«From experts to beginners, training designed for everyone» – Corriere.it

«From experts to beginners, training designed for everyone» – Corriere.it
«From experts to beginners, training designed for everyone» – Corriere.it
from Michela Rovelli

Fitness + lands in 15 new countries. The program designed for training with the Apple Watch. Jay Blahnik, Apple’s vice president of fitness technologies: «Those who already play sports can add something to their sports plan. For beginners it’s a great way to get started “

The idea of ​​a training program, entirely built around the Apple Watch, had already been in Apple’s plans for years. And it is a new, fresh, piece, which contributes to complete the strategy that is making it the world of services which revolves around Apple devices (Apple Music, iCloud, Apple Tv +, Apple Arcade, etc.) to become the most important item in quarterly revenue reports, just after iPhone sales. Then the pandemic, which on the one hand hindered its development, on the other made it possible to meet the new needs of users. Fitness+ was launched in five countries in December 2020. User response has been defined by Jay Blahnik, Apple’s vice president of fitness technologies, with one word: “Overwhelming“. Today, November 3, Fitness + lands in 15 new countries, including Italy. The service will appear within the Fitness app with an operating system update. Available for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV – you need an Apple Watch to use it – costs 9.99 per month or 79.99 euros per year. Alternatively, it is included in the program Apple One Premier which includes all the services offered by Cupertino for 28.95 euros per month (and can be shared with 6 family members).

Sport for everyone

Jay Blahnik, a fitness expert and one of the leading advocates of the art of training in the United States, is now Apple’s head of sports technologies. He can be defined as the father of Fitness +: «We spent a lot of time thinking about how the service would work – explains al Courier service – What we care about is that people who already train have what they need but at the same time that beginners feel welcome“. And here is the idea behind this new service: a training program that, at the same time, satisfies the needs of experts and non-experts. A great deal of attention was paid to the timing of these trainings, which range yes 5 and 45 minutes. All studied with the same precision: «We have discovered that the 10-minute videos are the most popular – continues Blahnik – Those who already play sports can add something to their already aggressive program. While for beginners it is a great way to start ».

The suggestions

Inside Fitness + there are 11 different types of training: HIIT, Strength, Yoga, Dance, Core, Exercise Bike, Pilates, Meditation, Treadmill, Rowing and Relaxation. Each type of program includes videos from 5 to 45 minutes. And in each video they can be found variations with each exercise for the more experienced and for beginners. There is no training planning system within the service, but there is the system of recommendations: an artificial intelligence takes care of giving us suggestions «Based on the workouts already done, even outside of Fitness +, with the Apple Watch. While “try something new”Suggests different things to balance your routine. If you do a lot of Yoga, for example, it might offer you cardio. And he explains why he is suggesting it to you, ”adds Blahnik.

A service that encourages

Fitness + focuses on variety – lots of workouts, which are updated every week – but also on other things. The idea is to encourage users to give more and to continue playing sports, also thanks to metrics that are recorded in real time by the Apple Watch. Heart rate, calories burned, distance traveled, time: the numbers appear on the screen we are using to follow the training – iPhone, iPad or Apple TV – while the watch on our wrist continues to measure how our body is behaving. According to Jay Blahnik this is a great stimulus: «And coaches can create too animations on the screen: if for example it talks about the heartbeat, it explodes. If he mentions the activity ring, it gets bigger. In some workouts there is also the burn bar (a bar that fills up as you burn calories ed.). I find it extremely motivating“. Not only that: the team of coaches works together. Everyone is an expert in a discipline, but “tries” – together with users – other sports they are not familiar with, suggesting the modified version for beginners. “They don’t just teach, they give each other feedback. They too can be beginners at times. One of our strength trainers is very fit, but not a runner. And therefore in running training, he shows the walking variant. The idea of ​​a trainer showing you the simplest variation makes you feel at ease somehow. “

Coaches of all ages and backgrounds

The coaches have been carefully selected by the Apple team. Today there are 26, all from English-speaking countries, those where Fitness + has already been active for nine months. And indeed here too the training sessions will be available in the original language with subtitles in Italian. But, assures the vice president of Cupertino, “We can’t wait to find out which coaches we will find soon as we expand”. The selection did not concern only the athletic training of athletes: “For us it was essential that they represent every age group. We even have some in their 60s. We also wanted people with different backgrounds. They are all obviously experts, but not all of them have been coaches all their lives. For example, there is a former rowing champion, who has been practicing since he was a child, but one of our strength trainers used to play a rock band. He discovered fitness later. Then everyone has a different body shape, different motivations. Another important thing for us is that they loved teaching, they really understood how to put themselves in a beginner’s shoes and help them get started».

The other features of Fitness +

There are other features within Fitness + as well. There are programs for different moments in life as well as seasonal programs. For example they have been developed workouts dedicated to pregnant women, the elderly or even absolute beginners. And new this fall is the preparation for the ski season. And then again training created on the basis of the playlists of popular singers (it’s called Featured artists) and informal “chats” with famous people who tell us about their life, with words and music, while we walk with them (the program is Let’s walk). From this autumn it is also possible to share workouts with friends or family – from a distance – thanks to SharePlay. And see each other’s progress while commenting on exercises via FaceTime. There is also room for accessibility. All trainers greet users with sign language to make hearing impaired people feel welcome. And «they have also learned to address the blind. Often to improve they go behind a curtain and explain to someone what to do without them being able to see them. Inclusiveness is also part of our team of coaches: one of them lost a leg in an accident and takes a completely different and unique approach. Accessibility – concludes Jay Blahnik – is a journey that we will never stop taking, we have only just begun “

November 3, 2021 (change November 3, 2021 | 16:01)


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