Over the past year, taking care of ourselves has become a priority for a lot of us. Eating healthier, getting a good amount of sleep, being mindful, and working out will not just make us less susceptible to diseases now and in the long run, they also help relieve stress and avoid bouts of lethargy in our day to day.
As a beginner, exercise will always seem daunting — or even feel like a chore. This is why fitness apps are now more comprehensive than ever, offering guides for different kinds of physical activities to cater to people’s different needs and lifestyles.
Whether you’re a mom of a toddler who thinks she doesn’t have time for working out, or a workaholic who wants to spice up her rather drab routine, here are some of the best workout apps for iOS that you can try at home to help you start creating healthier habits.
US$ 9.99 per month / US$ 79.99 per year
Apple’s very own Fitness+ doesn’t require a separate app, but you do need an Apple Watch and either an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV to access the workouts within the Fitness app.
You can choose from different sets of workouts: HIIT, core, strength training, yoga, dance, treadmill, rowing, cycling, mindful cooldown. There are also options to sort by trainer, duration, and music.
Apart from its seamless integration with the Apple Watch, the biggest draw of Fitness+ are the high production value, diverse set of trainers, and integration with Apple Music.
With 21 different personalities to choose from, you’re sure find one that you will enjoy working out with. My personal favorites are Bakari for HIIT, Jessica for yoga and mindful cooldown, and Kyle for core and strength workouts.
In each class, the trainer walks you through each move that you are doing. A brief warmup and cooldown are also included in every workout.
Having songs you love play in the background makes a grueling 30-minute HIIT actually exciting. It especially helps that the trainers encourage you to sing or dance to the songs during recovery.
US$ 14.99 per month / US$ 99.99 per year
Sometimes watching a video of someone doing push ups is not necessary. Aaptiv packs all the motivation you need to work out in audio-only classes tailored to your needs.
The beautifully designed UI helps make working out less daunting. Upon signing up, you are asked what your fitness level is, what kind of workouts you’re interested in, length of classes that you prefer, what equipment you have, and one healthy habit the app can help you build. Choose from foam roll, work on your core, master the plank, do squats, do push-ups.
Based on your answers, you then get a weekly personalized coach plan. There are also guided programs, team challenges, and playlists of great music.
Nike Training Club
If being in a virtual class isn’t your cup of tea, Nike Training Club has a good selection of routines that you can easily follow.
You can search workouts based on your needs. Whether you’re looking to improve endurance, mobility, or strength, routines with dumbbells, or those that target specific muscle group, the app has you covered.
One of my favorite features that’s not available on the other apps mentioned here, is the use of the Apple Watch’s haptics. This allows you to focus on doing each rep, instead of looking at your screen to check the time. Getting your form right — including your neck’s position — is important in maximizing results.
My other favorite feature: The app is free!
US$ 12.99 per month
While Peloton is known for its high-end treadmill and indoor bike, its app can be downloaded by anyone. It offers different classes that don’t require any of their equipment.
No matter how busy you are, you won’t run out of options with thousands of live and on-demand workouts to choose from. Like Fitness+, Peloton workouts are accompanied by great music and energetic trainers that make exercising fun. Emma Lovewell and Adrian Williams have made strengthening my core a lot more enjoyable.
The leaderboard on the app shows other users who are simultaneously doing the workout with you. If you join any of the live classes, you might even get a shoutout from the trainer.
The app also lets you filter classes by duration, class type, instructor, or music. On days when you feel like doing cardio with Britney Spears or yoga with Elvis, know that those are options.
With more than three million members, challenges within the Peloton app help motivate you to create healthy and consistent fitness habits with other users. The Annual 2021 challenge, which tracks every active minute on all Peloton platforms, has more than one million participants as of writing.
US$ 4.99 per month / US$ 35.99 per year
If you want to virtual classes but don’t need a charismatic trainer or great background music, try Wondercise. At more than half the price of a paid subscription, this is the workout app that offers all the basics, whatever your level of fitness is.
Using its live motion matching technology, the app analyzes and maps your movements as you train by using a compatible wearable, including the Apple Watch.
Wondercise identifies how closely your movements match those of the onscreen trainer. The more similar your movements are to the trainer, the higher your score will be.
Finding a class that suits your needs is easy. Recommendations that are served to you are tailored to the fitness level and goals you indicate when signing up. This saves you time from scrolling through all the available workouts.
There is also wide range of exercises that you can try that are not available on other apps. Apart from HIIT, core, and strength training, you also get access to tai chi, MMA, kickboxing, and pilates.
Note: All five apps work seamlessly with the Apple Watch. This means that when you start a workout on your phone it automatically syncs with your Apple Watch and records your heart rate and active calories. Apart from Fitness+, all other apps can be used without an Apple Watch.
Spotify Premium Mini launches, removes ads with limited downloads
Can be billed through your carrier
It’s now cheaper to get rid of those Spotify ads. Sure, the voice overs sound good but it just ruins the mood when your jamming to your favorite tracks only be interrupted. Spotify Premium Mini is here for all of us.
What you’re getting with Spotify Premium Mini
Ad-free individual music listening on mobile with unlimited skips — Listeners can access over 70 million music tracks and over 2.9 million podcast titles on the world’s largest audio streaming service
Download and play up to 30 songs offline on one mobile device — This allows a user to be on-the-go and stay connected to their favorite artists and creators without the need to connect to WiFi or tap into their mobile data.
Flexibility at its best –– Whether it’s for a morning exercise or simply seeking a motivational podcast to kick start the week, users have the option to immediately subscribe for just a day or a week at any given moment.
Better together — Premium Mini Listeners also have the ability to tune in to the same playlist or podcast with up to five friends via Group Session in beta.
How to sign-up?
- Download Spotify’s mobile app or head over to Spotify’s website on desktop.
- Click the ‘Premium’ section at the top right of the website or at the bottom right of the Spotify app.
- Choose ‘Get Mini’ and choose ‘daily’ or ‘weekly’ plan. This is a prepaid offering.
- Choose payment methods
- Register or log in to the Spotify account.
- Users can start enjoying Spotify’s Premium Mini experience for the day or week.
Here are the the rates:
Philippines — PhP 7/day and PhP 26/week
Malaysya — MYR 1/day and MYR 3.90/week
Why you should get iQiyi
We got it so you don’t have to
Pan-Asian content, duh
There’s a ton of streaming services out there. But, none embrace that Asian representation like iQiyi. They’ve got films, variety shows, and series from China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, and more. If you’re having a tough time finding shows and films you grew up seeing or just want somewhere you feel represented, check iQiyi out. It’ll surprise you.
Classic Hong Kong movies
If you’re a cinephile or know someone who is, this might just be the streaming service for you. Most classic Hong Kong films are a tough find. From Infernal Affairs to A Chinese Ghost Story, you’re sure to find the good, the bad, and obscure classics. iQiyi, no joke, lays out a ton of these Hong Kong classics on their platform and you’d be remiss to skip out on watching them.
Find the good-good
There’s a number of really good Asian series and films on iQiyi. Shows like Youth with You, Chuang, The Penthouse: War in Life 3, and Tokyo Revengers are just a few on the platform on most people’s must-watch and favorites. iQiyi is never short of surprises.
The absolute absurd finds
There’s no lack of decent, obscure, and downright bizarre tv series, films, and variety shows on here. Just note that most shows don’t age well and are a great watch in irony. Just keep an eye out on the obscure ones, they sometimes don’t have subtitles. And remember, these silly finds don’t take away from the unapologetically good shows on the platform.
Free shows you’d pay to watch elsewhere
iQiyi is a free streaming app with paid VIP access to a ton of exclusives. But, not everything is behind that paywall making this a huge game-changer. There’s a long list of free-to-access shows, K-dramas, and anime you’d normally find behind a paywall so, do yourself a favor. Get it.
It’s got interactive features
The platform showed off its new features with Game of Shark, a reality show where celebrities form teams and participate in murder mystery role-playing games. If you pick Rhythm Mode, your phone vibrates in time to events in the show. On top of that, Shark Mode allows users to directly take on the identity of characters. With it, you get to join your favorite celebrities in collecting hidden clues and identifying the murderer.
Having launched the world’s first Interactive Video Guideline (IVG) and IVP, iQiyi have pioneered a one-stop platform of assisted production tools that helps content creators produce and publish interactive videos efficiently and conveniently!
I’m missing the Olympics because I don’t have cable
And it sucks
It’s 2021. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, is in full swing as of writing. However, as someone whose primary source of media entertainment all comes from streaming, there’s no easy and convenient way for me to watch the games. Major bummer.
I like to enjoy my media a certain way; I prefer to stream them on my TV. Which is why majority of the content I consume come from YouTube, Netflix, and the occasional Amazon Prime, HBO Go (Yep, not even HBO Max), and Apple TV.
I find it incredibly baffling that the stakeholders involved in bringing the games to the people failed to come to an agreement to make it easily accessible on the aforementioned platforms. It’s 2021. Why on earth am I not able to watch the greatest sporting event on the planet the way I want to?
Believe me, I hear the privilege in my words. Regardless, I still feel marginalized.
So how can you watch the Olympics right now?
I asked a friend who’s been covering the games. He watches through cable and had to pay a PhP 150 fee (around US$ 3/ SG$ 4) to avail of the Tokyo 2020 Premium from a particular cable provider.
Thing is, the whole Olympic coverage in the Philippines is locked to the MVP group of companies. You wanna follow the games, you’re gonna have to do it on one of their platforms.
Here’s an excerpt from their press release on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic coverage:
“Sports fans will have comprehensive access to the Olympic Games — from the Opening Ceremonies all the way to when the games conclude — on free to air via TV5 and One Sports. One Sports+ on Cignal TV will also dedicate a significant amount of their daily hours to broadcast the events, with Cignal also opening up two exclusive channels dedicated to broadcast the games 24/7. Cignal Play, in addition to live channels TV5, One Sports & One Sports+, will be offering exclusive channels broadcasting live updates to its subscribers, along with exclusive content not available on the TV broadcast. Cignal TV’s One News leads the group’s round-the-clock news coverage, featuring results, updates, and highlights.”
Comprehensive? Maybe. For platforms within the MVP group of companies. If you’re not subscribed to any of these, well, that’s just too bad. It’s good for business and I completely understand how the whole thing works. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.
The coverage also missed to televise or showcase Hidilyn Diaz’s historic gold medal win in the Weightlifting competition. If you’ve been following sports news, the Philippines was expected to get a medal in this event. Sadly, the moment was only known following updates from reporters on the ground.
How I wish it was handled
I’m sure there’s a lot more that goes into it in terms of TV and broadcasting rights, but we’re literally at an age where plenty of folks have decided to cut the cord and rely on streaming for content.
On YouTube, you can buy and/or rent movies and shows. The platform and structure exists for pay-to-watch content. They could have even made tiers or packages like charge a certain amount to gain access to all the games, a different and lower amount if you just want to follow a certain sport and/or a certain event.
Maybe the potential earnings to do so didn’t justify the costs to implement it. Whatever the case, it’s still incredibly frustrating.
Sure, I can go through the hoopla of setting up a VPN and look for streaming sites. But that’s more even more cumbersome. I don’t mind paying a convenience fee if it means that after a long day of work I can kick back, relax, and watch some damn sports.
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