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iFitness: Workout Smarter With Your iPhone

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In the words of the immortal Hans & Franz, “We’re Going to Pump You Up!” Or at least, iFitness for the iPhone and iPod touch is going to. The personal trainer app has enjoyed a lofty position on the Top Paid charts in the iTunes store, and I wanted to find out why. I’d been disappointed before, so I hoped that iFitness might restore my faith, and get me back in the gym.

From the start, things were looking up with iFitness. The UI, while nothing special, was clean, simple, and dialed-down, which strikes me as appropriate for an application that I’ll be using at the gym in between exercises. From the home screen, you can access individual exercises, your custom workout, pre-set routines, and your log from the bottom navigation bar.

On the Exercises screen, you can browse by categories organized according to muscle group. You can also search for an exercise by individual muscle, or browse the list in its entirety alphabetically. One of the key features of iFitness is the ability to add and edit custom exercises to the already extensive list that comes with the app. Clicking on an exercise shows its details on the home screen, initially displaying just an image series showing you what to do. You can press a button at the top to display text instructions, add to your workout, or add to your log.

My Workout displays your custom workout, which you can build by adding exercises from their information screens. You can also add dividers to separate muscle groups or sets. My Workout adds a degree of customizability that makes iFitness a must-have for more advanced users. The only downside is that you can only create one workout, so the list could get unwieldy if you want to keep a variety of custom routines.

The preset routines are good starting points for novice users. Each has an extensive description to tell you just what the workout is meant to do, and a list detailing number of sets and repetitions.

iFitness has definitely found a place as my app of choice for workout management, since the ability to add custom exercises and your own routine is crucial to my fitness habits. At only $1.99, it’s a steal for beginners and more advanced users alike.

97 Responses to “iFitness: Workout Smarter With Your iPhone”

  1. David zimmerman

    I am pleased with this application and I also would like to see a desktop version that could sync with this along with a food app that would be compatible with it or added to it to track my protien water calorie intake song with all the other basics if there is somethn out that will sync or I can xfer info to please let me Know my email is [email protected]

  2. I only recently started looking at iFitness and I still haven’t used all the features. I thought the interface was nice and easy to use. There appear to be a lot of exercises but like some have said I see many missing.

    Something that really bothered me that I didn’t notice anyone else mentioning was incorrect exercises. Many of the exercises illustrated match methods used 15 years ago but have since been eliminated or modified due to being injury prone.
    As an example both of the Quad Stretches illustrated are actually bad for you – they put unnecessary strain on your ankle/foot. You should never stretch your Quad by grabbing your foot, instead grab your ankle. The lying back Quad stretch is bad for both your feet and your back (if your posture isn’t perfect), you should instead lay face down and grab both your ankles.

    I’m not a personal trainer or otherwise qualified sports therapist but I do use one when working out and do a bit of research before I do an exercise. I would bet an actual qualified sports therapist would find a lot more problems with the exercises than I have.

    A bit of searching on the net will show that a lot of workout sites actually show exercises incorrectly (or at least older methods) but there are many that use the more updated methods and a bit of research will help you understand why.

    It would be nice if the developers of iFitness did their homework because otherwise you can’t count on the application and you’re forced do find alternate sources anyway. This is a big problem because most people actually do exercise incorrectly and that is why sports therapy is a booming business.

  3. I’m in the middle of the pack here. I have worked out in a gym before and I think for that purpose I would stick with a notebook and pen but then would probably transfer it to my phone later since my notebooks would usually end up trashed within a few weeks from sweaty hands and rough handling so for long range tracking this app works fine.

    BUT, what I don’t like about it is this:

    1 – Exercises are only broken down by thing like ‘Arms’ like gos pointed out above. Come on guys, grab a copy of “The encyclopedia of Body Building” and give us a better breakdown than that, and add in the missing exercises that are very common.

    2 – The setup for logging has only one way for your workout to go, simple sets of weight and rep. There should be an option for a timed set, supersets and Trisets. It’s kind of a drag when you can’t record your workout the way you are really doing it.

    One of my routines involves doing as many pullups as possible in two minutes and it would be nice to be able to record it that way and an easy timer or stopwatch would be nice too.

  4. They are integrated into each exercise. Look at Shrugs, for example, and there is a little TV that shows the video. I assume all of them will eventually have their own video.

  5. John Doe

    Where are the videos mentioned on the app store?

    From description…

    “30 (and quickly growing) number of video instrucitons for each exercise”

    Can find any video instruciton at all…

  6. Good stuff, I wouldn’t use it at a gym tho… there’s something about having a $500 iPhone around free-weights that is more than a little scary… You’d either need to continually get it out of your armband to look at stuff and put it back in, or keep it loose and lay it somewhere while doing your reps.

    Just my opinion. Mine stays in the locker ; ) I use a $15 refurb. Sansa Clip while doing my routines (for music) and it gets abused… I accidentally tear it out of the armband at least once per session. I’d have broken my iPhone by now for _sure_. The clip is more or less indestructible and if I break it, so what?

    If you are working out and doing it right you are shaking at the end of your workout. I tend to bump into things because I’ve got a serious endorphin buzz going. I have to cool off before I feel safe driving home.

    I do have this program and use it at home after my interval training (which I do on a real bike in a park), for my ab workout, which doesn’t require equipment beyond an exercise ball and medicine ball. It’s perfect there because I can sit it on my coffee table while doing my thing and don’t need to worry about someone stepping on it or stealing it.

    From a practical/logistical point of view this is largely useless at the gym because of the risk to the device.


  7. It’s a great app, other than the fact all the pre-made routines tell you how many reps to do, yet you can’t add the rep ranges for your own custom workouts. It’s a bit of a pain trying to remember how many reps to aim for in each lift in a custom workout when the app can clearly display that information in the routines.

  8. Best app I’ve bought. No complaints. Sure there’s some functions that could use a tinkering. But if you use it as intended you can monitor everything fairly well.

  9. MarkinAK

    I love this little app, which has improved considerably from the earlier versions. It’s my poor man’s personal trainer.

    I definitely recommend it… particularly for $1.99 there isn’t a whole lot to loose.

    I did try two other apps (including PumpOne’s Fit Builder at $19.99). Fit Builder feels more polished and “commercial grade”… but seems overkill/overprice when iFitness does pretty much the same thing (my gym doesn’t have wi-fi to stream PumpOne’s videos for example.. nor would I use that anyway)

    iFitness helped me adapt to split routines and introduce variety to my workouts.

    I have entered a few split routines from Mens Health etc.

    iFitness acts as my shopping list of “what to do” at the gym today and helps me break my daily mundane pattern I was getting trapped in. Admittedly, I don’t slow down much to record details/logs, so I can’t testify much to that.

    My main weakness? If I ever forget my iPod Touch, then I sometimes feel stranded as to what exercises I had scheduled for the day! I don’t bother remembering the multiple routine varieties, because I built a reliance on iFitness prompting me what to do.

    To be fair, that isn’t fault of iFitness…. thats just a side affect of me using a fitness app as my personal trainer/prompting tool.

    I found most of the typical exercises are there from health magazine routines I entered (but in mid to late 2008 quite a few were missing).

    Tips on looking for an exercise:
    1) I sometimes missed finding an exercise… often because it is called something slightly different. (Example: is it a Bicep Curl, a Curl, or a Dumbbell Bicep curl?)
    2) Even if it was missing.. it is easy to add a custom one.
    3) There are often very functionally close exercises that are probably good enough to use anyway (ie: an identical exercise using say dumbbells, instead of the barbells). Often, thinking laterally this way also helps me slowly morph my routines to different exercises anyway.. such as “Hmm… I always do that with dumbbells.. here is functionally similar one with a cable”

  10. john amber

    I like this app but, I cant figure out the order of work-outs in given routines. for example, after a bench press work out it is the timeto do leg press, and after that there is another chest stuff. I dont believe it is a healty way to follow these given orders. you must finishthe chest andafter that you can do the leg workout.what do you think guys?

  11. Hank in Vancouver

    Heads up that I really like this app. I like how it has progressed and haved used quite often in the gym as a reference tool. I train 5 x week so really like how they have expanded the libraries … the only thing I would like to see is something refering to HammerStrength (or similar ilk) so that I can use for routine tracking – right now I find that the only hinderence for tracking purposes.

    For price point – it MORE than worth it. People sepnd more on coffee … and this app will last longer!

  12. i would really like to see a simple clock with seconds at the top. i’m doing a lot of stretching and holding exercises, and i find myself having to look up at the gym clock in order to see how long i’ve been holding a particular position. should be really trivial to just add a clock/timer at the top of the screen. the one thing that seems to be missing is a stretching category… i’m doing a lot of stretching exercises as part of my physical rehabilitation from ACL surgery, and it would be cool if there was stretching in addition to cardio and weights. otherwise, really like the app!!

  13. First of all, I really like this app. But there are a lot of exercises missing. There’s been a lot of negative reviews regarding this app. Mainly due to missing exercises. The app probably covers less than 50% of the exercises out there (even simple ones). With that being said, the app does have a lot of potential. Please update new exercises daily. I found this site. Please use it as one of your reference.

  14. Alejandro Gonzalez

    I got iFitness and it’s been awesome using it as my personal work out records; I am Hispanic and I have recomended this program to all of my friends but not all of them understand much English but they want to get that program.

    I would be aweseme if you guys create it on different lenguages including Spanish.

  15. I agree with Mike in the second comment. Fit Phone was one of, if the first workout log on the store. I got it when it first came out. It is very mature mow and over the months it has become one of the best apps I own. I don’t need picutres and animations. I just want something simple, clean, and easy to use in the gym. I think Fit Phone does that better than any other workout app. It’s a little more expensie (a whopping 5 bucks!) but it’s worth it in my mind.

    Oh, plus you can backup your data to your computer so you don’t have to worry about losing it or you can copy it to another device. Last I checked no other workout app was doing that. Fit Phone always seems to be one step ahead.

  16. Uxmano

    This applcation is completly useless. It crashes whenever I tray to ad somethin to the log. is the third upgrade that i download but it seems that they still not able to get it right!

    • yoga, is the biggest scam associated with fitness that ive witnessed in a long time. i personally do not quite understand how so many people have been fooled into thinking Yoga will some how get you into better shape. just my opinion, but really

    • um actually no.. yoga isn’t a scam.. there are tonnes of benefits associated with stretching your muscles.. have you not noticed that people who only pump iron without any stretching have serious problems with their flexibility? yoga is a must.. i’ve been working out for years and yoga has recently became an indispensable part of my routine.. so i agree with the comment about yoga being a nice addition.. for more info read the NSCA’s guide on stretching etc

  17. I like the application, however, here is a suggestion when entering a new “Workout”.

    I wanted to create a Workout called “Steve’s ABS”. After creating it, I started to add the relevant abs exercises. I had to browse throught the entire list and handpick the exercises. I would have preferred to be given the option to add all of the Abs exercises as listed in the “Exercise” tab, and then remove those I don’t want.

    Can it also be possible to allow editing the name of the custom exercise, after it has been created?

    When adding multiple Sets in a exercise log, allow the user to edit the ordinal position of the sets, for example;

    Set 1 , xxxxx
    Set 2 , yyyyy
    Set 3 , zzzzz

    Now I realized that Set 2 and 3 needs to be swapped in order

    Set 1, xxxxx
    Set 2, zzzzz
    Set 3, yyyyy



  18. I love this app, I’ve been going to the gym for several years but always to lazy to rally track my progress. I created 6 of my own workouts and added several exercises that were not in the app already, which you can add to the workouts you create. It’s great it keeps me disciplined and forces me to do exercises I normally would not do. I enter all my stats and email my self the record once a week and compile everything into one master spreadsheet where I can track my progress. I highly suggest this app. It would be even better if you could get a tailored workout from a professional trainer, maybe a new one every three months, and offer this service at a deep discount.

  19. I agree with Tim. I’ve found this app very useful. Especially since I got an armband for my phone I can listen to music, record my reps and weights and even use a timer for breaks. Gotta love this little device; it’s the gym goers best friend, in my opinion. And Tim, you’re right about using a set routine. Personally, I’ve created 4 different workouts for each day I go and its worked out quite well for me. I was suprised by how many simple exercises I had to create to make a functional workout, but having done so, I enjoy using the app in my workouts now.

  20. I completely disagree with the comments of gos. I had similar first impressions, but all of these complaints have been fixed with recent updates.

    The logging feature is great and is obviously designed by someone who has been to the gym a lot. Select the exercise you are about to perform from the list and you can quickly find the weight and reps you did last time. You can then set the weight and reps in the fields and repeatedly hit the add button. In practice it means about 3 seconds between sets to log everything. It even has a place to make a note for each specific set. This rapidly beats a pencil and paper if you go a lot because it is 1) faster than using a pen and 2) does not eventually run out of space.

    I do agree about it being somewhat misleading with the categories, but if you use it with a set routine that you design outside of the program itself it can be very useful.

  21. @gos

    Not sure what version you used. But the latest version you can sort the exercises by muscle group. Arms is broken down into Biceps Brachii, Brachialis, Triceps Brachii, Wrist Extensors and Wrist Flexors. I don’t know all the muscle groups, so I’m not saying it’s accurate, just saying there’s some more advanced filtering now.

    It’s also regularly updated, which is nice.

  22. I am a regular Gym rat and after having this post I have tried out iFitness for … well what it tries to do. Unfortunately I have to say that this app is totally useless for anyone. I would *NOT* recommend it for even the beginners.

    The interface is far from intuitive, but let’s not even get into that.
    The biggest problem with this kind of app is that when people go to the Gym, they often find the exercises they want to do themselves depending on the equipment of their own gym. Or that they can learn from the people there or if they have read about the exercises online.

    The categories are completely misleading. Having an “Arms” already signifies how the developers have no clue about working out (there are at least 4 different major muscle groups in your arms). I spent 5 minutes looking into the build in exercises, and I could not for the life of me figure out how could so many of the basic exercises are not even there. Yes you can add your own workouts/exercises, but in reality a simple list or notepad would do a much better job.

    The logging is nearly useless, if you actually try to use it.
    They shouldn’t even try to advertise it in their app.
    iFitness is an app that tries to do a bunch of things, but does none of them well (or far from it).

    Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is the truth.
    Now to be a little fair, the other gym apps aren’t great either.

    As a regular gym goer, and someone who always help out people in the gym, I highly recommend AGAINST this app.

    • I think you’re being a little critical. I’ve loved the app. Perhaps its not great if you are a gym rat like yourself. (somebody who knows all exercises backwards and forwards.) However for a novice this is great. I liked the logs because I found it motivational for me to see what I’ve done and where I’m going. It helped keep me wanting to go back and continue.

    • daniel

      I’ve been working out off and on for the past 2 years and I’ve always been searching for a good system to log my workouts. This program I would have to say is by far the best, mind you I know which exercises I need to do and I really only use it for logging my reps and sets + distances. It’s done a great job doing it so far and it beats bringing a pad of paper and pencil. (At least for my sake because I always lose the pen, rip / sweat on the paper.) But then again that’s just me.

    • I gotta agree with you. I am NOT a gym rat and stil find it has many basic shortcomings. Some of the missing exercises are nobrainers. The logging is fine, but why can’t I create a custom “routine”. Why can’t I list the same exercise twice in one workout? Why can’t I plan my reps and sets ahead of time without having to “log” them until they are actually done?

    • I think your comments are completely misleading, you give no alternative to the app or a solution to the so called bad exercises. maybe you dont understand how to use the app or are just too juiced up to focus on the screen to add the information needed, i think it gives a great start and also something to do while they rest between reps. stay with your chalk board and all will be ok.

    • I think the app is great, there are some exercises that are missing but you can add your own, Logging is great it even has video demonstration for some activities, It has programs, Its great for mixing up your workouts,

      I use it for logging progress which is fine and use it to mix up different exercises

    • I think your comment is way off. As someone who started working out in 7th grade (I’m 35 now) but isn’t a gym rat (just a normal guy) consider what I like about this app:
      1. It is easy to use while I am huffing and puffing between sets. I actually look forward to entering my data.
      2. It motivates me (more so than when I was in the military) by means of me not wanting to see a valley in my charts/graphs because I skipped a day.
      3. As for it not being intuitive…really? I thought it was plainly intuitive and sort of on the simple side.
      4. The great thing about it is it helps keep me focused. I became used to doing circuit training in rural Arkansas to get ready for football training. In those sessions we had the luxury of a spartan group workout where 3 men teams would follow each other around in a circle hitting different exercises. It was highly efficient. I don’t work out with anyone but myself now. So, having a plan saves me a lot of time and in my mind provides my body with the best chance of seeing results. I see a lot of chubby guys and gals in the gym just sort of milling around. I bet if they had a plan they would probably become regulars…

      So, for what it’s worth this little app is an efficiency tool that you can use to show results in strength gain, endurance, stamina, and even weight loss.

      The only complaint I would have is that the loading time is 3 seconds longer than I would expect.

      Geez – iFitness should pay me to write this review.

    • I have to agree that you are being a little critical on this app. The majority of people spend hundreds of dollars on personal trainers, so what is a $1.99 to help them get started on their journey to become healthy. I am getting ready to start my journey back to the gym and getting healthy by using all iTouch apps and blogging about it. So we will see how this app does during the long haul.

    • I would like to delete some of the selections for a category, example I only do a few ab exercises but I have to scroll through a sea of options til I get to my exercise. Anything to make me workout more is well worth $1.99. Live longer, Live Happier, Live Healther. Sounds like a good value. Don’t worry I don’t own the stock of this company. However I have exercised my entire life and few years I have worked to much and exercised to little so need some motivation. I have been happy so far.