As many of you know, I’ve been using the Peloton app with my spin bike for a couple of years now. Friends and readers have suggested that I check out Aaptiv (formerly Skyfit). So, for a week, I abandoned my Peloton classes and started spinning with the Aaptiv app on my iPhone.
What is Aaptiv?
Aaptiv is a fitness app available on Android and Apple devices. It provides on-demand classes in an audio format, wherein an instructor coaches you through various fitness routines.
Although Aaptiv includes workouts ranging from outdoor running, treadmill, elliptical to yoga, I will focus strictly on its indoor cycling classes.
Note, this is not a sponsored post. I have no affiliation with either Peloton or Aaptiv. I personally research and try out products, buying them on my own dime. I am, however, an Amazon and iTunes affiliate and receive a small fee if you purchase an item through one of my links.
To use the Aaptiv app, you need a bike, your phone and maybe a set of wireless headphones. To get the most out of your Peloton workouts, you may want to purchase some accessories. Currently, the Peloton App is only available on either the iPhone or iPad. Aaptiv, however, is compatible with Android devices as well.
For access to Aaptiv’s unlimited classes, you will pay $9.99 per month, $99.99 per year or $399.99 for a lifetime membership plan. Currently, their website and App store lists $49.99 as its yearly plan, however, I just received an email with their new pricing structure. I signed up for a free trial through their website. When I forgot to check out, they then sent me a link for a free month. As a comparison, the Peloton app is $12.99 monthly, $5.99 weekly, or a free 14-day trial; they don’t offer a yearly membership.
Aaptiv focuses heavily on the music. In my opinion, that’s their biggest selling point: fun, motivating music without you having to create your own playlist. Although, I think Peloton has pretty kick-ass music themselves. Both apps have their own Spotify channels. Peloton Cycle has more than twice the amount of playlists than Aaptiv.
Even though you can filter your workouts by duration, I find many of Aaptiv’s indoor cycling classes to be too short. I can’t understand the purpose of an 11-minute ride. Lately, I take a lot of 20-minute Peloton app HIIT rides which leave my heart racing and my body exhausted, however, Aaptiv’s under 30-minute rides lacked that same intensity for me.
While using the Aaptiv app, I often felt like I was riding a stationary bike and not a spin bike. In a couple of classes, I sat in the saddle for the entire ride. Only in one of my Aaptiv classes did the instructor really move me out of my seat with jumps. While Peloton’s tap backs and other movements truly engage my core with proper posture and control, I couldn’t help but think during Aaptiv’s repeated jumps, “this can’t be good for my neck.”
Peloton Cycle and numerous other boutique studios incorporate weights into their classes. Aaptiv made no mention of weights during my rides. Depending on your view of the usage of weights during a spin class, you may appreciate their absence. I rather look forward to the weights portion of the class.
During most of my rides, the Aaptiv instructors rarely mentioned cadence. Despite this omission, I kept my Wahoo app open to measure it. But, without the instructors giving me a cadence range, I found it difficult to assess their expected exertion levels from me.
Furthermore, the verbal cues the Aaptiv instructors gave regarding resistance confused, rather than guided me:
“Turn that knob to the right. One more time to the right
Just enough to get a good flow
Add a little bit of resistance. . . more challenging but not too challenging
Through muddy water”
In Peloton classes, the instructors refer to resistance by specific numbers or a percentage, such as a fifty-percent or more.
My gut tells me that the Aaptiv app lends itself more to running and elliptical workouts. I can see how the music and instruction could motivate a runner. As a visual person, I like to compare my body position to that of the instructor and/or riders around me. To ensure that I am working to my full potential, I appreciate the instructor calling out metrics numbers (resistance, speed, and cadence). I think I would feel similarly taking Aaptiv’s yoga classes although I have yet to take them.
Granted, had I never discovered the Peloton app, I believe that I would have had a more favorable review of the Aaptiv app. But Peloton has completely stolen my heart. This is how I describe it: Imagine a girl has a boyfriend she’s sort of obsessed with named Peloton but they take a break (“Friends” style) and she starts dating Aaptiv. But she can’t stop thinking about Peloton, even while she’s with Aaptiv. She soon realizes that Peloton has it all: fun, great music, motivating instructors, classes of all levels and durations. At the end of the week, she ends it with Aaptiv, promising to remain friends.
Would I ever use Aaptiv’s Indoor Cycling workout again?
Probably. Aaptiv requires a lot less setup than Peloton. If I wanted to use a spin bike in a gym or a hotel, I might favor the Aaptiv app over lugging along a cadence sensor, iPad holder and iPhone. I have to admit, despite its limitations, I did sweat, especially during Kelly Chase’s Cycle Pop HIIT ride.
Have you tried either app? What are your thoughts?