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The Pump App – Eight Months In

One of the best things I came across earlier this year was The Pump Club, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s daily health and fitness newsletter. Having a daily reminder to get healthy, alongside scientific advice really helped motivate me to start moving and do better.

Then, in April, Arnold and his team launched The Pump app, a fitness app. It was launched as an invite only beta and I joined it as a lifetime member. Since April, the app has undergone some significant changes and most recently was opened up to members of the newsletter. I thought it might be interesting to look at the app and where it has come from.

When the app launched, it contained several different workout plans depending on your experience/equipment. I picked the Bodyweight Foundation to begin with, since I was getting back into working out and needed to start back at the beginning. Alongside the workouts that were scheduled every other day, with two days off after the third workout, some exclusive articles, promotions, and Q & As were offered within the app. This allowed members to actually speak to Arnold and his team (Adam and Daniel) directly for advice on nutrition, exercise, or the app itself.

The app was rather basic, with no way to see if someone responded to your message nor was there any sort of DM feature. It made scrolling for your comment and looking for a reply rather difficult and thankfully some changes have been made to fix this for the better.

Since the launch, the app has added a calendar feature and a habit tracker. Tons of improvements have been made behind the scenes, and if there is one thing I can commend the team for is its transparency. They show members the roadmap for the future and even ask for suggestions. They are also focused on keeping the space a positive place, which limits some of the communication options (previously mentioned DMs, they’re not adding video or picture support) but it probably is for the better. That way it doesn’t turn into a social media app or has members who abuse it.

The roadmap for the future includes the ability to change your workout (right now you are locked until you finish), integration with fitness trackers, and possibly some sort of workout buddy system.

So, what kind of issues do I have with The Pump? Well, the difficult spike from the Bodyweight Foundation to the next level was significant. I had to throw in the towel, email tech support, and wait two weeks to be reset. Now, I’m going back through the workout from the beginning and trying to perfect my form and do better. Of course, I feel like it’s a bit of a step back when I went from doing something like 40 reps to then doing 12. I also wish there was a kettlebell workout or a dumbbell (I’ve heard this is coming).

While not as prolific in the app as in the newsletter, advertisements have begun showing up as part of the program. They are transparent about the ads, and I don’t feel like any of the ads have been inappropriate, but it’s always frustrating watching something go from no ads to ads. But the newsletter is free, and it takes time, so I can accept it. As long they aren’t pushed in the app, where we already pay money, I won’t complain too much.

The Pump app/newsletter has also become a promotional object, not too unlike podcasts. Arnold had a TV show, documentary, and book come out this year that were heavily promoted as well as Adam Bernstein, Arnold’s nutritionist, and main contributor to The Pump. Adam’s book was good, so good I bought friends copies of it, but it’s something to keep in mind if you are interested in joining The Pump. I will say, the amount of promotional stuff vs. content is very well balanced. I mean, it’s 95% solid content and 5% promotional posts.

For me, the social aspect of the app is truly useless since folks can only respond to whatever article has been posted and there is no way to truly communicate back and forth. I wish they’d implement a message board or something along those lines to help members connect, but that doesn’t seem to be in the plans right now. This is probably the biggest disappointment for me, because I was hoping I could get some motivation from other members or connect with folks doing the same workout, and instead, it’s like they exist in a bubble elsewhere.

I do not regret spending $250 on the lifetime membership. So far, I’ve gotten my money out of the app and the app is still evolving. I have grown bored with the workout I’m doing, but I’m ready to get the foundation done once more, and then move onto a different workout in the future. Maybe a kettlebell workout will exist by that time.

Do I recommend the app for $10 a month? Sure. It’s a solid app that isn’t overly difficult or cluttered. It’s a bit clunky still, but the content within is worth the price. I think of it almost like a subscription to Men’s Health. I’m getting good information for a reasonable cost and the information is actually backed by science. However, if you’re looking for a lot of customization this is not the app for you, at least not now. You are locked in with the exercises they choose and sets/reps they suggest, and there isn’t anything you can do about it. Also, as previously discussed, the social aspect is pretty much non-existent so don’t go in expecting that sort of community.

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