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TikTokkers and Health Enthusiasts Love the Future App — Here’s Why We Love It, Too

Bestproducts.com logo Bestproducts.com 8/13/2022 Cat Bowen

Some products show up everywhere — subway ads, Instagram, celeb endorsements. With this series, we're testing such products to conclude one thing: Does it live up to the hype?

What’s everyone talking about?

The Future App, a personal training app that gives the user one-on-one coaching and 24/7 access to a personal trainer.

What’s the buzz about?

Staying motivated to work out doesn't come naturally for many of us. The Future App combines everything you love about using a personal trainer with the convenience of at-home, on-demand workouts for $150 per month.

Where’s all the hype coming from?

So does it live up to the hype?

a close up of a logo: hype meter © Hearst Owned hype meter

How’d we come to this conclusion?

During lockdown and after, I found myself in a fitness funk. As someone who has prided themselves on challenging their body, I couldn't get beyond the mental block that was keeping me from regular exercise. Cross Fit no longer seemed interesting, and honestly, I had no interest in co-mingling respiratory droplets with others at a box. And while I was still running, that literally only gets you so far. I knew I was getting weaker — and I hated it.

Like basically everything I test for features, I heard about The Future App on one of the dozen or so podcasts I listen to every week (I credit my reliance on advice from my parasocial relationships for the exposure, even though it's getting a tad out of control.) The reviews and commercials promised a high-quality personal training service from the convenience of your phone — but I 'm not going to lie to you, I was pretty darn skeptical. I've had a few trainers in the past and absolutely loved the one-on-one quality of it, so how on earth could an app compare?

a gif of the app screens from the future app flipping through the workout screen, compass, and messages screens are shown © Courtesy Cat Bowen a gif of the app screens from the future app flipping through the workout screen, compass, and messages screens are shown

Well, it turns out that the whole thing is pretty genius. You can either choose from a group of coaches chosen based on your goals, or you can look through their coach database and choose one you think you’ll vibe with, which is what I chose to do. I went with a six-day workout week, but the average is three. After you decide on how often you want to workout, you schedule a FaceTime with your coach to discuss your goals (where’d my muscles go?), needs (my only cardio is running, bicycles are evil), any injuries you have (too numerous to list), and timelines.

Taking your needs and desires under consideration, your coach will design a plan for you, with guided workouts sent through the app. They track your workouts through your Apple watch (don't worry, if you don't have one, they will send you a rental which, rather impressively, is included in the price of the app), to get a look at how hard you're pushing yourself, and ask that you send them videos of your form on new exercises. This is where it most feels like a personal trainer. They give you the corrections and motivation that's best for you, and they get back to you pretty quickly — generally within a few hours, provided you're not training at 10 p.m., which I sometimes do.

Every so often, you’ll check in with another FaceTime to determine how much progress you’re making and to touch base on anything that could be improved. The coaches are warm and kind, with just enough angry athlete in them to keep you motivated and on track. I have had the privilege of working with four coaches in the past 3 months (they assign you a sub for days when your primary coach will be out), and each one has been just lovely.

That being said, there are a few drawbacks to the app. The workouts can become a bit monotonous after a while, sometimes feeling more algorithmic or rubric-based rather than personalized. And the cost is out of reach for many. Yes, it's far less expensive than a gym membership and an in-person trainer, but there are obvious major differences like a lack of in-workout correction, and overall assessment of form as you go.

All in all, though, the Future App is a good value for the services it provides, especially given the direct access it gives you to personal trainers. They are great at motivation, and you are greeted every workout with lots of coaching from your trainer throughout.

➥ How We Use It

I've been on a regular schedule with my trainer. I do weights four days per week, cardio only 2 days per week, and a day of rest each week. My coach, Zz, works around the fact that on my runs, I wear a Garmin, not my Apple Watch, and I tell her my pacing and distance.

our test editor cat bowen in the gym © Cat Bowen our test editor cat bowen in the gym

She's been awesome at tailoring my workouts to my needs (my body is a real wonderland, having ulcerative colitis, PCOS, an old MCL injury, and a herniated disc). She makes sure that I can do the workouts and that I 'm making improvements every week. The majority of my workouts are home-based, but now with returning to my office that has a fab gym, I 'm able to incorporate more machine and barbell work, hopefully rebuilding the butt I lost during COVID — hope abides.

That lack of a regular gym is likely at least part of the reason the workouts did get a bit dusty — they have so far been based on the limited equipment that I have available. Living in New York City, my home gym isn't huge, and getting fresh ideas that will get results is a tall order. But somehow, Zz has still made it all within reach, and having her hold me accountable to my goals has been extremely helpful and keeps me focused.

➥ What's the Bottom Line?

If you're looking for a personalized fitness plan with a strong level of accountability and assistance, The Future App might just be the fitness tool you've been longing for. Whether you're looking to improve your pacing, gain strength, or just get and stay healthier, it's an excellent fitness option — that is, of course, if you have the budget to do so.

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