For someone who likes to exercise, I’m pretty lazy. Unless some outside force forces me to train — an upcoming half marathon, a HIIT class with a draconian cancellation policy — I won’t. That’s why I’ve long dreamed of having a personal trainer to keep me on track while pushing me to the next level of my fitness journey. I worked with a year ago on a free trial basis for a few weeks when I first joined Equinox and loved the one-on-one coaching, form checks and built-in discipline, but with with a single session costing over $100, it was financially untenable to continue.
So when a publicist offered me a six-month free trial of a new $149-a-month app called Future that pairs you with a personal trainer, I was intrigued by the idea of having someone other than me to get back in shape – without having to go to a gym. (And as I’m about to lay out, I love the app so much that after my six-month trial ends in January, I’m going to relaunch and personally pay the $149 per month.)
To get started, after taking a detailed questionnaire about my fitness background and goals, I was given my recommended trainer, Micaela G. (There are hundreds of trainers to choose from.) Her profile included all of my priorities – general strength training, weight loss, nutrition (she is a certified nutrition coach) and prenatal and postpartum care (I had just had my second child) – with a style of coaching described as “motivational”, “supportive” and “even careened”: everything I wanted (and needed) as a mother of two desperate to feel like herself again. I also loved the vibe she gave off in her picture: friendly and confident, plus she had really great hair. We set up a 15 minute video call to chat and come up with a workout plan together, and within days I was pressing play on the program Micaela created just for me.
If you want to try, Future is offering Strategist readers 50% off for the first three months using the link above.
Our plan includes a 30-40 minute workout on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with a shorter yoga/mobility flow and walks on rest days. Each workout consists of pre-recorded video demonstrations of each move with both automated voice prompts and personal voice prompt and guidance from Micaela. Because I am currently focusing on strength training, I do a mix of different variations of squats, lunges, floor exercises, shoulder presses, bench presses, and other upper body exercises using a combination of dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands and my own body weight. Each workout also includes a light warm-up and cool-down time.
My dashboard on the Future app.
I’d say I know 80% of the moves, but if there’s something new – like the ten-pound dumbbell Turkish half that came up the other day (so difficult and awkward!) – everything I have to do is watch the video demo, which plays the whole cycle. There’s also the option to save your form to send to your coach if you want some extra coaching, but I haven’t tried that feature yet because I’m frankly a little embarrassed, but next time these half- outfits will show up, I will. Future recommends pairing an Apple Watch with the app to get the most out of your one-on-one coaching with your trainer, as it allows them to see your stats – which is heart rate and calories burned in my case – and if you are pushing yourself (or not). (When I first signed up in July, Future let me rent an Apple Watch, but now you have to buy one yourself.)
I was barely ten weeks postpartum when I signed up, but I couldn’t wait to go. Micaela and I agreed that we would tackle it with shorter, low impact workouts, and after my first week I felt great, challenged but not pushed beyond my limits. (The most stressful part was trying to finish a workout before the baby woke up from her nap.) If something felt wrong or too difficult, all I had to do was let Micaela know through the app’s messaging feature and she’ll make adjustments. (At the end of each workout, you and your trainer get a little summary of your heart rate zones and calories burned, and you’re also asked to give feedback and rate how difficult you found it.) Three times a week feels more than doable, especially since I was on maternity leave, and the off-day walks were much-needed motivation to get out of the house with the baby, even if it was just a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood. I loved getting morning reminders from Micaela to do my workouts, and then after, her “Great job” and “Way to push” messages always boosted my confidence.
I started using Future in mid-July and didn’t miss a workout until the end of October (the whole family got sick with RSV and I had to take a break for a few weeks). As of this writing, I’ve completed 85 workouts, burned 15,000 calories, and logged 3,300 minutes, according to the app. I also lost 11 pounds without changing my diet (I’m breastfeeding so it helps burn extra calories). More importantly, I feel strong.
This would never have happened without Micaela or the flexibility of the application. Besides being an awesome coach and motivator, she is absolutely my accountability partner. She is also a consummate professional who knows very well how to maximize results with the equipment, time and energy levels I work with, which is crucial for a mother of two with only a certain amount of hours during the day. Micaela helps me take my training to the next level by increasing the intensity of the workouts each week increasing the weight load and varying the movements to ensure I get an effective, full body workout each week. I can always tell her what I need or want and she will adjust my workouts accordingly.
And the app just does it so easy. Instead of setting up my laptop and scrolling through pages of workouts trying to decide what I like — or worse, having to leave my house to hit the gym — it’s all neatly organized on my phone. As soon as I get my gear, I’m good to go. And if I should miss or move a workout, rescheduling is as easy as sending Micaela a quick message.
If it weren’t for Micaela, her daily encouragement and check-ins, there would be no way I could have completed three workouts (plus walks and stretches) each week for 15 consecutive weeks. . I was on maternity leave for 11 of those 15 weeks, but even now that I’ve been back at work for over two months and would much rather stay in front of the TV after the kids have gone to bed, Micaela told me motivates me to do my workouts no matter how tired I am. It’s his friendly, familiar, but no bullshit way of keeping me on the task that I love. I don’t wanna let her down (not that she would already it hurts me to miss a day) but it’s also very satisfying to look at the app tracker and see all the days I’ve worked green. Micaela thinks the best workout is the one you stick to – and thanks to her and Future, that’s exactly what I do.
The strategist is designed to surface the most useful expert recommendations on things to buy in the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural remedies for anxietyand bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that offers may expire and all prices are subject to change.