I Turned My ‘Reminders’ App Into a 100 Percent Free Personal Trainer

Photo: Getty Images/Morsa Images
My normal reaction to push notifications is usually more "Gah" than "Ahhh." Plenty of human beings tell me what to do every day, so why (why?!) would I want my smartphone to boss me around, too? While I say no, no, and no to any and all apps that try to send me digital telegrams (just STOP Instagram), I have—as of late—harnessed the power of my iPhone "Reminders" app to re-inspire my workouts.

In case you've never played around with this particular application taking up space on your home screen, here's your primer: You set "reminders" (go figure) to ping you at a time or location of your choosing. Each notification can then be customized to be extra-urgent, sorted into a list of your choosing, and even annotated with further detail. TBH: It's pretty user-friendly, and for those of us who thrive on nailing down the nitty-gritty details of our exercise regimens, it's. so. satisfying.

Using "Reminders" to schedule your sweat session is definitely a "choose your own adventure" kind of thing. Get creative! Do it your way! Personally though, I like to sit down on Sunday and plan my week of yoga, running, and strength training. I start by typing in a snappy header that says something like, "It's arm day, bee-atch!" or "Namaste at 7 o'clock." I then plug in the day, set the priority to one exclamation point (can't take myself too seriously here), and write out my full workout plan in the notes section with as much pizzazz as possible. I source a lot of my workouts from IG and Well+Good (ofc), so I'll even drop in their links if I want to be thorough. (Note: If you just don't feel like typing, you can also dictate to Siri, your digital scribe.)

Photo: My iPhone!

You know what happens next. Right on schedule, as if my device has turned into a Black Mirror-style personal trainer, I get a push notification (this time, one I actually like!) pumping me up for my workout and telling me exactly what's on deck for the day. It allows me to mentally prep for what's ahead and, once I get to the gym and crush the workout, I can even—gasp—check my workout off in the Reminders app.

If you ask me, it's simply glorious. It's technology's gift to fitness enthusiasts. That's why—from now on—it's the only "push notification" I will allow to slide onto my home screen (and into my heart).

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