For a long time, the only thing Fitbit charged for was its devices and Fitbit Coach, the standalone exercise app that offers guided workouts. But in 2019, Fitbit launched Premium, a new paid-for service that puts several features behind a paywall.
Premium is designed to be an enhanced version of the standard, free Fitbit app, but it also includes the workout programs previously exclusive to Fitbit Coach.
There’s a lot of neat stuff in Premium, but the service isn’t for everyone. Below, we’re going to explain exactly what it does, how much it costs, and who we think it’s for.
Fitbit Premium: how much does it cost?
Fitbit Premium usually costs $9.99/£7.99/AU$15.49 per month. You can subscribe from the Fitbit app by tapping the Premium tab and following the instructions.
It’s not a cheap service, but the good news is that Fitbit has extended its free trial from seven to 90 days, so you can try it for three months and, if it’s not for you, cancel without paying a fee.
Fitbit Premium: free for 90 days
To help you stay healthy while you’re stuck at home, Fitbit has extended the free trial for its premium fitness app, which is packed with insights into your wellbeing and lifestyle and gives you access to thousands of video and audio workouts so you’re never bored.
Fitbit Premium: guided programs
Let’s start with one of the first things you’ll see if you subscribe to Fitbit Premium: Guided Programs. It’s also one of the service’s best features: this is where you can tailor your goals to the things that matter most to you.
There are several programs to choose from including one for getting more sleep, one for kicking your sugar habit, and one to help anyone who’s just getting into running.
Each program runs for a select number of weeks and each will make you pick goals and reminders to ensure you’re sticking to the schedule. The Get More Sleep program, for example, lasts two weeks and makes you set reminders to go to bed, and even offers up relaxing nature sounds to help you drift off.
Meanwhile, the Get Active program will ask you to set daily step goals, as well as choosing a day of the week to push yourself a little further than usual. We like how these programs can be customized to make them work for your schedule and needs – they’re not a one-size-fits-all.
Fitbit Premium: sleep features
If you’re tracking your slumber using Fitbit’s free app, you’re already getting some decent data to chew over, and even a few insightful bites of feedback.
In Premium, you get two extra features: a ‘Sleep Score’, which is an overall number out of 100 that values the quality of sleep; and a ‘Restoration’ graph, which shows your sleeping heart rate and how much time you spent tossing and turning in the night.
Our opinion? The sleep features aren’t yet good enough to justify the Premium subscription; the features available in the free tier are definitely good enough.
Fitbit Premium: workouts and challenges
Premium also grants you access to a range of workouts inside the app, ranging from 15-minute yoga and HIIT sessions to 30-minute dance and kickboxing cardio. All of these come in the form of a video that you can watch in the app and workout along to – handy for perfecting your form and keeping you motivated, especially over those longer sessions.
Each session is marked as ‘Easy’, ‘Medium’ or ‘Hard’ and gives you details on the parts of the body you’ll be targeting and the number of calories the workout should burn. Once you’re done with a workout, you’ll be given the option to log the exercise to the app.
It’s important to note that while Fitbit Premium pulls in all of the exercises found on Fitbit Coach, the Coach app remains standalone, and there are still Fitbit Coach workouts you can do on-device with Fitbit’s smartwatches. However, you’ll need to open the Fitbit Coach app on the watch to do these, and they’ll sync after.
Back to Premium, and Fitbit also offers up some special ‘Challenges’ you won’t get in the free tier, including a custom challenge that lets you set your own step, distance or active minute challenge. Fitbit’s challenges are ways to compete with other users – think of them as another way to motivate yourself, and others.
Fitbit Premium: Insights
Insights are one of our favourite features of Premium, serving up useful observations about your activity and sleep. For example, it might tell you that your heart rate has been a little higher than usual and recommend ideas to relax.
Fitbit will try to connect dots between different factors here, such as sleep, steps, heart rate etc for more advanced personalised insights. However, right now a lot of these insights often feel too generic. Our hope is that Fitbit’s software becomes smarter over time as it gets to know us better.
Fitbit Premium: wellness reports and health coaching
Another great feature of Fitbit Premium is that it will allow you to generate a wellness report containing heart rate, weight, sleep and activity data into an easy-to-read 30-day overview, followed by more detailed graphs for each.
The idea is that you can share these reports with your doctor, your nutritionist, or anyone else with a vested interest in your health. Of course, how useful this is depends on how much your doctor/other trusts it, but it’s much better than showing them an app.
Speaking of, Premium’s best feature may be yet to come. When the service was unveiled in 2019, Fitbit said it would eventually roll out a Health Coaching section where subscribers could speak one-on-one with a certified health coach through the app.
To start with, Fitbit will be targeting users with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, and coaches will work with users to build personalised programs and keep them on track.
Sadly, this feature still hasn’t rolled out at the time of writing, but we hope it won’t be long.
Fitbit Premium: who is it for?
Right now, we think Fitbit Premium has two standout features. First, the guided programs, which can be effective for those who get easily overwhelmed by health and fitness programs, or those who just need to keep being nudged along.
The second feature worth considering is the library of workouts that you can follow along. Some people find this a more motivating form of exercise – and it’s cheaper than paying for an actual class!
However, Premium still feels a little underbaked. The health coaching feature, which will connect users to trained professionals, still hasn’t launched, and the sleep tracking improvements aren’t yet worth it. For the time being, Premium will be most valuable for those who simply desire a bit more structure to their fitness – and if it’s not working after a few months, you can always cancel it.