‘YourTrainer’ app wants to help you work out smarter, not harder

Working out is hard. And most of the time, it sucks. Like all things that suck, though, tech is trying to making working out better. It’ll likely be awhile before our devices can work out for us, but in the meantime, there are a few companies trying to help folks work out on their own terms. Enter Your Trainer: the startup behind the app of the same name that employs user feedback to generate a personalized exercising regimen.

We all work long hours, put in overtime, drink too much coffee, get too little sleep, and have Netflix queues that overfloweth. We buy gym memberships, go regularly for three weeks, make excuses and then cancel over the phone in shame two months later. It’s fine, it happens to the best of us. Maybe it’s because actually going to the gym is a big enough pain in the ass that we’re willing to bail. Maybe it’s because we don’t have anyone keeping us honest. Maybe it’s just because we have no real idea how to work out effectively. Normally, this is where a personal trainer comes in.

Personal trainers are great. Really. If they’re qualified and mostly decent human being-wise and care about helping you reach your goals, they can be a huge asset in the fitness game. But they’re also really expensive. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, personal trainers run an average rate of about $50/hour. For those of us ballin’ on a budget, that lands us pretty much right back where we started: on the couch.

Don’t get too comfortable just yet though — there might be a better way to work out.

At first glance, Your Trainer might seem remarkably similar to DailyBurn or any of the other dozens video fitness apps available. But where Your Trainer differs from the DailyBurns of the world is the ability to tailor workouts to you body, goals, and preferences and to adjust those workouts in realtime. You get a series of short training videos that changes based on your feedback and needs.

“What we set out to do was leverage technology, exercise science, and behavioral psychology to provide all of the benefits of a personal trainer,” says Your Trainer CEO and founder Larry Cotter.

It works like this: Your Trainer features over 3,000 short 3-minute videos with a variety of personal trainers. These videos are strung together to create workout streams that are personalized, based on the information you give the app about yourself (height, weight, age, goals, injuries, obstacles) and your preferences (I hate burpees but love Russian Twists*).

Cotter calls these videos “the periodic table of exercise elements.” From this massive library of fitness videos, YourTrainer’s learning algorithm (which we’ll get to in a moment) draws up a workout stream that’s built for you.

Which brings us to why, exactly, this app is called Your Trainer. Like a personal trainer, the app has information about you and uses it to find effective exercise elements to put you to work. Your Trainer also provides you with the closest digital equivalent of turning to your personal trainer and saying, “If you ever make me do that again, I swear I will never work out again.”

“We provide you with these interactive controls,” says Cotter. “Say something hurts your ankle — well, you can ‘dislike’ it and say it hurts. Then we know to skip that immediately and learn from that, so the next time through, you’re not going to get that exercise, or other things that are hurting your ankle.”

Your Trainer comes in three pricing tiers: Weekly ($6.99 per week), Monthly ($9.99 per month) and Yearly ($99.99 per year) for unlimited workouts.

The goal? Cotter says that Your Trainer is looking to demystify process of getting fit. “What we want to do is remove the guesswork out of the exercise routine.”

*Obviously not true–no one loves Russian Twists.