I’ve been working out on my own for decades, but now I never sweat without this app


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Photo: Getty Images/filadendron

Let me paint a little picture for you: I was in the middle of my treadmill run—a HIIT sequence led by a Peloton trainer on my app—when the streaming abruptly came to a stop. I don’t know whether it was the spotty Wi-Fi in the gym or Mercury Retrograde rearing its ugly head, but either way, it led to an absolute crisis.

I truly didn’t know what to do with myself next. Without one of my go-to running instructors from the streaming platform guiding me through each and every interval, hill, and sprint, I was helpless. The ironic thing is that I’ve been working out for decades on my own, no trainer needed—so I can assure you without hesitation that within my brain are a roster of workout moves and running drills that I could perform on my own…just like I used to. But for some reason, these days I just can’t bring myself to, well, instruct myself through my own workout.

Ever since I was introduced to the Peloton workout app about three months ago, I haven’t done a sweat sesh without it. Former, independent me would scoff at the fact that I now workout without my running playlist (which I used to look forward to sprinting to)—but now I’m totally hypnotized and reliant upon Peloton trainers like Olivia Amato, Selena Samuela, and Rebecca Kennedy, regardless of whether or not I like the music they play in the background.

Watching a Peloton instructor actually do the workout right in front of me is like I’m working out with my fitness BFF—only that BFF is a certified trainer, who’s truly getting me stronger and pushing me harder than I’d push myself. If the app for some reason isn’t working, neither am I. It’s like I’d rather turn it into a rest day than workout without my fitness app of choice.

I’d rather turn it into a rest day than workout without my fitness app of choice.

I don’t think I’m alone, either. When I brought up my life-shattering dilemma, my colleagues admitted that they deal with the same reliance. “Because so much of my life revolves around making my own decisions, I love the mindlessness of cueing up a coach and allowing them to tell me exactly what to do,” says Kells McPhillips, news writer. “If you asked me tomorrow to take the reigns over my workouts again, I could do it, sure. But I feel like that time would be a little more stressful than it is now.” I feel you, Kells—only, it’s not just stressful to work out on my own, I honestly don’t even like it anymore.

The fitness world used to be simply going to the gym. Then the boutique fitness class dominated everything, and people went in droves to buzzy studios offering trainer-led yoga, boot camp, and Pilates—anything and everything you can think of. But now? Fitness has become digital. There’s not just the Peloton app, but Aaptiv, Les Mills, obé fitness…and the list goes on and on. Workout apps make having access to star trainers and buzzy workouts as easy as using your cell phone or laptop in your living room. Wherever you are.

So it’s not just me. As fitness apps multiply by the numbers, zillions more people will grow to understand my pain: Working out on your own isn’t the same anymore. If you can tune in, and zone out, which is kind of how we describe Netflix binges and movie dates with friends, then we’re in a healthy place to pretty consistently find ourselves moving our bodies and being active without it feeling like a chore. And yeah…you don’t even have to leave home to do it.

If you, too, are looking for an exercise to follow, try this Dogpound workout for free that you can stream at home. And these are the 10 best Aaptiv workouts (an audio-based fitness streaming app). 

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