“No gym. No excuse” is the tagline for the free exercise app, Sworkit, that allows you to work out in your hotel room when travelling or squeeze in a speedy session before heading to the office. If you just need a quick blast or a warm up, you can open up the app and hit the “fit in 5” button. This delivers a burst of cardio and strength exercises, each one timed for 30 seconds, with a break halfway through. Alternatively, click through and browse a couple of dozen programmes, from yoga to full-body jump training to “Arms like whoa”. You then set how long you want the session to last, and get sweating.
There aren’t tedious explanations of each exercise, or boring warm-ups slowing things down. Instead, the workout starts immediately, with a voice telling you the name of the exercise and a video demonstrating what it looks like. You’re told what’s up next a few seconds before the next exercise starts, so you can smoothly transition straight from your jumping jacks to your crunches, and there are specific warm-up and stretching routines you can string together with your main workout.
Because you can’t adjust the intensity of each workout, and the app doesn’t “learn” your fitness level based on feedback, you’ll have to spend some time figuring out which routines work best for you. Or you can design your own from the long list of exercises the app offers; you can change these when you get stronger and fitter.
More irritating though are the ads that come with the free version of the app. They cover the screen during the frequent programmed breaks, but when you skip the break, the ad remains for 30 seconds, blocking your view of the next video.
Despite this glitch, Sworkit actually helped me out of a fitness rut. I liked that it allowed me to set goals and track my progress, and reminded me to exercise each day. I also loved being able to play music while it’s running, which plays automatically at 75 per cent volume so you can still hear the cues. I’m tempted to upgrade.
q&a get fit without the gym equipment
Jessica Holland expands on the exercise video app, Sworkit:
Does the upgrade get rid of the ads?
Yes, in fact the main draw for the Â£3.99-a-month (Dh19) or Â£29.99-a-year upgrade is the lack of ads. On top of that, you get to message actual personal trainers for advice; and rather than sticking with 30-second intervals, you can adjust the length of time you perform each exercise. The app also throws in unlimited custom workouts, and some special routines like an advanced “bring the pain” cardio blitz.
Who is behind the app?
It was originally launched in 2014 by two Wharton MBA grads (one of them a former US Air Force pilot) and a developer, and the premium version went live in 2016.
What’s the competition?
Johnson & Johnson’s Official 7 Minute Workout app is very similar: it’s free, well designed and has good reviews. Touchfit: GSP, which is targeted at more advanced athletes, is also excellent. It costs Â£3.99 plus Â£7.99 for an annual subscription.
Does Sworkit sync with other apps?
Yes, if you’re tracking your health with Apple Health, Google Fit or MyFitnessPal. You can sync with Sworkit so that all the data’s in one place.
Will it work with my phone?
It’s available for both Android and iOS.
Do I need any equipment?
No, all the strength exercises use your body weight rather than gym equipment. Athletic shoes and a mat might help, though.
Can I switch to Arabic?
Sadly no; although the 12 available languages include Turkish, Hindi, Korean and Japanese.
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