Another set of questions that I often get from people who are thinking to start the training is:
- "the method looks great, but how much does it *really* cost?"
- "If it's a 15 weeks program, do I need to renew my subscription every 15 weeks?"
- "if I buy the program do I need to buy the app as well?"
- "what kind of equipment do I need to buy?"
This post will try to cover all these points.
How much does it cost?
Honestly the prices are quite straightforward (there are no hidden fees). However, confusion can arise from the variety of products and channels available. The table below is an attempt at summarizing the various options, along with their price.
Please keep in mind that this review is based on what's available today (May 12th, 2014), it may change in the future.
As you can see there are 3 main type of products for sale: the app, the programs and the nutrition guide. Each is a stand alone product. So basically your spending can range from zero to 75 euros if you go for the complete package (app+program+nutrition guide).
Just to be clear, I don't intend to tell you what you should buy. My goal is simply to help you understand what each option entails. A student on scholarship or a Wall Street trader don't have the same price sensitivity... You are the best judge on how to handle your budget and therefore which purchase (if any) makes sense in your specific case.
The nutrition guide:
This guide will not be covered in my review. I have not purchased the guide, so I have no legitimacy to be writing about it...
Zero euro training:
Both the free app and the free trial program are intended for people to test the method before deciding whether to buy it or not.
I always advise to do the free trial first. Even if you intend to buy the full program, it's probably better to ensure that you can handle the difficulty and have the discipline to stick to the schedule for a month, before spending your cash.
Whether you record your training results using the website, free app or pro app, all the data is centralized anyway. So you can start with the free app and upgrade to pro without losing any record.
On the long term, zero euro training is possible but it is the least convenient option.
You can either decide to spend the next few years doing only the 4 workouts in the free app. It's a very limited choice of workouts, but at least you can use your smartphone to record your results.
Or there are plenty of forums, blogs and Youtube channels where you can find out how to perform each workout. But because the free app is restricted, you'll need to use your watch to record your results and write them down on a piece of paper. As I said, it's doable, it's just less convenient than using your phone.
- Best way to know if the method can work for you.
- Limited number of workouts or need to keep track of training on paper
- No features (tutorials, network, etc.)
Pro App only training:
I always train using this app. I like being able to do everything in one place (record & check results, look at the list of workouts, etc.). The social network is a nice feature: it's a good way for athletes to motivate each others.
Also a key feature for beginners that a lot of people overlook is the video tutorials. When you look at Youtube videos to see how Hades works, you usually see people doing the most difficult version of a each exercise (i.e. the star version). Rarely do you see people showing the easier/modified versions. Sometimes I get questions from people who ask how it is possible to complete a training that includes pullups when that person cannot do a single pullup. If these people are getting stuck that's usually a sign that they haven't seen the tutorials.
Pro App only training is definitely a viable option, but keep in mind that the app does not provide any training guidelines. You are on your own to decide what to do. If you want to a receive specific training goals you'll need to consider purchasing a program.
- Cheap (5 euros)
- Full workout catalog, including video tutorials
- Keep track of your results on your smartphone
- Social network
- 5 euros is still more expensive than zero euro...
- You need to know how to schedule your training plan
- Motivation (no external pressure to train more than what you are comfortable to do)
To follow a premium program you will need to choose an area of focus. Here is how Freeletics defines each program:
- Cardio: "Improving the cardiovascular endurance as well as losing weight and defining the body (largest customer groups: endurance athletes and women)."
- Strength: "Gaining strength as well as gaining muscles without gaining fat (largest customer groups: Strength oriented athletes and slim men)"
- Cardio& Strength: "Broad improvement of athletic performance as well as gaining muscles while losing weight (largest customer group: overweight men and experienced athletes, as it contains the greatest athletic diversity.)"
May 21st: based on reader input in the comments section (thanks Yury for keeping me up-to-date!), it appears that there is now the possibility to switch program focus mid-training. There is a question mark around the subscription duration. I'm modifying the paragraph below accordingly]
When you sign-up for 15 weeks, by going on the website or the app you can see your scheduled workouts for the current week. Only the current week. You cannot see yet what workouts will be assigned to you in the coming weeks (the workouts are supposedly generated based on your personal results). At the end of the week, once you have finished to record all your completion times, you click on a button to validate your weekly training. This is a definitive choice. This will generate your training schedule for the next week, and you cannot go back to see the previous week.
Additionally, you will have a limited time to complete the program. If the program is designed to be done in 15 weeks,
This is something important to understand. Because you cannot see the entire program upfront, and have a limited time period to complete it, when you sign-up, make sure that you intend to complete the 15 weeks in a row. If you are a student and know that you will spend your summer doing anything except training, then you probably shouldn't subscribe in May or June. Because when you come back in 3 months from your great vacations your subscription will be over (or you won't have enough to complete all 15 weeks anyway).
Once your subscription is over you don't have to subscribe again. Some athletes choose to do a different program, to try a different focus area or just because they prefer to have a strict schedule to follow. But it's not mandatory. You can just train on your own as you please.
- Full workout catalog, including video tutorials
- Keep track of your results on website (even if you haven't purchased the app)
- You receive a specific training schedule to complete
- Motivation: most people won't go through Hell Week unless told to!
- Motivation: it costs money, some people won't quit not to waste subscription!
- It costs money (40 euros). And you don't like to spend your hard earned money.
- If you already have the Pro App, you already have access to tutorials & workout catalog.
- Schedule not flexible (you don't choose the number of sessions per week, which can be an issue for people who already do sports on the side).
Premium program + Pro App:
When I signed-up for the program, you had to purchase both separately. So I spent 45 euros in total. However, today as I was writing this post I re-installed the free app to double check something. When I logged into the free app, I realized that I had access to the full catalog of workouts!
My guess is that since the last software update when you purchase a training program the free app automatically gets upgraded to unlock the features of the Pro app.
I could be wrong, but in any case, if you have decided to to buy both the program and the app, try to buy the program first. If I'm wrong you have nothing to loose, if I'm right you'll save 5 euros.
Special equipment & additional expenses to consider:
- sports clothes & shoes
- pull-up bar. If you train at home you may have to buy one (cost: 15-30 euros)
- A thick towel, or ideally a yoga/pilates mat to avoid bruises and scratches after ground exercises (cost: 15-30 euros).
- If you have cold winters where you live consider buying sport gloves (choose a water resistant fabric, so that the gloves that won't be ruined when doing burpees outside).
- A water-resistant phone cover is nice to have during rainy running sessions
Other potential expenses:
Sometimes I jokingly say that the most expensive thing with Freeletics is buying new clothes. If you followed my physical evolution, you know that I lost a few kilos and 6 cm of waist size. A picture is worth a thousand words, so let me illustrate what 6 cm (=2.4 in) means from a clothing stands point:
Most of my old pants & belt don't fit me anymore!
After completing the program I had to purchase a new set of clothes. The toll is currently at: 3 suits, 4 pairs of trousers, 2 pairs of shorts and 2 belts...
Honestly I'm a bit scared to make the exact calculation of what I paid in total. But what's sure is that I have been spending much much much more on clothes than the roughly 100 euros of training expenses (program + pullup bar + mat + gloves). There is really some truth behind that joke! If you intend to lose weight significantly, this is something you should keep in mind.