Everything You Need to Know About iFit
iFit is an innovative fitness brand that offers interactive virtual workouts with a personal training twist. A subscription to iFit opens the doors to a variety of global workouts, studio classes, and Google Maps trails across the world. You may have come across iFit in the form of interactive training software on home gym equipment by NordicTrack and ProForm. As of this year, you can now use the iFit app without a machine. Learn more about iFit, from the subscription costs to whether it’s worth the ongoing investment below.
Having been using it for more than two months myself, I’m truly loving it. The new iFit SmartBeat armband is a great Bluetooth heart monitor which syncs with the ActivePulse workout technology. In addition to live workouts now, users can let the machine’s AI control any workout live or programmed according to their heart rate. As I’m prepping for a bodybuilding contest, this iFit program I’ve used on my new 2022 NordicTrack 1750 has been a big plus.
Table of Contents
- iFit: An Overview
- iFit Web Platform vs. iFit App (Mobile & Tablet)
- Using iFit with Your Machine
- How Much Does iFit Cost?
- Pros & Cons
- The Verdict: Should you Invest in iFit?
- Best iFit-Enabled Workout Machines
iFit: An Overview
iFit is a unique fitness platform which offers virtual training in the form of live and on-demand workout videos with world-class personal trainers. The huge variety of workouts include global workouts, studio classes, and Google Maps trails. I was also impressed at the diversity of interactive strength workouts offered here. Not many training apps offer coaching for Olympic lifts and workouts. This comes in great when working into the mix the ProForm Rapid Strike dumbbells we’ve reviewed here.
When exploring exotic locations such as Bora Bora, Antarctica and beyond, the iFit trainer leading the workout delivers everything from coaching guidance to a historical tour of the location and more. They can also automatically adjust your machine’s resistance, incline/decline and speed depending on the machine you are using. It’s a really immersive experience. iFit is ideal for those who struggle to stay motivated as you can learn something new and explore somewhere different each time you exercise. Recently iFit launched a live schedule of workouts so you can tune in with your favorite trainers each day for a workout in real time. As well as virtual training, iFit can help you to enhance your overall health and wellness; it offers sleep tracking, nutritional advice and so on. The ActivePulse workout technology also lets you incorporate heart rate monitoring into the workout by way of the SmartBeat armband or other Bluetooth unit. You can log your own workouts, weight, sleep data and calorie intake each day and check out their blog for healthy recipes, wellness tips and more.
Key features include:
- A basically unlimited library of workout programs on-demand (on and off your machine)
- New live daily schedule of workouts (currently available on bikes, treadmills, and the tablet version of the iFit app)
- New live leaderboard feature (on treadmills and exercise bikes)
- Bluetooth heart rate monitoring and machine control
- Fitness data tracking and logging
- Health and wellness guidance from calorie intake advice and recipes to sleep tracking
- Access to the iFit community for online competitions and more
iFit Web Platform vs. iFit App (Mobile & Tablet)
Although the new iFit app wasn’t initially set for release until October 2020, the brand recently launched the app on phones and tablets. It allows people to exercise with iFit at home with or without equipment. Below are a few previews of how iFit looks on mobile, tablet, and via its web platform.
In the mobile app’s home page you can select which machine you will pair with—choosing from treadmill, bike, rower, elliptical or strength—to get tailored workouts for that type of machine. If you don’t have a machine, it’s a matter of scrolling through the pages until you find a workout that you can do without equipment. iFit has noted that filtering and sorting is not yet available on mobile, but it will be available soon so the mobile app is easier to navigate.
Although the workout library viewed in the web browser (pictured left) is vast, quite a lot of the content seems a little dated. In the mobile app (pictured right), all of the immediate content is up to date. The browse tab features a library of workout series, from a New Zealand trekking series with beautiful scenery and historical snippets, to an around the world treadmill challenge with interval training and guided runs around the world. You still cannot search for a specific workout though; it’s a matter of scrolling through.
The web browser is a more inclusive platform in terms of monitoring your fitness progress in relation to your overall health and wellness. Online you can log, track, and assess your workout data as well as your sleep routine, calorie intake and more. The blog and live daily workout schedule for treadmills, bikes, and strength training can be accessed online too. If you’re using a tablet or your machine’s touchscreen to access iFit, tap the “On Air” tab on-screen as shown below.
Live workouts feature the same automatic machine control, so it feels like being in a studio class. This live element is a welcome feature, and one that was needed to keep up with competitors such as Peloton and Echelon. The automatic adjustments aren’t found on the Peloton or Echelon bikes, so iFit’s live classes in combination with this interactive feature help them to stand out from the crowd. What’s more, they are the first interactive training platform to offer live outdoor workouts. These include iFit trainers’ local hikes, and soon will include live workouts filmed in locations around the world. There’s also the “waiting room” feature. Here, 10 minutes before a live iFit workout starts, you can scan a QR code on your mobile to text your trainer questions. Many of them are answered live, another feature which brings that personal training touch to the forefront. The new leaderboard feature (currently only available on treadmills and bikes) allows you to compete with fellow riders and trainees in real time. Many find this a very motivating tool, and again, it’s a feature that Peloton and Echelon users love. iFit added advanced filtering to the leaderboard feature which allows you to choose who you compete against, whether that’s a family member or a specific age group. Among other features, you can also check the “Just Me” filter to compare your workout to past ones to track your progress.
Using iFit with Your Machine
Many NordicTrack, ProForm and Freemotion machines have iFit-enabled touchscreens built in for you to watch the videos directly from your machine. Here, it’s a matter of activating your subscription and logging in on the touchscreen. If it’s a bring-your-own-tech machine which is iFit ready, you can pair your smartphone or tablet. This way, your real-time workout data will be synced. Either way, it’s an immersive and fully connected workout experience. iFit is still pretty unique in the expanding world of fitness video streaming thanks to its auto-adjust feature (when used with iFit-enabled machines). During workouts, your iFit trainer or the Google Maps location you are exploring can automatically adjust your machine. It will change your resistance, incline or speed depending on the machine you are using. This is available on every iFit-enabled NordicTrack, ProForm and Freemotion machine, including the bikes, treadmills, elliptical machines, and rowers. Say you’re using a NordicTrack S22i bike: the iFit trainer will increase your resistance and incline in a studio class to ramp up the challenge. If you’re on a ProForm 2000 treadmill, the speed and incline will change to keep up with an iFit trainer as you explore an outdoor running trail with them.
The other app developed by iFit is for owners of the NordicTrack Fusion CST. You can download the Fusion app on the Portal 10i tablet which is included with the purchase. It will teach you how to get the most out of your strength and cardio sessions on the Fusion CST with help from personal trainers for beginners to advanced levels. The trainers set the pace and automatically adjust the resistance of the machine for you. This way, it’s much like having your own personal trainer in your living room.
How Much Does iFit Cost?
You can try iFit’s new app for 30 days for free. After your trial an iFit individual membership is $15/month. The family membership for up to 5 people is $39/month. You will be billed once every 30 days and can cancel your subscription at any time. When you compare this to an average gym membership or personal training, it’s a really good deal. If you love the sound of iFit and don’t already have a machine, it’s worth noting that you can currently get a bunch of ProForm machines for free when you commit to an iFit membership. ProForm offers each of the following models for free when you commit to a 3-year iFit family membership for $39/month, totaling $1,403: the Carbon T7 treadmill, Carbon E7 elliptical, Studio Bike Pro, Carbon HIIT H7, and the 750R Rower. Interested in a different NordicTrack or ProForm machine? You usually get a year’s free access to iFit with your purchase.
Pros & Cons
- Auto-Adjust: iFit trainers can automatically adjust your incline, resistance or speed within workouts to push you to the limit.
- New App: This allows you to exercise from home with or without a machine. Try bodyweight strength training, yoga and more.
- Deals: ProForm offers a handful of machines for free when you commit to iFit over 3 years.
- Heart Rate Control: The ActivePulse technology allows machines to override workouts and adjust resistance to maintain a target rate.
- Community: Access to the iFit community is motivating and helps you to progress.
- For Everyone: There is something for every fitness ability on iFit.
- Personal Training: The training tips integrated throughout programs offer a personal training feel.
- Health & Wellness: Access to wellness content, healthy recipes and more.
- Data Logging: Log your sleep, weight, calorie, and workout data to set goals and track your progress.
- Live Workouts: The live workouts and leaderboard bring the immediacy some people need to pack workouts into their daily schedule.
- Affordable: For $15, it’s cheaper than most gym memberships.
- Free Trial: There’s a 30-day free trial for you to try it out.
- Customer Service: There are quite a few reviews online calling out the less than stellar customer service that iFit provides. You have to put your credit card information in from the get-go, and some customers have said that canceling the membership has been tricky.
- Software Update Issues: Some customers have noted that there are glitches after they try to update the software.
- Mobile App Usability Issues: You cannot search for a specific type of workout in the mobile app; it is a case of swiping through the lists and finding one manually. That said, iFit has noted that this is something they are working on.
The Verdict: Should you Invest in iFit?
Anything that helps you stick to a workout routine is worth the investment. iFit’s huge variety of on-demand workouts and trails with a bunch of different personal trainers gives you plenty of choice to explore new places around the world every day. Throw in the live schedule and this adds the immediacy that some people need to schedule a workout at a specific time with their favorite trainer each day. Then there’s the general health and wellness aspect. iFit isn’t just for video workouts; it’s more of a holistic platform for you to monitor and enhance your overall health and wellbeing in line with your fitness goals. As with any app, there are going to be some issues to consider. Customer service is our top concern here. But as demonstrated by recent updates, the brand is starting to listen to their customers more and more. Issues with app usability is something we think is being addressed too. You can see how the brand is adding new features and updating content all the time. The addition of the live schedule and leaderboard is an example of this. iFit knows they need to keep up with their competitors such as Peloton and Echelon who already offer live schedules, and that is only going to make the experience better for their users.
Overall, we would say that iFit is definitely worth the investment when used in combination with an iFit-enabled machine. This is where the magic happens. The auto-adjust feature where the iFit trainer ramps up your resistance or speed throughout your workout brings your on-machine routines to a whole new level. It’s something that sets iFit apart from its competitors. Although the mobile app is packed with workouts, we wouldn’t jump at the chance of getting it for use without a machine. Usability is going to be improved with future updates and feature additions, but iFit really shines when used in combination with an iFit-enabled machine. Check out our reviews of the best iFit-enabled machines on the market today below.
Trainer’s Tips with iFit
Having used iFit in conjunction with my prep for an NPC bodybuilding contest, I can readily attest to the value. The ActivePulse heart rate control has been particularly helpful. This prep period, I’ve been able to cut from 212 to 173 pounds in just four months relying largely on iFit workouts on my NordicTrack 1750 treadmill as cardio. If simultaneous weight loss and muscle gain is a goal, I’d strongly recommend any of the hard core hiking series iFit has. Trainer-led strolls through the cliffs of Wales, Italy, and other mountain regions around the workout make the time go quickly. These serve as a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session with intensity controlled automatically by the machine in accordance with the heart rate controls. Partnering these elements make for a no-fuss experience and easier way to blast fat.