I don’t know about you, but just about the last thing on my mind after having kids was starting a workout routine. Exhaustion, feeling physically broken, not loving the idea of dropping my infant off with strangers(?!) in a germy room of other strangers(?!) so I could touch things germy people are sweating all over(?!) – These were just a few reasons that kept me from embarking on a postpartum fitness journey. Not to mention wanting to rebel against that whole “get your body back” patriarchal hogwash we’re bombarded with… go to the gym? I’d rather revisit the ring of fire.
But, the reality is ‘fitness’ encompasses so much more than just weight loss. Joint and bone health, mental health, better sleep, improved energy, reduced pain, core and pelvic floor strength – these are ALL areas in my life that could have benefited from a fitness plan after I had my kids.
Finding time and regular motivation, however, felt damn near impossible in those first few years. Even as the kids got a little older, their staggered nap times, clingy tendencies, chronic colds, and not knowing where to start made it feel as though there was always a reason not to work out.
Enter the Future Fitness App
As someone who’s been half-assing her way through a yoga app for the last 10 months, a home-based fitness program isn’t new. But a program that combines a personal trainer, a personalized wellness plan, and just enough accountability to make you want to show up, the Future Fitness program is a unique way to accomplish fitness goals and improve your overall wellness.
Virtual Personal Training On Your Own Time
The whole goal of Future Fitness is to give you the ability to work out when and where you want, with the help and guidance of a personal trainer. Through a combination of video messaging, voice over instructions, and video demonstrations, your coach creates a fitness routine specifically tailored to you and your needs. The flexibility provided with virtual personal training means you can do this wherever you want, whenever you want, in whatever you want to wear, taking the pressure of timing naps/finding childcare/feeling weird about rolling up in your saddest pair of yoga pants.
The Future app also syncs with your iPhone or Andriod (and smart watch), so stats about your heart rate, calories and daily activity also shows up at the end of the day. I don’t have a smart watch, but can say just using my iPhone has been totally sufficient. Of course, there’s no real-time info about my biometrics, but this is just fine with my goals.
Signing up is quick and easy. After downloading the app, you answer a few questions about your fitness level, goals, and equipment (or lack thereof, in my case), and you’re ready to pick your coach.
There are a ton of Future coaches to choose from. Different genders, ages, races and ethnic groups, skill sets, educational backgrounds, personalities and body(!) types are all represented, maximizing your chances of finding someone you feel comfortable with.
You can either scroll through the roster and apply certain filters to help narrow the search or fill out a quick survey about things like your goals, lifestyle, preferred coaching personality, and workout history (or lack thereof). At the end, you’ll be presented with four options where you can read more about each person before making your decision.
After you pick your coach, they reach out via the in-app texting channel to schedule a quick chat. Worried you picked the wrong one? Changing coaches is super easy so you'll never feel uncomfortable or trapped.
Preparing For The Workout
Prepping for your first workout begins with a one-on-one meeting with your coach via a FaceTime call. During this chat, you’re able to get a feel for their coaching style while they get a better understanding of your goals and needs. Your coach will explain how it works, what to expect, and offer you plenty of opportunities to ask any questions you may have.
One thing that’s kept me from working out in the past is lingering and chronic back pain that started after the birth of my second kid. I was able to bring up my concerns and my coach (Kelly, one of a handful of coaches who specialize in postpartum wellness) offered up some insightful and reasonable suggestions about how we can both address this issue and not make it worse.
She was also incredibly tactful about helping me identify my goals while NOT pushing weight loss. Of course, it’s totally fine to have that as a goal, but not feeling pressured from the get-go about the numbers on the scale felt refreshing and made the whole thing less intimidating.
The Workout Begins
Each Sunday, your workout schedule for the week automatically drops in the app. Initially, it may or may not include a fitness assessment (for me it was elevated push-ups and bodyweight squats) to provide a baseline so I can track my progress as the weeks tick by.
The workouts themselves aren’t live - instead, a video demonstration takes you through the warm-ups, exercises, and cool downs your coach has selected for the day. Individual exercises can be flagged, commented on, replayed, or paused, which is a handy feature if you, like me, had no idea what an isometric bear crawl was prior to joining Future.
After your workout, you’re provided with an opportunity to give feedback about how it went, as well as tell your coach how easy or hard you found it.
Depending on your plan, your workouts will vary each day. My own plan includes four workouts a week - two being more high-energy workouts and two being more yoga-focused. Oh, and if you need to skip a workout or want to switch it up for any reason (like catching that cold your kid brought home the other day), you can message your coach and they'll switch it up to better accommodate you.
What to Expect
Future workouts are as diverse as the people using them! Depending on what your coach determines is best for you that day, your workout will likely contain a warm-up, a few specific exercises for whatever part of the body you’re focusing on that day (core, or upper or lower body, for example), maybe some cardio, and a cool down. What exercises you do will depend on your fitness level, what gear you have, and your goals.
When you’re creating your profile in the beginning, there are several practices you can choose to focus on. Everything from weightlifting, injury prevention or rehab, barre, yoga, strength training, Crossfit or HIIT-type workouts – it feels like there’s just about something for everyone, workout-wise. There’s even an option to use it at the gym if you have a gym membership but just need a little guidance on what to do while you’re there.
What's A Real-Life Example?
To give you an idea of what I experienced, my workouts generally contain a lot of stretching, intervals of more focused movements like lunges, squats, planks, wall sits, and bear crawls (her favorite), and more stretching at the end. The only gear I have is a yoga mat and a single kettlebell, so she really focuses on using my own body weight with targeted movements to achieve my fitness goal (which, for the record, is to have less back and sciatic pain).
My coach has set me up where each week will contain two harder days and two yoga days, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday as rest days. Every few weeks, I do an assessment, giving me the chance to track my performance slowly but steadily.
The Next Day
As I mentioned previously, prior to using Future, I was using a yoga program 3-4 days a week, so I wasn’t entirely starting from scratch, but I certainly wasn’t pushing myself. The day after my first workout was pleasantly eye-opening. Yes, I was sore, but it was a good reminder that I do have muscles and they are capable of working hard.
How Often You Should Use It
This is entirely up to you and your coach. Maybe that’s 1-2 days in the beginning, or maybe it’s five days from the start - whatever it is, go with that and be proud of yourself for getting it done.
I’m a sucker for vocal cues and being talked through each movement. If there’s a movement I’m likely going to do wrong, I find it very helpful for a cue to remind me in the moment (things like “keep your shoulders away from your ears” or “draw your belly button in.") While your coach will occasionally record their own reminder or modification into the workout sequence, you’re largely left to understand the movement from the video provided, which is something I’d change if I were queen of the world.
What It Costs
A membership to Future costs $149 per month. This is definitely nothing to sneeze at, but when broken down and compared to in-person personal training (typically around $100/hour), it feels like a pretty good deal. (If you use this link, Pregnant Chicken readers can get their first month for 50% off.)Along with unlimited weekly workouts, you also have access to personalized support and advice (I've asked probably 2000 questions and she's answered them all quickly and comprehensively). Memberships are extremely flexible and can be canceled at any time. You can also pause your membership or switch coaches if you ever need or want to.
Overall Impression of Future Fitness App
As someone who's fairly lazy, I'd say this last month has actually been pretty enjoyable. My coach is fun, caring, and kind; workouts are quick enough that I can fit them into a busy schedule, and having the flexibility of being able to do them when and wherever really has helped me meet my goals and make gains.
It's not cheap, but compared to the cost of a personal trainer and gym membership, this could be a better fit for some budgets. While it would certainly be helpful to have some background knowledge of common exercises (like a bear crawl, for example), it doesn't take long to pick it up AND your coach is there to help clarify things if needed. Really anyone who is looking to improve the way their body functions and feels could benefit from giving Future a go.
Want to Give it a Try?
Pregnant Chicken readers can try Future for their first month for 50% off if you follow this special link. If you do give it a spin, let me know in the comments below what you think.
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