A couple of years ago I established that Peloton was not a fit for my workout style. I didn’t care for the “yay, rah-rah” style of the instructors. I’m not the kind of person that needs someone yelling at me or pumping me up in order to follow an exercise plan. That said, a couple of months ago I subscribed to iFit which is a competitor to Peloton to see if they offered anything that would fit my style.
Why I Tried iFit
In early February I had wrapped-up a training plan and was looking for something new to try on the days that I can’t ride outside here in Maine. A cycling friend of mine, knowing that I don’t care for Peloton, recommended that I try iFit. He likes that the workouts are filmed on real, outside rides and the instructors are talking as they ride. That was enough to get me to try it.
What I Liked About iFit
Despite my ultimate conclusion that iFit isn’t a fit for me, there are some things that I like about it. First, I did like that the workouts were filmed outdoors on real rides. That was much better than watching some sweaty, model-like spin coach.
Second, I liked being able to adjust the music so that I wasn’t stuck with whatever theme was chosen for that workout. For example, when the default was Top 40 Hits, I immediately changed it to Classic Rock. I also enjoyed being able to change the audio mix so that I could hear more of the music and less of the instructor.
Third, I did enjoy one of the instructors, Yuri Hauswald. But that might be only because I did ride with him and chat with him in real life last summer during an Unbound Gravel shakeout ride. He was also an elementary school teacher for a decade before being a professional cyclist/ cycling coach.
What I Didn’t Like About iFit
First, all of the adjustments that can be made to the in-workout videos are great, if the Apple TV app doesn’t freeze or crash. I had more than a few workouts in which at least one of the following went wrong; the audio and video didn’t sync, the data on the screen didn’t sync with what the instructor said, the app just flat-out froze and had to be restarted.
Second, the cycling workouts seem to be based on something called Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). The instructors reference that all the time, but none of them ever explained the scale so you have to do a bunch of workouts before you have any sense of what the RPE scale is.
Third, the instructors don’t shut up! Ever! They talk throughout the entire workout! Some of them are better than others in what they say, but even Yuri never stopped talking. The ones that really annoyed me were the 20-something instructors who tried to share their “life coaching” advice and the convicted dopers who did the same.
What I Really Didn’t Like About iFit – Dopers as Instructors!
It turns out that cheating continues pay in the world of professional cycling. iFit employs as instructors two retired professional cyclists who are admitted dopers who used banned, performance-enhancing drugs and tried to explain it away in Lance Armstrong-style. I tried a couple of their workouts in iFit and found myself yelling, “shut up, doper!” at the screen each time. By the way, this is the same reason I won’t listen to Lance Armstrong’s podcast and it’s why I mute the television whenever he’s allowed to speak on NBC’s broadcast of the Tour de France.
Who Might Like iFit
iFit, like Peloton and similar at-home fitness programs, seems to be designed for the person who needs a little motivation to workout. If you like having an instructor talk to you for 30, 45, or 60 minutes at a time while you’re exercising, iFit could be for you.