To summarize, I enjoyed it! And I’m still enjoying it. It’s been a great alternative to the gym for my New Year’s resolution (three days of closed rings and going strong!) and there’s a lot to love about the service.
But I’m one of the lucky ones – I primarily workout through yoga or biking, neither of which requires equipment (aside from, you know, a bicycle).
For those who want to pick up a workout like strength training or rowing, you’re going to need to make some investments into your equipment.
In this post, I’ll cover everything you need (and everything you don’t) for every kind of workout in Apple’s Fitness+. I’ll include suggestions for products as well (non-affiliated) and offer up some budget-friendly alternatives.
Without further ado, let’s crush that New Year’s resolution!
Which types of Apple Fitness+ workouts require equipment?
Luckily, there’s a decent chunk of Fitness+ that you can use without equipment. That includes Core, Yoga, Dance, and HIIT. You can purchase equipment for some of these workouts, though it isn’t required. Mindful Cooldowns don’t require equipment either, but they’re not really a workout, so let’s forget they exist in this post.
For everything else, you will need Fitness+ equipment. It’s required. This isn’t exclusive to Fitness+; it’s common knowledge that building muscle and pushing your limits can’t be done through bodyweight exercises alone. You need more resistance.
This means that for Cycling, Rowing, Strength, and Treadmill workouts, you’ll need some kind of equipment. Let’s get into what that equipment is.
The Apple Fitness+ equipment you’ll need for each type of workout
Core, Yoga, and Mindful Cooldown: Yoga mats and blocks
“Wait a second, you just said I didn’t need equipment for these exercises?! And I thought we were forgetting Mindful Cooldowns existed!”
You are correct, justly disgruntled reader, you don’t need equipment for these exercises – but you can purchase equipment for them if you like. It’s optional! So don’t sue me.
Honestly, I don’t use any equipment when I do any of these exercises. I’ve never owned a yoga mat or a set of yoga blocks, and I’ve never found myself missing them. However, I’m also a rail-thin adolescent, so the modifications that require blocks aren’t really helpful to me. And my bedroom is carpeted, so a mat is not only unnecessary but would actually get in the way.
If those points resonate with you, then you can probably skip on equipment as well. If you’re doing yoga on a hardwood floor, however, you want to grab a mat. Even on the carpet, my knees start to hurt during certain routines.
A yoga mat adds cushion and can help with positioning with some poses. You’ll hear instructors reference your mat a lot, so if you don’t want to imagine it, go ahead and grab one!
Additionally, yoga blocks are super helpful for modifications. If you struggle with balance or flexibility, they can be a huge help! Remember, exercise is a journey; you can’t skip to the end. So if you need blocks, no shame – you’re already on the right path!
Recommendations for yoga mats and blocks:
Cycling: An indoor bike
Sadly, the Cycling workouts on Fitness+ only refer to indoor cycling. Though I suppose this makes sense; your local streets and trails will determine the kind of workout you get on a locomotive bicycle.
The only equipment you need for cycling is an indoor bike. If you don’t know what this is, it’s a machine that pedals just like a bicycle but doesn’t have any wheels. So you don’t go anywhere. It still has handlebars and a seat, so you ride it similar as you would a bike. It’s a stationary bike.
Since indoor bikes are stationary, they have been outfitted with lots of the bells and whistles you’ll find on treadmills. You can adjust your left-to-right angle, resistance, and so on.
These can be pricey, so be prepared to invest if you want to give this a shot!
Recommendations for indoor bikes:
Rowing: A rower
I’ll admit – I had heard of rowing before but didn’t realize until I started writing this post that I had no idea what it was. So you might want to get your rowing advice elsewhere.
For those who, like me, aren’t sure what rowing is, it’s an exercise that mimics the feel of rowing a canoe/kayak/etc. Like indoor cycling, this exercise tracks things like distance, allows you to modify resistance and current, but doesn’t take you anywhere. You can do this exercise in front of your TV.
Also like indoor cycling, this is going to be an exercise that requires investment. From what I can tell, however, it’s a solid investment. Even low-end rowing machines seem to last for years and years. So if this is something you’re interested in, don’t worry too much about the hardware.
Recommendations for rowers:
Taking a break from the heavy machinery, we have good old-fashioned dumbbells. Everyone knows what these are – they’re those one-handed weights laying around in each of our garages.
For strength training on Apple Fitness+, that’s all you need. Technically, you could get away with just buying two (one for each hand). However, you’ll probably find that whichever two you pick become less difficult over time. If you’re not overly concerned with gains, then don’t worry about this.
If you want to gradually and continually progress, however, then you’ll probably want a set of dumbbells. And for that, I’m going to recommend adjustable dumbbells. These are dumbbells that sit in a tray and change weight as you like. These are the most compact and easy to use.
Recommendations for dumbbells:
Treadmill: A treadmill (:shocked emoji:)
Finally, we have the last type of workout on the Fitness+ service, Treadmill. And it comes as no surprise that for these workouts you need a… treadmill!
If you’ve somehow never seen a treadmill before, it’s just a big contraption that allows you to run on a spinning track. This allows you to not only run indoors, but also simulate inclines, pick specific speeds, and more. All very helpful, even if you could just throw on some sneakers and jog outside.
Here are some popular options to choose from.
Recommendations for treadmills:
What does the perfect Fitness+ gym look like?
Your living room! Kidding… kind of.
The truth is, the right setup for Fitness+ is whatever exercises resonate with you the most. For me, that’s a carpeted surface and my iPhone propped against the sofa.
In my opinion, unless you need a big machine for your workout of choice, the perfect Fitness+ gym is a set of dumbbells and a yoga mat. You can do six out of the nine workout options currently available. And if you skip the dumbbells and have a rug handy, you don’t need to purchase anything.
Except for an iPhone stand – I’ll admit that my couch doesn’t make for a great iPhone stand. Luckily, stands are easy to find on Amazon for under $50.
What if you don’t have any Fitness+ equipment?
If you don’t have any Fitness+ equipment and want to participate in the equipment-centric exercises, you may be a bit disheartened. After all, none of the machines listed go much lower than $1,000, and most are much higher than that price. So what do you do if you’re on a budget?
Get creative! There’s no reason why you have to buy the shiniest, newest piece of equipment. If you aren’t planning on being competitive and just want to stay in shape, then any equipment is better than no equipment.
I’d first recommend looking around your house. Can’t afford dumbbells? See if you have any paint cans lying around. Don’t have $80 to drop on a yoga mat? Grab a cheap rug, or better yet, go outside and do your practice in the grass. Need yoga blocks? Buy a cheap book from Half Priced Books.
Next, start looking around online. Buy secondhand; Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace are your friends. Speaking of friends, talk to your friends! See if anyone has equipment they’re willing to part with or lend. And if all else fails, get a membership to your local gym, bring your iPhone, and do your workout there. They probably have all the equipment you need at a monthly price you can afford.
Don’t give up!
Most importantly, don’t give up! Your fitness is extremely important, and thirty minutes a day is nothing. It’s easy to get hung up on buying the right thing or picking the right workout. But don’t let this become your focus. Experiment, find what works for you, have fun, and keep closing your rings!