Is it me? Or were we all happy to move on from 2023. I’ve never felt the urge to get out of a year like the one we’ve just had.  As we pack away all the holiday paraphernalia, January feels like a time of reflection and to get moving. What do we want more of in the new year? Fitness always comes to mind – of course, after we’ve devoured weeks of cookies and endless espresso martinis. So, what keeps you on track? For me, hands-down it’s my Apple Watch and Apple Fitness+.

Technology plays a big part of our lives. Apps and features we find on our devices are more than vessels to consume TikTok and see what everyone is up to on social media. For me, daily use of Apple Fitness+ along with my Apple Watch are key elements for keeping me on track and accountable in my health and wellness journey. I’ve been using the Apple Watch since it launched in 2015. I can’t believe it’s been around for nine years! And look how far it’s come!

The library is full of original guided workouts and meditation sessions for a broad age range with 12 different workout styles, and fitness levels from beginner to advanced. It’s diverse in all ways. Led by well-respected fitness trainers who are motivating and fun.

During the pandemic lockdown I was grateful for the variety to work out from home. From Yoga, HIIT, kickboxing, pilates, walking, cycling, dance, cardio, stretching and meditation, there was a great selection to keep me moving. And, if you’re a beginner to working out or even meditation, no worries! Fitness+ has recommendations on where to start.

A cool feature is Stacks where you can build a customized workout plan. You can seamlessly create your own routine to  include warm up, HIIT, cool down and meditation without interruptions, as an example.

To kick off 2024, Apple Fitness+ has announced some new features and additions to its already impressive offerings. Of course, the music is ALWAYS great!  Apple Fitness+ is designed to “meet you where you are”.

Here is the latest news on what’s coming January 8 that you might want to explore with Apple Fitness+…

Meditation Series “Sound”:

A brand-new meditation theme called Sound will offer users a new way to feel relaxed and restored. Each meditation will offer light guidance from the Fitness+ trainer while allowing ample space for users to be present, with a variety of soothing tones and rhythms, such as the tranquil sounds of singing bowls and the deep pitch of gongs, all arranged to create a sense of ease. Seven new Sound meditations will be available, with new meditations dropping every week across five, 10, and 20 minutes.

Strength, Core and Yoga for Golfers:

Fitness+ will add a new workout program, Strength, Core, and Yoga for Golfers. Featuring and designed with professional golfer Rose Zhang and led by Fitness+ Strength and Core trainer Kyle Ardill. Inspired by Zhang’s training on and off the course, this program features a mix of four workouts across Strength, Core, and Yoga, designed to improve strength, balance, flexibility, and mobility.

The Artist Spotlight Series:

This series which dedicates an entire workout playlist to a single artist — will launch its biggest series yet to celebrate the countdown to the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show featuring USHER, with music by iconic halftime performers each week leading up to the big game:

Starting Monday, January 8, 10 new workouts with music by Rihanna, last year’s Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show headliner, will be available for the first time in ANY fitness service.

Starting Monday, January 15, new workouts with music by Britney Spears will be available.

Starting Monday, January 22, new workouts with music by U2 will be available.

Starting Monday, February 5, the Artist Spotlight workouts will feature music by this year’s Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show headliner USHER.

Apple Fitness - Rihanna

Time to Walk Series:

Fitness+ will introduce new episodes of popular Time to Walk series, beginning with long-time weather anchor and segment cohost for the TODAY Show Al Roker. On this walk, Roker shares what he learned from his mentor that inspired him to pay it forward as a mentor himself. He also talks about the pivotal conversation he had with his father that prompted him to seek out a lifestyle change. Guests in the coming weeks will include:

Trixie Mattel, also known as Brian Firkus, a global cultural phenomenon who won the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, a Billboard-charting musician, an award-winning podcaster, and a cosmetics entrepreneur.

Lilly Singh, a Canadian author and actor who rose to fame as a content creator covering everything from mental health to comedy skits on YouTube and has nearly 40 million social media followers.

Common, a rapper, actor, and activist who became one of the more prominent voices in hip-hop’s new millennium renaissance.

Colman Domingo, an actor, writer, and director who won an Emmy for his role in the hit TV series Euphoria and critical acclaim for his work in Rustin.

Additionally, for the first time, select Time to Walk episodes will be available for listeners on Apple Podcasts. Fitness+ subscribers can access 50 episodes at launch on Apple Podcasts with the guest’s audio, as well as follow the show for free, and automatically download for offline listening. Users can continue to access photos and songs chosen by the guest through the experience on Fitness+. Anyone without a Fitness+ subscription can access 10 free audio episodes on Apple Podcasts, including episodes with previous guests such as Prince William, Al Roker, Patti LaBelle, Becky G, Simu Liu, Malala Yousafzai, Camila Cabello, Dolly Parton, Jason Segel, and Shawn Mendes.

I love this series as guests share their personal journeys. There’s something very intimate about each episode as they share and in their own voice. Almost feels like they are on a walk right by your side.

Apple Watch Jan 2024 - New Year

Ring in the New Year:

Apple Watch users can earn a new limited-edition award, Ring in the New Year. When they close all three Activity Rings for seven days in a row any time in January, users unlock the award. It’s the fun motivation that can help.

Anytime Fitness:

For the first time, Anytime Fitness memberships will include access to a free Fitness+ subscription. Anytime Fitness is the world’s largest fitness club brand delivering personalized and affordable health and wellness training, coaching, nutrition and recovery guidance to their members. Prospective members who try Anytime Fitness for free can get up to three months of Fitness+ for no cost. Additionally, Fitness+ users who join Anytime Fitness and sign up for a qualifying 12 months+ membership get their first 30 days at no charge. The personalized plans designed by Anytime Fitness coaches in the Anytime Fitness iOS app will include an integration of Apple Fitness+ workout content for coaches to recommend to their clients.

Aside from the announcements…One of my fun discoveries is creating fitness challenges amongst  friends. If you’re an Apple Fitness+ and Apple Watch user, you too can create your own friendly challenge. This month I’ve started one to simply to “close your rings”. Each day, each participant earns points for their activities. It’s just that little added push to keep moving and again, it doesn’t matter where  each participant is situated. At the end of the day, we’ve got our little cheering squad and give ourselves a pat our backs with a sense of accomplishment. I’ve come to realize that a supportive community is such a bonus for me when it comes to fitness.