Is Apple Fitness+ worth it? I tried it for three months, here’s my review 

There’s a lot that Apple Fitness+ does well. But also a few areas where I felt it was lacking.

Home workouts have moved on a long way since the days of VHS tapes from Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons. Today the choice is so vast as to be almost overwhelming. So to help, our Apple Fitness+ review will explain what at least one of this new breed of home workout apps was like to use.   

I’ve spent the past few months testing Apple’s fitness offering for myself, to see what it’s really like. Walking the walk, and, erm, hitting the HIIT.  

After three months of trying it out, here’s what I thought of the whole experience, and whether I thought Apple Fitness+ is worth it.

Apple Fitness+ on an iPad, with a pair of trainers and a medicine ball next to it.Credit: Exceptional
Apple Fitness+ is put through its paces

Apple Fitness+ briefly explained

What is Apple Fitness+?

In a nutshell, it’s a subscription-based fitness service provided by Apple, which offers a wide variety of workouts, including (among others) strength, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), dance, yoga, and Pilates, all led by highly experienced professional trainers. 

It’s available to users of Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. A monthly subscription costs £9.99, or £79.99 if you pay in full for 12 months.  

I took advantage of a three-month free trial offer that’s available to many new users of the service – so the good news is you’ll almost certainly be able to try it before committing any pennies towards it.      


Setting up

It’s pretty easy to set up Apple Fitness+. I used an iPad as I didn’t have a compatible television to hand, and I was up and running within a few minutes. Not literally running – we’ll get to the workouts later. 

I’m a big fan of home workouts in principle. I like the idea that there are minimal barriers to exercising – you feel like exercising, and within a few minutes, you are exercising. No packing a gym bag, driving to a gym, hoping you have a pound coin for the locker, and all the faff that comes with it. Exercising at home can help to remove many of those hurdles that are sometimes used to justify not bothering. 

When Apple announced the service back in December 2020, they pitched it as bringing ‘studio-style workouts’ to the user’s home. In essence, recreating much of the gym experience, while making it as convenient as possible. 

You can read more in our in-depth guide to Apple Fitness+. 

Top tips to get the most from Apple Fitness+

Before getting started, make sure you know what you’re trying to achieve. Doing this will help you to select workouts appropriate to meeting that goal, rather than just choosing workouts at random. The curated collections are a great starting point for this, if, for example, you want to run a 5K, or you want to focus on your core. And they’ll give you a good idea of what to look for in other workouts as well. You can also make use of the filters to find suitable workouts more easily. 

Every workout type that we tried had several different coaches, each of whom has their own distinct personality and coaching style. You may find that you prefer some to others. We recommend trying all of them to find out which ones you like best. 

Sometimes, in order to make these worthwhile, they can (in my experience) actually end up being more intense, and have fewer periods of rest between exercises to squeeze more in. If you’re pressed for time, these can be excellent, but don’t be fooled into thinking they will automatically be easier.  

If you’re concerned about the potential intensity of any given workout then we’d suggest that you consider watching it first, so that you have a clear idea of what you’re getting yourself into. It will also help give you an idea of what equipment you may need, so you’ll be ready with the right equipment, rather than having to pause the workout part way through in order to find what you need. 

If you’re trying Apple Fitness+ because you want to do more strength training, for example, then you’re going to need a variety of different weights to make sure you’re getting the most out of every workout. And you can’t do any of the cycling workouts without an exercise bike. If you don’t want to use any equipment, that will limit your workout choices, but there is still plenty available to you. 

Apple Fitness+ offers a really wide variety of workouts, and it is well worth exploring things that you may not have tried before. It’s easy for all of us to get stuck in a bit of a rut, and trying new exercise types may lead you to discover a passion, not to mention the potential physical benefits of making your body move in new ways.   

Apple Fitness+ pluses

There’s a lot of good content

There’s a lot to like about Apple Fitness+. The production values are high, the coaches are enthusiastic, and there is new content being added all the time. There are so many workouts that you could almost certainly workout every day for a year (or more) without repeating any of them. If you get bored doing the same things over and over, this will be a big plus. 

You can easily find something that will appeal to you, whether that’s by activity type, duration of the workout, or even by the type of music that’s playing in the background – which means you don’t have to listen to someone else’s idea of motivational music, if you don’t want to. 

How to exercise correctly

The coaches are also good at emphasising the importance of good form, and explaining how to exercise correctly. This is absolutely crucial when you exercise, and arguably even more important when you work out at home, as you won’t necessarily have someone there to help check you are doing things right. And doing it wrong does raise the risk of hurting yourself.

It’s also great to see modifications available, so you can keep going even if you start to struggle with the more intense version of any particular move. The coaches, overall, are excellent – friendly and inspiring, without being too over the top with it all. 

I tried a wide variety of workouts, including HIIT (high-intensity interval training) strength workouts, yoga, kickboxing, and Pilates. I’m not an expert in any of these things, but to my untrained eye, they seemed well put together, and certainly managed to find my areas of weakness. If you think that exercising at home is automatically easier than doing a workout or a class at the gym, you are mistaken. They were often challenging, while being enjoyable.  

Apple Fitness+ on an iPad sitting on a blue yoga matCredit: Exceptional
Our writer really appreciated the yoga sessions

I particularly appreciated yoga. I’ll freely admit I’m a beginner when it comes to yoga, but I found the workouts accessible, with just the right amount of challenge, and enough guidance from the coaches so that I never felt I was getting lost in what I was doing. I’d say these were the workouts I got the most out of, and I’d happily go back to them in the future. 

However, while there were plenty of good points, there were also a few issues to contend with as well. 


Apple Fitness+ negatives

Too much choice, not enough guidance

First off, the sheer variety of workouts available makes it harder than it needs to be to find a specific one. While you can narrow things down, you might still have dozens of different workouts to choose from.  

And they don’t offer vast amounts of detail about what the workouts entail before you start them, so you are jumping in without really knowing what’s coming your way. You do get a brief video clip, but I don’t think this is all that informative. 

As a result, there were definitely times when, for example, I would start a strength workout, only to quickly realise that I didn’t have the correct weights for the moves they were doing. One particular strength workout required ‘light’ and ‘medium’ dumbbells – but what that means will vary from person to person. There were frequently times where I had to stop midway through to change my weights, when a bit more guidance on the moves involved, and the type of weights they might recommend, would have been very helpful. 

Apple doesn’t filter workouts based on whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced exerciser. The argument here is that all the workouts are designed to be accessible to everyone, and the modified moves definitely help in this respect. But I certainly felt there were some workouts that were hard, and that’s as someone who exercises regularly. I certainly wouldn’t consider them suitable for someone who might not have exercised for years, even if they modify the moves.  

Not the most structured

I also struggled at times with the lack of structure. Apple Fitness+ has workout programmes you can follow – for instance, ‘Workouts for Beginners’ or ‘Get Ready for Snow Season’. But there are only six of these to choose from. In some of these, they also tell you that the workouts can be done in any order.  

Screenshot of the collections in Apple Fitness+Credit: Exceptional
Apple Fitness+ offers 21 curated workouts

Alongside these are 21 ‘collections’ with titles such as: ‘14-Day HIIT and Strength Challenge’, ‘6 Weeks to Restart Your Fitness’ and ‘Stronger Arms, Chest and Back in 21 Days’. These are curated workouts designed to help you aim for certain goals. Depending on which collection you choose, you may be expected to workout anywhere between three and seven times a week. 

And this touches on my biggest gripe with Apple Fitness+. 

A man without a plan

When I’m following a workout plan, I like it to be exactly that – a plan. Something that tells me what workout to do on what day, with a clear structure to follow.

Maybe it’s just me, but I like plans that will, for example, work one muscle group on Monday, another on Wednesday, and another on Friday. A plan that makes sure I’m not overtraining, and that hopefully, makes sure I am getting a well-balanced workout routine as a result. And one that will help build strength, cardio fitness, and flexibility. 

I didn’t feel that Apple Fitness+ really does this particularly well. The collections are great for getting started, but they are over very quickly. Beyond them, it is far too easy to choose workouts that would work the same muscles, day after day.  

While Fitness+ does suggest you might like to try another kind of workout if you are doing too much of the same thing, this isn’t nearly as effective as it needs to be. It’s too easy to ignore. 

As I mentioned earlier, one of the big benefits of exercising at home using an on-demand service is that it has the potential to reduce the barriers and excuses that prevent us from exercising. And also the benefits of having a clear plan, where you know exactly which workout to do. No thought is involved. There’s no friction 

But with Apple Fitness+, I felt there was friction. When you are having to spend time scrolling through workouts, previewing them, and trying to figure out if they are what you want, that’s just another hurdle to jump before actually getting the workout done. And if you’re time poor, as many of us are, that can be a deal breaker.  

What would I like to see in Apple Fitness+?

An easy fix?

It would be great if Apple Fitness+ could go beyond what’s in its collections and provide, for instance, a curated 60 or 90-day plan, telling you which workouts to do on each day, to ensure you are getting that balance. It could even do this with workouts aimed at beginners, intermediate, and advanced exercisers, to make sure everyone can find something suitable, as is the case in the Peloton app. This doesn’t feel like it would be difficult to implement.  

Instead, Apple Fitness+ seems to rely on a very light touch, which is fine if you know what you’re doing. But it seems all too easy to choose the wrong workouts at random, especially if it’s all new to you.

The collections are a step in the right direction, but none of them lasts longer than six weeks. And they tend to focus on maybe one or two aspects of your fitness.  

Screenshot of some of the collections in Apple Fitness+Credit: Exceptional
The collections are a step in the right direction

Once you’ve finished a collection, you’re encouraged to, “keep the momentum going” by choosing other workouts from the library. But once again, you’re being left to your own devices, when they could (and possibly should) be making it easier.  

Most of us aren’t personal trainers, and won’t necessarily know how to ensure we are striking the right balance between different workouts, and making sure we incorporate appropriate rest and recovery periods. This is an area where I felt Apple Fitness+ could do a lot more. 

Easy to neglect the cooldown

Finally, I noticed how little focus there was on doing a proper cooldown after each workout. This is less of an issue for something like yoga or Pilates, but after a strength or HIIT workout, there was sometimes as little as one stretch included before the end. This felt like an almost token gesture.  

You are invited to go and complete a mindful cooldown if you want. But the coaches a) don’t really stress the value of doing this, and b) once again, it’s far too easy to just not bother when you already feel like you’ve finished.  

I just didn’t understand why the coach wouldn’t take you through a proper cooldown at the end of a workout. My assumption is that this is to make sure the workout sticks to the promised duration (instead of being, say, 20 minutes, plus an extra four or five minutes for stretching and cooldown). Whatever the reason, it makes it much easier to neglect a valuable part of the process. 


Will Apple Fitness+ get you fitter?

One of the big questions is whether Apple Fitness+ will knock you into shape or not. And the answer, to me, feels like: “It depends.” If you are coming back to exercise for the first time in a while, then I’d be pretty confident it can help ease you back in and improve your fitness.  

If you’re more experienced, or already pretty fit, this might be more useful as a supplementary service. But I wouldn’t be as confident in stating that it will get you fitter than before. From my own experience, I certainly don’t feel that I am fitter than I was when I started. 

Whether you’re experienced or a novice, you’re only going to get fit (or fitter) if you keep turning up and putting in the effort. And for me, the app wasn’t doing enough to keep pulling me back in. There were barriers that didn’t need to be there. 


So, is Apple Fitness+ worth it?

Overall, while there was a lot to like about Apple Fitness+, I didn’t feel there was enough structure to ensure that I was getting the most out of my exercise. If you’re just looking to dip in and out, this might work better for you than it did for me.

The workouts I tried are well thought through, and the coaches were very good. I particularly enjoyed the yoga, and while I don’t necessarily think that by itself it would justify the cost of a monthly subscription, that is one area that I could be persuaded to revisit. 

I can see this being an alternative to the gym for many people, from beginners who just want to dip their toe into the exercise pool, to people who might want to consistently do a spin class a few times a week, for example. 

But that lack of structure and guidance to make sure I was choosing the right workouts, felt like a glaring absence. Sure, you can, for instance, search for a workout that works your upper body, or lower body. But there is still a lot that Apple could have done to make life easier. For example, why isn’t there a programme specifically designed to build strength, which guides you through what workouts to do over a period of several weeks or months?   

Lack of structure – a deal-breaker

I used Apple Fitness+ via an iPad, but didn’t have an Apple Watch or iPhone. It’s possible that you’ll get much more out of it if you have those as well, to help track your performance, and to use other features like Time to Walk and Time to Run.  

Overall, I didn’t feel that Apple Fitness+ is worth its monthly subscription. There’s a lot for people to enjoy, but for me, the lack of structure was a deal-breaker. 

That said, there is plenty here for a beginner, and for anyone who is starting on their exercise journey and wants some support to get going, I think there’s potentially enough for some people to justify the monthly outlay.  

If you want to try it for yourself, then most new subscribers can benefit from a three-month free trial period (just remember to cancel at the end if you don’t want to continue with it).

And even if Apple Fitness+ might not sound like it’s for you, there’s plenty of evidence that being active and social is good for your health. So, it’s well worth taking some time to find an activity that appeals to you. Check out our guides to getting starting with walking, starting running, yoga for beginners, or how to get started with swimming. 

Steven Shaw

Written by Steven Shaw he/him


Steven Shaw has been a freelance writer for a variety of outlets, most notably TechRadar. His degree in Medieval History prepared him less adequately for his career than you might expect, but the years spent working in technology focused retail were much more helpful.

Outside of work, Steven is passionate about health and fitness, and particularly enjoys high-intensity interval training, weight training, and increasingly, spending time recovering. Steven loves reading, films and a wide variety of sports. A particular highlight was watching Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar batting together in an exhibition match.

He wishes he could travel more. He can also tell you a lot about the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Carolingians. Most of his non-work time is spent with his young children, who are the living embodiment of high-intensity training.