ProFit Workout Planner is much more than just a planner, so it claims.
And that's the entire purpose of this review: to find out if this app effectively helps you plan out an effective workout program.
I've played with this app for the past few weeks to answer this question. More importantly, I'm able to give those interested the full rundown before spending money.
In this ProFit Workout Planner review, I'll try to answer the question, how pro is ProFit? I'll also compare it to the most professional workout app I've come across, Dr. Muscle.
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. Some of my accolades include:
- Master in Exercise Science
- Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) of the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA)
- Certified by the International Society of Sports Nutrition (CISSN)
- Vice President of NSCA Strongman SIG (Special Interest Group)
- Published in the NSCA COACH journal
Further, I have been in the gym for over 20 years and have seen this industry grow. This includes all the fads based off of bad research, as well as improvements in training methodology based of good research.
I take training seriously as I feel it can have a massive impact on a person's life. As such, one of my pet peeves is seeing well-meaning people waste their time and money on poor workout programs.
Educating people on quality fitness education is part of what I actually do for a living and is what I hope to do with this review.
In A Nutshell—Full Review Of ProFit
The main issues I saw are primarily sub-optimal programming choices. Therefore, intermediate and advanced lifters should definitely look elsewhere (their programming needs to be more precise).
Beginners could probably still see results but they should be aware of the programming and functional issues. This includes:
‧ Poor programming (training frequency, exercise order)
‧ Similar pre-written programs
‧ Not for strength athletes
What Makes My Review Different
I'm a true fitness professional with accolades and experience to help guide my opinions on various fitness products.
I've personally used dozens of apps for either personal use or to reviews like this one. This includes good apps and bad apps. And very good apps and very bad apps.
As such, I'm aware of:
- What workout apps are capable of
- Where many workout apps fall short
- What makes an app more effective than others
All that to say, I'm going to give you my review based on both my thoughts and on my experience within the fitness industry.
Further, when I review ProFit Workout Planner, I will be judging it from the eyes of a verified strength coach, not as a piece of tech.
Let's find out how pro, ProFit really is.
ProFit App: A Quick Overview
The ProFit workout app is a pretty basic fitness app that offers a mixture of "personalized" programs along with a handful of other pre-written programs (we'll go over these below).
It hosts a decent exercise library, albeit if it's a bit lopsided (i.e. 33 chest exercises and 43 biceps exercises). Regardless, there's more than enough for you to use.
At the same time, it offers the ability to input your own exercises. This is a pretty cool feature that I don't see very often.
Other than that, everything else is pretty standard. It logs your exercises as you go which allows you to track your loads to make progress.
However, you must input everything. The app does not offer any suggestions on what weight to use next or whether you should swap out exercises.
One plus I did see, as I played around, was it would not let me train seven days a week. This showed my that there is some oversight in letting people choose their workouts.
Other than that, I'd say ProFit is a pretty basic, run-of-the-mill fitness app.
Drawbacks With ProFit
Just because something is basic doesn't mean it's necessarily bad. Sometimes, basic is actually good and what we need.
Well, while I didn't see too many major issues with ProFit, I did see smaller things that prevented me from suggesting this app. Here are some of the issues.
Upon downloading the app, I had red flags right away. The first question it asked me was "What's your fitness level?" and then there were three possible answers; beginner, intermediate, or advanced.
What's wrong with this normal question? Well, the way it described you as beginner, intermediate or advanced:
- Beginner: Never works out
- Intermediate: Sometimes work out
- Advanced: Works out regularly
What they're asking has nothing to with a person's training age but rather the frequency in which they workout. These have zero correlation as often times, an advanced lifter will train less than a beginner.
This may seem like nitpicking but it's very important. Here are some of the issues I see.
- What if a beginner incorrectly labels themself as advanced?
- Do they really think frequency has to do with fitness level?
- Do their "fitness levels" provide appropriate workout programs?
Either way, it made me question their expertise from the get-go.
Not For Strength Athletes
As I was playing with the various programs, as well as changing the variables of my goals, I realized that proper strength training is almost non-existent.
This absence exists even when you have "strength" as a goal and even on their pre-written program named "Starting Strong" (An obvious play on "Starting Strength")
I examined the rep scheme for just about every exercise in every program and found that the intensity never gets higher than 6 reps.
Proper strength training requires the use of heavy loads to elicit significant strength gains. This means you need loads equal or heavier than 85% of your 1 rep max.
6 reps is just at the lightest end of this rep scheme, and some may argue 5 reps is the limit of true strength training. This means you only use one or two exercises with the lightest weight possible for strength training. Optimal strength training would include:
- More volume in the strength zone
- Use of heavier loads
Bottom line is, if you are looking to build strength, you should definitely be looking elsewhere.
Pre-Written Programs Are Very Similar
In addition to your workout program, you have the option to follow several pre-written programs; 9 to be exact. These are divided into beginner 3 categories:
I checked them all out and they basically seem to use the same exercises and rep scheme in every single program.
The only clear difference I could see was with their Intermediate "Summer Burn" program. It had a larger amount of exercises per session (12-13); however, you only performed 2 sets per exercise.
Regardless, every other program generally had a rep scheme of 8-12 of the same exercises.
In addition, I could not make out what distinguished the beginner workouts from the advanced workouts. Again, they used the same level of exercises.
All this to say, the 9 different pre-written programs you get are more or less the same.
Using Special Sets To Lose Weight
When setting up your profile, you have three options for your goals:
- Lose Weight
- Get Fit & Tone Muscle
- Increase Muscle Strength & Size
Similar to the pre-written programs, I was interested in how these would be different from one another. What I noticed was that the only major difference was the use of circuit sets and super sets. Basically, it looked like this;
- Lose Weight- Uses circuit sets
- Get Fit & Tone Muscle- Uses super sets
- Increase Muscle Strength & Size- No special sets
They're basically using the special sets as a means to seemingly lose weight with the implication that a circuit set will use more calories than a super set...I guess?
Regardless, one of my pet peeves is when trainers use a workout to burn calories.
Let me explain.
Of course you'll burn calories in the gym but it should not be your primary goal. When you start changing your gym workout to burn more calories, you will always forfeit some muscle building benefits.
In addition, the extra calories you may burn from a circuit set are negligible in the grand scheme of things.
All that to say, you primarily use your nutrition to control your weight while you use the gym to build muscle.
To be clear, there's nothing wrong with using special sets. However, using them to burn calories is a sign of amateur program design.
Talking about the use of circuit sets and super sets, the way they program them is a bit confusing. Originally, I thought the program just had a bunch of exercises programmed with only one set.
As I examined it further, I saw it's actually a few round of circuits but each exercise is listed for every round.
This was really confusing for me as I wasn't sure what was going on.
Again, this might not seem like a massive problem. However, in my opinion, it shows a lack of consideration for the lifter.
I imagine a beginner who doesn't know what's going on won't understand why it's repeating exercises or maybe even think it's a glitch.
Poor Gym Etiquette: Another Problem With Circuits
Many of the exercises used for the circuit sets are machine based. This is another issue that may not seems like a big deal but it shows little consideration.
It's ultimately asking you to reserve multiple machines in a public gym. This is horrible gym etiquette and is highly impractical, especially if you're training during rush hour.
In addition, there are no alternatives so you have no other options on what to do if you are unable to used multiple machines at once.
There are ways to program circuit sets without hogging the gym. For example, use bodyweight exercises or utilize a landmine set-up.
Unfortunately, none of these options are used.
As I played around with ProFit and and it's different options, I started to notice several issues with the programming, three to be specific. These three are as follows:
- Subpar Frequency
- Odd Exercise Order
- Poor Exercise Selection With Special Sets
Fails To Train Each Muscle Twice
This one surprised me. Before I start, you don't have to train each muscle group twice a week.
However, this frequency is largely becoming accepted as the optimal frequency if your programming allows (Schoenfeld et al, 2016). Unfortunately, ProFit fails to do so and even makes odd errors to ensure it doesn't happen.
This occurs even training five times a week which should be plenty of time to hit every muscle twice. However, it settles for a quasi body part-split while wasting an entire day on biceps and triceps.
To be clear, your legs are getting the same amount of training as your biceps; actually, your biceps are getting more as you train them on back day as well.
I then decided to train six days a week. Again, they waste an entire day on biceps and triceps. A total waste.
They do train the chest and shoulders twice a week (one light day and one normal day) but this further makes me question why they wouldn't have you train back and legs twice a week as well.
Odd Exercise Order
Generally speaking, when you program exercises, you want to train your "biggest" exercises first". By biggest, we generally mean the heaviest. This means things like your squats, presses and rows.
At the same time, we will also prescribe these with the heaviest loads. Then, as your schedule progresses, you will use smaller and lighter exercises.
This isn't hard set in stone and there are some instances in which this may not make sense. However, this is the guiding rule most of the time, especially when writing a general program.
Unfortunately, many of their programs had an odd exercise order and would start with lighter exercises and even jump around with rep schemes.
For example, on one of their arm days they have a "close grip barbell bench press" listed towards the bottom. This is clearly the biggest exercise of that workout and should be done first (I will say I liked they included that exercise for arms though).
Poor Exercise Selection For Special Sets
Another issue with programming I noticed which seemed very amateur. When programming compound sets, it doesn't make sense to program two similar movements.
For example, a bent-over row and an Australian row. The movement pattern for both are very similar. In addition, both are big, compound movements.
Together, this offers very little added benefit, especially when you then train two smaller exercises for the next super set.
Optimally, you'd want to train two movements with some variance in their movement patterns as well as size. For example:
- Chin-ups and reverse flys
- Bench press and dumbbell fly
- Squat and leg extensions
Again, something seemingly small but when I see all three of these, it raises red flags.
ProFit For Bodybuilding
Can you use ProFit for bodybuilding? You could, but I would suggest another app.
Looking at the exercise selection and programming, a beginner would grow using this app.
However, even though the programming is "good enough", it's far from ideal. Some of the issues where the program is lacking is mentioned above.
Bottom line, ProFit would leave a lot to be desired when coming to serious bodybuilding.
Verified Reviews for ProFit
Summing Up: ProFit App Review
After reviewing ProFit, I would have to say that overall, the programs it delivers aren't horrible. If you were a beginner and just needed a plan, you could probably follow plans from ProFit and find some success.
However, I say "probably" due to the many unknowns. As we went over, there are a lot of issues with the programming, including the labeling of a beginner, intermediate or advanced.
Further, all of the issues together really make me question the expertise of the designers.
While I didn't see anything dangerous or blatantly wrong, there was plenty that went against standard principles.
At the same time, I know there are other apps out there that will definitely help you. So if you're in search of an app, I'd keep looking.
Dr. Muscle: An Alternative App For Professional Lifters
Contrary to ProFit, Dr. Muscle was designed and programed by true professionals in the fitness industry.
Holding PhDs, the founders of Dr. Muscle built a very impressive workout app driven by AI.
Designed to adjust your program as you progress, it truly is like a trainer in your pocket!
Superior AI-Driven App: Progresses With You
One of the biggest benefits that Dr. Muscle has over ProFit, and many other apps, is its advanced AI-system.
This AI system drives the programing of Dr. Muscle, and I can tell you, it works.
Not only does Dr. Muscle write a true, personalized program, it continually monitors your training to make any added adjustments.
Basically, once you start training with Dr. Muscle, it will be the last app you need. It will always give you a workout that is optimized for your progress.
Utilizes The Latest Training Methods Backed By Science
Similar to ProFit, Dr. Muscle also takes advantage of special sets. In fact, they're just one of the advanced methods that Dr. Muscle uses in its programming.
However, Dr. Muscle uses these training methods in a correct and methodical manner. You can be assured that your program is optimized with no fluff.
In addition to special sets, it uses:
- Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)- Type of autoregulation used for measuring proper intensity. Studies show it's highly effective at fatigue management and progression (Impellizzeri, 2004).
- Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP)- A method of altering volume and intensity on a daily basis. Studies show it may offer superior benefits to other forms of periodization (Zourdos, et al. 2016).
- Rest-Pause Sets- A type of special set that uses shorter rest periods. Studies have shown it can produce significantly greater results in strength and muscle growth compared to traditional training (Karmifard, et al. 2023)
I have reviewed a lot of apps before and many of these apps will offer a "risk-free" trial. However, Dr. Muscle is the only one I know of that actually is "risk-free".
What I mean is that when you download Dr. Muscle, you can start using it immediately without needing to provide any payment information. I love this!
In other words, you can start using Dr. Muscle right now. If you like it, then you can look at memberships. If not, you can carry on.
ProFit Vs. Dr. Muscle: Side-By-Side Comparison
|Who is it designed for?||Trainees who are looking for a quality program that they can follow to build muscle and strength while improving body composition||Targeted towards novice men who want to gain muscle and strength|
|Set-Up Time||Simple and straightforward that takes less than 5 minutes. Simplistic goal specific design.||Fairly quick set-up with basic onboarding questions.|
|Program Design||AI designed by leading muscle building researchers creates a baseline program from your information including training experience.
Monitor each exercise using your effort and ‘reps in reserve’ to adjust loads depending on actual performance.
Suggests adjustments and rest ‘de-loads’ based on your individual progress.
Can run forever
|Nine pre-written programs
"Personalized" programs but seem to be the best of several pre-written programs
|Home workouts available?||Yes||Yes|
ProFit Vs. Dr. Muscle: Summary
There are a lot of differences between these two apps. This includes;
- Proper exercise order
- Proper load prescription
- Emphasis of progressive overload
- The personalization of workout plan
Obviously all of those are in favor of Dr. Muscle. However, I feel the primary difference is the level of professionalism and expertise of the creators.
To be clear, I don't know the founders of ProFit; I'm just making an educated guess on the issues I saw. Regardless Dr. Muscle was created by legitimate exercise scientists.
I believe this is what makes the programing on point for Dr. Muscle while ProFit has numerous issues within its programs.
Verified Reviews for Dr. Muscle
FAQ: Free trial, cancel anytime & more
Is ProFit Workout Planner free to download?
You may download ProFit for free. However, you must pay a subscription after a free trial.
Does ProFit Workout Planner have free trial?
Yes. There is a 7-day free trial period.
How much does the Dr. Muscle workout app cost?
Learn more on the app’s free trial page.
Does Dr. Muscle have a free trial?
Absolutely! Dr. Muscle comes with a 2-week free trial that gives you full access to all of its features.
My Take On ProFit
ProFit is an average workout app that's good enough to work for a new lifter.
However, it has too many errors in its programming that prevents me from being able to honestly recommend it.
Not only does its programming issues provide suboptimal training, it makes me question the level of expertise of its developers.
To be clear, I think the designers do have a decent grasp of what proper training looks like. However, when we start to dissect the details, you'll find a lot of room for improvement.
All-in-all, I think ProFit would work for someone who is looking for "good enough".
However, if someone wants a truly optimized program, they should look elsewhere, such as Dr. Muscle. If you're not sure, Dr. Muscle offers a true risk-free trial; you can start today and see if it's right for you.