You know I love to share cool, helpful, affordable resources with you all. I mean, what’s the point of keeping stuff like that a secret? That’s why I started this blog—to share information with you that I think is valuable and helpful for living a healthy life. Today is all about a new (to me) fitness app I’ve been using for two weeks. 8fit. Have you heard of it?
If you haven’t heard of it, this review should give you a pretty good idea about what it is and how it works, and whether it would benefit your life.
I’ll start by saying I both love and hate to workout. By that I mean I love the way I feel during and after a workout. I love the way working out regularly keeps my moods stable, my metabolism fired up, and my muscles toned. But I hate carving time out of my day to go to the gym, finding a class I like that fits into my schedule, or having to buy equipment I might not use regularly. So I’ve tended to be hit and miss with actual workouts. Yes, I walk, and practice yoga almost every day. But it’s important to also keep working on strength and muscle building/maintenance throughout our lives. It’s just a fact that muscle mass keeps our metabolisms in high gearp, and if we don’t use them we lose them.
I have some dumbbells here at the house—the kind you lift, not the kind you roll your eyes at. (Well, actually I have both but that’s another story.) And about twice a week I would do a lifting session with them, but I wasn’t really seeing the results I wanted. I also don’t really feel like joining a gym and dealing with that aforementioned time problem, not to mention traffic and contracts and all the other stuff that goes along with gyms. I need to be able to workout at home, when it’s convenient for me. And I don’t always want to spend 30-45 minutes on a strength/bodyweight workout. Quick and Dirty is all I can manage most days. So I did a little internet digging and found an app that specializes in quick bodyweight workouts, has different levels of workouts, and a scheduling/reminder feature. How could I resist trying that out?
Enter 8fit. This app was released two years ago, but I had never heard of it. Not surprising considering how many apps there are in this category. But with somewhere around a million downloads, and a solid four star rating, I figured it was worth checking out. There are both free and pro (read: paid) levels of the app, and I’m currently using the free version. I’m frugal. Having said that, the free version has a lot going for it.
Let’s start by talking about some of the non-exercise aspects I like. 8fit integrates with the Apple Health kit app built into your iPhone, and the Apple Watch. I love that. I know I’m probably in the minority, but I actually use Apple Health kit. I also run FitBit and MyFitnessPal simultaneously. And they integrate with each other, and MFP integrates with Apple Health, so I have a loop of data sharing which lets me see how daily workouts are affecting my metabolism, body composition, blood pressure, caloric intake, etc. That information may or may not be as exciting for you as it is for me, but I love it. That data is the kind of stuff I live for—being able to track effort and results keeps me motivated and engaged. I do not have an Apple Watch (but my birthday is coming up, hint hint), however if I do get one in the future I’m sure I’ll love the app integration there, just as much as I do on my phone.
Another tech feature I like is the scheduling and reminder functions. Each day I can schedule my next workout day/time, and then receive a reminder on my lock screen when it’s time to workout. I’m one of those people who gets involved in what I’m doing and loses track of time, so having that feature built in, as opposed to me having to set a calendar reminder, keeps me on track. Of course I can ignore the lock screen reminder for a while if I need to, but it will sit there mocking me until I do something about it…at which point I may as well just do the dang workout.
Then there’s the data integration feature. As soon as my workout is complete, 8fit dumps the time and caloric info into my Apple Health kit app, which then posts that info to MFP, which then posts it to my FitBit app. Squee!
Now on to the workouts. Holy sweatbands! As I mentioned, these are bodyweight workouts, and most are Tabata style, that is a set number of reps done as fast as possible, mixed with as many reps as possible in a set amount of time. B-R-U-T-A-L and effective. Luckily, there are levels of workouts available, beginner, intermediate, advanced, and some exercises have modification/alternate suggestions if you need to avoid certain movements. You can stay on the same level as long as you want to, or move up when you complete all of the workouts in your current level.
I started with the beginner workouts, and am now into the intermediate program. I suggest that everyone start at the beginner level unless you are well versed in Tabata movements and have your form down pat. Correct form is very important in avoiding injury, and getting the best results. But do not think for one second that the beginner workouts are easy. No, no, no. You will be sweating within five minutes and if you’re like me, your dog will become very concerned about your grunting and try to ‘help’ you by whining and licking you while you sweat/cry/grunt your way through 9-15 minutes of exertion.
The paid version includes meal plans, recipes, grocery lists, and coaching via a chat feature. There are varying levels of the pro version, ranging from $39.99 for 3 months to $79.99 for a full year with a coach.
As I said, I’m currently using the free version, as I don’t need the added features of meal plans and shopping lists. With the free version, you can access fitness, nutrition and exercise guides, which can be helpful. I especially find the exercise guides to be useful for familiarizing myself with new moves.
8fit also keeps track of how many workouts you’ve done and allows you to customize your goals as you progress through the workouts. I find that to be a very helpful feature, as updating your goals helps keep you progressing. I’ve already updated mine, and I’m only two weeks into this program.
I’m definitely planning to keep using 8fit for the foreseeable future. The workouts are varied, challenging, effective, and blessedly brief. Give it a look if you’re in the market for a down and dirty workout app, with no BS.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go get my sweat on!
Do you have a favorite workout app? Share your thoughts about it in the comments, I'd love to hear why you dig it!