was also able to search by workout duration, max incline and speed, and general difficulty, so I could find a class that fit exactly to my mood whether that be "I am the finest, fittest chick alive today" or "I just need to burn off the M&Ms I stress ate today."
Once I selected a workout, the magic began. As I started, a voice chimed in, my trainer for the duration, welcoming me to my workout and explaining what we would be getting into today. "Okay guys, we've got a challenging one today, but just remember why you're here and we're going to crush this thing together." This voice, which belonged to one of a handful of fitness professionals including Candice Cunningham, Rochelle Moncourtois, and Jaime McFaden, would continue to push me throughout the entire workout. I'm normally turned off by too much motivational cheer, but these trainers never annoyed me. As if on cue, they would seemingly only chime in just as I'd start thinking, "Wait, where'd she go? How much longer?" and then they would give a brief update on what was to come ("Okay, give this last thirty seconds all you've got and then we have just two more challenging intervals like this.") and disappear again for a minute or so.
The regular and inciting vocal updates definitely helped push me, but nothing benefitted my workouts like the pre-curated playlists that synced perfectly to the workouts. Who among us hasn't slowed down or virtually stopped a workout because the right song just wouldn't shuffle to attention? And who could argue that it's nearly impossible to push through a challenging spot in a workout when the song is simply wrong? Not only do Aaptiv playlists fit the bill (and the beat), coordinating right in time with the RPMs you should be hitting, but the music isn't bad, either. Whether you want to work out to the tunes of today's chart-topping pop or EDM hits, or throwback rock or hip hop favorites, it exists in the app.
The true beauty of Aaptiv is that there is literally a class for every fitness interest and level. And at $9.99/month ($49/year) for unlimited access to hundreds of instructor-led workouts, it's more than affordable, especially for anyone already spending boutique-level money for studio style classes. So, whether you're looking for an extra push in your personal workouts or simply couldn't get a spot in your favorite Flywheel class this week, the Aaptiv app provides the fresh way to work out the way you need.