I Normally Hate Workout Apps, but This One Totally Changed My Mind

I Normally Hate Workout Apps, but This One Totally Changed My Mind

In theory, workouts you can do from the comfort of your own living room—where there’s no one to judge your form or give you the side-eye when you can’t figure out how to work the chest press machine—are great. But in practice, I’m really not that good at working out alone.

It’s the community aspect of fitness that motivates me to get better. I like having an instructor, friends to suffer with, and a way to track my improvement over time. Studio classes and outdoor run clubs are where I thrive, and every time I’ve tried an app-based workout, I felt like I didn’t really accomplish anything.

So, yeah. When I first downloaded the workout app Gixo, I was skeptical.

Gixo separates itself from competitors by offering classes where a real-life, real-time instructor coaches you through your class, answers questions, and keeps up a constant stream of motivation. You’ll also know the other participants—the coach will share their first names and progress as you battle through reps or miles together.

It’s not the same as working out with a group of people in real life, but it’s a giant step above prerecorded workouts. The downside is you have to follow their schedule if you want the personalization (you can take recently recorded classes on your own time, but you won’t have a live trainer).

One evening after work, I rolled out a yoga mat in my (very tiny) living room and waited for my 5:30 class to start. My first workout was structured like a studio class: Our instructor demonstrated the moves for a few seconds, then gave us time to complete reps on our own. Everyone gets prompted to record how many reps they complete in the allotted time, so if you’re anything like me, your competitive streak will fuel you to crank out those lunges.

(Pro tip: If you’re unfamiliar with the correct form of the exercises, an iPad or laptop screen might be better than your phone—I had a hard time seeing mine at times.)

Indoor, strength-based workouts aren’t your thing? Gixo’s still got you. Its run clubs aren’t quite the same as jogging in a group (though for some of us that’s a good thing), but it’s close.

Before your run starts, let your coach track your location. They’ll keep an eye on your pace and, depending on the class, will either push you to finish intervals in a certain amount of time or motivate you to keep a steady pace for long stretches. You’ll get all the benefits of a running coach minus the embarrassment of not being able to keep up with everyone else.

At the end of the day, nothing beats the real-life community of working out with others, but this app is easily the next best thing. The convenience of being able to exercise with a trainer in your own space, plus the price (at $19.99 per month, it’s cheaper than many gyms), makes this a solid option for busy people… no side-eyes or sweaty fellow gym-goers in sight.

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