When Apple announced their new total workout app — Apple Fitness+ — I was stunned at the sheer audacity and cutthroat thuggery of the move, and I was never more proud to be a dedicated Apple fanatic and loyal Apple Watch owner. Apple isn’t aiming for Peloton with this subscription App release. No, Apple is aiming to kill off the Nike Training Club, Centr, FitBod, Sworkit, Strava, Adidas Training — and all other exercise and fitness Apps — and, perhaps, even one day, MyFitnessPal. Yes, Apple is going to knock out the small fry competition with their big, giant, footprint, and they’re doing it because there’s gold in them thar fields: One Workout App to Unite Them All!
Here’s a recent Human Meme podcast episode — Pandemic Parallettes — I hosted where I detail my home gym (actually, my living room gym!) and what I use to help stay in shape and control my blood pressure.
I am a big fitness fan by intrinsic necessity and this Apple Fitness+ move is more than mechanical. It’s brutal! Apple doesn’t care about a bike, or a weight system, or a slam ball.
No, Apple knows virtual fitness is all about personality.
You don’t want to work out alone. You don’t want to be abandoned at a gym. You want someone there taking an interest in you, encouraging you — even though you’re not in synchronous time with your trainer, and you can see them but they can only see a camera — you want to belong.
The biggest steal in Apple Fitness+ is getting former Nike Master Trainer Betina Gozo on board! She is a jewel of a trainer. The moment you meet her in a video session, you fall in love with her shining personality, her radiating warmth, and her — unfortunately rare in too many of these automaton workout trainers — ability to be human. Sometimes Betina gets tired! Sometimes Betina drops her weights on the floor with a thump! Sometimes Betina is out of breath! Sometimes Betina gets caught in the rain! Yes, Betina Gozo is just like us! That is the laughter, and the power, of her.
As I reflect back on spending hours with Betina in the Nike Training Club App, I realize now that Apple was always shining from her eyes, and it was because of that glow that, when I demonstrated the Nike Training Club to my friends and associates, I always started with a Betina workout — just because she did a better job of explaining why working out with her was so fantastic in 10 seconds of lifting a dumbbell when it would take me an an hour of over-espousing to make the same point.
Congratulations, Apple! You picked a real winner in Betina!
Now I wonder if there’s any discomfort between Apple and Nike over the Cupertino acquisition of Betina’s talent? Will her workouts remain in the Nike Training Club App? Will the Nike Apple Watch partnership continue in tension? Only the Nike shadow knows!
Nike made their Premium workout App free, giving us access to their best trainers without cost. Nike said they made the move because of Covid-19, and because we’re all stuck at home, but I’m now more of the notion they knew Apple Fitness+ plus was coming for their head, and to head off the throat of their reputation as a fitness leader, Nike opened the doors to try to buy some time to hook us with their master trainers in the hope to keep us once Apple Fitness+ arrived live.
And hey, I used to be the biggest premium Nike Training Club fan around with, so far, over 21,000 minutes logged across 645 workouts!
You can use a lot of fitness Apps, but you really need to pick a lead App that you use as the core of your workout routines, and for about a year, that App for me was the Nike Training Club.
I've been using the updated Nike Training Club app with the Premium workout feature sets for about a week now, and I am impressed! The whole NTC idea of human excellence is methodical, and well thought out! pic.twitter.com/JwpOlPAW0B
— David Boles (@DavidBoles) May 16, 2019
But then I recently got into an online tussle with Nike about not being allowed to order clothes and shoes from the online Nike store more frequently than every three days.
It’s a stupid fiscal policy — Nike should know their customers — and one that ultimately pressed me back into the clothing arms of Adidas. In the promo images for Fitness+ the Apple folk are all wearing Nike clothing and shoes — let’s just hope the trainers don’t have to order outfits themselves online from the Nike store!
Another great thing about Apple Fitness+ is that it is built by Apple and meant to be run on Apple devices — yes, machines, proprietary mechanicals, if you will.
There is nothing more irritating than using a non-Apple fitness App and having your 60-minute workout fail to sync to Apple Workouts or Apple Health. Sure, you can add in the exercise by hand later, but you lose the heartbeat monitoring, and other really important, real time, data collection from your Apple Watch. With Apple handling the tracking and the recording with their own software and hardware, you win, and Apple wins. It’s a triple win/win/win — adding in the Betina Gozo factor, too.
Apple Fitness+ doesn’t just want to work you out a little bit — nope, it wants to cover every single competitive aspect that any other workout App might present. Here’s the glorious Apple muscle of what their Fitness+ App will offer you. Every base covered. Every option conditioned.
Like it or not, Apple Fitness+ is so perfect that it is so unfair.
How can any current workout App hope to compete with the functionality, and name, of Apple across all devices: iPads, iPhones, Apple TV, Macs, Apple Watch? How can any future workout App get footing to dethrone the iPhone King, Apple Watch Queen and their universe of established royalty?
I’ll happily pay Apple $80 a year for a subscription to Fitness+ because paying for access to excellence is how you become greater, and better, than the self.
Good luck to the competition — and I especially feel for Nike and their Training Club because, after paying for a year of their premium service, and then having the whole App go out for free — I admit to feeling a little cheated that all that money I spent on the Nike Training Club was now cheapened, and given away, without cost or consideration.
Excellence always has a price, but once that access to the perceived best is devalued by the company itself, the entire enterprise is tainted.
Apple knows that.
Apple pays to get the best and we pay Apple to keep the best.