I’m someone who genuinely loves being active; as such, I love trying out new types of workouts or fitness classes. I am what one could call a serial-boutique-class-attender. And that’s because I hate feeling like I’m doing the same thing over and over.
However, sometimes I find it difficult to fit working out into my week, and even more difficult to leave Hyde Park just to try a fun class. I also don’t want to have to plan out a workout if I don’t have to. This is why I’ve decided to try two different workout apps, 8fit and Nike Training Club, to see if they can each sustain me a week of workouts.
NTC vs. 8Fit
To start off, they’re both excellent apps with amazing reviews. NTC has been around for longer, while 8fit is newer. They both offer workout programs, which is perfect for me because that way I can stay on track.
Both offer a short questionnaires to help create a program for you. 8fit asks about your goal (are you aiming to lose weight, tone up, or gain muscle mass?) and then asks you questions to determine your fitness level. By asking you a series of questions, such as the average number of times you’ve worked out a week in the past year (for activity), your stair-taking habits (how many flights of stairs you can walk/jog/spring up) for stamina, and how many push ups you can do (strength), 8fit determines your personal fitness level and places you into a program accordingly.
You also have the option of adding on a meal program, which provides recipes for you to choose from. This feature is only available with the pro version, which costs extra. Given that it costs money, and adding the fact that I do not cook (#notanadult), I didn’t try the meal program. That being said, they give you a free trial week for the pro version if you feel like trying that feature out!
While 8fit places you into a continuous program built on progress, you get to choose your program with NTC. As soon as you open the app, they ask how many workouts a week you’ve averaged in the past year, and based on your answer they give you a few workouts to try. If you want to follow a program, that’s also an option. You have the option of choosing one of four plans, each with a different focus (Start Up, Lean Fit, Bodyweight Only, Gym Strong).
I decided to go with the Lean Fit plan, because it seemed like it would include the best mix of strength and cardio. Even though the plan itself is six weeks long, each week is formatted similarly, just with different workouts from week to week.
After selecting your plan, you can choose how much equipment you’d like to use, if you’d like to use any at all. Although I have access to a gym, I wanted to make the comparison as fair as possible so I did not select any equipment. That, and I’m a big fan of bodyweight exercises. You can then customize how many days a week you want to workout and whether or not you’d like to include running. The last couple of steps are to input your activity level and your stats, et voila! You’re all set.
One thing I prefer about the 8fit app is that the workouts are shorter so it’s easier to fit them into my day, and my weeks are also more flexible because I only need to complete a certain number of workouts by the upcoming Sunday. In NTC, the workouts are mainly 30-45 minutes and although you can skip workouts or do them later, they plan your recovery days so it does make it somewhat difficult to change up your schedule.
8fit also allows you to substitute exercises for one of three others, and these three substitutes always include an exercises of similar difficulty, one that is more difficult, and one that is less difficult. The nicer thing about NTC, though, is that I can choose to simply do workouts rather than follow a program, which is nice for those who hate commitment.
They’re both very easy to use, and they both offer video demonstrations of the exercises you have to perform. This is great for making sure you’re performing the exercise with correct form. NTC is a bit more encouraging in that the trainer voice will sometimes offer kind words of motivation, or remind you to do things like keep your hips down when in plank.
So Which is Better?
By far, I preferred the 8fit program. I was working out less, but I felt a lot better because I didn’t feel exhausted at the end of my workout. I felt like I had worked hard enough to celebrate what I’d achieved, but not so hard that I needed to lay down.
I don’t think I’ll stick to one app though. As the youths of today like to say, por que no los dos? I’ll definitely incorporate the apps into my rotation whenever I’m short for time, but I’m not quite ready to completely give up my zumba or barre-fusion classes just yet.
Huge thanks to Samira for sharing her reviews of 8Fit and NTC for Xoro Media this month. What workout apps do you use?
Let us know on Twitter @xoromedia!