We all have those days where we just can’t seem to find the motivation to get on the treadmill, go for a run, or even look at the pair of dumbbells in the corner of the room.
For the lucky ones, the lack of energy is fleeting, and a quick internal dialogue gets us pumped and ready.
But for many of us, exercise routine after exercise routine goes in and out of fashion as our energy levels wane with the tides.
We’ve covered the best calisthenics programs available online before, which should partly cover this issue, however, an in-depth look at Aaptiv was missing.
So, here it is, our thoughts on Aaptiv after close to 2 months of using it.
Aaptiv is an audio-driven fitness app that is aimed at exercise introverts and busy-bee dieters who can’t seem to nail down a routine that works well for them.
Founded in 2015, Aaptiv has grown over the years to a customer base of 230,000+ paying members engaging in over 20 million classes to date.
It provides members access to 2,500 audio workouts guided by 20+ instructors, and according to the company (and happy reviewers) continues to add between 30-40 new classes to the platform weekly.
With many active members, it is no surprise Aaptiv carries with it an industry hype that keeps it at the top of the audio fitness rankings.
With it’s empathetic and encouraging audio instructors, it keeps people motivated and drives results while effectively building an instructor-student rapport and a subtle addiction.
While the user interface is always being updated, at the time of writing the Aaptiv app breaks down exercise regimens into 9 categories ranging from outdoor and treadmill running to strength training and HIIT weight loss.
On top of the basic categories, Aaptiv also offers longer training programs to entice those who want a more structured commitment.
With programs such as yoga for beginners, maternity workouts, and half marathon training schedules, there is something for everyone.
Within these categories, there are numerous workouts to choose from, and each workout type can be further broken down by personal trainer.
With over 20 instructors to choose from, customers are given a wide range of personalities to warm up to.
Each trainer is also given a one-word adjective (empowering, functional, vibrant) to summarize the experience the user can expect to have with them.
To learn more about the Aaptiv trainers, more information on the team can be found on the trainer section of the website.
As of 2019, Aaptiv added in their version of an AI trainer which they refer to as the Aaptiv Coach.
With this long-awaited, cutting edge technology, Aaptiv uses collected result-driven data to ensure clients are getting the personalized progress they deserve.
With Aaptiv Coach, customers will have access to resources that incorporate fitness, healthy habits, and mindfulness, tailored to individual goals that can evolve with your lifestyle.
Using the information filled out in a questionnaire, paired with your previous and current fitness experience, Aaptiv Coach tracks personalized progress and adapts to ensure goals are being reached.
How Much Does Aaptiv Cost?
Similar to many of the industry’s leading fitness apps, Aaptiv offers a free trial that allows users to navigate the full depth of the application.
With an audio-based fitness app, customer preference can be very subjective, so it is recommended to use the free trial to test out as many programs and trainers as possible.
Following the free trial, Aaptiv offers an annual membership of $99.99 USD, which at the moment of writing has been slashed to $49.99 USD.
A monthly membership of $14.99 USD is also available for those who are not convinced of a full year commitment.
For those who love commitments, there is also a lifetime membership of $399.99 USD available for purchase.
Full payment is taken immediately upon completion of the 7-day free trial. To ensure customer satisfaction, there is also a 30-day no questions asked refund guarantee should someone still not be convinced.
What the Crowd is Saying: Good vs. Bad
So what makes Aaptiv great, and what can be improved on? Here we go through the common praises and concerns surrounding the audio fitness app.
Voices and Vocal Cues
One of the biggest concerns of customers signing up for any audio-based app is whether or not they will take a liking to the voices.
For anyone who has dabbled in podcasts, audiobooks, or guided meditation programs, it is well understood that the voice often makes the product. A robotic voice on a fitness app becomes impersonal quickly.
Luckily for us, customers love the trainers on Aaptiv, praising the quality, charm, positive encouragement, and diversity offered. And with 20+ voices to choose from, most will find a few trainers that resonate well.
Many customers also love that Aaptiv workouts offer consistent vocal cues, giving the impression that the trainer is right there with you, the whole time.
For those who enjoy their own internal dialogue, or training with silence, Aaptiv is not for you. The app is designed for those who excel when there is positive encouragement being chirped (or yelled) into their ears.
Any audio inspired fitness app would be doomed to fail if there wasn’t an epic soundtrack to accompany the workouts.
From the very beginning, it has been clear to customers that Aaptiv revolved around great playlists, upbeat tunes, and personalized preferences.
Motivating music mixed with vocal encouragement is a winning recipe for many who struggle to self-motivate.
For those who like the structure of a longer commitment, the training programs offered by Aaptiv encourage a focus on bigger goals.
From weight loss programs to training for specific races (5K, 10K, etc), these goal-driven schedules are highly regarded by customers.
When you sign up for Aaptiv you gain access to thousands of workouts, and everyone else who is doing them with you.
Community support is provided through forums and Facebook groups and can provide new and experienced athletes with continuous support, dynamic training, and even potential workout buddies.
While there are options for equipment-less workouts, they do not comprise the majority of the workouts on the app.
Obviously those without equipment will be fine for outdoor running, yoga, and some of the strength training programs, but outside of those it becomes more difficult.
For many, purchasing a few necessary essentials allow for more access to all the program has to offer.
No Visual Cues
As the app is audio-driven, there are no visual cues or demonstrations that appear on-screen. Some customers find it difficult at the beginning to learn proper technique and form without visual aids.
While there are some PDF resources available for various programs, there may be a small learning curve to overcome when starting out. Once users are more familiar with the exercises, they often observe it’s far more enjoyable to listen to cues rather than having to watch.
Beginner Level Friendly (Good and Bad)
For those who are looking for muscle gain, Aaptiv might not be the app for you. While there are “advanced” levels that can provide an intense workout, the programs are heavily designed for beginners and intermediates.
This doesn’t mean you won’t sweat your butt off, but for more intense weight training or toning, there are better apps on the market.
This is also a positive feature of the app, as the programs are not too technical, and the trainers do a fantastic job of navigating workouts with audio instructions.
One consistent praise for the products is the incredible customer support and evolving usability. Aaptiv takes customer feedback seriously, and this is evident through their constant updates and impressive online presence.
Who Should Get Aaptiv
Still trying to decide whether Aaptiv is right for you?
Taking everything into consideration, we highly recommend this product for people who love the idea of high-intensity group fitness classes but don’t particularly like being stuck in a room full of sweaty people.
Alternatively, we understand the financial constraint that these expensive group training pose, and agree that Aaptiv is a budget alternative.
Like any program, there are limitations. For those looking to gain muscle or practice more technical weight training, this may not be the app for you.
For those who are nervous about having no visual cues to guide them through the exercises, some extracurricular work (in the form of visual PDFs) may be needed to learn basic techniques.
If you find constant vocal encouragement annoying instead of motivating, don’t expect to fall in love with this app.
But for those exercise introverts who like to take on learning curves or weight loss goals from the privacy of their own home, Aaptiv gives you the positive support of the community along with the security of self-progress.
Many customers use Aaptiv as the first step in their fitness journey, building confidence, strength, and flexibility that can help them to level up.
Combining upbeat music with professionally trained audio coaches, Aaptiv gives many people the motivation they need to power through high-intensity training, and achieve unimaginable results.
All of this for a very reasonable value considering the costs involved in holding a gym membership of attending facility run courses.
With a 7-day free trial on offer and a 30-day refund policy, Aaptiv makes it hard not to try it.
Like many others, you may quickly find yourself hooked.
Chris is an experienced Calisthenics practitioner focused on isometric exercises and street workout. He founded thehybridathlete.com in 2017, which was subsequently acquired by theyhybridathlete.com
He is based in Portland and has been working out using solely his own body weight and bars for the past 6 years.