So you want to get in shape. Maybe build muscle, burn fat, and get a better body.
You have some experience working out, so you know you need a good program. But you don’t have the time or knowledge to design a world-class program yourself.
You found an app called Fitbod. Should you trust it with your fitness? Since you’re here, I’m guessing you’re looking for a second opinion, reviews, and perhaps an alternative. You’ll find all of that (and more) in this article.
But why should you even listen to me? Well, I’ve been a lifter and a coach for 20 years, and a trainer for the Canadian Forces. I have a B.Sc in exercise science and a PhD in health statistics (epidemiology). I’ve helped about 10,000 people get in shape 1-on-1, in group classes, and online. And I walk the walk, being in decent shape myself (see image).
Not sure yet? To give you some context, let me share with you the secret to getting in shape (if there’s such a thing). You won’t find this one in other Fitbod app reviews.
The “secret” to getting in shape
Getting in shape is hard. It requires time, knowledge, and motivation. And just when you think you’re doing everything right, you can still get injured, get stuck, or lose motivation, and quit.
When you get stuck, you can work out for months before you make noticable progress.
And when you quit, you can lose all your gains… and have to start all over again.
So if there’s one secret to avoiding that and getting in top shape, it’s to hire a personal trainer. A great trainer will keep you making progress for years and get you into the best shape your genes will allow.
But I’ll be honest: trainers are not for everyone. As a trainer myself, I can confirm that. An experienced, certified trainer will cost you $60-$100 an hour. Over months, that can pile up to thousands of dollars. Plus, most trainers work by appointment only. And if you don’t show up, some will charge you anyway. Ouch.
That’s where a workout app like Fitbod can fit in. In some ways, it’s like a trainer in your phone. It won’t teach you how to perform each exercise properly. But it can customise your program (to some extent). And update it as you get in better shape.
Now, full disclosure: in 2016, I finished my PhD, gathered a small team, and started building a workout app. It’s called Dr. Muscle. Dr. Muscle is like Fitbod, but focused on building muscle and transforming your body. It’s also more advanced (and more expensive).
Since we compete with Fitbod, you might expect me to tell you how much better we are. Frankly, I won’t. Instead, I’ll simply lay out what our customers have told us is important to them. Give you the facts. And highlight what the science says you should focus on if you want to build muscle and strength. Then you can compare for yourself. And be the judge.
So when it comes to your fitness, what do you care about the most? In my experience, it’s probably results.
You want results (build muscle, burn fat, transform your body & more)
If you’re like our customers, the most important thing you want is results. Chances are, you want to:
- Look and feel your best
- Boost your energy
- Build muscle
- Burn fat
- Transform your body
Some people also want to understand how their workout app works under the hood. The science behind it. They want to know their program is designed in the best and most scientific way drive them all the way to gainsville. We have other articles that dive deep into that, like:
- 5 Best Bodybuilding Apps for Hypertrophy [In-Depth Review & Comparison]
- A Progressive Overload App to Build Muscle & Strength On Autopilot
- Strength Training for Hypertrophy: Exercises & Cycles for Muscle Gain
Other factors are also important. Like cost, being able to get up and running as quickly as possible, ease of use, and exercise demos. We’ll cover those in detail.
But putting all of that aside, what we care about passionately is getting you results. Let’s be honest, that’s what you’re paying for. So that’s what we strive to deliver. To give you some perspective, we’ll show you results from people who have used both our app and Fitbod.
Fitbod review (from actual users)
Many of our customers have used both Fitbod and Dr. Muscle. Here’s what they have to say about their experiences using both:
That’s just some of our users’ experience. Now, this might raise the question… why are these users getting these results?
How to build muscle & strength
At the heart of any structured exercise program is the desire to create a specific adaptation. In this case the adaptation we desire is strength & muscle growth.
In order to cause an adaptation we need to place the body under just the right amount of stress to force the body to adapt and change,
In the case of muscle growth (hypertrophy) and strength we create that stress by lifting weights.
We cause stress.
We adapt to the stress (get stronger, build muscle).
Once we have adapted to that level of stress, then the next time we need to try a little harder to cause even more stress to cause the next adaptation… and the cycle continues for as long as we are able to recover and allow adaptations to take place.
The principle that governs this stress-adaptation process in weight training is progressive overload. That is exactly the way the Dr. Muscle app functions; increasing your training load/volume is appropriate increments to ensure progression over time.
The training load and stress we undertake during training is related to several variables. The weight lifted, the amount of repetitions we do, the amount of sets we do for each muscle, the amount of time the muscle is under tension, the frequency with which we train a muscle and the amount of rest we take both between sets, exercises and training sessions.
Too little training load.. We don’t have enough stimulus to adapt, too much and we might not recover effectively, be able to complete sessions and worst case end up getting injured.
We focus on progressing your training by using our ‘plus set’ system. This allows us to use your previous sessions training loads and reps during your ‘plus set’ to ‘autoregulate’ and define the weight that you are lifting in the next week’s sessions.
In science speak, this is called ‘autoregulatory progressive resistance exercise’ and guess what? It is seriously effective at building muscle and strength and means we are not just guessing or using arbitrary progressions in our training which might be setting ourselves up for failure!
We maximise your load/volume progression (and gains in muscle and strength) using a ‘daily undulating periodisation’ (DUP). This means that on each day of training we shift training focus.
For example, hypertrophy on one day, strength the next then back to hypertrophy… The research tells us this is the most effective way to make simultaneous progress in muscle growth and strength.
Of course, there is always some overlap. Strength and muscle growth rep ranges are on a continuum, not a black and white cut off. Muscle growth even without specific strength training is 100% going to increase our ability to be strong in any case.
Because we also know that at some point you are going to plateau, we also use your data to factor in periods where we back off your training and de-load. Allowing those adaptations to hard training, and the accumulation of volume over several weeks, to take place.
Fitbod alternative for Android
Are you on Android? Your decision may have just gotten easier. Fitbod is new on Android, and users have voiced complaints on Google Play. They say the app is missing features and has bugs. For example:
If you want a more polished app, you can try Dr. Muscle for free as an alternative.
Fitbod or alternative? How to choose
If you are not entirely sure of your fitness goals or if you want to have more exercise variety and random workouts, then you may want to go with Fitbod.
The way I see it, Fitbod is a fine place to start your fitness journey if you don’t have a specific goal. But if you want to maximise your muscle growth (and transform your body), you need a tool designed just for that. That’s where we come in. We built Dr. Muscle for lifters who want to build muscle fast and get in top shape.
To be sure, the better our competitors, the better we have to be. Fitbod has great graphic design, and it’s inspiring us to improve our user interface. But unlike Fitbod, we decided to focus on building muscle from day 1. So if that’s your goal, I’m confident you’ll get better results with our workouts designed with that goal in mind.
I don’t believe in slating the opposition. I’m here to learn, adapt, and push the team to create the smartest, most effective workout app. That’s why we would love your feedback and encourage you to give us a try.
On the fence? See our customer reviews. We also have expert reviews by leading muscle and strength coaches and researchers to show you that we are serious about having the some of the most critical eyes in the business driving Dr. Muscle forwards.
I truly hope you’ll come along on the muscle gain ride.
Free access to Fitbod?
According to Fitbod’s own website, there is no “free version” of the app. New users are provided with 3 free workouts to try the app. That’s it.
At the time of writing, a yearly subscription is $59.99 and will automatically renew every year. A monthly subscription is $9.99 and will automatically renew every month.
Fitbod Dumbbells (coming soon)
Fitbod for bodybuilding
If you’re looking to build your body, Fitbod may not be your best option. As users of the app have pointed out, Fitbod tends to change your exercises a lot. That’s a bad idea.
Two studies suggest it’s not needed, and that it could even slow down your gains. Many experts agree: you probably don’t need more than 2-3 exercises per muscle group. For example, olympic weightlifters generally do fewer than that. And they still become supremely muscular, strong, and nimble.
When you do too many exercises, and them change often, a few things happen. First, your progress on each exercise is slower. Second, you don’t get as strong. And third, as a results, you give a weaker training stimulus to your muscles. This leads to slower muscle growth. In other words, for each muscle, you better have 3 exercises you’re strong in that really create growth than 6 exercises you’re average in that create average growth. This is the framework we apply in Dr. Muscle. Try it free to see for yourself.
- Fitbod Workout App Review & Alternative for Smart Lifters in 2021 - August 3, 2021
- Bodybuilding Stretching Routine: 7 Exercises for Flexibility, Muscle & Strength - March 4, 2021
- A Progressive Overload App to Build Muscle & Strength On Autopilot (It’s Like a Trainer in Your Phone) - February 23, 2021