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A good personal trainer is essentially a shortcut to achieving your fitness goals: They can supercharge your workouts by creating a fitness plan tailored to you, taking into account your current fitness level, what exercises you enjoy, and what you hope to do. They can also help you execute it by providing motivation and guidance along the way. And that ability to check in when you have a question or need some encouragement can be hugely helpful to a lot of people. Traditionally, teaming up with a trainer required going to the gym or scheduling sessions at home.
Future aims to change that. It’s an iOS app that pairs with your Apple watch to enable you to work virtually with a personal trainer to achieve your fitness goals. (Sorry, it’s not available for Android users yet.) First, you select a qualified trainer from a pool of available candidates. Then, every week, they’ll assign new workouts that are customized to you, and answer any questions you have. Your trainer can also modify your workouts for travel, sickness, injury or anything else you need.
Whether your goal is improving your strength training performance, building your cardio endurance, working around aches and pains or simply just starting your fitness journey, Future can help you.
The Future app has some clear benefits compared to working with a personal trainer IRL. Here we will dig into the details so you can determine if Future is a worthwhile option for you.
First Steps with Future
Once you download Future from the App Store, you’ll be prompted to fill out some information about yourself. The app asks basic questions about your gender and age, and then delves deeper into other exercise concerns and preferences—you’re able to check off unique needs and interests that you may have (options include prenatal/postpartum health, injury prevention, and nutrition, to name a few) and specify what stumbling blocks you’ve encountered in the past. You’re also able to choose what attributes are important to you in a coach, including gender, energy level, and intensity.
Based on the information you provide, Future suggests a few personal trainers that line up with your interests, goals, and current workout routine. Future coaches come from a wide variety of fitness backgrounds, which increases the likelihood you’ll find a match to help you set and attain your fitness goals.
You also have the option to browse the full trainer roster and choose one yourself. Most of the trainers have a Bachelor or Master’s degree in Exercise Science and extensive experience working with collegiate and professional athletes (and in some cases Olympic-level athletes as well).
Next, you’ll have a FaceTime call with your trainer. This is your first opportunity to get to know each other and discuss fitness goals. Your trainer will then build you a custom workout plan. Future workouts are delivered every week right to your mobile device—the app syncs with your Apple Watch (it works with Series 3 or newer devices), which enables your trainer to monitor your heart rate and calorie expenditure.
Don’t have an Apple Watch? For a $199 fee, Future will mail you one, which you can return for a refund if you decide to cancel your subscription.
The Pros of Future
Future is best suited for beginner and intermediate home fitness enthusiasts who want a trainer to provide custom-tailored workouts and accountability, but don’t want to pay a high price for in-person instruction. It’s also great for people with unpredictable schedules that make scheduling in-person training sessions difficult, or who are hesitant to work out at an indoor gym due to the pandemic. If you’re tired of guessing what you need to do to make progress, or feel stuck repeating the same workouts, Future is a great way to change things up.
If you love technology, fitness apps and using an Apple watch, you’ll probably love the Future app. The sleek app integrates beautifully with the watch, and our testers found it to be very easy to use.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of Future is the ability to work with a trainer, at a fraction of the price you’d pay for one-on-one sessions IRL. In-person training isn’t cheap: Women’s Health magazine says that a one-hour session with a trainer usually costs between $50 and $500, with more experienced trainers being more expensive. So, if you work with a trainer twice a week, it’s reasonable to assume you’ll spend at least $600 a month—and you’ll only see them during your scheduled sessions.
With Future, you get a fully customized training plan for only $149 a month. You’ll get new workout schedules every week, which saves you from guessing what you should be doing. And you have unlimited messaging with your trainer at any time—another big benefit if you need help modifying your plan, for example.
Each workout also offers video demonstrations with instructions on how to complete the exercise with good form. Our testers liked that the workout prompts get sent to your watch, so you don’t need to look at your phone constantly, and you can easily skip ahead or hit pause to catch your breath. You can even take videos of yourself working out, and send them to your trainer for feedback to make sure you’re using proper form during your reps. At the end of the workout, you’re also able to score how you felt during it, which helps your coach adjust your workouts to your current fitness level.
The Cons of Future
If you’re not familiar with basic exercise techniques or prefer in-person supervision while learning new exercises, Future may not be the best fit. Your Future trainer can only give feedback on your workouts after you’ve completed them and sent a video, unlike in-person sessions, where you can get corrections in real time.
Also, if you want a trainer that can hype you up during your workout and offer in-the-moment encouragement, you’re best off to look elsewhere. Future coaches check in daily, but won’t be there to help you push through those last few reps.
While your first month is just $19, the price bumps up to $149 after that. Future is cheaper than a personal trainer, but it’s still a significant expense for many people.
The app currently has more than 90 reviews on Trustpilot, with an average score of 4.2 out of 5. While the majority of users left positive feedback about their trainers, some reported that the workouts they received didn’t feel very customized. It’s likely that there’s some variation in quality between the coaches you can get—while most are awesome, a few are bound to be less so.
Finally, at the time of writing, Future is only available for the iPhone, and requires an Apple watch. It is not compatible with Android devices. The brand says it is working on Android compatibility in the future, but there’s currently no timeline available.
Factors to Consider Before Trying Future
Before signing up, make sure you’re comfortable with technology that requires you to train through an app. If you haven’t gone this route before but you’re open to trying Future, make time to account for a possible learning curve. It’s also important to also consider your goals and qualities you’d like in a trainer.
While some of the Future coaches have nutrition qualifications, it’s not a nutrition coaching program. So if you’re looking for someone to provide you with meal plans, advise on multivitamins or work on your nutrition with you, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Right now, Future is offering your first month’s subscription for $19, which is a stellar deal—it’s cheaper than all but the most basic gym memberships. After that, a monthly subscription costs $149 a month, which is a bigger investment, but still significantly more affordable than hiring a personal trainer at your local gym.
And, as also noted earlier, you’ll need a Apple watch (the app works with all Series 3 and newer models). If you don’t have one, Future will send you a Series 3 model, but you’ll be charged a $199 deposit, which is refundable if and when you return it.
Future uses a recurring monthly subscription model, which provides you with access to a coach, the app, customized workouts, and unlimited support with accountability with your coach.
Because Future is designed to connect you with a trainer, there are no features available without a subscription.
How Future Stacks Up Against Other Products
Online training is nothing new, but Future streamlines the process and delivers convenience and quality.
If you want to hire a virtual trainer outside of Future, you’ll need to do your own online search or ask around. Pricing for individual personal trainers can also vary widely, with some charging up to $500 a month for customized programming. While that’s probably still cheaper than a trainer at the gym, at $19 for your first month, and $149 after that, Future is by far the most affordable option.
Future also enables you to browse a team of experts to ensure you’re able to find the best fit for your goals and personality. If at any point you want to switch to a new trainer, you can do so directly in the app—something gyms and other online services don’t always allow.
Future’s customizability also puts it in a different category than home workout systems like Peloton or Tonal, which don’t offer personal guidance.
Future’s custom workouts and unlimited access to a qualified coach are a great option for personal training, especially at this introductory sale price.
Those who prefer hands-on training and real-time feedback in their fitness routine may need to find a different option. But if all you need is the guidance and accountability that a trainer can provide, Future is a great choice for you.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.