In Test Ride, TZR staff reviews the popular fitness workouts, equipment, and trends making waves in the wellness industry to see what all the buzz is about. Ahead, TZR’s Annie Blay shares her experience with the Nike Training Club app.
I have a love-hate relationship with at-home workouts — I’ve tried tons of virtual routines on Instagram and Youtube by fitness influencers and trainers to no avail. While I love the convenience of getting in a workout from the comfort of my home, it always feels like I’m missing something or that the sessions aren’t effective enough — actually going into a gym always feels much more productive. That said, I’m at a place in my life where making it to the gym regularly isn’t easy (due to my busy work schedule) so I decided to give the at-home/virtual format another whirl this time with the Nike Training Club app.
For context, my exercise regime last summer consisted of working out in the gym, doing mainly weight-lifting three to four days a week. However, in September 2021, when life got a bit too busy (due to a new job and a move), I let fitness fall by the wayside and never completely got back on my exercise flow. My new apartment is a bit far from my gym and, as my work schedule stands, I’m still a bit too busy to attend every day. That said, I am ready to get back into a fitness routine, just not quite at the pace I was at before — it’ll take a while to get back to the frequency and intensity of the workouts I used to do.
So I settled on the Nike Training Club app as the mode for my reintroduction into exercising regularly. I briefly used the Nike Running App a few summers ago when I thought I could get into running (I couldn’t) but I liked the functionality of the app, so I figured another iteration of it would feel familiar. I excitedly downloaded the app with the intention of starting with two at-home workouts a week and two warm-up workouts at the gym.
The App & Classes
The app is very easy to use even if you’re not too technologically inclined. After creating a profile I was met with a series of questions to decipher where I was in my fitness journey: how often I work out, where I work out most, and where I fall on the fitness expert spectrum (beginner, intermediate, or advanced). With that information collected, the app created a homepage with specially curated exercises. One of the coolest things about the app is the wide variety of workouts available to choose from — HIIT, yoga, stretch sequences, and much more — which can admittedly be overwhelming, but the curation process at the beginning makes it very digestible and takes the guesswork out.
Beyond the workouts the app curates for you, you can go into the ‘browse’ section of the homepage and select workouts filtering by muscle group, fitness focus, the equipment you have available, the length of the session, and specific trainers you want to learn from. And even in these separate categories you can still filter it down even more by intensity (low, moderate, and high), duration, level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced), and focus (strength, endurance, and mobility).
The app also has programs that span over several weeks with a set schedule that target broader categories like kickstarting your fitness journey, strengthening your core, and introduction to yoga to name a few.
All the workouts are led by one or two instructors who are usually in a studio of some sort. In some workouts, the instructor is speaking throughout the session and in others it’s a voice over. Though you can’t speed or slow down the pace of the class, you are at liberty to pause or rewind the workout if you feel the steps are moving too fast.
I set the app to beginner mode and indicated through the prompts that I only work out about one to two times a week (usually at home instead of the gym). From there, I settled on a 10-minute yoga workout called “Easy Evening Uwind Flow” to start. Up until this point, I hadn’t done yoga in a while, so I was very appreciative of the slow and steady pace of the session. After completing a class, the app asks you how hard the workout felt from from extremely light to max effort — my first workout was a fairly light effort.
For my first workout in a gym setting I decided to go with a 10- to 15-minute ab and core session before launching into some weight-lifting and cardio. After about a week it was really easy to fall into the routine of doing two at-home workouts (Tuesdays and Thursdays) on the app in the morning before starting work; and two warm-up workouts at the gym (Mondays and Fridays). I stuck with lower intensity workouts for my at-home sessions — like yoga and short ab and leg circuits — but ramped up the difficulty for my gym workouts, opting for longer, more rigorous ab workouts as my warm ups.
One day, I decided to switch up my regular at-home workout, browse a bit and came across a glute session featuring none other than Megan Thee Stallion. Besides her lyrical chops the rapper is also heralded for her enviable butt so I didn't hesitate to click the play button. The workout was about 10 minutes (my sweet spot) and was led by Megan and instructor Tara Nicolas, focusing on low impact movements that target the glutes — and of course Megan brought her signature playful hot girl energy which made the workout so much fun.
The biggest difference I’ve seen since using the app (for three weeks) is my consistency. I previously found it hard to stay consistent with my fitness routine because I felt a bit lost in it all — I generally know a few workouts to target every muscle group but I never really planned my workouts. I’d just go in freestyle and do a bit of weight-lifting using the machines and movements I was familiar with. I know now that this likely led to me spending either too much time working out (on one specific area of the body) or not enough — so my workouts often felt unproductive. Using the app, I don’t have to worry about planning the sequence of my exercise and stressing if my chosen sessions are the most effective for my goals of toning my abs, arms, and glutes — and just getting back into the habit of being active. The instructors are knowledgeable with years of experience, and the workouts are packaged into digestible, easy-to-follow sequences that you can do virtually anywhere — the guesswork is taken out of the equation leaving much more time to actually enjoy the workout.
The app differs from other online workout videos I’ve tried because of the curation aspect and the expertise of the instructors. With Youtube and Instagram workouts I’d always have to go looking for a specific video/person or just scroll through a hashtag to find a video that fit what I was looking for. While you can browse the Nike Training App, being able to open it and have curated workouts available to you on the homepage is super efficient. I love that you can indicate how difficult each workout was and the app uses this to track your progress. Also, the app keeps track of how many workouts you’ve done and the total number of minutes you’ve put in exercising. For someone who went from barely working out at all over the past few months to getting a little notification that I’ve put in 90 minutes of exercise in a week felt like a triumph.
Lastly, the app has eliminated my need for excuses. Even if I can’t get in a session at the gym, I can always spare at least 10 minutes of my day to get in a workout and this has honestly changed my mindset on at-home exercise — they don’t always have to accomplish the most or even be 30 minutes long and super rigorous to be effective. The right workout can achieve so much in just a matter of minutes if done consistently.
As far as my actual physique, I haven’t noticed much of a change in the three weeks I’ve been using the Nike Training Club app, but internally I always feel that good burn in my abs after completing a core workout. Using the app has helped me to focus more on how I feel after a workout rather than how I look. I feel more energized and accomplished when I start my mornings with a quick class and more productive in the gym when I begin my sessions with the app warmups. More than anything the app made the seemingly daunting feat of getting back into fitness feel less intimidating, and I’ll definitely continue to incorporate it into my fitness journey.
- The app is completely free, making it a super affordable and accessible option for those wanting professional level workouts.
- The customization aspect of the app is as close as you can get to having a personal trainer for free — you can curate the workouts to your expert level and move at your pace to accomplish your own personal fitness goals.
- I enjoyed the large variety of workouts to choose from; I was able to do sessions that felt familiar and comfortable one day and challenge myself by working out a new muscle group the next.
- The instructors touch on proper form during the sessions which is really helpful.
- You can play music from a different application on your device while the workout video is in progress.
- The app doesn’t have a feature that allows you to track things like weight loss, gain, or nutrition so it’s not ideal for those with more specific fitness goals.