Disclaimer: I received a free month of Aaptiv in exchange for an honest review.
When it comes to running, most of us have no problem following our training plans. But when it comes to cross-training, strength training, and stretching, many runners lose motivation and will skip these part of their plan. Who wants to spend 10 minutes stretching or 30 minutes on the spin bike?
Workout classes provide accountability and guidance, but not every runner has room in their budget or schedule for restorative yoga and spin class. Or, if you’re like me, you prefer to exercise on your own or with a few training partners than in a large group setting.
Thanks to smartphones, working out on your own is easier than ever. If you can’t make or can’t afford a cross-training or strength training class, apps allow you to complete a spin class or HIIT class on your own time and at your own home or gym. One of these apps is Aaptiv.
The Rundown on Aaptiv:
- Aaptiv is an app available on Apple App Store and Google Play. Aaptiv offers spinning, rowing, elliptical, strength training, stretching, and yoga workouts provided through audio cues, as if you were listening to an instructor at a group fitness class.
- All workouts are set to a backdrop of music. Each workout lists the music genre so you can choose according to your tastes.
- The workouts all have audio instruction from a personal trainer or group fitness instructor.
- You can stream workouts or download them onto your phone (to avoid chewing up data when at the gym).
- Aaptiv costs $14.99 per month, which is cheaper than many studio workout classes (and far cheaper than physical therapy, if you are prone to skipping cross-training without fun workouts). You can also purchase a full year for $99.99, which reduces the monthly cost.
Out of everything the app offers, Aaptiv’s cross-training workouts are the most valuable for runners. They offer spin classes, elliptical workouts, rowing workouts, and more – meaning that you can have cross-training at the touch of your finger tips. Cross-training can help runners improve their aerobic fitness, especially if injury risk prevents you from running more than three or four days per week.
If you are injured, cross-training is the best way to maintain your running fitness; but ask any runner and they will tell you how mind-numbing the elliptical or bike can be. The wide variety of workouts on Aaptiv will keep you entertained while cross-training, even if you are sidelined from running for weeks.
Aaptiv also offers yoga and stretching workouts. Stretching is important for improving as a runner and staying injury-free, but we can easily skip it after a run. The guided stretching workouts ensure you hold the stretch for long enough to make it effective. The attention to form in the strength training and yoga workouts made up for the lack of visual demonstration. That said, many of the workouts rely on a basic understanding of the movements.
What about the running workouts?
The running workouts had room for improvement. Why? The running workouts are more designed for general fitness, rather than more serious runners who have a goal race in mind or follow a training plan. They are not tailored to your individual goals or specific to a race. And this makes sense – the app itself is intended for general fitness and class style workouts, not runners focused on progress and focused training.
All running workouts were divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The treadmill ones relied on pace, rather than focusing on effort – meaning the workouts may be too challenging for some runners and too easy for others.
Some outdoor workouts provided better instruction for perceived effort and adapting the cues to your individual pace. However, other outdoor workouts relied on pace – and a 9:00 minute mile will not feel the same for every runner. One workout, for example, featured a long progression from 8:10/mile to 7:20/mile: for some runners, this would be six miles of sprinting; for other runners, they would not even reach their lactate threshold. Another workout defined tempo pace as 30 seconds per mile faster than easy pace, which is not true for most runners.
If you do use Aaptiv for your easy days, remember to alternate these harder workouts with easy days and do not run more than two or three hard workouts per week.
What I Didn’t Like
There was no option to turn down the music volume (without turning down the overall volume). I’m not a huge fan of working out with music, so I would have preferred the option to turn down the music so it was in the background rather than at the same volume as the instructor.
Who Can Benefit from Aaptiv
- Runners looking to include more cross-training in their routines.
- Runners who thrive in a class environment but can’t always rely on fitness classes.
- Injured runners who want to cross-train to maintain fitness.
Personally, as a highly self-motivated runner and someone who enjoys crafting my own workouts, I would not use Aaptiv often. If I was ever injured (knock on wood), I might use the classes on Aaptiv so that I could spin or use the elliptical without dying of boredom. However, my personal preference does not negate what this app has to offer; I am also not a huge fan of workout classes. If you enjoy workout classes or want to cross-train more but need guidance, you will likely enjoy all that Aaptiv has to offer.
What fitness apps do you use?
Would you use an app like Aaptiv?