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This new app brings the boutique fitness studio scene to your phone


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Photo: Tim Gibson for Well+Good

There’s a reason why boutique fitness studios have developed such massive followings: For about an hour, depending on the class—looking at you, 90-minute Soul Challenge—you’re getting some seriously sweaty motivation from an inspirational instructor, all set to a perfectly timed soundtrack.

But sometimes things like high prices, competitive sign-ups, or straight-up busy schedules keep you from taking the classes you want—and the thought of 30 minutes on the Stairmaster just isn’t as exciting. (Shocker, right?)

Enter Aaptiv: an app launched in January that conveniently brings the instructor guidance of studio classes right to your phone. For $9.99 a month, you get access to hundreds of “classes” at various lengths and levels of difficulty—think outdoor running, treadmill running, yoga, cycling, and strength training. Which isn’t totally groundbreaking…except for the fact that the instructors also make personal playlists based around specific types of workouts—think intervals, timed sprint sessions, or even half or full-marathon training—with words of motivation sprinkled in.

That means none of the cheesy, vaguely club-y tunes you hear soundtracking most workout videos. Also: Because every song has been selected for that exact moment of that exact workout, the beats are timed perfectly to get you moving at just the right speed. And if the tunes don’t do it for you, the “instructors” who weave in and out of the tracks will. “There wasn’t a real trainer in front of me, but the voice of one layered over upbeat jams kept me going—even through the impossible intervals he instructed me to do,” says Well+Good’s editorial assistant, Rachel, who tested the app out on the treadmill.

Just because it’s been around for a few month doesn’t mean it’s glitch-free. Like when I first set out for an easy three-mile run, I selected the playlist “Miss Independent”—before realizing that it was actually an entire workout set to Kelly Clarkson songs. (Love me some Kelly, but she wasn’t exactly the upbeat vibe I was looking for.)

But it’s a great option for someone who wants a studio-style workout without spending studio-style money—or anyone who is really sick of their running playlist.

Will you try the portable fitness studio? Let us know in the Comments!

With more access to killer workouts, you’re going to have to stay on top of all of your dirty laundry! Read this expert’s guide to how often you really need to wash your activewear. And if you’re lacing up, you might want to upgrade your Vibrams to a pair of super-trendy maximalist sneakers.

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