How a Personal Fitness App Is Aiming to Revolutionize Workouts
By now, you’ve probably heard that America has an obesity problem. While gym memberships have increased by 30 percent in the past 10 years, proximity to a facility can make all the difference between sporadic and regular attendance. In fact, a study by data firm Dstillery found that even a 1.4-mile increase in distance can be the difference between hitting the gym at least five times a week and only going once a month.
If living more than 5 miles away from the gym can make such a difference in self-motivation, this poses a significant obstacle for a large part of the population — especially those in rural and suburban areas. Luckily, it’s 2019, and we all have computers in our pockets with the magic of the internet at our fingertips — which means access to alternative ways of getting a quality workout in.
Technology makes working out more accessible than ever
Fitness app Gixo is one of these alternatives. Sure, you can watch workout videos on YouTube for the price of putting up with a few ads. What sets Gixo apart is its live classes led by professional trainers. That’s good news for people who need extra accountability — it’s a lot harder to turn off a live person than a video — and studies show people who work out with a trainer are more likely to stick with it and achieve their fitness goals.
Gixo lets members join live fitness classes from the comfort of their own homes or, more accurately, from literally anywhere they can take their phone. It’s all the accountability of a group class with none of the awkward high fives — though you do have the option to brag about personal records and share the number of reps you slay during your workout.
It runs on a monthly fee of $19.99 or, if you pay for a year up front, $14.99 per month. Of course, you can start with a free trial to get a feel for the app to see if the experience is right for you. Compared to a gym membership — which often doesn’t even include fees for group classes — Gixo’s price tag will make sense for a lot of people looking for motivation and accountability without being tied to a gym.
As easy — and as personal — as checking Instagram
Upon signup, you’re prompted to get started with a 15-minute class. The user interface is intuitive and simple, clearly focused on the singular goal of getting you up and moving. All the classes are taught by coaches you interact with in real time, like Coach Henry, who led my circuit training class from Gixo’s studio in London. This makes the experience personal and adds to the group dynamic you get from an in-person class at a gym.
The really cool part of this live experience with a trainer is that the communication is two-way, which differentiates Gixo from other fitness apps that only offer pre-recorded workouts. As a participant, you have the option to enable your camera, meaning you can get your trainer’s feedback on your form for a particular exercise if you want. (Who knew I’d been doing squats wrong all these years?) Coach Henry kept the workout lighthearted as he encouraged us to beat our own PRs.
Tons of variety in difficulty and time commitment
Some big selling points for Gixo are the variety and sheer volume of material available. As soon as you sign in, you can choose from classes in strength, running, HIIT, yoga, walking, weights, kickboxing, treadmill, stretching, and even a bootcamp. There are also varying intensity levels and multi-week challenges, depending on your goals.
You can search by category or by schedule. Tomorrow, for example, there are 37 classes scheduled from 4:15 a.m. to 11 p.m CST. Because they have coaches all over the world in multiple time zones, there are live classes available almost 24 hours a day. No matter your daily routine, if you have 15 minutes for a workout, you’ll almost certainly be able to find something that works for you.
In addition to the classes, there’s content like training tips and a “movement library,” where you can look up any particular exercise and watch a video showing how to do it properly. It takes the guesswork out of expanding your fitness repertoire and gives you confidence to try new things (or, in my case, learn what Tabata is).
Step away from the screen
The beauty of Gixo is that it serves as a replacement for group classes, leaving you more time to live your life. I didn’t feel like I sacrificed the motivation of an in-person workout for the convenience of exercising at home. The social support element is fun and, as we’ve established, often more effective than working out alone.
At first, I was surprised that there wasn’t an option to watch the class from a desktop device; you can only use your phone. I do think this would be a nice option for Gixo to offer. But the more I used the app, the more I realized that the intended use isn’t really to watch a workout class on a screen. There are more traditional forms of media for that. During a Gixo workout, you’re meant to stash your phone in your pocket or set it a few feet away, referencing the video feed only occasionally if you need instruction. Once I got over the learning curve, I didn’t even miss my screen and enjoyed the more “in the moment” workout experience.
Flexibility, motivation, and personalization
Gixo records all of its live classes, so I tried a pre-recorded HIIT Tabatas class with Coach Medwin. It was a moderately intense workout that left me sweating and feeling accomplished. His encouragements came at the right times; even though I wasn’t doing the live class, I stayed motivated because he was sharing participants’ rep numbers from the live session. While I preferred the live experience, I appreciated the ability to use on-demand workouts, too.
In terms of flexibility, Gixo is a home run. I downloaded the app, logged in, and was working out within 10 minutes. The majority of workouts don’t require equipment, and the ones that do involve very basic gear, like a mat or dumbbells. It’s a unique experience to be able to glance at the clock, realize you have time to squeeze in a workout, and almost immediately be connected with a class of others ready to face the challenge with you. The upbeat, professional trainers were an added bonus, rivaling some of the better group class instructors I’ve had at my gym.
Whether you’ve been thinking of dumping your gym membership or just want some additional flexibility to make sure you get your workouts in, give Gixo’s free trial a try.