Aaptiv Review – The Ideal Workout Program or Hype?

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff
Published on: Feb 27, 2019

Aaptiv, formerly known as Skyfit, is an audio-based subscription fitness app.

According to the company website, members gain unlimited access to more than 3,000 on-demand workouts and 50 new ones are added each week. By offering their content exclusively in an audio format, the company states, exercisers can focus on their form without the distraction of looking towards a screen.

At the time of writing, Aaptiv was available on Apple and Android devices. The company states that the brand’s fitness trainers are a mix of world-class athletes, health educators, and certified physical therapists. You can contact them directly through the Aaptiv’s member Facebook group.

Aaptiv got its start when founder Ethan Agarwal struggled to stay motivated on runs while traveling for business. He found that existing apps didn’t offer audio-only options, which made them a poor choice for running because he didn’t want to squint at his smartphone. He developed Aaptiv as an option for people to enjoy expert-guided workouts on their own time without the price tag of boutique studio classes.

Will Aaptiv help you get a good workout, or should you consider one of the numerous subscription fitness alternatives instead? We’ll walk you through our reasoning below.

How Does Aaptiv Work?

When you first download the Aaptiv app, it will ask you five questions to better tailor the workouts it suggests to you. These questions include the following:

  • What is your fitness goal? (Lose weight, run a race, build strength)
  • What is your fitness level? (New to exercise, exercise casually, exercise regularly)
  • Where do you work out? (At the gym, at home, outside)
  • What days do you work out? (Select all that apply)
  • What time do you like to work out?

Based on your responses, the app suggests a range of beginner classes that you can select from. Once you complete at least one, you will unlock all the other classes available on the app.

Within the Aaptiv App, you can choose from a variety of workout options, including treadmill, outdoor running, elliptical, yoga, walking, rowing, strength training, stretching, indoor cycling, meditation, stair climbing, and boxing.

From there, you can customize your workout further based on length, instructor, difficulty level, and even music choice.

The app also offers programs for those who want to hit specific training goals. These programs give you numerous workouts to complete each month and they are categorized by level from beginner to advanced. Some of the programs offered at the time of writing included the following:

  • 5-Week Intro to Meditation
  • 4-Week Train Like a Boxer
  • 40-Week Move Through Maternity
  • 4-Week Weight Loss Kickstart
  • 5-Week Run Your Fastest Mile
  • 12-Week Hit the Half (Marathon)

It’s possible to look through each day of the program in advance or to download a full PDF guide to the plan ahead of time. Also, you can download the classes to play them offline later, which is ideal for those who have spotty service where they work out.

You have the option to choose from different workout collections that are based around specific themes, too, including “Celebrate Black History,” “Celebrity Training Camp,” “Travel-Friendly Fitness,” “90’s Hip Hop Workouts,” and more.

What is Working Out with Aaptiv Like?

While researching Aaptiv, I decided to put the app through its paces with a “Let’s Start the Party” 20-minute spin class workout led by John Thornhill.

I was surprised that I found that the class easy to follow even without seeing a guide in front of me, though I occasionally missed instructions to turn up my resistance or speed up my cadence because I didn’t get any visual cues that the action was changing.

However, I found that the app did a stellar job of timing the music beat with effort level changes, and Thornhill frequently gave tips on improving form that made me feel like he could see what I was doing. I also appreciate the option to download the workout ahead of time so that I didn’t need to worry about the connection cutting out in the middle during a tough part.

Overall, the app was an immersive workout experience that I thought was comparable to following a YouTube video or Peloton Digital class, though it didn’t match the amount of attention that comes from an in-studio workout with a qualified instructor.

What Does Aaptiv Cost?

At the time of writing, Aaptiv offers both a month-to-month and annual subscription option. You’ll pay $14.99 per month for the app, or $99 for a full year.

The yearly subscription automatically begins with a free seven-day trial. The company also occasionally offers subscription discounts. For instance, the company offered 50% off the annual membership ($49.99 per year) at the time of writing.

Each subscription option renews automatically unless you cancel your service at least 48 hours before the renewal date. If you cancel your account after this renewal date, the company states they won’t issue you a refund for the time unused.

To cancel your subscription, you can contact support@aaptiv.com or submit a help request through their support page.

What are Popular Aaptiv Alternatives?

There are lots of subscription-based workout options to consider besides Aaptiv. Is one of them a better fit for you? This chart highlights some of the popular alternatives to help you decide:

Aaptiv Obe Fitness Peloton Digital TB12 FightCamp

Cost

$14.99/mth. or $99.99/ year $27/mth. $19.49/mth. $19.99/mth. (or $199 annually) $39/mth.
Class Type Audio fitness app that guides you through a variety of workouts Live streamed or on-demand workout videos, that last less than 30 min. Livestreamed and on-demand workout videos, ranging from 5–90 minutes Personalized workout plans for reaching peak performance with fitness and nutrition On-demand group boxing workouts
Workout Type More than 3,000 audio workouts for home, gym, and outdoor use Sculpt, Strength, Power, Dance, Circuit, HIIT, Yoga, Yoga Sculpt, and Restorative Stretch Cycling, running, strength, outdoor, yoga, meditation, boot camp, walking, stretching, and cardio Muscle pliability, performance enhancement, injury prevention Boxing workouts
Extra Equipment Needs Dependent on the workout, some are designed for gym equipment “Level up” classes require hand weights or resistance bands Stationary bike, treadmill, free weights, and/or a yoga mat (depending on the class) Resistance bands, medicine ball, pliability roller Boxing gloves, free standing punching mag

Diving in, this chart makes clear that there are plenty of options for subscription fitness services. (Due to space concerns, we didn’t include the Peloton Cycle or Tread, two workout programs that require the company’s equipment and cost $39.99 per month for streaming content).

One key difference between Aaptiv and the rest of these programs is that the rest of them are optimized for home workouts, while many of Aaptiv’s classes require gym equipment. The app was initially designed with outdoor running in mind, but it has since expanded to include a variety of fitness machines.

You’ll pay less per month for Aaptiv than these other fitness programs but you’ll also sacrifice video content. This is an advantage for people who don’t want to stare at a small screen while completing reps. However, it can be a problem if you’re new to a specific type of exercise and need guidance about your form and technique.

To take full advantage of Aaptiv, you’ll likely need a gym membership or lots of your own gym equipment. That’s not necessarily true for obé Fitness or TB12, as these workouts are focused around basic equipment like a yoga mat and hand weights.

Some Peloton Digital content also falls into this category, though the majority of their workouts rely on a spin bike or treadmill. Likewise, you’ll need boxing equipment to make FightCamp work best.

Overall, we think that Aaptiv makes the most sense for people who shy away from group fitness classes and struggle to give themselves a good workout while at the gym. Do customer reviews support this view? We’ll look at them next.

What Do Customer Reviews of Aaptiv Show?

Customer reviews are often a smart way to learn how well a service delivers, so we looked at the comments about Aaptiv left on numerous sites, including the app’s Facebook page, TrustPilot, the Google Play store, and Men’s Health.

According to these sources, the overwhelming perspective seems to be that Aaptiv is a stellar way to get the most out of your workouts.

Many reviewers reported that the app helped them get the most out of their gym memberships and that using the app felt like they had a coach directly in their ear giving them instructions.

A few people reported that they canceled their studio class subscriptions after trying out the app. Others said the trainers were uplifting and motivating at the right times. We read some comments from people who said that they loved the included programs and that following them helped them to achieve their fitness goals, especially regarding running.

Where Aaptiv fell short for many people was the lack of visual instruction for certain activities, like yoga poses or weight lifting. A few people reported that they weren’t sure if they were performing the moves right and were concerned they might injure themselves.

Men’s Health stated that the app was lacking for weight lifting, as it didn’t offer workouts that were conducive to building mass and lifting heavy weights.

Some subscribers also reported that they had trouble with the subscription process and felt that they were unfairly charged for a subscription after they thought they had canceled their account.

Our View: Should You Work Out with Aaptiv?

Taking this research into account, what do we think of Aaptiv overall? We believe this service delivers on what it promises—structured workout routines you can perform in any setting. The app offers options for both home- and gym-based workouts, and there is enough variety of the platform that subscribers aren’t likely to get bored.

We don’t think that Aaptiv is a smart way to introduce yourself to ‘technical’ types of exercise like yoga, weightlifting, or even using some equipment because their audio-only format means that you can’t check your form against the instructors.

Saying that, the app offers good guided workouts for those with at least a baseline understanding of how to perform the exercises, and the instructors do an excellent job of getting you to check on your form and breathing continuously.

Overall, we think that Aaptiv makes the most sense for anyone with a gym membership they feel like they are underutilizing or who wants to get into running. One way this app stands out from the competition is that you can download the workouts ahead of time, which means you don’t have to worry about streaming issues if you complete the exercises in a place without Wi-Fi or cell service.

At $99 per year (often less with discounts), Aaptiv is one of the lowest-price fitness subscriptions we’ve looked at. If you’re interested in trying the program for yourself, keep in mind that it’s possible to receive a one-week free trial if you sign up for a year’s subscription.

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