Why This App Has Me Throwing in the (Gym) Towel

I just finished my 50th Gixo class and I’m in the best shape of my life.

Looking back on my two decades of gym exercise, I now realize I was just going through the motions — literally. I’d show up once or twice a week and check EXERCISE off my list (while reading People magazine on the elliptical). Every visit would take a little over an hour by the time I got there, warmed up, “worked out”, cooled down, and returned home.

You see, I’m a rule follower and exercising is one of those things you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed eat lots of fruits and veggies, drink ten glasses of water a day, get eight hours of sleep a night, clock 10K steps, and on and on and on. And, as luck would have it, I’m frugal too. I couldn’t help calculating the cost per visit for my monthly gym membership. So when it came down to it, I only went to the gym out of perceived obligation and because I’m cheap.

Then I was introduced to Gixo as a beta tester for the app.

The truth is, I wasn’t looking to make a change. I’m a working parent with two small children. Our family has plenty of variables to juggle. And even though the thought of changing up my exercise routine wasn’t on my radar, I knew the team building the app and wanted to help them out.

A few classes in, this weird thing happened. For the first time in my life, I found myself wanting to exercise. The moment I finished a Gixo class — and caught my breath — I’d start thinking about taking the next one. I stopped going to the gym, and start taking Gixo classes twice a week.

My workout routine took a total 180. Instead of zoning out on a machine, I’d pick a Gixo class, step out of my apartment with my headphones on, and by the time I got to the bottom of the stairs, the coach was live on my phone, the music was playing, and I was ready to go (after responsibly stretching, of course).

Here’s why I made the switch:

1. With Gixo, exercise actually takes less time

I was already sinking an hour or two a week into the gym. With Gixo, not only do classes range in length (from 15 minutes to 45 minutes), my workout starts when I open the app. I don’t have to invest 15 minutes in transit to and from the gym. There is also no shortage of classes to choose from around the clock: indoor/outdoor, long/short, cardio/strength (or both!), intense/chill.

2. I was able to squeeze in a mid-week workout at home

In addition to taking longer weekend classes, I found myself sneaking in a 15-minute high-intensity class during the week. Finding an hour to workout on a weekday? It doesn’t always happen. But finding 15 minutes to get my booty worked or core strengthened? No problem. And the best part is I could work out with my kids at home. You should see how long my 5-year old can hold a plank!

3. I figured I had nothing to lose

Quitting any sort of exercise is way too easy and starting something new can seem really hard. I had become habituated to the gym but didn’t really care about it one way or the other. Gixo is totally different and, truthfully, was foreign at first. I hadn’t worked with coaches before. I thought a burpee was something that you did to a baby. And lastly, all of this was happening in my phone. I was willing to give it a try but had no plans to commit. After I had a few classes under my belt, Gixo was a welcome change of pace, the coaches were inspiring, and I kept coming back for more.

And here’s how I stuck with it:

1. The coaches keep me motivated

Having coaches who clearly love their job is hands-down the best part of using Gixo to work out. They’re energetic. They’re positive. And they’re really paying attention to each person in the class. Through GPS, the coaches can see how fast (or slow) you’re going when you’re walking or running. That means they can cheer you on as you try to reach each personalized goal. If I was working out independently, I usually gave up if I got tired. But when my coach tells me, “You’re so close! You can do it!” I have the support I need to hit my goals. Having someone in your ear, pushing you to your personal limit is much more effective than reading gossip magazines on a stationary machine. The coaches also care about things like posture and form, and provide helpful tips during each exercise. (I just pulled back my shoulders and sucked in my belly as I typed this.)

2. I started to see results

I look “healthy” because I’m small, but I wasn’t strong. After using Gixo, I noticed significant changes. My balance improved. I could have a (admittedly short and pant-y) conversation with my coach during running segments. And I noticed muscles on my arms that have never been there before. Most importantly, I started to feel healthier and stronger.

3. It doesn’t break the bank (or even come close)

Gixo costs less than my old gym membership, and is a fraction of the cost of studio classes. Plus, you don’t have to smell other people’s sweat. And that’s priceless.

Speaking of priceless, you can access unlimited classes on Gixo for one month for free. Start your trial.

Deborah Kelson lives in San Francisco where you can see her doing squats on the sidewalk with perfect form. When she’s not working out — which is the most of the time — she has an exciting but sedentary desk job and dabbles in children’s books about talking sandwiches.