Gymshark is one of the biggest phenomena to come across the fitness industry.
What started out as a fitness brand has blown up into an entire community composed of:
- Professional athletes
- Fitness influencers & personalities
- The general public
Regardless how you feel about the brand, there's no denying the fact they're huge.
As part of their success story, Gymshark has released their own workout app that goes by the full name "Gymshark Training and Fitness".
Since Gymshark is such a massive brand, there is a lot of expectation for them to make a legit app as it could ruin their reputation if it was just another nonsense app. As such, I had to check it out and do my own Gymshark workout app review.
To keep things honest, I will tell you I was originally a bit biased going in to this review. Gymshark has a bit of a reputation in the fitness industry; basically a mash of bro science and Instagram.
With that in mind, I was surprised with Gymshark and I'll tell you why below. I'll also go over some of the drawbacks I saw and provide an alternative that contains none of them.
Who I Am: Why I'm Qualified To Write This
My name is Garett Reid and I have been in this industry for over well over 10 years. I have earned my Masters in Exercise Science as well as hold several high level certifications and accolades including;
- NSCA CSCS
- Executive Council Member of the NSCA Strongman SIG
- Published writer in NSCA COACH
I started going to the gym more than 20 years. This means I started working out with the classic pen and paper. Growing up in this era has given me the ability to train while watching the rise of fitness apps.
At the same time, I saw the growth of social media influencers becoming fitness "experts" as well. As the Gymshark workout app uses both, I believe I can judge it fairly.
What Makes My Review Different
After researching the Gymshark workout app review, there was one thing that was obvious; there are surprisingly very few reviews. Even the one's I saw, seemed to be published in "content mills" or are on part of "Top Lists" rather than a specific review.
With that said, my app will be a legitimate Gymshark review that fairly judges it. Further, even though Gymshark is a wide-reaching brand, I have zero affiliation with them nor have I ever owned any of their clothing either.
In other words, I have no bias or reason to hype it up.
Concerning other reviews of GymShark, they tended to focus on what they have rather than effective it will be. They also seemed to review the app from the eyes of an experienced lifter, making assumptions that imply a trainee already has a certain amount of knowledge.
In my review of the Gymshark workout app, I aim to:
- Provide a review from a professional view of strength and conditioning
- Judge how effective it is as the primary workout app
- It's effectiveness for all training levels
Finally, I will provide an alternative workout app, Dr-Muscle.
Gymshark: A Quick Overview
The Gymshark Training and Fitness app comes from the mega fitness brand Gymshark. What's probably done as a marketing ploy to sell their clothes, their app is totally free. The entire thing.
Most "free" apps only provide access to a few programs or are for a short period of time. However, Gymshark provides 100% access immediately for free forever.
Even if this is done for marketing, it doesn't change the fact anyone can download it and start using it now. That's pretty cool.
However, being free means nothing if it's no good. So, is it? Well, Gymshark was better than I expected; at least for some people.
You see, Gymshark does not produce personal programs for you. Nor does it help with tracking or long-term development.
Rather, they provide:
- Single workouts
- General short-term programs i.e. "3 day workout"
- Specialty workout programs i.e. "Improve your deadlift"
Some of these programs are built by "regular trainers" while other programs as written by famous and established trainers. For example, Stefi Cohen, who has held 25 world records throughout her powerlifting career, has some feature programs as of the time of this review.
Overall, it seems to have some legitimate specialty programs for someone to improve their lifts. In addition, while I'm not a fan of the single-use "cookie-cutter" type programs, their actual programming seems to be legit.
While Gymshark's workout app is better than I was expecting, let's go over some of the drawbacks I noticed when playing with the app myself as well as reading other reviews of Gymshark.
Too Many Choices
Upon downloading, you're just thrown into the main page which offers you a ton of options all on a single page; things like:
- "Workout Of The Day"
- "Latest Workouts"
It then also has links to other pages such as:
These individual links then offer more choices. For example, "Plans" provides options for;
As you can see, this is information overload even for an experienced lifter as myself.
I find myself wanting to look at all of them and once I start trying one a little voice in my head tells me that maybe I should see if another program is better.
This is the classic fallacy of believing more options make something better. In fact, it causes what's called "decision paralysis" and makes deciding hard. Studies have confirmed this is a legitimate effect, and when people do make a decision from many options, they are left feeling less satisfied (Reutskaja et al, 2021)
Not Clear What To Do
On top of having a ton of choices, there's no clear guidance on where or what you should do. Having a ton of choices wouldn't be as big of a deal if it gave some advice on where to start and how to effectively use the amount of choices.
However, it doesn't.
Imagine being new to lifting and having the plethora of options I mentioned above with zero guidance. It makes it very difficult to know where to start.
I would have liked to see some sort of advice or tips; or even a section for beginners would have been nice.
Prioritizes Specialty Programs & No Long-Term Programs
So this one is a bit nuanced as it's not necessarily a set-back; it's just not what many people are looking for.
Gymshark doesn't offer any personalized programs that you can follow long-term. Rather, it's comprised of a very large amount of single workouts and short-term training plans. For example;
- Various splits (i.e. 4-day split)
- Programs for goals (i.e. athleticism, mass)
- Home workouts
It also has various specialty programs such as;
- Specialty hypertrophy programs
- Specific programs to improve certain lifts
Again, these are all pre-written programs that you can only run for short-term.
As I said above, this isn't necessarily bad if it's what you're looking for. I've used a similar style of app when training for a Strongman comp as I needed to improve my Log lift.
While there's nothing wrong with running a specialty or short-term program once in a while, it should not be the normal. Further, it should be done in context of your entire program or to address certain issues; it should not be done out of randomness.
On this point, I really would have liked to see a long-term program that a user would focus on. They then have specialty programs they can use periodically. Unfortunately, there's no such thing with Gymshark.
Erasing Favorite Workouts
In addition to above, many people complained about their workouts being erased.
Remember that Gymshark offers a large collection of short-term workout programs. As they're always adding new ones, they will cycle others out; I assume to keep bandwidth low.
While that makes sense, it sucks when you're in the middle of a program you like and it's suddenly erased. Again, this was a very common complaint from numerous people. In fact, it was enough for many of them to erase the app.
A Lot Of Bugs And Data Erasure
Another technical issue has to do with the app erasing people's data. From reading reviews, this seems to happen extensively after updates.
Users report that things are normal until there's any kind of update from Gymshark. After updating, they are left with a fresh app but all of their data has been erased.
Again, from reviewing a good amount of complaints, it seems this is a reoccurring bug that happens with multiple updates. To be clear, it's a bug that has been reported but it doesn't seem to be fixed.
It does seem as though Gymshark is responsive to complaints, at least in answering them. However, I can't comment on if they ignore it behind the scenes or if it's an issue they can't fix or what's going on.
Regardless, it's another issue that has caused people to leave the app. If people leave the app even when it's free, it's a fair guess to assume this is big problem.
Gymshark App For Bodybuilding
Gymshark has a certain type of reputation that mainly consists of young guys and girls who have amazing physiques; it's the Abercrombie & Fitch of the fitness world.
With that vibe, it's no wonder that their biggest fan base is those who are interested in bodybuilding and building a great physique. That begs the question, is the Gymshark app good for bodybuilding.
Again, this is a nuanced answer. The biggest challenge to using the Gymshark app for bodybuilding is the fact it's composed of a plethora of short-term programs or one-time workouts. As such, it can be difficult knowing what program to pick.
I was able to find some programs, and from a glance, they seem to be well programmed. However, they're short-term (3-6 weeks) and there doesn't seem to be suggestions on how you can stack them.
With all that said, I think an experienced bodybuilder who knows what they're looking for could find some decent programs if they look.
However, I believe a beginner, or even someone more experienced who still needs help with programming, would benefit from an app that gives more guidance.
Verified Reviews for Gymshark App
Summing Up: Gymshark App Review
After considering everything, Gymshark's workout app was on par with what you would expect from a company like itself. I was actually surprised at some of the specialty programs and I saw no massive issues with the programming of the others.
On the other hand, as mentioned, there's a lot going on in this app and none of it is personalized. Therefore, while I think it can be useful to give some ideas, I don't see how it can be used by someone looking for long-term help, especially a beginner who needs more guidance.
An Alternative Workout App: Dr-Muscle
Even though Gymshark has some positives which some may find beneficial, it's definitely not for everyone. This is especially true for those looking for more guidance or want something they can use long-term.
For these people, I definitely recommend Dr. Muscle.
Specializes In Personalized Programs
Unlike Gymshark, Dr-Muscle only provides personalized programs. There are no other options to distract you from your primary goal.
This is exactly what you would expect if you hired a qualified personal trainer (Imagine if your personal trainer gave you 10 workouts you can choose from when you went to your session!)
More importantly, these programs are exactly what one would expect from a professional trainer. I have used Dr-Muscle myself and found it's programs being similar to what I may provide.
To test this I altered the variables on the intake question form to see how Dr-Muscle would react to the new information. Again, it altered the programs in an effective and appropriate manner.
Will Guide You For A Lifetime
Again, unlike Gymshark, Dr-Muscle is meant to train you for a life-time. It's not an app that you use for 6 weeks and then jump around to another program. Rather, Dr-Muscle will train you for as long as you want.
This is important as consistency is crucial for success in fitness. Now this doesn't mean you use the same exercises and rep scheme forever (see below). Instead, you use the same program's structure but with variability; exactly what Dr. Muscle delivers.
Uses Legitimate Advanced Training Methods
Proper strength and conditioning is fairly simple. You apply progressive overload over a long-time and you will grow. There are no "secrets" or ways to "trick" your body into growing.
As such, there are various methods of training which are all effective as they follow the same basic principles. Within this group of effective methods, some are slightly superior; or they may offer unique benefits. Dr-Muscle uses two of these methods
- RPE (Rate Of Percieved Exertion)
- DUP (Daily Undulating Periodization)
DUP (Daily Undulating Periodization) is an effective method to apply progressive overload by adjusting the load and volume of your lifts on a daily basis.
Even though there are other effective methods, studies show that DUP does offer some extra benefits related to better adaptations (Zourdos et al. 2016). At the same time, lifters tend to find DUP more enjoyable due to the variability.
RPE (Rate Of Percieved Exertion) is a method of load and fatigue management that allows a person to train by how they "feel". This is in comparison to traditional rep schemes that prescribe a specific amount of reps and sets.
With RPE, you are given a level of intensity (or can be thought of as "difficulty") with your prescribed exercise. This would allow you to use a load that matches your fatigue level.
This is so effective as it accounts for underlying causes of fatigue such as lack of sleep or stress.
On days you have great recovery you will perform more work. On the other hand, if you're not fully recovered, you will perform less so as not to pile on more fatigue.
Gymshark Vs. Dr. Muscle Side-By-Side Comparison
|Who is it designed for?||Trainees of all ages and level who are looking for a quality program that they can follow to build muscle and strength while improving body composition.||Trainees who want a short-term program.|
|Set-Up Time||Simple and straightforward that takes less than 5 minutes. Simplistic goal specific design.||Easy and fast to make an account.|
|Program Design||AI designed by leading muscle building researchers creates a baseline program from your information including training experience.
Can run forever.
|A library of short-term programs and single-time workouts.
No personalized programs.
No long-term programs.
|Home workouts available?||Yes||Yes|
Verified Reviews for Dr. Muscle
For more reviews and videos, check out customer feedback.
FAQ: Free trial, cancel anytime & more
Is Gymshark workout app free?
Yes. It seems as though an earlier version was subscription-based but at the time of this writing it's free.
How much does the Dr. Muscle workout app cost?
Learn more on the app’s free trial page.
Can I cancel anytime?
Yes, there is no contract so you can cancel whenever you want.
Is there a free trial?
Absolutely! Dr. Muscle comes with a 2-week free trial that gives you full access to all of it’s features
How much does the Dr. Muscle workout app cost?
Learn more on the app’s free trial page.
My Take On Gymshark
At the end of the day, Gymshark surprised me. I was expecting a lot of buzz words and marketing gimmicks that I've spoken about before with other apps. Words like "secret method..." or "ignite a furnace"; catchy words with the only purpose of selling. However, I felt everything was very professional.
In addition, I was thinking they were going to use a lot of HIIT and programs designed to make you exhausted. This is seen a lot in the fitness industry as there's a false association between quality workout and being tired. While there is some HIIT, it's found in the conditioning section which is 100% appropriate.
With that in mind, I also found some of their specialty programs interesting, especially their "Improve your "lift"" type of programs. As a whole, many of the programs looked to have appropriate structure and rep schemes for what they were trying to establish.
While it does seem to have legitimate use, I don't think it's suitable to use as a primary training app due to the reasons I mentioned above. Instead, I see it's value as a possible companion to a more permanent app, like Dr. Muscle.
I would suggest using Dr. Muscle as your primary long-term program as it contains the consistency and professionalism you need to succeed to succeed in fitness. It's like having a trainer in your pocket.
You could then use Gymshark occasionally when you might need a specialty program. Or, as mentioned above, throwing in a little variety in a structured manner can also be a good thing.
With that said, you can now head over to Dr. Muscle for a free trial!