Future integrated with the Apple watch to track your workout stats—workout duration, heart rate, calories burned, etc. Once the workout of the day is done, that information is shared with your coach—no fudging allowed. Users are also prompted to leave feedback, give the workout a difficulty score, and even toss in a disheveled post-sweat selfie if they so choose. 

Coaches monitor that data to make tweaks to their programs: A sky-high heart rate on a recovery cardio day would likely prompt an adjustment, for instance. In my case, Ben set up a meeting with me about four weeks into the program so we could talk about how the exercises were feeling for me and my body, specific to the concern I had about an old injury, and we made some changes. 

What We Liked

There’s a lot of things to like about Future. The big one? Price. I’ve worked with personal trainers that charge well over $100/hour. An entire month of programming for $149 is a screaming deal next to that—if the experience is comparable. 

Future is, of course, not exactly the same as IRL training. But neither is it a totally passive experience where someone sends you a plan and that’s it. Ben took the initiative to ask me questions about the feedback I left (even when the feedback was “my ass is going to hate you tomorrow’’). For me, someone who thrives with an accountability buddy, that was extremely motivating to stay on task. So is the fact that your uncut data is going straight to them. 

I loved that I knew exactly what I’m going to do when I walk into the gym. But I also enjoyed the diversity of exercises that I wouldn’t have programmed myself. This morning I did a ladder of dumbbell clean and burpees. Last week, I was doing weighted hip thrusters and cable machine presses. And while variety is spicy and fun, studies have indicated it can also help with motivation.

In the past I’ve always felt like reaching out to a trainer I was working with beyond the time I “paid for” was  a burden. But so far, my experience with Future has makes me feel like the lines of communication are wide open. For example, if I didn’t write any feedback and just “graded” a workout, Ben would message me and ask me what I thought about certain exercises. He was also extremely communicative about when he’d be offline with the holiday (and even sent a snapshot back of him and his wife skiing). It felt like having a real trainer, in other words. 

What It Can’t Do

While there are a ton of movements that are stored in the app, including relatively uncommon compound moves like the glute bridge chest presses I crushed through the other day. But in-person, with the right trainer, you’d be able to try some stuff with a trainer one-on-one that’s not a traditional option in their exercise library.

Another caveat: trainers aren’t going to be able to correct any issues with your form in real time. If there is something you’re having trouble with or want their input on, you can shoot videos of yourself doing a move and have your coach check your form. But let’s be real, that’s a whole other level of impressive accountability and agency on your part—this sort of thing might be best for individuals who have a little experience working out on their own.

Get This If…

If you’re in a rut. If you’re looking for a change. If you have the funds. I’m personally all the way in for the time being. I’m a bit leaner, excited about what’s ahead, and thankful that I can do all from home if the Covid graphs look bad. My sweaty selfie game is also better than ever.

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