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What is Apple Fitness+? How does it work?

Apple Fitness+ aims to make workouts easily accessible at home.
The Apple Fitness+ program features workouts from dozens of certified trainers.
The Apple Fitness+ program features workouts from dozens of certified trainers. Apple

There is a new option for Americans looking to get fit at home during the coronavirus epidemic: Apple Fitness+ launched today. The program works with other Apple devices, like an iPhone or Apple TV, but is built around and requires the Apple Watch.

Users will be able to participate in "studio-style workouts" from home. According to Apple, the program will launch with 10 popular workout types, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT), strength workouts, yoga, cycling, treadmill and more, all led by certified trainers.

“Being more active is one of the most important things we can do for our health, but we know choosing to work out can often be a challenge whether you’re very active or just getting started,” said Jay Blahnik, Apple’s senior director of fitness technologies, in a press release. “We’re excited for Apple Fitness+ to bring together the metrics from Apple Watch, great music, and a diverse and inspiring trainer team — in a uniquely simple, easy-to-access way across Apple devices — to encourage our users to get fit and stay healthy.”

The app is accessible on a number of Apple devices, but centers around the Apple Watch. Apple

How does the Apple Fitness+ work?

Apple Fitness+ programs can be started on your Apple TV, iPhone or an iPad through the Fitness app. Filters make it easy for users to quickly find a workout that works for them: Users can choose between different workout times, trainers and workout types, as well as set music choices and other personalized features.

The workouts will range from "absolute beginner" to more advanced levels, meaning that users will always be able to find something that works for them; all workouts also include a trainer demonstrating some modifications.

Several features aim to make exercising even more collaborative and fun, like an optional "burn bar" that shows users how their efforts stack up against others who have completed the session and "activity sharing," which shows results to friends and family who use Apple Fitness+.

"I love that Fitness+ syncs seamlessly with the Apple Watch," Todd Haselton wrote in a review of the product for CNBC. "You just pick the workout you want and then hit start. Your heart rate, the time elapsed (or time left if you want) and your Apple Watch Fitness rings (red for calories, green for exercise minutes and blue for standing minutes) appear on the screen and close as you continue to work out."

Will Apple Fitness+ have live classes?

No, all of the classes are pre-recorded, though the "burn bar" allows you to compare your performance to others who have taken the same class.

How much does Apple Fitness+ cost?

There are two different ways to pay for the program: Users can choose between paying a fee of $9.99 per month, or purchasing an annual subscription for $79.99. All existing Apple Watch users will get a free month's subscription to the program.

Apple users who purchase an Apple Watch Series 3 or later will receive three free months for Apple Fitness+.

The program can be shared among up to six family members without increasing the price.

Workouts include trainers doing modifications so that anyone can follow along. Apple

Can you use Apple Fitness+ without an Apple Watch?

Unfortunately, the Apple Fitness+ program requires an Apple Watch (using watchOS 7.2). The program uses personal metrics like heart rate to give users a window into their health. Other features, like a countdown timer and a celebration option, appear on the watch to keep users engaged and motivated throughout the workout.

Does Apple Fitness+ require equipment?

Some workouts don't require any equipment, or only require simple tools like a set of dumbbells. Other workout options, like treadmill, cycling or rowing programs, require equipment, but any device from any manufacturer can be used.

If you're interested in getting fit, but this option may be too expensive, there are more at-home workouts to explore. Check out our round up of free streaming classes.