My passion for fitness survived through a lot of obstacles, from moving to another state, to changing jobs, having busier than ever schedule, and all the travel we did in 2019… I enjoy my gym workouts and I’m always looking for the best workout apps to help me manage my fitness goals and schedule. I might have found the Google of fitness — this app is called Gymaholic.
Interestingly enough, I find that this app is underrepresented in the fitness arena, and way fewer people know about it. It’s Gymaholic App. I think, partially, it’s because Gymaholic is not racing after massive ad campaigns on social media; they are not signing famous fitness influencers to promote their app like others do, but what they do is focus on building the functionality that is hard, if not impossible, to compete with.
So what is it?
Gymaholic is a subscription-based app that helps you create and manage your fitness routines. It also has a wide variety of precompiled workouts and a robust exercise library as a part of the premium subscription. Gymaholic has definitely added a few very innovative features, including 3D, customizable avatar, 3D animation, augmented reality, and performance charts, lots of them.
Amongst all fitness apps, this one is the strongest competitor that will make itself known through functionality and features built into it. In many ways, it’s irreplaceable.
Signup Flow & Onboarding
While Gymshark’s onboarding was fairly fast, with 40-sec onboarding in the ideal case scenario, Gymaholic did something very uncommon — it has no onboarding or signup, which is very contrary nowadays as most apps want to collect your data, your name, and your email with the goal to plug you in all possible marketing conundrum with the hope of gaining engagement and chain you with so called “user retention” tricks. I think that Gymaholic’s 0s onboarding is equal to Amazon’s one-click shopping. Well done, Gymaholic, I appreciate you respecting my time, and so do others.
The robust functionality of the app dictates its structure. You get the Home, Workouts, History, My Body, and Settings screens. You’re good to go as soon as the app is installed.
What you, as a new user, experience is probably the depth of the app that comes off at first rather as complexity. Except, in this case, it’s not a bad thing at all. It does require time to learn the functionality, but once you employ this app, you’ll find how irreplaceable it is in many ways. It’s built to accommodate a wide range of users with various fitness levels. I’ll get ahead and just mention that the app comes with the light theme for the premium membership; after trying the light theme, I ended up with the dark mode anyways as it offers a sense of privacy and calmness I need in my everyday gym-based workout.
It is worth mentioning that each screen is packed with features and macro- and micro-moments that merge into a great user experience no matter who you are — the newbie that is trying to workout, or a gym rat with many years of experience behind your shoulders. You’ll love it.
Home Screen gives you an overview of the respective workout timeline and graphs that display muscle groups recently engaged. The home screen is here to also remind you how many days have passed since the last workout, and muscles rested in percentage, which is based on the default 72 regeneration window time frame. You can change it by tapping on the link “Rested Muscles” and further editing it to your preferred time. You can rearrange the order of those graphs by long press and drag.
Workouts screen is the place to go if you need to download precompiled routines, create custom ones, start a workout, and manage existing habits.
My advice is to go check out the link at the bottom of the screen — “Download workouts” — right away. This seemingly understated and subtle link is the gate to so many great programs you might try if you don’t have an online coach or a personal trainer. It’s refreshing to see this level of humbleness in what the product is offering, allowing more advanced users to create their own routines before pushing something that Gymaholic owns.
The workout screen allows you to create a single workout or a workout group; typically, it’s a week-long program that gets rotated for several weeks. The workout creation flow is very easy, thanks to the extensive library and the streamlined interaction model.
I want to point out the obvious optimizations. First, when you choose to create a workout/workout group, you get the popup that has an input for the title and the button “Create”/”Generate” at the same time. Upon the confirming choice, instead of dropping the user into an empty workout group, you get to choose multiple exercises at once for further modification!
Workout Detail Page
I would consider the Workouts screen the main one as it’s the place where you download precompiled routines, create custom ones, start a workout, and manage existing routines for your planned exercises.
When you’re not in a workout mode, you can access the menu which allows the following:
- Send workout to apple watch;
- Share workout via email/messenger;
- Edit workout name;
- View workout history.
This is the heart of the experience. In-Workout Screen will be your best friend from now on. Tapping “Start workout” at the top of the screen will officially start the workout and enable the timer. The only wish I always have when seeing this is to have “Start Workout” further down the screen, as the natural behavior for most users is to scroll down to see the full agenda for the workout and then start it within the thumb reach. However, it’s not a blocker, but rather a frequent thought every time I start a workout.
Exercise Detail Overview
Exercise detail overview removes the complexity to allow you to focus on the exercise itself, the proper form, the position of your feet, and the equipment you need. I appreciate it when there is an intentionality aspect of experiences. It’s easy to exit this view by tapping that upper chevron in the top left corner.
This is being supported by some stats showing you set order in the set and rest time before you start performing it, pounds and reps planned, and the button to mark it as complete. You can also tap the set number itself to complete it. I find it a bit risky as it causes sometimes accidentally marked sets as complete. But there is an easy way to undo it; just the tap the set number again, and it will be undone.
You also get a nice spread of mini graphs. Tapping on each will open full-screen experience with details. The inactive in-workout mode will show you all exercises with the planned number of sets, weights, and reps; it also has a helper telling you what you’ve done previously.
The three-dot menu will allow you to access such options as adding a note, add time, replace exercise, mark it as a warmup, drop set, or pyramid set; you can also delete exercise. While “add a note” is pretty self-explanatory, the rest of those are worth explaining.
Another great way to challenge yourself is to add time to the exercise, set your own goal, and try to complete all reps intended. Gymaholic enabled a very easy way to add/remove time from your weighted and unweighted exercises. Give it a try, and your seemingly old routine will make you feel like you haven’t worked out that hard.
A noticeably important feature is the ability to mark the set/reps until failure. Training to failure means selecting a weight that’s heavy enough so that the last rep forces you to the point that you struggle to complete it in that set. To use this feature, simply tap on the rep number within each set.
Warmup, Drop set, Pyramid Set
What’s the difference between Drop set and Pyramid Set? That’s a great question that spans a lot of other questions. Let me help you with this one.
Pyramid simply means going up in weight each set and thus performing fewer reps with each subsequent set. For example: 10,8,6,4.
Drop sets are sets where, after you finish your original set, you immediately lower the weight and continue pumping out reps with no rest.
Unfortunately, I could not get this logic working for me; every attempt resulted in an awkward array of suggested reps and weight. This feature is worth coaching, and I suspect a lot of users have a similar experience.
This feature is a super useful shortcut that allows you to update an exercise even when you’re in an active workout mode. Things like that show the attention to detail and the continuous effort of the team to improve user experience. With well-working library experience, this becomes a pretty straight-forward and easy function to complete.
A superset is one of the most common ways of performing an exercise, but so rarely done right within the digital experiences.
Gymaholic built the mental model of the superset into the app. What happens when you do superset is that you start from the set 1 of the first exercise and then get to the set 1 of the second one. Then you do the same again, but now you get to do set 2 of the first exercise and set 2 of the second one, and so on. The app is following the same model except it helps you to track where you are and what is next in this superset. Obvious does win. So how can you link two exercises into a superset? Super easy! You can easily link two exercises into a superset by tapping the link icon at the end of each exercise.
RPE (The Rating of Perceived Exertion) is a self-assessment scale to indicate your level of exertion. I think this is a brilliant way to track the effort over time and the weight lifted.
Your history screen is a mesh between the real calendar and the timeline. You also have access to all the graphs you might be interested in. Days marked with a green dot underneath the date are the day you had workouts. At the moment, Gymaholic only shows on the dot per multiple workouts a day in case if you had cardio sesh early in the morning and workout in the evening. Still, when tapping on the day, you’ll be able to see workouts completed, so it’s not lost; it’s simplified.
The calendar allows you to add a new workout and export history into a file. You can also switch between calendar and timeline if you need to see, for example, when was the last time you did legs or upper body. This view shows you the day of the week; the workout performed on that day, muscles engaged, and the time it took to complete. Tapping on the workout, you’ll get the workout details screen with all the graphs supporting the data.
My Body Screen
If you are tracking your changes meticulously, you will find this screen instrumental. Even though I do have a fitness goal, I’m less likely to rely on the number on my scale or measurement of my hips. I know how I feel when I am at my best. If you workout regularly for a couple of years, you relearn your body and regain the feeling of being healthy without needing to measure anything in such detail. However, I do think it’s helpful to document where you started off or if you’re getting ready for some sort of bodybuilding competition.
Gymaholic has changed my outlook on the Settings screens, in general, from thinking of it as a generic but required part of the experience, to visiting it quite often when I need to find answers. You’ll find this one useful, as it is here to help you learn the app better. Overall, great visual hierarchy and a clean way to present info. This screen has a lot to offer.
Here are some nuggets of knowledge that might help you if you’re new to Gymaholic. These things I was looking for myself and eventually figured it out on my own. I hope this helps.
How to mark exercise as complete, or reverse this action?
This one took me a while to figure out. I accidentally tapped on the number of the set, and it worked, so if you have to undo certain sets, just tap on the number of the set. Give it a try; you’ll see what happens.
What to do if the exercise you’re looking to add to your workout group is not available in the library?
It’s essential to have some sort of visual reference for the exercises you plan to perform. Gymaholic has foreseen the case that they might not have ALL possible exercises and enabled the user to add content. What you can do is to Google the exercise you need, take a screengrab or save the image to your photo library on your phone, and add it to your library. Don’t forget to tag appropriate muscle groups it’s engaging and save it. Simple as that.
Gymaholic is packed with micro-moments.
In the digital product world, it’s rather a rare and unpopular move; most companies fear not to be able to collect your data and then loop you into the marketing lifecycle. It might be a long-term investment toward the user experience from the Gymaholic team. But what about my data? Gymaholic is not storing it. You can download the spreadsheet file with your data that you can export or import into the app if you ever have a hiccup with it.
You can customize your avatar. You can rotate a 3D model to see the movement and proper form. You can place the model in the room via built in Ar capabilities. All this is highly helpful and often use all of the above features.
A touch of personality is provided through voice narrated commands. Instead of the generic beeping most apps would have, Gymaholic has voice over. In many ways, it’s way less irritating than a beep when you start or end sets.
Gymaholic has graphs — lots of them. You can also create your own graph. Here are some to name:
- Number of Workouts
- Exercises by Muscle Group
- Total and average workout duration
- Average calories spent per workout
- Average heart rate
- Total weight lifted by muscle group
- Average repeats by muscle group
- Weight lifted
- Reps and sets per workout.
“Gym-native” language of weights input
When adjusting weights, you can either use numerical input or use plate-based convention. I think it’s brilliant. You can also set your own number of plates and weights by using the menu available when adjusting weight.
Things I wish Gymaholic app had.
There won’t be too many comments in this section, and the ones listed below are not issues or blockers;
I could see a high value of a functionality that allows you to add the exercise video to the library if it’s missing. I’d want to either use recorded video of myself, or whatever I was able to find online (influencers often post free workout videos on Instagram and Youtube).
I wish there would be a more ergonomic positioning of buttons “Pause” and “Stop.” At the end of the workout, you naturally go to the very bottom of the screen where the last exercise is, and so the location of the above buttons would be a logical addition, which also happens to be the thumb comfort zone.
Such robust functionality comes with the price of needing to learn it. While Settings screen provides a basic explanation of all features, it would be best to support it with images and .gif animations on how to utilize those features. I suspect, at the moment, most of the users are trying to figure it out on their own, missing out on half of the features they might be enjoying.
Things that did not work for me.
I was not able to figure out how to properly set pyramid and a drop set type of exercises. Maybe it’s something that’s broken or requires coaching; either way, I could not do it.
The timed exercise does not record the time correctly. If you set the pushups for 20 seconds and go on for more than 20 seconds, the app records the planned time 20 seconds instead of the actual time.
Things that did work for me.
I’m in love with this app. A lot of times, I judge an experience based on whether it’s easy to find an alternative; in this case, it’s impossible. Gymaholic is ahead of the competition.
Gymaholic has a ton of pre-compiled programs. It’s insane how humble they are in showing it, just a humble, green link that opens an abundance of workout programs. Give it a try.
The privacy aspect of this app is something impressive; they don’t store your data; it’s your own job now. You can export data file; you can delete it; it’s up to you.
Food for thought
At the moment, Gymaholic is the headliner in the fitness apps area, and well deserved so. In many ways, this app is using “gym language” to guide me through my workouts. While the pricing might be a consideration, I must say it’s worth it. My search for fitness apps stopped when I found this one. Of course, this robust functionality comes with the price of time required to learn how to interact with it, but developers put their best foot forward to help you learn it fast enough and focus on your fitness goals and results you are looking to get.