We Tried It: The Future Personal Trainer App Got My Butt Back in the Gym
It's safe to say this last year drained any ounce of motivation I had left to workout — but this app helped me fall back in love with the gym
What It Is: Future, a fitness app that virtually connects you with your very own personal trainer for $150 per month.
Who Tried It: Claudia Harmata, Digital News Writer
Like many people, the COVID-19 pandemic and gym closures drained any ounce of motivation I had to stay active. Even when gyms finally reopened here in New York City, I found myself dreading the one place I always turned to to help me manage my stress and anxiety. No amount of pre-workout would help me get my a-- moving.
However, as the New Year rolled around, I found myself sucked into the cliché "resolution" mindset. I started dragging myself to the gym despite feeling unsatisfied after every workout. The universe surely saw my struggle and someone from Future reached out to me to ask if I'd like to learn more about the new fitness app. After hopping on a call with Future's VP of Performance, Josh Bonhotal, I learned that the app virtually connects people with "high-level personal trainers or performance coaches" who curate daily workouts for you each week.
"Even if you can afford a traditional personal trainer, and you have one, at best maybe you work with them once a week, maybe twice a week, if that," Bonhotal says. "You have that one-hour session, you have a good conversation, but then you leave and you each go on about your day."
"What I think is so powerful with Future, and what's so different, is we're literally in each other's lives every single day," he explains. "So the relationship that I've seen our coaches are building with their clients are actually, in my opinion, stronger than the relationships you see in person. You end up talking to your coach more than some of your closest friends and some of your family. And your coach replies to your texts way faster than some of your closest friends too."
That relationship and accountability are enhanced as the app is paired with an Apple Watch so that your trainer can track your heart rate and activity data while you workout. (Meaning they'll know when you skip a day... or a set.)
Now, I don't own an Apple Watch (I've never been one for jewelry or watches), but that is not a problem with Future. The company will send you an Apple Watch to borrow for the duration of your membership for no extra cost.
How It Worked: After my chat with Josh, I turned to the Future app where you can take a survey about your fitness goals and they match you with potential trainers. If you don't want to take the survey, you can also peruse the bios of all of the trainers and see who is currently accepting new clients.
I decided to go with the latter, and found Cecilia. She looked to be around my age and noted in her bio her past experience with body image and self-esteem. I've struggled with some of the same things, so I felt comfortable working with her.
Within hours, Cecilia reached out to me to set up an introductory FaceTime call, where we got to know each other and chatted about my goals. After our call, Cecilia got to work curating a workout plan for me based on our conversation while I waited for my new Apple Watch to come in the mail. Workouts drop each week on Sunday so that Future members are able to view the week ahead and request any changes from their trainers.
The beauty of Future is how flexible it is. Your trainers are able to accommodate your busy schedule, as well as the equipment and facilities available to you — whether that's your living room or a gym.
I already had a gym membership, so I let her know that I had access to weights and machines. We decided to start with four days of strength training — alternating between upper body focus and lower body — and a fifth optional full-body day. Cecilia listened to my needs and also threw in some challenging HIIT circuits and treadmill sprints to help me work up a sweat.
I was honest with Cecilia about my lack of motivation, and she made sure to text me each day with an encouraging message. While the first couple of weeks were still a struggle, I certainly felt guilty if I didn't go!
Verdict: I love Future!
After five weeks of using the app and working with Cecilia, I slowly started to find myself falling in love with working out again and getting my butt to the gym more often. I also started feeling better in my own skin after the horrendous year we all just had.
"I think the power of it all is the accountability," Josh tells me. "Our average client self-reported working out around twice a week before they started with us. After joining, that nearly doubles to about four times per week. "
"I think the reason for that is the foundation of the relationship that they build with their coach and how well supported they are," he says.
While I was definitely skeptical of this at first, I certainly agree with Josh now after trying Future myself. I feel comfortable reaching out to my trainer for just about anything in regards to my overall fitness journey. Also, much of my motivation to workout now comes from not wanting to disappoint Cecilia and to keep up the progress she's helping me achieve.
Of course, the app isn't always perfect due to its virtual nature, but it does provide some tangible solutions to the kinks of remote training. For instance, the app has an option where you can record yourself while you workout so trainers can provide feedback on your form later.
While a Future membership does cost a pretty penny, it is a much more affordable option for personal training when compared to traditional trainers. According to the International Sports Sciences Association, personal trainers can cost you anywhere from $30 to $125 per hour (or more).
If you've been struggling get active, Future is an investment that may help you get back on track!