Photo Credit by Les Mills
Review of Les Mills On Demand and Freeletics. Keeping fit amidst a busy schedule is one of the most challenging tasks in our modern lifestyles. We can sometimes be so occupied with work that we find it difficult to spare the time to go to the gym.
With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the globe, gym access is becoming increasingly restricted – after all, it is nearly impossible to social distance effectively in a closed space like a gym. This means that even if you had time to spare to visit the gym, you might not be able to do so.
Increasingly, people are turning towards fitness apps for their fitness solutions. Fitness apps have an advantage over physical gyms – you can work out at any time and at any place.
There has been a boom in new fitness apps over the past few years as app developers rush to fill the demand. Now, a simple search for ‘fitness’ on app stores can yield thousands of results.
Two of the most popular fitness apps available are “Les Mills On Demand” and “Freeletics.” They both contain hundreds of workouts that can be accessed by purchasing a subscription membership. Many users are giving both apps high reviews, with many users claiming that using those apps have helped them achieve their fitness goals.
Are both these fitness apps truly what they are made out to be? Are they worth subscribing to? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of both apps?
Let’s have a look at both these apps closely and see whether they are worth a download.
What are the Workout Programs Available?
Les Mills On Demand
(Source: own screenshot of app)
Les Mills is a popular fitness brand from New Zealand with a following of millions around the world. They create popular workout programs that have a cult following, such as Body Combat, Body Pump, and Grit, to name a few.
These programs are constantly subject to research. For example, this year, Les Mills is conducting studies on Body Pump and anti-ageing benefits.
Instructors usually conduct these workout programs live at fitness studios. However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced many gyms to abandon these live programs as social distancing restrictions are imposed. This has caused Les Mills fans to turn towards its fitness app to continue working out.
The name of the fitness app created by Les Mills is called “Les Mills On Demand”. It is a platform that hosts the catalogue of workout programs that it has under its name. It costs $119.88 for an annual membership.
There is a great variety of workout programs on offer, ranging from yoga-inspired exercises (Body Balance) to cycling workouts (RPM) to high intensity interval training (Grit). This means that there is something for everyone.
These workouts typically range from 30 to 60 minutes in length. Some of the workout programs do not require any equipment and are therefore suitable for home usage. There are also workout programs that do require equipment such as weights or a stationary bike.
Let’s take a look at one of the programs offered on the platform, Body Combat. Body Combat is a mixed martial arts-inspired workout program, involving kicking, punching, and jumping. It is typically an hour in length and divided into shorter tracks. This workout uses music to coordinate for every move.
A reviewer determined that Les Mills On Demand is most ideal for those at an intermediate to an advanced level of fitness as they would feel right at home with the majority of the workouts.
Les Mills created this app to allow fitness enthusiasts to bring Les Mills workout programs wherever they go. Instead of having to book a physical online class, fans can simply log onto the app, choose a program, and begin working out right away.
Freeletics is another popular fitness app that is gaining a substantial following. This app allows users to customize workouts according to their fitness level and goals. It costs $74.99 for an annual membership.
A study conducted in 2015 shows that this app actually incorporates a number of aspects and psychological mechanisms that previous research has identified as being important for physical activity apps and behavior change in general. This means that the creators have worked hard to create the best fitness app possible based on available research.
After you download the app, the app will ask users a few basic questions about their fitness level. Users can choose to describe their fitness level according to a scale, ranging from “not fit at all” to “really fit.” There is no minimum fitness requirement to use the app – anyone can get started.
Next, the app asks users what their top fitness goals are. It uses the answer given to customize workout programs later. Users can choose from a few different fitness goals, including losing weight, gaining strength, and improving fitness.
After you have entered your basic fitness information, it then asks you whether you would like to train using your bodyweight (no equipment necessary), with weights, or simply by running.
After this, you can freely scroll through the library of workouts available on Freeletics. These workout programs are usually a few weeks in length and are designed to help you achieve a specific workout goal, such as losing weight or building muscle. Once you have chosen a workout program, you can begin training. The programs are broken down into weeks and there are different training programs for each week.
Let’s look at a workout program available on the app, entitled “Explosive Strength”. It is a 12 week program that is equal parts cardio and muscle-building. A typical training session lasts for 30 to 60 minutes. You can choose to work out using bodyweight only or with equipment.
In this program, you can expect to have high repetitions, full body exercises, and explosive cardio moves. The results that you can expect to get are leaner muscle with lower body fat, becoming stronger, and increasing your strength and conditioning.
A reviewer said, “it’s like having a personal trainer, but 99% less expensive. You can do it completely on your own time, in the comfort of your home, and—not that I’ve ever done this—but can even do it in your pajamas.”
(Source: own screenshot of app)
The “Explosive Strength” workout is divided into different weeks. Week 1 is for assessing your fitness level. Weeks 2 to 11 are for customized training based on your performance in the first week. Week 12 is named “Hell Week”; it is a week in which the program ramps up the intensity and pushes you to your limit.
Many of the workout programs on this fitness app follow the same structure: an initial assessment period in which you can feedback on the level of intensity that best suits your fitness level, a period of customized training, and a challenge at the end for you to see how far you can push yourself.
Freeletics also offers mindset coaching, which allows you to choose courses that offer guidance on training, mind, health, and nutrition. For example, there is a section named “Focus and de-stress” that allows you to “improve mental performance and unlock your mind’s potential.” It features audio courses that deal with mindfulness and planning your day well.
What Are The Advantages?
Les Mills On Demand
(Source: own screenshot of the app)
Tutorials To Get You Started
Les Mills On Demand have a varied content of workout videos that each have their own unique moves. Therefore, there is a little bit of a learning curve if you are new to a particular workout.
The great thing about this app is that they have introductory videos for all of their workout programs. These introductory videos contain tutorials on how to perform the moves safely and effectively. These tutorial videos are usually just a few minutes in length.
Even without an instructor in real life, you can learn all the moves for each workout program by watching these tutorial videos.
Easy To Follow
The workout videos on Les Mills On Demand are all taught by instructors. These instructors instruct viewers on the moves to make and the steps to take for each workout, and the audience follows along.
The directors of the videos shoot the workout videos from the angle of the audience, facing the instructors on stage. We see the instructors sweat, run, dance, jump. The instructors act as your mirror image, so if they make a move to the right, you make a move to your left.
If you play the workout videos on the app and plug in some wireless earphones, you will get the feeling of being right in the fitness studio with them. The music is loud, fun, and inspiring; the atmosphere energetic and electrifying.
The format of the workout videos makes them really easy to follow along as a viewer. All you need to do is to pay close attention to the instructors, follow along to their moves, enjoy the music, and have fun.
If you ever have experience joining a fitness class with an instructor, it is likely that you will have no problem following along to the workout tutorials on Les Mills On Demand.
Sense Of Community
Les Mills may be a New Zealand fitness brand, but it has a wide following around the world. People from different countries and cultures enjoy the workout programs that it has to offer.
For live studio classes, instructors from different gyms across the globe learn the moves of the workouts and teach them to their gym members. Hundreds of thousands of people make it a point to participate in a Les Mills class every week – sometimes even a few times a week. People from different nations go to their local gyms and come together to enjoy Les Mills classes, break out a sweat, and have fun.
Les Mills is an international phenomenon. For the workout videos available on its app, they have shot the workouts in different cities such as Shanghai, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. This means that you get to see people from different backgrounds and cultures working out to the same program.
There is something special about participating in a workout program that you know has a following around the world. When you are kicking and jumping along to a Body Combat workout, you know that hundreds of thousands of other people are doing so too. When you stretch yourself to your maximum at a workout and finish the class out of breath, you know that many people from around the world are having a similar experience as well.
This creates a profound sense of community. Les Mills On Demand is therefore not just another fitness app – it is an opportunity to participate in a global fitness movement.
(Source: own screenshot of app)
The first benefit of Freeletics is also its most obvious: it offers workout programs that are customizable to your fitness level and goals.
Freeletics features a virtual ‘Coach’ that creates workout programs specifically for you.
Every time you complete a workout, you can give feedback. You are asked, “How hard was it to complete the final round with perfect form?” You can then choose to answer on a sliding scale from “Not hard” to “I couldn’t do it.”
After every workout, you are also asked, “Overall, were the exercises too challenging for you?” You can then choose one of three answers: “No, they weren’t”, “They were just right”, or “Yes, they were.”
The virtual ‘Coach’ will then adjust your next workout based on the feedback given.
This constant prompt of feedback is advantageous for a few reasons. For one, this means that your workout routines are constantly being adjusted based on what you can handle. You don’t have to set a routine once and be forced to follow through from start to finish without any changes – you can always ask for the workout to be more, or less, intense based on how you’re feeling.
This also means that you have less reasons to give up. Since the programs are adjustable, you don’t have to stick to a routine that you find too challenging. Instead, you can request for the workout to be less challenging – but still intense enough for you to break a sweat. This can also prevent injuries caused by unintentional overexertion.
Variety of Workout Styles
When you sign up to Freeletics, you are not signing up to just one workout style. You get to participate in what seems like an unlimited variety of workouts – from jumping jacks to crunches to burpees and more.
If you don’t have any fitness equipment and want to work out using just your bodyweight, you can choose bodyweight programs that have workouts that do not require any equipment. If you have a pullup bar, a barbell, rack, or bench, you can choose programs that include those equipment too.
With Freeletics, you can choose to just focus on running. There are many fitness apps available that just focus exclusively on running. This one runs with this trend by providing customizable running programs that are designed to get you running faster and longer. They also provide sprints and interval training programs that allow you to vary the speed of your running so that you can get fit faster.
In other words, Freeletics allows you to choose from a variety of workout routines. This ensures that you are never bored or get too used to a particular set of workouts.
Option of Weeks-Long Programs
We have seen earlier how Freeletics offers programs that are weeks long. They start with a trial phase, continue to a build-up phase, and end with an intensity phase, all spread out over a typical 12-week period.
There are not many fitness apps that offer workout programs that take the long approach of spreading the workouts over weeks. Typically, workout programs are designed to be one-off – you choose a workout video, watch it, follow along, and that’s it.
Freeletics differs from its competitors by offering workouts that are spread out over a long period of time. This has a few advantages. It allows you to build up your stamina slowly so that you can handle more difficult workouts as time progresses. This allows you to push yourself and truly explore what your body can handle.
It also reinforces the fact that working out and getting great results is not something that can be achieved overnight; rather, success in working out is a long game. Many people are enthusiastic about their own fitness, but only for a short period of time; as time progresses, they lose interest.
By structuring workout programs to last weeks, it builds the discipline in users to stay committed to their own fitness goals and go the extra mile. This way, you can truly enjoy the fruits of your success as you watch your body become stronger and leaner over time. By the end of the workout program, you can look back and be proud of how far you’ve come.
What Are The Downsides?
Les Mills On Demand
The Workouts Are Not Customizable
Unlike Freeletics, Les Mills On Demand does not offer personalized workout programs. You simply choose a workout program from its library of videos and get started. You have to be your own judge on whether the workout you choose is suitable to your fitness level and goals.
Unlike Freeletics, there is no option of giving feedback and having your next workout tailored accordingly. This can sometimes lead to injuries if you are not careful. For example, the ‘Grit’ programs, which offer high-intensity workouts, features explosive moves that are designed to get your heart rate up in a short amount of time. If you misjudge your fitness level and overexert yourself, you become more prone to injuries.
With the workout programs on Les Mills On Demand not being customizable, users are prone to lose interest after a while. The app also does not offer personalized promptings for you to push yourself – therefore, you have to have a great degree of independence and motivation to want to achieve better fitness results.
The Workouts Are Not Long-Term
Unlike Freeletics, Les Mills On Demand only offers one-off workout videos that are typically under an hour in length. In other words, each workout video is self-contained: there is a warm-up, the main workout, and a cool down. There is no continuity between the different workout videos; each workout is independent of each other. Therefore, it is up to you to plan which workout videos you want to watch, and how intense you want to push yourself for each workout.
Once again, this means that you need to be highly motivated in order to achieve your fitness goals. Unlike Freeletics, there is no algorithm built in to automatically increase the intensity of subsequent workout programs – you need to do it yourself.
The workouts programs on Freeletics may be fun to complete, but there is a huge element that is missing: music. Music is often a huge part of workout programs. Consider, for example, the world-famous dance exercise program, Zumba – it features high-energy dance tracks set to a variety of music genres.
Music can really change your workout for the better. Upbeat, energetic music can make you feel more motivated to push yourself further. This is why there are many fitness motivation playlists available on music streaming services such as Spotify.
When you choose a workout program on Freeletics, it merely tells you which moves to make (such as push-ups), with no accompanying music. This means that if you are someone that enjoys working out to music, you would need to play your own music when using Freeletics.
The Customizable Programs Can Miss The Mark
Although Freeletics offers customizable workout programs that adjust according to your level, it can sometimes still miss the mark. People have complained of the virtual ‘Coach’ being too easy; others have complained of it being too hard.
When using Freeletics, it is important to manage your expectations. The way that this app customize your workout is by using its own algorithms. Algorithms can be a hit or a miss. There is still a difference between having a real fitness coach to plan your workouts, and having an algorithm do it. A real fitness coach can pick up verbal and non-verbal cues in determining the best fitness plan for you; an algorithm is unable to do so.
What Is The Final Verdict?
Photo Credit by Les Mills
Les Mills On Demand and Freeletics are two of the most popular fitness apps in the world, and for good reason – Les Mills On Demand offers a variety of popular workout programs such as Body Pump and Body Combat, and the latter offers workout programs that can be customized according to your fitness level and goals.
Some of the key strengths of Les Mills On Demand are also the weaknesses of Freeletics, and vice versa. Les Mills On Demand offers workout programs that are coordinated with music while Freeletics does not. Instead, it offers customizable workout programs over a long period of time; Les Mills On Demand, on the other hand, only offers one-off programs that are not customizable.
If you are looking for a fitness app that has a library of world-famous workout programs that are set to music, then Les Mills On Demand is for you.
If you are looking for a fitness app that you can bring anywhere and tailor the programs according to your schedule and fitness level, then Freeletics is for you.
Both apps are well worth subscribing to. At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself what your fitness goals are, and how determined you are to achieve them. Both fitness apps have proven results among users. With determination, you too can be among the users who achieve amazing fitness results.
Other related topics you might like to read:
- Alone But Not Lonely: Working Out With Others During A Pandemic
- Why should you start a Bodyweight exercise regimen?
- What’s the definition of fitness?
- Freeletics (2020) Freeletics Retrieved from: https://www.freeletics.com/en/
- Les Mills On Demand (2020) The World’s Best Workouts At Home Retrieved from: https://www.lesmills.com/ondemand/
- Les Mills (2020) World United Retrieved from: https://www.lesmills.com/
- FJMorales85 (2016) Coach is too easy Retrieved from: https://www.reddit.com/r/freeletics/comments/4uz8es/coach_is_too_easy/
- Raschmann (2015) Too hard for me? Retrieved from: https://www.reddit.com/r/freeletics/comments/2pza6c/too_hard_for_me/
- Les Mills (2020) Body Combat Retrieved from: https://www.lesmills.com/workouts/fitness-classes/bodycombat/
- Les Mills (2020) Why our research matters Retrieved from: https://www.lesmills.com/instructors/instructor-news/why-our-research-matters/
- Franze, Funk, Strasser, & Diefenbach (2015) The Power of Freeletics Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286477169_The_Power_of_Freeletics
- Mickie (2020) Les Mills On Demand An Honest Review Retrieved from: https://onestrongsoutherngirl.com/review-les-mills-on-demand/
- Lindsayiberman.com (2020) Freeletics Review: A Customized Fitness App for Home Workouts Retrieved from: https://www.lindsaysilberman.com/lifestyle/freeletics-review/