Apple's Jay Blahnik speaks about Fitness+ team, metrics as motivators

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Apple fitness chief Jay Blahnik in a recent interview spoke about the Apple Fitness+ service, its instructors, and why metrics may be the best motivator for working out.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


Blahnik, who serves as Apple's senior director of Fitness Technologies, recently sat down on the Healthy-ish podcast to share some tidbits about Fitness+ in a short interview.

For example, Blahnik said that the Apple Fitness+ service, which launched in December, was designed with diversity in mind and "the idea that everyone's invited to the party."

"So the trainers are diverse and welcoming, they're truly masters of their craft, and they'll push you to work hard, but they'll also just brighten your spirits and keep you motivated to stick with it," he said.

Blahnik also touched on the collaboration and camaraderie among the Apple Fitness+ instructors -- something that he says is unique. Each member of the team works together with their colleagues to create their workouts, rehearse, and get feedback. The instructors also appear in each other's videos.

"You just feel it. Right from the very first video that you try," Blahnik said. "You'll just feel that you're in a place that's welcoming, supportive, and really motivational."

On whether the switch to at-home and digital workouts will stick after the coronavirus pandemic is over, Blahnik said that people will likely return to gyms and fitness classes. On the other hand, he said the digital shift may give people the skill and confidence to work out in new ways.

"I think we feel on the other side of this that more people are going to be doing more exercise in more ways than they ever did before," he said.

Blahnik also expanded on the idea that data metrics can be an excellent motivator for health and wellness, whether or not they're showing progress.

"I think wanting to measure what we do is almost human nature," he said. "If you know how you're doing you can see when you're dropping back, when you're pulling ahead, or when you're staying the same."

Metrics aren't always just about progression, Blahnik added. Just knowing whether you're working out at the same pace or level as you have been can be a motivator.

"Sometimes you're just really happy that you're not getting worse ..." he said. "It isn't always about progression. It's just about sort of knowing where you're at."

Blahnik also highlighted the immediate feedback features in Apple Fitness+, including the "celebration" if a user closes their rings during a workout.

"You might be in the middle of a burpee set or something really challenging," said Blahnik. "But when the celebration happens, it's like a little parade for one person, and it motivates you in ways that are unexpected to kind of push through, which is great."

The full interview with Jay Blahnik can be found here.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    mobirdmobird Posts: 639member
    The Fitness+ is not my thing but if it was I would want a realistic type of instructor/coach like Blahnik, with his words touching on reality.

    "Sometimes you're just really happy that you're not getting worse ..." he said. "It isn't always about progression. It's just about sort of knowing where you're at."

    My kinda guy...
    edited January 18 repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    I have been using Fitness+ daily since it came out in December, and I am loving it!! I really do like how all the instructors are supportive and encouraging, but not in an falsely peppy way; they all seem genuine and have a great energy about them. I also love the variety of workout types and durations. Totally worth the nominal monthly cost, in my opinion. 

    I will agree with people that it’s not geared towards expert/hardcore fitness people, but I don’t think that was ever the intent. I think the vast majority of people will be able to find some sort of benefit somewhere. And for someone like me who is happy (and lazy enough) to just maintain and maybe slowly get better, it is perfect. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    mrbofus said:
    I have been using Fitness+ daily since it came out in December, and I am loving it!! I really do like how all the instructors are supportive and encouraging, but not in an falsely peppy way; they all seem genuine and have a great energy about them. I also love the variety of workout types and durations. Totally worth the nominal monthly cost, in my opinion. 

    I will agree with people that it’s not geared towards expert/hardcore fitness people, but I don’t think that was ever the intent. I think the vast majority of people will be able to find some sort of benefit somewhere. And for someone like me who is happy (and lazy enough) to just maintain and maybe slowly get better, it is perfect. 
    I want to try it for the yoga routines. I have never done yoga before and I am not going to start going to a studio now with the way things are with COVID. I see a service like this from Apple with the Watch integration being a big selling point.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,449member
    The question not answered here or elsewhere is:   Why exercise?   Or an extension of that:  "Why live a healthy lifestyle?"

    For young people, it is often just a case of looking good.   For older people it is often just a case of keeping up with the grandkids or not falling off the cliff.
    But, there is another reason:   Simple Health and Functionality -- being free from problems and able to do what you want and need to do.

    It is estimated that 80% of our "age related disease" are not related to (or caused by) age -- but by years of unhealthy living:  The years and decades of unhealthy diets, unhealthy weight and sedentary living slowly pound away at the body's organs and systems till they begin, one by one to fail -- and then the cascade begins.

    And our health system doesn't help -- because it's NOT a health system.  It's a Disease Management system.    When a person is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes they are not given prescriptions for reversing the condition, they are given prescriptions for pills to treat the symptoms of the condition.

    Similarly, one of the biggest problems of older adults is debility:   but the health system doesn't emphasize the things that will maintain functionality.  Instead it stresses pills and procedures to simply keep the person alive -- even if they are essentially just a living, breathing vegetable.

    So, the person is pretty much on their own to maintain their own health and functionality.

    A life long habit of healthy living (diet, exercise, healthy weight, etc.) will pay dividends after the person passes 60 or 70 years old.  It's an investment.  And Apple Fitness+ will certainly help people get there.
    johnfrombeyondwatto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 7
    mrbofus said:
    I have been using Fitness+ daily since it came out in December, and I am loving it!! I really do like how all the instructors are supportive and encouraging, but not in an falsely peppy way; they all seem genuine and have a great energy about them. I also love the variety of workout types and durations. Totally worth the nominal monthly cost, in my opinion. 

    I will agree with people that it’s not geared towards expert/hardcore fitness people, but I don’t think that was ever the intent. I think the vast majority of people will be able to find some sort of benefit somewhere. And for someone like me who is happy (and lazy enough) to just maintain and maybe slowly get better, it is perfect. 
    I disagree with your last part of your last paragraph as it perpetuates a bit of an obnoxious myth. I have been racing triathlon for over a decade, okay the pandemic has put a slight damper on actual racing but you get the point. I have also been doing strength training for longer. So I’m the dipwad that the people I know see as “hardcore”. I have been using Fitness+ and the HIIT and cycling workouts are structured such that you push to your limits. So they are equally challenging to anyone doing them newbie or experienced. Will it meet all my training needs? No, but not because they aren’t challenging but because race training just gets really structured and specific. Anyway, anyone saying they are to advance, hardcore or whatever for Fitness+ is talking out their arse due to their ego. 

    Fitness is a journey and not an destination. There is not hardcore person and not hardcore person, there are people on a journey and they are where they are at. Tune out the judgment, that comes from people that are entirely missing the point. 
    edited January 19
  • Reply 6 of 7
    I enjoy using Fitness+ but am frustrated at the inability to pair my Apple Watch to the Apple TV for Fitness+ workouts. I have read the forums and have reset my watch and Apple TV numerous times. This solution only works for a single workout and the "Pairing canceled" message returns. Apple Support has acknowledged the issue and notes they are no longer collecting logs from users with this issue. This leads them to believe a patch is in the works. I wish they would allow users to execute a Fitness+ workout on the Apple TV without the watch as they do on iOS devices.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,449member
    mrbofus said:
    I have been using Fitness+ daily since it came out in December, and I am loving it!! I really do like how all the instructors are supportive and encouraging, but not in an falsely peppy way; they all seem genuine and have a great energy about them. I also love the variety of workout types and durations. Totally worth the nominal monthly cost, in my opinion. 

    I will agree with people that it’s not geared towards expert/hardcore fitness people, but I don’t think that was ever the intent. I think the vast majority of people will be able to find some sort of benefit somewhere. And for someone like me who is happy (and lazy enough) to just maintain and maybe slowly get better, it is perfect. 
    ....
    Fitness is a journey and not an destination. ...
    While I agree with and enjoyed reading all that you wrote, when I read this line I at first nodded in agreement with an "Amen Brother!" -- but then I laughed as I remembered that, for me at 70, it's more like playing whack-a-mole!   You work on one thing and something else falls apart.  So you work on that thing and something starts to fall apart...   It's discouraging until I remind myself that the alternative is:  EVERYTHING falling apart!   LOL...

    watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
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