The Mobile Fitness apps seem to be today’s magic solutions to the Latin’s “Mens sana in corpore sano”. Of course, everybody wants to look good, especially in the era of Facebook, Instagram, Photoshop and all. But, when everything is moving at an annoying fast pace, where time is a valuable currency, how can one have time to work out, have a social life and get a good night’s sleep?
Lifestyle Trends In 2018
According to ACSM, nowadays many of us seem to strive to live a simpler life. No, not to retire and move to the countryside, at least not yet, but have pockets of reality where we can escape the madness of our every day, mostly office lives. Whether this is about the way we decorate our homes or the way we work out, the main keyword is, you guessed, simple. Simple is definitely a trend, with a lot of market value behind it, and fitness seems to be at the very center of it.
In fitness, the 2018 trend is to avoid at all costs bulky equipment that takes out so much space. To go minimal, somehow. Thus being said, here are the workout types preferred today:
- High-Intensity Interval Training
- Group training
- Wearable tech (although it slipped lower than the previous year)
- Bodyweight training
- Strength Training
- Personal training
Apparently, the new generations, such as millennials, are great fans of working out. According to the study made by My Protein company, they spend a high amount of their income on fitness – around $200 per month. This focus on training and exercise is great, especially healthwise, since most of our jobs require sitting in front of a computer for long hours. But, at the same time, millennials are hardest to please, since they are well-informed and always on the hunt for something new. This is why, for them, fitness is not just working out. It’s a lifestyle. And a fitness app is one of the most minimal solutions one can have when they need any kind of assistance in exercising.
The Growth of Fitness Apps
You see, in the world of technological innovation, where self-research is a mantra and the words of a peer matter more, fitness apps are actually a thing. But are they useful?
According to these guys, the simple answer is yes.
It’s difficult to give a black or white answer to this. First of all, there are around 250,000 fitness apps available on the Internet, and the number just keeps growing.
But, if you are still wondering: “alright, there are loads of them, I get that, but is there a public for them?”, just so you know that High Snobiety researched the issue and the answer is yes.
In one of the study they have researched it seems that fitness apps promote positive behavioral changes. Meaning, that almost 75% of the interviewed participants have reported being more active, opposed to under half of non-users and former users. In short, they concluded that fitness app users are more likely to exercise during their leisure time, compared to those who don’t use any type of apps.
However, another research implies that fitness apps do work, but are more effective if they are personalized for the user. Features such as training goals, diets or contact with trainers, make people more motivated to work out constantly.
In addition, Flurry states that between 2014 and 2017, the usage of mobile fitness apps has grown by 330%, in the US. And, in August 2017, they made a worldwide survey, in which they asked respondents about the usage frequency.
To conclude, yes they are useful and yes they are used, but all you have to do is to actually keep using them, just like going to the gym. But when the Internet gives you such a large plethora of apps to choose from, which one is the most suitable for your experience? Because here at Tapptitude we develop mobile apps for a living, we researched what the Internet claims to be the most used fitness apps, and here is our specialized opinion on three of them. Not on the sports activity per se, but on you know, stuff we know about.
PEAR – Personal Fitness Coach
PEAR tries to make workout more accessible, without having to enroll to a fitness centre or to get a personal trainer. The latter, being covered by the app itself.
So, I downloaded the app and it really looks nice at the beginning. Since PEAR is a payment-based, they gave me 3 free workouts.
The app has three huge categories based on how much time you have to spend working out. For instance, if you are a couch potato who dislikes making physical activities but then again you want to push yourself to do them, you can choose activities between 0-20 or if you are uber into sports, you can choose over 40 minutes. Yes, there is in between as well.
Great. Next, on the front page, there are the most popular workouts and a presentation of the trainers. Yes, you read it correctly, trainers. A short history of themselves and all the workouts they are managing.
Other cool stuff about PEAR is that you can input information about the activities you prefer, workout duration, lifestyle – active, sedentary, moderately and connect it to a band. One thing that has to be mentioned about PEAR is that you listen to the workout. You do not see it. So, if you are going to run, you are going to need headphones.
The downside of PEAR is that it is not compatible with any band, for instance not with Xiaomi Fit, but you can connect it to the Health App on iOS. Of course, you cannot add what you have eaten and how many calories you have left, but there are several apps for that.
Nike Training Club
Developed by Nike INC with the purpose to get people in shape, Nike Training Club resembles the previous app on some levels. For instance, it tries to introduce the working out thing in busy lives.
When it comes to the workout part, there are over 160 from which you can choose. When you first create your account, they are asking about the frequency of your workouts. Since I am quite the beginner, I picked 0 to 1 and this is what they recommended me.
When it comes to choosing your own workout, you can browse them by muscle group, workout type, workout collections, athlete workouts, no-equipment workouts and short workouts. Regarding my plan tab, you can choose a plan that suits and guides you, such as startup, lean fit, bodyweight only and gym strong.
What’s cool about the workout things is that when you choose one, you have videos. And what’s even more awesome is that the workout is structured in several 1-minute videos. So, somehow you do not really feel like working out, but more like achieving a quest.
What Nike Training Club has as a bonus, is the Club – that was a bit obvious, gotta admit, where you can find NTC-organized events close or find a community challenge. Which, I have to say, might be interesting for those who are motivated to work together. Also, you can add friends and share stuff on the newsfeed.
And because it’s Nike, what’s cool is that you also have a discount code for shops. Never tried it, can’t swear by it, but it’s there.
What I feel that Nike is missing is the connection to a band, so you could track heartbeat, steps and burnt calories. Other than that, lovely UI and easy to navigate.
Freeletics Personal Trainer
For the last place but not least, we have chosen Freeletics Personal Trainer. You are probably used already with what are we talking about here – fitness mobile apps. So, yes, we can say that Freeletics somehow fits the pattern we have already mentioned.
So, let’s start. Freeletics is, as the name implies, a Personal Trainer. What’s cool about it is that you can choose either a personal coach to guide you through the whole process of training or you can do single exercises. As your heart wishes.
Or, there is also the option to choose workouts, dubbed as signature Freelectic workouts. There are three choices, based on different difficulty and duration and they are split into rounds. Approximately 6 videos per round, with hardcore music that makes you go forward.
What’s also cool at Freelectics is the point things. You get points when you complete the workout. Although they are not used for anything, in particular, they are a good motivation.
If you choose personalized training or a coach, before Freelectics tailors a workout program, you have to complete a few details, such as: how active you are and how do you want to be – fit, strong or muscular. I have chosen fit and that I am not highly active.
All in all, I can say Freeltics is a cool app. What I miss though is the band. I would love to see how many calories I would burn. Also, it would be great if there would be a nutrition thing as well, where you can see how much you have eaten and how much you should. Although there are several other apps that show you this, it would be greater if they could integrate it in one app.
For an in-depth information about this app, we’re happy to let you know that some time ago we wrote an entire article on it.
Are Millennials the golden generation for fitness businesses?
Millennials seem to be the most targeted audience by fitness solutions. And this reality is visible in their engagement with this industry. As I mentioned earlier in the article, millennials are spending loads of money, around $200 per month on fitness and fitness-related solutions, making them the most trained generation in history.
Some people say it’s because in the age of the social media mediated relationships, they feel lonely and need to connect, but I personally believe it’s not that. I mean, come on, do people really socialize at the gym? Through sweats and heavy breaths are you really in the mood to talk to people? I know I don’t!
My explanation for this comes in two dimensions.
The first one is that we live in the age of Instagram, the plethora of filters and the sharing inflation, where it is essential that we look our very best. Otherwise, our entire identity seems questioned. We’ve all seen plenty of memes with expectations versus reality and we all feel threatened in one way or another by somebody who is has a better profile photo than ours. So this is why we do it – to look good in photos, first and then to actually feel as good as we pretend we do on social media.
The second dimension comes from the pressure we feel to compensate a rather sedentary, office-based lifestyle. If you add to this equation the mindfulness trends and frenzies, we may have a better picture to explain why this generation needs to spend money on fitness, but not necessarily practice fitness.
So, make sure you know who your target is when you develop apps. Remember that nowadays people do spend money if you know how to convince them that yours is better than anyone else’s. But, we’ll talk about behaviorism in another article.
The anatomy of a fitness app
After seeing dozens of fitness apps, the patterns are clear in terms of functionality they propose, also as user flows and sometimes copy.
One core thing I noticed in the apps I tested was that most workouts are designed to work independently, with basically no equipment needed, aside from running shoes and sometimes a mat. For instance, you can go for a run and learn how to do it like a pro. Or you can go and bike. Or you can stay at home or in a more secluded location, where you can practice bodyweight training, for instance. All this, if you ask me, is pretty cool, because you’re not forced to invest in other equipment or gadgets.
Aside from the workouts themselves, the apps are easy to use and have a fun, interactive UI. And, I have to admit, that the photos with those fit people really give me a boost to at least try out the workouts.
But there were also things I didn’t like. I felt the need for a calorie counter. Yes, I know, one can always download another app that shows the real count of calories. But, why have another app? Plus, this is quite a downer, especially for those who are set on burning a number of calories per week.
Another thing, no nutrition tips & tricks. Every app could use something related to nutrition, where they could teach you how to eat or how much you can still eat. You see, some of us are foodies and “we exist, therefore we eat.” There could be others, but I will stop and give you something more useful.
Beyond these 3 analyzed apps, we did deeper research into this market and deconstructed to core components that you find in the majority of these apps, in various combinations.
Seeing the commonalities, this heavy question pops: how can one fitness app differentiate? We might have some pointers, but this is going to be the next episode.