‘Download a new free cycling HIIT app’ said the advert for Push2Beat that popped into my twitter feed – which I guess proves that they work as I was interested. Admittedly I was mostly interested as the app came from a company called Skip2Beat. I’d interviewed their founder Wesley Eastman ages ago for the Australian magazine I work for as he was doing some really interesting skipping based fitness classes in which you do skipping intervals in time to music – I figured by the name that this app was going to be the same sort of thing and so I wanted to give it a try.
I downloaded the app from the app store and pressed enter. At this point I realised that yes, Push2Beat does have free options, but the longer workouts were priced from 79p – not exactly pricey I admit. Still, stingy little thing that I am, I decided I would stick with the 3 minute free HIIT workout. My plan was to combine this as part of a circuit in the hotel gym during my recent Vegas trip. My attention span in hotel gyms is pretty limited and so I figured this would be a good way to get a killer workout in 20 minutes. I’d do a short warm up on the rower (if there was one); a set of the HIIT workout, a 10 minute run as fast as I could, another set of the HIIT workout and my cool down.
Of course nothing ever works as I plan it when technology is involved (seriously the number of cool gizmos I’ve tried to review for this blog that I gave up on as I was still trying to make them work an hour after opening is in double figures) and I couldn’t get anything on the app to work – I did wonder if this was due to my saying no to it having my location (that always makes me nervous – why do things need to know where I am? I’m going to be cycling in a small room for 6 minutes, I won’t need rescuing by a St Bernard carrying brandy) but it seemed that actually the app was having a few teething troubles. Not giving up, I decided to buy the 79p plan which worked better.
It’s 7am and I’m in the gym at the Vdara Las Vegas glaring at a man who will not get off the one exercise bike in the place….I’ve watched an entire episode of the Kardashians from the treadmill while he’s pedalling away. Eventually he gets off and my tired legs and I take his – slightly warm – seat. Basically, you pedal at a steady rate until you hear the app start to ramp up and the count of one-two-push it – at this point you pedal as fast as you can until you hear the screech of brakes. This goes on, for, seven minutes.You can synch the app to your own songs, but at first I didn’t bother as there’s a pretty technoey bit of music that goes with it and it made a change from listening to my normal tunes.
I did find Push2Beat kept me super motivated and I used it twice more during my trip. I’ve also now also managed to get hold of the free three minute version as well so looks like that bug is fixed. However, everything in the app-garden is not totally rosy….I have found that for me at least, if you do try and synch it to your own music it crashes and locks up and you have to shut it down again to get it to work. But as I say, technology and I are not friends and so this might not be the case for other people. I know they were aware of a problem with the synching so it might not happen with newer versions of the app (I have deleted it and reinstalled it, but it may be that I still have the older version).
Also, on my phone, when the screen shuts down, so does the app – this means that I have to wake my phone up roughly every 3 minutes as the screen starts to dim – not a huge problem as it’s sitting on my lap when I cycle but I could see it could be annoying, especially for one of the longer workouts. Obviously this doesn’t happen with the three minute version as it finishes before the phone shuts off. Again, because I’m a techno idiot, this could be related to a setting on my phone that I haven’t found yet (can someone tell me if it is as it’s really annoying)
There’s also another interesting little quirk….I couldn’t work out why the 7 minute workout was actually 7 minutes and 5 seconds long….and it’s because the timer counts 1.58. 1.59. 1.60 – and then goes to 2.00 – effectively adding random seconds. That’s obviously not going to ruin your workout though.
So, do I recommend Push2Beat? I like it as a way to motivate me to do a short sharp shock workout and, because I’m not using it all the time, I can get past the little niggles – but, if they aren’t just related to my techno-inadequacies – I could see that they might grate with long term use. As such I say, yes to the free three minute workout, maybe to the 7 minute one but probably no to the longer, more expensive ones. Although that may not be a fair statement as I haven’t personally tried those and it may be that they don’t have the same bugs. If anyone has tried the longer versions and they are bug free (or the problems are related to something I’m doing wrong) please do let me know in the comments. Happy pedalling.