With the closure of gyms and in-person fitness classes around the world over the last year, we have seen a rapid rise in the usage of fitness apps that offer live workout classes, workout plans, nutrition advice and wellness plans that people can engage with from the comfort of their own home. Throughout 2020, we saw the number of US smartphone users using health and fitness apps increasing by 27.2%, showing a steep rise in at-home workouts and fitness app usage.
Fitness apps are an incredibly effective way to improve fitness and general well-being, and many of these apps offer groundbreaking features to captivate their audiences.
Here, we’re going to take a look at four premium fitness apps currently available in an incredibly crowded market to assess which is crowned as the king of user experience, as well as looking at how these apps integrate effectively with Connected TV devices.
Platforms: Sky Q, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung TV, iOS & Android
The Fiit app allows you to access hundreds of classes across three different ‘studios’ – Cardio, Strength and Rebalance. These classes are 10, 25 or 40-minute sessions, with the difficulty qualified as entry-level, beginner, intermediate, advanced or all levels. The Fiit app is available on some Connected TV devices such as Sky Q, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung TV.
Fiit is one of the most popular fitness apps currently on the market, with its popularity down to its sleek platform design and high-quality workouts available at the press of a button. The app itself feels very premium with some very well put together workouts and interactive classes, and when you sign up as a new user, you can pair your fitness tracker to track your heart rate and metrics during classes. The monitor links to the app, and by using a Connected TV device that Fiit is available on (Sky Q, Amazon Fire TV or Samsung TV), users are able to see real-time stats such as heart rate, calories burned, reps completed and Fiit Points, which all appear on the big screen as they workout. This means users don’t get distracted with their smartwatch or phone that is tracking these stats, allowing for full focus on the workout itself. This interactive feature implemented by Fiit can be accessed by a number of different fitness trackers alongside their own heart-rate monitor, including the Apple Watch, Fitbit Versa, Fitbit Sense and Iconic, Samsung Galaxy Watch and Watch 3, as well as Galaxy Active 2.
This new interactive feature from Fiit has somewhat changed the game for the fitness app market, as for the first time globally, subscribers with Sky Q, Amazon Fire TV or a Samsung Smart TV now have the ability to bring a fully interactive experience to their living room just through the TV alone, as traditionally, fitness stats on a TV in real-time were only made possible by connecting your smartphone to the TV itself. Fiit has clearly demonstrated how crucial Connected TV devices are in their strategy to taking over the fitness app market, and it’s clearly working.
Fiit has introduced a range of engaging and interactive features to create an all-round experience for the user to ensure they get the most out of each workout they do. With their new “world-first” interactive feature on Smart TV’s, along with the ability to easily obtain stats with most major fitness trackers, as well as the option to pair your tracker to the big screen, it’s no wonder that Fiit sits toward the top of the pecking order.
Platforms: Apple TV & iOS
Apple Fitness+ is the streaming workout video service from Apple with home workout programmes that guide users through various exercises. The Apple Fitness+ app provides workouts from world-class trainers with everything from HIIT to yoga. Apple has crafted a fitness experience that dynamically integrates personal metrics from a user’s Apple Watch, which can then broadcast on either an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.
For those users deeply embedded within the Apple ecosystem, Apple Fitness+ is somewhat ideal. For those users without any compatible Apple devices, you’d need an iPhone or iPad that can run iOS 14.3 and an Apple Watch that can run WatchOS 7.2. If you also wish to stream the workouts on your TV, you’d need an Apple TV because currently, Apple Fitness+ isn’t available on any other connected devices.
With a choice to stream workouts on an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, it’s crucial to note that if you want to get the most out of your workouts, the Apple Watch is vital for all of them. The Apple Watch measures your heart rate and exercise ring metrics and shares those in real-time on your screen (similar to Fiit), meaning you don’t have to distract yourself mid-workout to check on your metrics. This feature helps to either push you harder or tell you to slow it down.
From a Connected TV aspect, Apple Fitness+ is available to be streamed via an Apple TV and can also be cast via AirPlay to compatible TV’s and devices. To see the metrics on your screen, a user must have an Apple TV, so for those looking to cast their workouts via AirPlay to an incompatible device, wave goodbye to the real-time stats and figures on the big screen.
Overall, Apple Fitness+ is certainly one to watch. With the breadth and depth of workouts available, and with new ones arriving every week, it certainly makes for a very appealing platform. With a clean interface and straightforward navigation, users can find what they’re looking for with ease. The main point to note is that the overall fitness experience with Apple is somewhat centred around the Apple Watch, so if you don’t own one, it could end up costing you a substantial amount of money if you really wish to experience the full Apple Fitness+ adventure.Expand your fitness app audience with a Connected TV app.Contact us now
Nike Training Club
Platforms: iOS & Android
Nike has pioneered the sporting industry for decades, with the ‘swoosh’ logo instantly recognisable by most people around the world. Being the powerhouse it is, Nike embarked on creating a fitness experience with Nike Training Club that appeals to the masses, giving users 185+ free expertly designed workouts from their world-class trainers, designed for people of all levels.
The curated workout collections help people achieve specific results whilst being flexible enough to fit into a daily routine. During the early stages of the pandemic, Nike made the Training Club app free of charge to assist those stuck at home in isolation. Nike decided to make their premium content permanently free due to the app playing a crucial role in Nike’s growth strategy as their collection of fitness apps translates to demand for sportswear. Clever move from Nike.
As well as being a free app, Nike Training Club is an incredibly popular choice for a number of reasons. Being available on both iOS and Android devices, the app is incredibly simple to use and accessible to many. You can easily navigate things like categories, workouts and trainers as well as search for workouts based on your fitness level. With a clear and engaging interface for users to navigate all for free, what’s not to like?
For users wanting to workout using a big screen, there’s set to be some disappointment. Currently, Nike Training Club is only available to download on iOS and Android, leaving those who wish to train using a TV having to turn elsewhere. Both Fiit and Apple Fitness+ have clearly considered the Connected TV aspect for their fitness apps and have seen a clear boost in engagement as a result of this, so will Nike one day do the same? Crafting a fitness experience like no other is key to engaging an audience, and utilising Connected TV plays a big part in this. However, users are able to display workouts from their mobile devices through both AirPlay and Android, meaning the TV experience is somewhat of an afterthought as the convenience factor isn’t quite there.
In conclusion, Nike Training Club is a big deal. Developed by one of the largest sporting brands in the world, delivering free premium content to those of all fitness levels, NTC is one to keep your eye on. Without a TV app, there is still plenty of potential for this gem of an app to further craft their at-home fitness experience. With a wide range of content and some real stand-out features that set this app apart, it comes as no surprise that it’s as popular as it is. Although you may not get as much as you would with Fiit and Apple Fitness+, why pay for an Apple-approved alternative when you have all you need on your mobile device? However, for those wanting that bit extra with all of the fancy metrics and a TV app that brings the workout class to your front-room, either Fiit or Apple Fitness+ may just edge it.
Platforms: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, iOS & Android
Peloton is a premium fitness brand that makes at-home gym equipment, has a fitness app and creates workout videos for users to live-stream. Alongside the expensive Peloton products, they also offer a fitness app that doesn’t require Peloton products, and includes a wide range of workouts from strength training, to yoga and meditation.
With Peloton offering a range of premium products that offer a stacked library of workouts, people who solely use the app shouldn’t be put off by not owning a fancy Peloton bike or treadmill as the app offers a wide range of exciting workouts without having to spend thousands on new Peloton equipment. On the app itself, Peloton offers live workout classes you can choose to fit around your schedule, and for group fitness lovers, this is a great way to feel involved as Peloton allows you to see how many other people are present in the group session sweating it out alongside you. This small but effective feature helps users to feel more involved with the class as many people feel fired up when working out in a group, so having the option to see how many are present is a great way to stay motivated and focussed. This is a standout feature from Peloton considering the circumstances and how in-person group classes have been somewhat ground to a halt.
Another interesting feature in the Peloton app is their audio-only workouts, which essentially allows users to tie up their laces and get running (or walking) with guided audio from an expert trainer. Throughout the duration of the activity, the trainer can prompt you to accelerate, give yourself a recovery or advise on how to pace yourself, meaning users are getting the most out of each and every workout. The mobile app also links to your smartphone’s GPS to track metrics like speed, mile splits, elevation gained and calories burned. This often helps users to push faster and harder.
As good as the Peloton app is, there does however seem to be a big bias toward Peloton product owners, catering for those who have spent large amounts of money on Peloton equipment. This does however mean that although there is a big library of content available for app users who don’t have Peloton products, Peloton clearly favours those with their products, so new and exciting workouts aren’t uploaded as frequently as they are on the app. This may well be just part of Peloton’s big plan to get you to purchase one of their products, but if you’re looking for the cheaper alternative, it’s best to stick with the app.
Another small but crucial downside to the Peloton app is the inability to select your own music in a workout session. Although this may not be an issue for some, for others, this can play a huge part in their overall fitness experience. Depending on the type of workout, whether it be high or low intensity, there is always a certain type of music appropriate for the workout. The Peloton app gives you no option to select your own music, or even the option to workout without any music, with some users stating how they have avoided some sessions purely because they didn’t like the music. Albeit a small feature, it still contributes to the overall fitness experience that Peloton is crafting, and something that users are clearly picking up on.
Users of the Peloton app are considerably spoilt for choice when it comes to accessing the app, specifically on Smart TVs, as the app is available on Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Sky Q, Chromecast and AirPlay. Connected TV is something that Peloton have considered in great detail and understand that to enjoy a full fitness experience from a person’s very front room, TV plays a big part in this. With the ability to stream workouts from a TV, users can benefit from a more immersive experience, and with the Peloton app available on a wide range of platforms, Peloton is able to substantially increase its audience reach in comparison to Apple Fitness+ for example as Apple only offers their app on Apple TVs.
Although the overall Peloton experience may be better by owning one of their fancy products, it’s certainly not something to be put off by. Peloton has clearly devised a strong strategy to make fitness more inclusive and accessible for all, and by strongly pushing their app across a wide range of Connected TV platforms, we will no doubt see Peloton continuing to take the market by storm.
Platforms: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV & Google TV
iFit is an innovative fitness brand that offers interactive virtual workouts with a personal training twist. A subscription to iFit opens the doors to a variety of global workouts, studio classes, and Google Maps trails across the world. iFit is possibly one of the most diverse fitness platforms available with over 60 different training types at your fingertips.
iFit offers a similar experience to Peloton in the sense that they build their own fitness equipment as well as offer an app that doesn’t require equipment. For those that enjoy working out from the comfort of their own home and have fitness equipment at hand, iFit is compatible with a wide range of fitness machines such as NordicTrack, ProForm, Freemotion and Matrix, making iFit an easy option for users who own equipment from any of these brands. This helps iFit to stand out from brands like Peloton who only offer their app to those with Peloton branded equipment.
From a Connected TV aspect, iFit is another brand that understands the importance of bringing the fitness experience to a TV. The iFit app is available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV and Google TV, with a Roku app in the pipeline. For those without iFit-enabled equipment, they can enjoy the luxury of using the TV app as it has no compatibility with its equipment, meaning iFit are clearly catering for those without their equipment. This is a great move by iFit as it allows more people to enjoy their service without having to spend large sums of money on buying special equipment that’s compatible. The iFit TV app is perfect for floor workouts such as strength training and yoga, although some users argue that the app’s value lies in its integration with its machines, due to its performance-tracking features and automatic resistance adjustments, meaning those who don’t use the app may be missing out on the features that set iFit apart from the rest.
With the mobile and TV iFit app, many users have experienced somewhat of an “outdated” interface which isn’t very user-friendly. This can play a major part in the overall user experience, with lots of negative reviews pointing towards the app’s UI and UX. Take Nike Training Club and Apple Fitness+ for example, two apps which have invested lots of effort into designing a high quality user interface to cater for a wide range of users. This is something that sets one brand apart from another, and iFit needs to up their game when it comes to the UI in order to stay relevant in what has become an extremely fast-paced industry.
Nevertheless, let’s not take away from the fact that iFit is clearly catering for the masses. With a wide range of equipment that’s compatible with the app, and with a premium TV app for those without iFit-enabled equipment (alongside the mobile app), iFit has made fitness easier and more enjoyable for those looking to lead a healthier lifestyle. Although the mobile and TV app is filled with exciting features and presents a whole host of benefits to users, the combination of iFit and an iFit enabled machine is what really sets them apart from the competition. On-machine routines are taken to the next level with their long list of innovative features, and with more future updates and additions to be added, iFit is certainly one that shines when used in combination with an iFit-enabled machine.
Conclusion: Connected devices are the future
In a world where fitness apps are becoming ever popular, incorporating innovative standout features into a fitness platform is a must in order to stay ahead of the curve and to keep users coming back.
Some fitness apps may suit others better and for different purposes, but some of these fitness brands have incorporated features to make leading a healthy lifestyle exciting. Take Fiit for example and their “world first” interactive feature solely on TVs, or Nike Training Club with their incredibly clean UI, and it’s clear that these brands are investing in areas to contest with one another and fight for top spot in what has become a very crowded market.
From a Connected TV aspect, it’s clear that there is still room for improvement. For some, launching their fitness apps on Connected TV is somewhat of an afterthought, yet for others, it’s clear that they understand and appreciate the impact that Connected TV devices can have on the overall fitness experience. Fiit, Peloton and iFit edge this aspect, with Nike Training Club and Apple Fitness+ somewhat lacking in this area, as Apple only offers their fitness app on Apple TVs. To craft a well-rounded fitness experience, Connected TV is certainly an avenue that must be toward the forefront of a brands strategy as the Connected TV space is growing exponentially, with global smart TV ownership set to exceed 50% by 2026. It’s crucial to be where your audience is, and connected devices provide this opportunity. It can somewhat be the tipping point for many users when deciding which fitness app to use when embarking on a new fitness journey.