Why Workout Apps Suck

It all started in late 2017 where I set myself the goal of getting stronger and fitter. I first tried out several Gyms finding out that the oldest and cheapest one was beating them all.


Finding a Gym

I mainly tried out Fancy Gyms which provided cool drinking areas, beautiful designed dressing rooms and high tech looking equipment. But the last gym I checked out was “the Cheap Gym” which only included a few training tools, a spartanic dressing room and overall bad design and lighting. So why did I choose the cheap Gym over the fancy ones. The obvious reason may seem to involve money though the real factor of my decision was the average customer going to the gyms.

While the “Fancy Gyms” had an unhealthy and overweight looking guy as their average customer the “Cheap Gym” included ripped Guys, Bodybuilders, Athletes and ambiguous elderlies. Of course it might not be the best indicator of all but it seemed reasonable to go to the gym where the customers looked the way I wanted to look.

I later found out that an even bigger reason might have been that the owner of the Gym used to be a bodybuilder and did his workout sessions in his own gym while the commercially more successful gyms simply wanted to earn money.

Finding a Workout App

S oon I wanted to follow a structured workout plan in order to achieve my goals faster. When looking for such things you get overthrown with content. Especially online you find thousands of articles telling you that their workout is the best of all while other articles tell you that you should do the exact opposite of what the other article told you to do.

Now while it seemed useful to write my own workout through reading into the topic a little, it made much more sense to me to use an App that would do most the work for me. But that did not make things easier. After reading all those articles and even more after trying several of those Apps out I got more and more sceptical about what plan I could really trust in.

I asked myself what interests the businesses behind the Apps had.

“A company is an entity that maximises its profits and minimises its spendings”

Thats literally the definition of a company!

Most of these companies don’t want you to succeed since this would mean they would loose a paying customer. Even if there may be some Apps that make you stronger and fitter they probably base their Workouts on complex and hard to understand Models and concepts in order to prevent you from learning to create your own workouts routine or recreating the ones from the App.

Why should they make you pumped if their interests don’t line up with yours? Just because they are nice guys?

Now don’t get this wrong, I don’t distrust everybody! I do not say you should not trust close friends or your family, but why should you trust this guy with the expensive suit on TV telling you what’s best for you?

So does this now mean that there is no way to find a useful and trustworthy workout somewhere? No, not necessarily! If there exists some entity that would profit from people getting strong and fit they would probably want to provide a good workout since my goal and theirs would line up.

At first I thought that there was no such entity out there. But then suddenly I had found it. It was the Military! While we could now discuss the moral aspects of an Army we probably agree on the fact that the Military wants to make you fit since they profit from strong soldiers.

Immediately the Navy SEALs came to my mind. They seem to be one of the fittest special forces out there. They are strong and durable, they can swim perfectly and run long distances. After doing some research I stumbled over

“THE NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE PHYSICAL TRAINING GUIDE” which was written by the The Naval Special Warfare Center.

The Navy Training Guide

The guide was easy to understand and consisted of easy exercises.

There were four main Categories:

  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Strength Training
  • Body Weight Training

It was pretty straightforward so I started creating my own workout plan through the Guide. While there were some rules it all seemed as simple as possible.

I use this Workout Plan until this day and I still believe that it is one of the best plans out there, simply because the Navy has no reason to give you a bad Workout Plan which does not make you strong and fit. Especially when starting you can be sure that the goals set through the guide are achievable which is highly motivating.

Further improving the Guide

To make things even easier I was thinking about an App concept. For example when it comes to the Body Weight Exercises:

The Navy suggests Push Ups, Sit Ups and Pull Ups. They as well provide a table of suggested sets and reps though there is a range you can pick from. You can go further in that table when achieving certain max reps. Still you should have the limits in mind in order not to make to much and actually lose some Strength. So while this is easy to understand and execute I still wanted to make it easier and save time. Therefore I worked on an App which allows you to do exactly that.

It would include 3 Difficulties depending on your personal Motivation and remember your overall Skill Level, which you could test in the App, to provide you with a suitable Workout as well as reminding you about the Daily and Weekly Limits.

My goal for the Application was to save some time and to be easy to understand and use. I did not want any fancy motivation that would tell me that I did a great job, I figured that if I really worked out hard I would be motivated by my actions anyway.

As I had put a working version together I started appreciating the App more and more since it saved a lot of time and was useful in monitoring my Daily and Weekly Results. I now even got ideas to expand the App with the 3 other categories; Swimming, Running and Strength Training which would pack the whole “Naval Guide” into the App.

I uploaded the App to the App Store yesterday to see if other people as well had the need for a simple Workout App that would not waste their time and throw around irrelevant information and data. So lets see how the “Experiment” goes.

In conclusion I recommend that you should always look on the interests of the other side since you should not trust on a businesses good nature. If the business and you have the same interests and you are sure about it, things will always be fine even if the business does not care about you at all!

Stay sceptic!

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Here is a link to
“THE NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE PHYSICAL TRAINING GUIDE” which helped me a lot: https://navyseals.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/naval-special-warfare-physical-training-guide.pdf