Now it may come as a surprise, but as the Editor in Chief of WiFi Tribe Blog, I am not your typical digital nomad. M&M peanuts are my favourite snack. I hated exercise of any kind. I am...overweight as a result of these things. I'd been looking for a good opportunity to change these thinking patterns, so I thought it would be a great idea to test some of the fitness apps our Tribers are using to stay fit and healthy whilst travelling.
The Back Story
Before I left the UK, I asked our WiFi Tribe members to recommend some of their favourite fitness apps and whilst on location in Florence, I tried to test a few of them. I say the word ‘tried’ because not all of them worked, but the one that didn't still looks like it would be brilliant fun so I have included it here. Just so you have an idea, I’m a beginner when it comes to exercise, but in general 'The Carbelizers’ (our Florence fitness group) had a very good standard of overall fitness. That’s a lie, they were pretty hardcore. So in short, there's a good range of abilities and opinions that have gone into these mini-reviews.
I’ll go through the apps in no particular order and give my thoughts on a variety of different aspects like usability, excitement etc. There were gyms in Florence but all of the apps that we tested do not require you to go to the gym. For your entertainment, I will include some of the Facebook Live footage of me crying after the workouts; I ran out of shame long ago. Massive thanks to “The Carbelizers” group who were amazing enough to help me on this journey. Also a massive shoutout to the Tribers who suggested these apps. You guys have made me a changed woman.
FREELETICS (Bodyweight) - TRIBE MEMBER Karl
Free trial? - Yes
Easy to use? - Yes
Was it fun? - Not as fun as I would’ve liked...
Android and iOS? Yes
The Freeletics app is a comprehensive health and fitness app that has some very innovative technology within it. The Freeletics 'Smart Coach' creates tailored plans that you can do anywhere at anytime. This app specialises in getting you out of the gym and using your bodyweight instead of equipment to achieve your fitness goals. Here's what we thought...
This was one of the first apps that we tried. It was super easy to download and you do get a free exercise session before you have to pay to access the full app. You don’t need loads of space to do the exercises, I managed it in a small room in one of the apartments. In addition to this you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it; you do the exercises, they make you sufficiently sweaty and then you can go on with your day. There’s also a feature to get a coach and a meal plan for around £3 a week which is always good, as nutrition plays a massive role in your progress.
The beginners exercises were good but not overly inspiring and even though there was a free trial, it was only one set of exercises. After that you needed to pay. It was reasonably priced to be fair; you can get the more exciting workouts for just over £2 a week. But as a flaky exercise friend, I wasn’t ready to commit so soon. I set it up for a beginner, so it wasn’t a great one for the group either because the exercises weren’t varied enough or challenging enough for them.
I think it’ll be a super fun app if you’re ready to pay up straight away. But if you’re on a tight budget or you are an exercise flake like me, maybe this one is not the right one for you. Well done for sticking with the post so far; your reward is me crying after testing Freeletics.
8fit - tribe member Beatriz
Free Trial? Yes
Easy to Use? Not in Italy for some reason..
Was it fun? I’ll let you know…
Android and iOS? Yes
8Fit is a one-stop shop for all your home workout needs. There's a huge variety of workouts to choose from and a whole recipe resource to eat well whilst using the app. It produces custom workouts and meal plans tailored to your fitness level and your fitness goals. Here are our thoughts...
Just in the sign up process, 8fit asks lots of questions. That’s good because you then get a tailored program. You can just have the Free plan, which gives you access to a limited number of workouts, you can get an annual membership which works out to be £5.50 a month or you can commit for 3 months and pay £11 per month. There is a free trial for access to the full app and they give you 14 days which is a good shout as then you have a better amount of time to test it. But just having a look at the free plan, there’s plenty of exercises already that will whip you into shape. My personal feeling, is that if 'The Carbelizers' had tried this app, they’d have loved it. Now I’ve got it working, I think the app is easy to use, really well thought out and the exercises look good. Great for when you’re working out with a group. There are even classes and tasty looking recipes!!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get this app to work for me in Florence...no idea why that was, but when I returned to the UK and filled in all my details it did work. What I will do, is check out the exercises and then report back. Earlier, I mentioned that the app asks you lots of questions which is good news if you know the answers. As an example, it asked me about my body fat percentage, and although it did give picture references, I could have quite easily lied and gotten a program tailored for the body I believe myself to have. Not quite the same as getting a program tailored for the body I actually have. That isn’t 8fit’s fault though to be fair…
This app actually looks really good, and I’m quite gutted I didn’t get to try it! There’s plenty to do in the free plan, and it’s reasonably priced for an annual membership or even a three month membership. I'd like to try this and then update here to report back.
Sweat - TRIBE MEMBER Berta
Free trial? Yes
Easy to use? Yes
Was it fun? Yes
Android and iOS? Yes
This app is a part of the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide fitness empire. True to its name, the exercises on this app will make you a sweaty mess, which is a good thing. There's several instructors, different workouts and meal plans to keep you occupied.
Kayla Itsines’ app Sweat is by far, the app I enjoyed doing the most. Exercise is always less hideous with friends so I'm impressed that the app motivated me to workout even though I was suffering alone. The exercises made me want to cry (many thanks to fellow Carbalizers Rosie and Blaire who were my cheerleaders as I went through the exercises) but I felt amazing after doing them. You do get a 7 day free trial to see how you like it which is never a bad thing either. The exercises can be done pretty much anywhere (which works for us folks who move around), but if you like going to the gym, then there are exercise plans that cater for when you’re in the gym too. I just really liked using the app. Having said all that, I tried this app twice so don’t take my word for it. But the two times I did do it, I loved it. You can also get meal plans and other things as well and surprisingly enough, I was not at all discouraged seeing Kayla do the exercises to perfection, even though I knew my form looked nothing like hers. I don't have to look at me after all so I'm cool with that.
Men can do it too, but the app is geared towards a female audience. Sorry lads. That's not necessarily a problem because I feel that any human body would be challenged by these workouts, but if you’re a guy, the inherent 'pinkness' might put you off. Also, keep an eye because after the free trial, the subscription will automatically renew - it’s amazing how fast 7 days goes past. After that it’s £14.99 a month...potentially worth it if you’re going to do it more than twice a week. If not, it’s a little pricey for my taste, and there are other apps that give you more for less.
Sweat is a good app, it’s good fun, it’s challenging but not in an upsetting way. I don't mind the overall app design because I like pink, but it is a bit girly and it's quite expensive. Even so, I loved it and I felt great after doing the workouts and I felt like a cool person doing Instagram-esque workouts. Definitely try before you buy to see if it's for you.
Seven -TRIBE MEMBER Dan
Free trial? Yes
Easy to use? Yes
Was it fun? Yes
Android and iOS? Yes
The Seven app by Perigee gets you fitter in seven minutes! Designed to be an app you'd use everyday, the workouts challenge even the fittest bodies. Gym equipment isn't necessary and the exercises can be completed anywhere you like.
This was the app 'The Carbelizers' used the most. We loved it. There was a range of irritating voices that called out the instructions for the exercises which you could get angry at during the workout. I mention that, because the rage you felt at being shouted at by an American drill sergeant distracted me from the pain my muscles were feeling which in turn meant I was able to do a little bit more actual exercise as I complained. We tried it with music which was cool because I feel that music makes you do more exercise, but also without music; it was still good fun without. Great in groups, great on your own and you don’t need loads of time to work out. It was a very intense 10 minutes (including rest times), but you felt like an Avenger afterwards so it was worth it. Like all the other apps, you don’t need any extra equipment or even loads of space.
To access the full range of exercises and tailor what you want to work on each day, you will need to join the 7 Club which is about £10 a month. We did the full body workout each time but we did add extra exercises to it to keep things interesting. I’d imagine you’d get bored pretty quickly if variety is what you need.
Overall, I really liked the Seven app. It was definitely good fun in our group, and I think it would be an option I would choose to exercise on my own. I do think that the full body workout is all you get unless you upgrade and become a member, but the exercises are very challenging so if you're happy to do the same thing until you master it completely, that won't be a problem for you. As a final flourish, of course I have footage courtesy of Facebook live for all of you to enjoy.
So there you have it; four apps to keep you healthy and active as you travel! If you'd like to join 'The Carbalizers' you can see where we're going to be right here! For more information about WiFi Tribe and to keep up to date with all of our antics, scroll to the bottom of the page and subscribe to our newsletters or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Until next time...
Amanda Scott is the editor in chief for The Wifi Tribe blog and passionate about creating an excellent resource for remote workers near and far to draw from. When she's not editing and writing, she's either cooking, eating or reading a good book. You can never go wrong with a good book.