9 Personal Trainer Apps for Getting Into Shape
We’re well into 2019, which means most of us have already given up on our New Year’s resolution to get back into shape. That is not our typically cynical but witty intro to the topic of personal trainer apps for getting into shape. There is a bit of science that says that most of us start stuffing our faces with 3D-printed pizzas only weeks into our pledges to eat healthier and work out more. A social media site for sharing cycling data can even pinpoint the day – Jan. 12 – when our collective willpower begins to wilt based on the precipitous drop in personal data uploads.
There are a number of reasons for this failure outside of just general weak moral character, but a lot of the problems come from not having a support network or setting expectations too high. Also, it’s tough to find enough time to go to the gym. And, even if you do make it to the gym, who can tell a dumbbell from a barbell? Another possible reason that workouts don’t work could be related to genetics. Science is slowly catching up with claims from people who say they consume nothing but thin air and work out vigorously but still have troubles getting results from their exercise routines and diet plans might just be fated to be fat. It’s no wonder so many companies are offering so many different solutions in the wellness category:
Let’s not forget that all of these fancy diets, gym membership, and genetic tests cost money. That’s especially the case for real-life personal trainers, who can charge as much as $125 per session, which is about the price of a half-ounce of some high-quality weed. You know where we’re spending our money, which leave us with these nine personal trainer apps below, some of which we could say are also part of the trend of using artificial intelligence for personalized health.
Founded in 2016, Cure.Fit from Bangalore, India, with total funding of $174.6 million, offers a mind-body-soul take on highly personalized healthcare. It has more than a dozen investors, including quality VC firms like Accel, which co-led a $120 million Series C last year. Available in densely populated India megacities (according to a 2011 census, 8.5 million people live in Bangalore only), Cure.Fit is above and beyond standard personal trainer apps. It consists of four pillars: Eat.Fit, Mind.Fit, Cult.Fit, and Care.Fit, which use algorithms to target different wellness aspects, including wholesome, nutritionally balanced food orders (meals for lazy cooks and busy CEOs solved), yoga and meditation retreats, drop-in and membership-based workouts, and health checkups and managed healthcare plans.
With so much effort put into preventative medicine, users hopefully won’t need to spend as much on the Care.Fit bit. All in all, they will either #BeBetterEveryDay (the app hashtag) or turn into total hypochondriacs.
There are no more excuses for skipping workouts because Aaptiv helps you stay focused on the fitness journey via your headphones. The New York-based startup, founded in 2015, has raised $52.1 million, including rounds from investors such as Amazon and Disney, to create tailored fitness programs to the beat of the music you most like. All you need to do is complete a fitness evaluation questionnaire and then choose from more than 3,000 variations of audio-guided classes, such as indoor cycling, ellipticals, strength training, yoga, and outdoor running. A few courses are now available via Amazon Audible (of course) to the apps reported 200,000 active users. Just loop “Eye of the Tiger” for us and we’re good to go.
Smart Live Streaming
Since 2016, New York-based Mirror has raised $40.8 million to develop a personal trainer app that is part work out video and part fitness app. Instead of visiting a studio for a class, fitness fans can bring the class home on a full-body smart mirror with LCD camera and embedded speakers, and mount it on the wall to access live streamed or on-demand classes run by New York fitness studios.
The sleek glass surface looks like a supersized mobile phone screen. It physically mirrors the participant to improve, say, a yoga pose or kung fu stance. Real-time biometric data via a complementary heart rate monitor or Apple Watch is also displayed. A trainer or a community member will shout from the screen to help with motivation. We wonder if one comes in an S&M model?
AI Bot Coaching
Bangalore fitness freaks have plenty to choose from. This includes the HealthifyMe app from the Indian startup (with the same name), founded in 2012, with total funding of $25 million. Somewhat similar to CureFit, HealthifyMe helps subscribers manage a sensible health budget to achieve holistic exercise, eating, and weight loss goals. The app uses machine-learning algorithms that collect and analyze users’ input while helping them track calorie burn, water intake, and step count.
Being able to process thousands of data inputs daily, Ria, the AI-driven bot from HealthifyMe, guides users through the workout regimens and provides strictly personalized healthy food suggestions. For instance, on the question, “What should I eat for dinner?” Ria can differentiate between answers with micro-variations: an orange (48 cal) and an apple (59 cal). When Ria doesn’t have the answer, a human coach steps in.
Digital Physical Therapy
Musculoskeletal disorders (lower back pain included) are the top contributors to disability worldwide. In no way should your feet or your back suffer from extreme workouts. New York-based startup Kaia Health, founded in 2015, raised a $10 million Series A back in January, bringing total funding to $14 million. The startup aims to help users alleviate the most common orthopedic problem with multi-modal (i.e., more mind-body mysticism), medicine-free therapy based on computer vision. The personal trainer app uses computer vision through a smartphone camera to monitor the user as he or she performs one of more than 250 exercises. Vocal feedback helps to correct postures, motions and other aspects of the exercise to ensure the user gets the maximum benefit without injury.
Update 09/18/2019: Kaia Health has raised an additional $8 million in funding bringing the company’s total funding to $22 million to date.
Update 06/18/2020: Kaia Health has raised $26 million in Series B funding to fund more clinical studies and conduct additional R&D. This brings the company’s total funding to $48 million to date.
Customizable Fitness Schedules
Founded in 2014, the Berlin-based startup 8fit has raised $9.7 million to create detailed personalized fitness and nutrition plans to help its subscribers maintain motivation and endurance by educating them about food and providing fitness suggestions that could fit into each user’s personal daily schedule. With a combination of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) and yoga exercises, subscribers enroll in 12-week transformation programs for shedding extra weight.
AI-powered Cardio Burners
Founded in 2014, London-based startup Fitwell raised $1.9 million for its AI-powered chatbot coach. This personal trainer app offers ways to ditch expensive gym memberships in favor of varying intensity home workouts and personalized nutrition plans. Despite being a holistic app, and in contrast to other personal trainer apps, Fitwell mainly focuses on cardio exercises that target weight loss.
By interacting with Fitwell Coach, users learn about properly executing fat-burning exercises such as advanced planks to shed pounds, starting at $1.15 per week for an annual subscription.
DNA Testing for Workouts
The startup FitnessGenes from Bicester, Oxfordshire, founded in 2013 with $6.6 million in Series A funding, is set to make the small UK town famous for something else than discounted brand shopping (after Buckingham Palace, Bicester is reportedly the second UK destination most-hearted by Chinese visitors), adding to genetics-based personal trainer apps. App subscribers take a cheek cell saliva test with a DNA kit delivered via mail and send it back to FitnessGenes, which then delivers a genetically optimized fitness and nutrition plan, based on a variety of factors, from how sensitive one is to alcohol to what supplements would help meet nutritional needs. What’s next? DNA dating. Oh, right …
It’s the 1% that makes us genetically unique, and Danish startup AthGene is working to help users learn more about that minor difference and use it to advance their fitness goals. Founded in 2015, the company raised around $600,000 for a subscription-based personal trainer app based on DNA testing. Users can choose from a variety of insights that get delivered to the app dashboard, including information about vitamin supplementation, other micronutrients, and carbs intake. They can also gauge their sweet tooth propensity, VO2 max potential, susceptibility to muscle injury, muscle growth, fiber composition, as well as power and endurance, using the insights to focus on their genetically weak points, like believing an app can do all this based on a genetics test.
We were a bit surprised to see the sizable funding raised by some of these startups for personal trainer apps, until you consider that Americans spend an average $155 per month on their health and fitness, according to one survey. Then there’s the fact that a meditation app startup called Calm raised $115 million with a $1 billion valuation, as of last month. Yet people are more stressed than ever and obesity rates continue to climb, so you have to wonder if these apps are returning real value to anyone but the investors? We should probably meditate on that one.
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