Here at McAuliffe Chiropractic Office, we’re always trying to help our patients find new ways to incorporate at-home workouts into their routines. This is why we have been reviewing some of the many free at-home workout apps available right now and telling you what we think of them.
This week we went in head-first to the Planet Fitness app to see how the popular gym franchise’s program stacked up some of the other programs out there.
Take a look at our thoughts below!
So, What’s the Cost?
Planet Fitness is known for their affordable, no-nonsense gym memberships. Everything is designed to be straightforward and budget friendly—which we personally find quite refreshing. And their app offers the same, simple approach. We love this app because it is one that you can use if you are regular Planet Fitness member—meaning you can manage your personal training appointments and account information, and it’s one that is just as comprehensive for those who have never been to one of their gyms before.
And right now, Planet Fitness is adding a ton of free content to the app. It literally doesn’t cost anything.
If you are interested in getting a membership to Plant Fitness, you’ll also find they are quite affordable with two price models or plans:
- $10 a month with additional fees and taxes. Including an annual fee of $39 which they run around June 1st .
This gives you access to one gym, aka your “home gym” and free fitness training.
- $22.99 a month with the same $39 fee annually. But you get many other perks including the ability to go to any PF gym, use of the hydro massage table, guest passes, massage chairs as well as other discounts with affiliates.
The app works well to help you find other gym locations, helps you track your progress and even allows for you to follow up with other triumphs within the community. We love the message!
As with any workout program we want to see everything that there is to offer so that we can find any hidden gems that might make this app the one we stick with after the social distancing precautions are lifted. The really unique thing about the Planet Fitness app is that there aren’t just workouts for when you are at home, there are also great workouts you can use when you’re back in the gym as well.
20 Minute Cardio with Ashley Paulson
Ashley has an upbeat personality that shines through the screen and into the workout. She does a really good job of teaching the basics including form and some combination movements that come form her kickboxing background.
This was one of our favorite workouts because it lent itself well to increasing speed or adding weights to make the workout more challenging, or to modify it down for those that are learning the basics.
Overall Rating: 4/5
20 Minute Strength with Jonnie Gale
Jonnie uses an easy to follow and build format of 40 seconds on and 20 seconds of rest/transition during his strength workouts. The total body approach was nice for a quick hit and featured combo moves that recruited more muscles than some classic exercises that only work one muscle group at a time. If you are looking to get the most muscle work possible out of a 20 minute strength workout—this is a great option for you!
Overall Rating 4/5
A Note on Safety with Planet Fitness Workouts
As chiropractors, we are constantly begging encouraging all of my patients to move and exercise every day to keep healthy and to help with their spinal and overall health. A good workout is supposed to push you up to your limit so you can grow stronger and more fit, not tip you over the edge to where you are injured.
Be careful with any new move that you try. The instructors do a very good job of explaining slowly and clearly how to do each exercise and they will constantly point out things that you should be mindful of. They will instruct you how far to go down, where your feet should be pointing and times where you can safely increase or decrease your workout load without ruining the quality of the overall exercise session.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to be honest with yourself about where you are as an athlete and know how to listen to your body. With an at home workout there is not trainer there to nitpick your form for safety and efficacy. However, your body will give you signals as you workout, do not push through those signals listen to them. Ray Lewis (a personal favorite athlete of McAuliffe Chiropractic Office) may say “pain is only weakness leaving the body…” but we would argue it is a sign that you should slow down and listen to your body indyrsf.
By being truthful to yourself we mean that you should not try to do the intermediate or advanced sections if you have not worked out in the year 2020. Start with the beginner series and move on from there, quickly if need-be. Unfortunately, your personal best squat weight from high school might not be a starting point for you 10+ years after graduation, so start with body weight and build up. Your chiropractor doesn’t like saying “I told you so…” but he will.
All in all, form is the most important thing to focus on with any weighted exercise whether you are holding dumbbells or “just” doing body weight exercise. Listen to the instructors in this app. They know what they are talking about and they will guide through. After that the best trainer is your body, so listen up before, during and after so that you can have a great workout. Just make sure to keep your chiropractor in the loop so we can keep you well-adjusted and on the path to a healthy summer.
Overall Pros of the Planet Fitness App
So, what were some of our overall “pros” of the free Planet Fitness app?
- The trainers are great at teaching you the basics. If you are new to at home workouts or any type of circuit style training, these workouts are a great place to start. Planet Fitness caters to people who are not used to going to the gym every and is really built for the people who just need the basics. This app is the same.
It is a great place to start if you want to work towards a healthier life, but aren’t quite sure how to get there.
- There is so much more to this app than classes. The “exercises” sections do a great job of outlining different exercises and what they are geared towards working out. They have specific videos just for equipment you have at home, or may want to use in the gym, including TRX, kettle bell and medicine balls.
The workouts come with instructional videos, difficulty rating, body parts that it works with and some specific tips or hints to help you along the way. This is a great resource to have and would be even more helpful if you were able to get into an actual Planet Fitness where you can find all of the equipment you need.
- The built-in activity tracker- The activity tacker acts as a diary of the exercise, active movement or other calorie burners you take part in on a daily and weekly basis. You can put in your workouts or different outputs from a Fitbit or other exercise tracker in one complete area. This will help you make sure you’re meeting your goals even if you are doing other exercise besides using the app.
One Pro and Con- This app is built from the ground up to be a support system for the subscription to Planet Fitness. So, this is a great add on if you are a member of the gym because it gives you new and different exercise you can try and build upon. It also has the activity tracker so you can work with your personal trainer or chiropractor to stay on top of all your exercise routines during the stay at home order to afterwards.
Unfortunately, if you are unable to go to their gym or do not live close to one the app is limited to a small number of classes without much diversity in instructor or class type.
The Cons of Planet Fitness
No workout app is perfect, and while there is a lot to love about this app, there are still some drawbacks:
- Planet Fitness is for beginners. This app is perfect for beginners and for anyone who just doesn’t know where to start with their fitness journey. The gym and the app are low cost, they have quite a few machines and classes that can get you going in the right direction and they even promise “A Judgement Free Zone” experience at all locations. However, as you get stronger or more dedicated to your routine you may find you want a different experience when you workout or a gym program that will push you more. The app is built the same way. So, if you are an experienced athlete, really familiar with HIIT workouts, or are just looking to shake up your workout routine, you may feel like you can outgrow this program quite quickly.
- There’s only one live workout per day. After working with the Peloton App which offered a diverse selection of class types, class instructors and both live and recorded classes—having such a limited selection of classes was a bit of a letdown. There is also only one life class per day, which unfortunately, was always during our office hours. Obviously, this app is more about driving you to the gym than being a supplement to your gym time.
So, Should You Give The Planet Fitness App a Try?
Well, it depends. If you are an avid gym rat or used to more challenging apps like Peloton or Beach Body, you may be underwhelmed by the Planet Fitness app. However, if you are looking for something a bit lower-intensity, want to learn about proper form, or are interested in learning about all of those machines and pieces of equipment you see at the gym—the definitely give this app a try.
It is a great place to start, and the perfect workout program for beginners.
As with any new workout program, we suggest you consult with your doctor or chiropractor before trying something new. Please feel free to ask our doctors in office or through a phone consultation before trying a new exercise regimen. If you are feeling pain, soreness or worried you may have an injury, please stop working out and give our office a call immediately at 301-776-0755 or book an appointment online today.