Apple says it wants each Fitness+ workout to be 'a piece of art'

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From the design of its Santa Monica studios to the selection of its trainers, Apple Fitness+ was made to make working out "a little easier, a little more motivating, and a little simpler to measure."

Apple recently invited Men's Health to a virtual tour of the Apple Fitness+ studios, a three-story building in Southern California. On the tour, the magazine also spoke to Apple fitness chief Jay Blahnik and other executives working on the project.

"We want these workouts to be magical. We're creating a piece of art, a piece of inspiration, a piece of motivation. Many people might not think about the importance of lighting a cycling class differently than a yoga class, but we think it makes a difference," Blahnik said.

During the coronavirus pandemic, online workouts and fitness streaming platforms exploded in popularity. But, in such a saturated market, Apple is aiming to do something different.

Apple Fitness+, as Men's Health points out, might be a "glimpse of the future of fitness." That's because of its combination of biometric data and activity tracking via the Apple Watch; high-quality cinematography for the workouts; strategic integration with Apple Music; and an app that lets users choose their own workouts.

Credit: Men's Health
Credit: Men's Health

Even the design of the studio has been taken into account. In typical Apple fashion, it's outfitted in a modern aesthetic with plenty of white and wood details. Apple shoots each fitness video with seven high-end cameras, mounted on robotic arms to enable smooth movement.

"We built the studio in a way that would allow shooting all the angles to make the right choices to show just the right angle at just the right time," Blahnik said.

The attention detail also extends to how Apple presents user data, and how it monitors and analyzes biometric information.

"When the trainer says in a HIIT workout, Sprint all-out for 30 seconds,' being able to see that time is an incredible motivator. It makes for a better, more immersive workout. [Integrated, dynamic smart metrics] take it to another level compared to a typical video workout. We had to think hard about how to curate the experience so you're not overwhelmed by metrics and animations and that those things are happening exactly when you might expect them to and in ways that are helpful," Blahnik said.

To maintain a level of inclusivity and diversity, Apple also chose a mix of trainers that represent both well-known professionals and lesser-known trainers across a variety of modalities. One key is how the trainers also appear in each other's videos, offering a degree of cross-pollination.

"Take Dustin Brown, one of the expert yoga teachers. He's also a black belt in jujitsu and a former professional surfer. He's obviously a very skilled yoga teacher, but he'd never rowed on a rower prior to joining the team. Now he's in a workout with Josh Crosby, a former rowing world champion. Dustin doesn't know rowing. Josh doesn't know yoga. But there's something fundamentally wonderful about them working together, because they look beyond biomechanics, beyond their expertise, and learn from each other," Blahnik said.

Other aspects of the Apple Fitness+ experience on display during the tour include how the app learns each user's preferences and recommends new and familiar workouts, and the deep integration with Apple Music.

Although Blahnik didn't detail what's next for Apple in health and fitness, he did reiterate that the company is in the industry for the long haul.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint," Blahnik said. "We're excited about the product that we're launching and excited about the future. This isn't a hobby for us. This is something we're really committing to and investing in."

 

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