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Apple Fitness App On Apple TV - First Impressions

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

The latest suite of iOS updates (version 14.4) adds a significant feature to the Apple universe. In particular, the iPhone Fitness app is now available on Apple TV (ATV).

Did I just say, Fitness now runs on Apple TV?. Wow! You say, "So what?" Is this some watered-down version of the "Fitness" app on my iPhone? Well, there's a clue: on the ATV, it simply displays the familiar progress "rings" with no app name as shown below.

I was non-plussed, until I launched the app on the ATV:

  • My AW connects to the ATV, and walks me through a quick setup.

  • I poke around the ATV Fitness App, and discover there's an impressive array of content.

  • Anxious to begin, I look for a workout lasting around 10 minutes that won't require any equipment or kill me. Voila! I find one called "HIIT with Kim." (HIIT means "high-intensity interval training" - scary.)

  • I am presented with the familiar round START triangle on my ATV, along with the 3-2-1 countdown and beeps.

  • Using my ATV Siri remote, I hit START.

  • Simultaneously my AW automatically launches the Workout app, selects the right type of workout, and starts recording my progress. Nice integration!

  • As I'm stumbling around my living room trying to keep up with Kim's "old-guy" (who performs a watered-down version of the routines) I see my AW vitals on my TV updating throughout the workout. Elapsed time, active calories, total calories and heart rate are plastered on a corner of my big screen for the world to see. From then on, I stop looking at my AW and I can concentrate on the old-guy! Even NICER integration.

  • I get some on-TV attaboys during the workout, like closing a couple of fitness rings.

  • I realize this is something I'll need to come back to. More importantly, I'll WANT to come back to it.

After poking around more on the ATV Fitness App, I realized that it's pretty much a "presentation only" tool. You can't even mark workouts as your favorites. There's no where in the app listing "past workouts" or "performance history." That's relegated to your AW and your iPhone, probably for privacy reasons.

Nonetheless, I was properly credited for my efforts. The iPhone's Fitness app captured the workout including name, thumbnail, TOD, total time, calories, average heart rate and something new called "Burn Bar" which graphically illustrates (in pink) how well you did compared to everyone else.

The Burn Bar is compelling. It's something I'll be watching during my next encounter with Kim and the old-guy. While it offers some "competition" against a range of statistical fitness levels, it also gives you a yardstick to see how out of shape you really are.

Note that you see that the Heart Rate Chart is "unavailable." That means your AW heart rate sensor didn't capture enough measurements while you were bouncing around. That's fair. I got a notification during setup this could be expected. (Not that I'm unhappy about the missing chart, but it DOES appear on my AW and does NOT appear on my iPhone Fitness app. Clearly there's a problem here, and I've been battling this issue for a while - but that's another story...)


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