Music can make or break a workout – too often, I’ve put my entire library on shuffle, and I end up listening to sappy love songs which totally diminishes my motivation while on a run. I recently received an email about the FIT Radio app, which claimed it “auto detects a runner’s pace and then chooses a carefully curated mix that matches the runner’s footfalls perfectly,” and that almost sounded too good to be true.
I had heard about different apps like this before, and was always interested in them. In fact, I’ve read somewhere before that exercising to music with a bpm (beats per minute) that is synced to your pace or effort, results in a more efficient workout. Plus, the app is free, so I wanted to review something that anyone could try at any time.
When I first downloaded FIT Radio, it seemed pretty straightforward – the bottom navigation clearly marked the different features: music genres, workout playlists, running pace detection, favorites and DJs. Because of this, I didn’t really do much research or exploration before using the app, which I think was a mistake, because my expectations were a little different.
Let me explain.
Once I was ready to run, I went to the “Running” screen, and pressed the “auto detect” button to start playing music. It seemed really fancy at first, as a voice-over told me to start running, alerted me when it was detecting my pace, and then told me what my pace was before playing music. The music choice was solid too; it had a steady beat, had songs I recognized, and there was no lull in between songs, something I always hated because I would hear how loud I’m actually stomping and breathing.
However, I think I overestimated the complexity of the app – I thought it would automatically adjust songs every time my pace significantly changed. To test this, I did a mile of fartlek repeats, where I would sprint for 30 seconds, and slowly jog for 30. I was disappointed when the song playing never changed, but I also realized it might be obnoxious if a new song came on every 30 seconds.
After this test, I decided to end my run on the app, and start a new one where I’d keep a consistent pace. I was much happier with the way the app worked this time, because it detected my steps per minute (170), and picked an appropriate playlist that I was able to enjoy for the remainder of my run. Again, the song choice was great, keeping me guessing and entertained the entire run; it was a good mix of pop, rock and alternative, so a runner with any music taste would enjoy.
When my run was over, I wanted to see what else this app could do. I went to the “Workouts” screen, and was surprised by the variety of selections; on the main screen, there are 12 popular workouts to choose from, all with different kinds of playlists based on the average speed of that workout. I decided to try the “lifting” playlist while I did some core exercises, and it was awesome! Although I only listened for about 10 minutes, the beat kept me motivated the entire time, and I even found myself not allowing any breaks, which I usually take a lot of when I do abs. Therefore, this app made me more efficient.
I also tried the “yoga” playlist when I did my cool down and stretching, and man, it was relaxing. The playlist I listened to was entirely instrumental, and I think that helped me focus on my breathing and stretching without distraction. Because it was so comforting, I didn’t get bored like I usually do, and did a lot more stretches than normal.
Generally, I think FIT Radio is a great app for athletes who rely on music to motivate them – I really liked the amount of playlists that are tailored to specific workouts, because so often I listen to the same music for different workouts, and it gets monotonous. Actually, it’s been named the “Pandora for gym rats,” which seems very accurate to me. As for the running part, I think the pace detection works really well for longer, steady runs, but for higher tempo or interval workouts, I’d probably just select a playlist with higher bpm’s.
I’m definitely going to continue discovering FITRadio and see what else it can do, because I feel like I only scraped the surface today. Plus, that’s the free version; for only $3.99 a month, premium users get access to more playlists and DJs that are updated daily, and no ads. If I wasn’t already paying for Spotify premium, I’d do FITRadio, but I think the free features will fit what I need just fine.
Overall rating: 4/5 stars