Beachbody on Demand vs. Nike Training Club
Working out at home is the ideal situation – no driving, nobody watching, no cost. no problem. It sounds so perfect until you’re in front of the TV doing 100 sit-ups and 50 push-ups because you can’t think of anything else to do, get bored, and give up. Good news is, there’s an app for that. In fact, there are about 1500 apps for that. I’ve tried my share of them and landed on my top two – two of the most popular fitness apps on the market – Beachbody on Demand and Nike Training Club.
Beachbody came out with Beachbody on Demand where for $99/year you can access all of their programs – think P90X, Insanity, PiYo. All of these are Beachbody programs and are available through their app. They have probably 50 programs, each one pretty different from the next. Nike Training Club is a free app by Nike where you can put in the equipment you already own, current fitness level, days a week you’re willing to dedicate, etc. and it will formulate a custom plan for you. Both of these apps serve their intended purpose and are great tools to help you reach your fitness goals, whatever they may be. However, nobody wants to sign up for 10 apps in order to find the best one for them, so I’ve broken down the pros, cons, and my recommendations for these two (great) fitness apps.
Beachbody on Demand App Homepage
Beachbody on Demand Pros:
1. Desktop Version. One nice thing about BOD is that they have a desktop version – you can log in on your computer and go along with the workouts on a bigger screen that way. If you have Chromecast or AppleTV, this doesn’t matter so much since you can stream from your phone to your TV, but it comes in handy sometimes.
2. Feel Like You’re In a Workout Class. Beachbody’s programs are made to feel like you’re going to a workout class rather than just doing a workout – meaning, it’s a video of a full workout that’s led by a trainer and you follow along with them and the people in the background. This is nice if you like having a trainer and someone to listen to while you’re working out. It helps the time go and make you feel like you’re not monotonously working out by yourself.
3. Complete Programs. The way that Beachbody has their programs set up, it seems like there is a program for everything. Dancing, weight training, yoga, cardio, you name it. Each program comes with a calendar that tells you when to do which workout for maximum benefit. Some are 6 week programs, some 21 days, 80 days, etc. so you can choose which program is best for you that way as well. Many of the programs also come with an eating plan that goes along with the calendar so if you follow along with those two things, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see results. This is nice if you want to get more fit but have no idea what to do or where to start – you pick a program and it’s all laid out for ya!
4. Lots of Variety. I mentioned earlier but it’s worth it’s own number – the variety of workouts is crazy! You can filter Beachbody’s programs by difficulty, type, length, and trainer – each of those categories having lots to choose from. You can pretty much find any type of workout at any level of fitness so there’s almost guaranteed something that will fit your needs.
5. Complete with Modifier. I find it really convenient that each of the programs has a ‘modifier’. The modifier is a person who is completing the workout at a lower level of fitness. This is really nice because not everyone’s strengths are the same, and there may be some parts that you can keep up with, but some that you can’t. So instead of just standing there feeling frustrated or walking in place, you can continue to follow along by doing the modified version of the workout. This also allows you to participate in a workout that is above your fitness level and see where you will end up if you keep at it.
App View of One of BOD’s Programs // 21 Day Fix
Calendar // 21 Day Fix
Nike Training Club Pros:
1. IT’s FREEEE! BOD will cost you $99/year but you can jump into NTC for freeeeee
2. Customizable. I love that the workout plan you get is completely customizable. They ask you a series of questions about your fitness level, how many days a week you can work out and for roughly how long, what equipment you have, etc. and build you a plan that fits all of the criterion you provided. You can also modify what days you do what workouts/have off days within a week once you’ve started the plan. This comes in really handy when you know you’re going to be too busy on a Thursday but your recovery day falls on a Tuesday – just hit ‘Edit Schedule’, drag the recovery day from Tuesday to Thursday and BAM. You’re still on track.
3. Workout Based on Your Goal. The plans that Nike offers through this app are based on your goal – build muscle, get lean, build endurance, etc. This is yet another way to effortlessly customize your plan. You’re starting a workout app for a reason and only you know what that is. This way, you can put that goal in writing and have a plan ready for you to execute that goal.
4. Daily Variety. NTC’s workouts are structured where they show you the move, you do it for a set amount of time or a certain number of reps and then you move onto the next move. Since they can put together any move without it being a filmed class like BOD is, every day the workout is different, even if you’re doing some of the same moves. It helps keep your mind active and relieves some of the monotony of working out.
NTC App Homepage // Workout Recommendations
5. Rep AND Time Based. Some of the workouts are based on timing (i.e. do push-ups for 45 seconds), where some of the workouts are rep based (i.e. do 10 push-ups). This really helps you build your strength and endurance, especially if you’re closer to the starting end of your fitness journey. You might be able to do 5 solid push-ups in 45 seconds but if you have to do 10, you’re building up your arm/chest’s ability to do 10 push-ups in a row no matter how long it takes.
6. Mobile Friendly. Duh. It’s an app. But seriously, this app is beautiful and extraordinarily user-friendly. I very much appreciate when apps and websites are well thought out and aesthetically pleasing so this really makes me happy!
7. Syncs Effortlessly with Apple Watch. If you have an apple watch, this app is definitely for you. When you start the workout on your phone, it automatically starts the workout on your watch, stops when the workout stops, and syncs with your Activity app immediately. I’ve been using NTC for 7 weeks now and haven’t seen a glitch once. Long gone are the days of starting a workout and realizing you forgot to hit ‘end’ 3 hours later!
8. Progress Checks. One really cool feature of these plans is that every week or two, you get a progress check where you complete the same workout each time and you can compare your time. Beachbody suggests this feature in some of their programs but you have to keep track of it all yourself and make sure you remember to do them. With NTC, they’re part of your plan and it keeps all your times within the app. It even gives you your stats compared to your gender and age group!
9. Friends. I really like that you can add friends that also do NTC and keep up with their progress. It’s always fun for me to see who else I know that does the same workout stuff that I do so it’s a nice bonus feature.
10. Tells You What’s Next. Since the workouts are a compilation of moves planned out into a workout, you’re able to view what all of the moves are before you get started. This is nice if you’re having an off day and know you won’t be able to put in maximum effort – you can switch up your week so that you’re doing a less difficult workout that day and do the more difficult one when you’re at your best.
NTC App // Variety of Workout Categories
NTC App // My Lean Fit Workout Schedule
Beachbody on Demand Cons:
1. VERY Glitchy Apple Watch App. I put this as number one because this is the sole reason I started looking for a new workout app and found NTC. There will be times that you start a workout on your phone and it won’t start on the watch, you’re done with a workout and try to hit ‘end’ which freezes the watch app and you have to restart the watch to fix it. Either way, you lose your workout tracking which is THE PURPOSE OF THE WATCH. I found this very, very, very frustrating even though I loved Beachbody’s programs. Of course, you can start a cardio or strength training workout through the watch’s regular workout presets but I like to start the actual workout I’m doing. Please Beachbody, if you’re reading this, fix it!
2. No Customization. I will say, some of the programs come with multiple calendars so you can pick the one that best suits you, but since it is a set calendar, you can’t modify the plan at all unless you make your own in Word or your own planner. This allows no wiggle-room for swapping days like you are able to with NTC. Additionally, many of the programs require a 6 day/week commitment which is quite a lot – especially for somebody just starting out. Of course you could create your own calendar and do the videos along with your schedule but it’s nice to have that as a built in feature with NTC.
3. Most Programs are Highly Repetitive. The majority of the programs I did contained roughly 5-6 videos that you did in a certain order over and over again throughout the multiple weeks of the program. I did end up getting very tired of doing the same thing, hearing the same jokes from the trainers, etc. One exception to this is 80 Day Obsession where the trainer, Autumn Calabrese, recorded all 80 days of workouts. I really loved this as it made you feel like you were going on the journey along with everybody and tracking their progress along with your own.
4. Cost. As mentioned, BOD is $99/year which is quite a bit for online workouts. However, this is significantly cheaper than buying each of the programs that you want to do, separately. If I recall correctly, each of the programs go for around $200 if you get the hard copies of everything so half of one program for a whole year where you can try any of their programs is a pretty good deal comparatively. However, it’s still a bit of an investment when there are multiple free options out there.
Nike Training Club Cons:
1. No Desktop Version. Essentially in response to BOD’s pro about this – all workouts have to be completed on your phone unless you have phone-mirroring capabilities. I personally don’t mind this, especially since the workouts are pretty simple so all you really need to look at is the demo and then just listen for the timing cues (certain beep that tells you to start, another beep that tells you to stop), but I can see how it could get old to be phone-dependent after a while.
2. Some Repetitive Moves. I’ve been doing NTC for about 7 weeks now and I have definitely noticed that they have a tendency to recycle the moves. Now that I’ve done a great deal of the workouts (in the Lean Fit category) it’s rare that they introduce a move that I haven’t previously done. It would be nice to have a bit more variety but it’s mixed up enough that I don’t feel completely bored.
You can probably tell by the proportion of my ‘Pro’ lists that I’m currently on the side of Nike Training Club. There are so many good (and free) things about it that it makes it hard to justify paying money, especially when the BOD Apple Watch app is extremely glitchy… but I’m not bitter about it… (: In the end, both apps are extraordinary tools to aide you in your fitness journey and will yield results if you put in the effort. Remember, no amount of money or fancy program will make you lose weight/build muscle. Only you will. All of these programs and apps are simply tools to help you get there. Whatever you choose, give it your best effort and don’t give in on those days you just want to melt into the couch. Odds are you’ll be much more energized and happy that you put in your 20 minutes or half hour. Baby steps lead to big gains down the road. I believe in you. X