this thing's incredible

This Six-Minute Workout App Is a Personal Trainer, But for Self-Isolating (and Highly Lazy) People

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Having freelanced a couple of times in my career, I’m pretty used to working from home, but the impact of COVID-19 has changed everything. All my usual ways of breaking up the day — a walk to the café or taking a book to the park — are prohibited while the country is on lockdown. Experts recommend structure and routine when dealing with isolation, but it’s hard maintaining that in the confines of my one-bed, open-plan flat.

My solution is a fitness app I first downloaded last year, the Adrian James 6 Pack Abs Workout. I first heard of it via a friend who, like me, was looking for a way to work out without shelling out for Classpass or a personal trainer. I wanted something cheap that was goal-orientated but also kind of hands-off.

At the time, the app was the No. 1 fitness app in 50 countries, with over 2 million downloads. It cost £3.99 (though it’s currently just 99p) and promised a training regimen consisting of six 30-second exercises, with 30-second breaks between each one.

I wish I could say I knew more about the man behind the app, but Adrian James himself is practically shrouded in mystery. I know that he’s a former actor and model and that he founded Adrian James Nutrition in 2011. He has two other apps (for cardio and strength training, respectively) as well as meal plans and fitness challenges, all under his brand, Adrian James Nutrition, which he launched in 2011. On the 6 Pack Abs app, there are four levels of difficulty, plus a custom set where you could make your own routine. Each workout features GIF-like clips of Adrian performing the move, with voice notes detailing what to do. It sounded like a nonintimidating way to get into shape.

The app is kind of goal-orientated in that different sets are worth different amounts of points and you are (very gently) encouraged to try and hit a certain target each week (but unlike Duolingo, it doesn’t send you annoying notifications if you fall behind). For what it’s worth, I’ve never advanced beyond the second band of exercises, a.k.a. the ‘‘intermediate workout.” Once, I tried the ‘‘advanced workout,” but it involved a move called a Jackknife Crossover that left me flailing on the floor feeling like a failure.

Nevertheless, I stuck with it, doing six minutes a day at a level I felt comfortable with. Committing to something for such a short window felt far easier than forcing myself on a run or, as I have often done, getting bored and taking a shortcut back home. I wasn’t pursuing some extreme body overhaul — I just craved a bit of structure. Now that I’m back to working in my flat, that structure is more helpful than ever. During the week, I usually do a class at lunchtime while reheating leftovers for lunch. And on weekends, a low-intensity workout is a really helpful way to break up my day playing Animal Crossing on my Switch.

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This Workout App Is a Personal Trainer for Lazy People