Health

Netflix’s Nike Coaching Club Workouts Aren’t Right for Me


UmbrellaOn December 30, just in time for the New Year, Netflix launched a series of workout classes in partnership with Nike. Ultimately, the program will offer 30 hours of exercise split into two tranches, a collection that pales in comparison to massive program catalogs like Peloton or even popular YouTube fitness gurus, who post new exercises every day. Likely, Netflix is ​​testing the waters for a larger expansion into lifestyle programming, largely relying on the Nike name to aid in pivoting to fitness legitimacy. But going through the workouts, I noticed that at least so far, Netflix has failed on the fitness front.

Initially, I started trying out Netflix’s Nike workout classes for two weeks or even a month. As it turned out, many of the classes were too short (just five or ten minutes) and there were so few, I only needed a few days to get a feel for what was available on the platform. Indeed, on Day 3, I made an important discovery that led me to abandon Netflix entirely as a workout resource.

Read Than: Big Business Being a Peloton Instructor

Day 1: The Hunt for Classes

I try to locate Nike branded layers. At the time I started this test (January 3), classes weren’t showing to me on the home screen, although Netflix now appears to be pushing workouts to more users. (When I checked on January 5th, I saw it in my New Releases section.)

First, I opened the Netflix app on my iPhone and searched for “workout”. The results show two Nike workout classes as well as a random collection of movies (South), documentary (Human: The Inner World), and by Beyoncé back home documentary. To be fair, Beyoncé did some crazy core work preparing for that Coachella gig, so I guess the algorithm is working. Arrange.

I switched to the Netflix app on my TV and saw what appeared to be a Nike workout center. Sorting through classes is a disaster. Look, maybe I’m a Peloton, but that app lets you curate tens of thousands of classes based on factors like workout duration, class type, body part you want to work out, sound Favorite music and favorite instructors. Netflix Collections doesn’t offer the ability to search and narrow down your choices at all. Instead, classes are grouped together into “programs” like “10 minute workouts” (but…what kind of exercise?) and “fitness warm-ups with the basics” (but…these exercises?) How long is the class?). Within each “show” are episodes, i.e. classes.

I opened “two weeks to gain a stronger core” and found a wide range of classes. Some are labeled yoga classes, some are labeled HIT, some are labeled “burn body weight”. It’s immediately clear that these classes are aimed at users who don’t know exactly what kind of exercise they enjoy and are hoping to explore a variety of. It would be great if instructors provided more guidance on proper form so that relatively newbies could avoid injury. As it stands, instructors jump into class without much instruction. And for someone who already has a habit or is hoping to form one — arm days, leg days, cardio days, yoga days, etc. — not being able to sort based on those factors would be is a big obstacle.

Some classes are 35 minutes and some are 5 minutes. Why? Unclear. What’s confusing is that there are seven classes in the “two-week to stronger core goal” group. Should I take a class every day? All seven classes twice in two weeks? No explanation has been given.

Indeed, lack of information and transparency appear to be a major theme. The titles of the classes also do not provide important information such as whether you need the equipment or not. It was only after I skimmed through the first layer of abs that I realized it only lasted five minutes and no, I didn’t need to pull those dumbbells onto my TV. I finished and switched to Bodyweight Burn: Lower Body Basics, 11 minutes long, hoping for a little more challenge. After all, “basic” doesn’t always mean easy—squats and planks are the basics, but do them long enough and you’re sure to get the hang of them. But can’t tell from scrolling through the classes how hard, and sadly, I found that this one wasn’t particularly hard. I gave up and suggested a weightlifting class from a competitor.

Day 2: Where did the music go?

My editor sent me a Netflix blog post About classes provides details that I missed yesterday, such as class length, equipment needed, and level of challenge. It’s annoying that locating this information requires a Google search. Right now, all classes seem to be labeled as beginner. At the end of the week, I will see there is a wide range in this “beginners” category, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Today, I’m specifically looking for yoga classes on the Netflix app. Some episodes are marketed as “flow” classes, which usually means that the class will include a series of movements that you gradually build up for an increasingly challenging experience. The one I tried had no flow at all, but rather a disappointing series of exercises that go hand in hand with yoga—a limited number of yoga poses that incorporate Pilates and other body-strengthening exercises that most Most yoga teachers would never put in their classroom. Next, I began a 20-minute routine that delivered the promise of a real yoga class-like structure, although I doubt anyone who’s spent time in a yoga studio will be tempted. coax to give up their regular practice to do these exercises: Classes I was found to be no longer than 20 minutes, while habitual yoga practitioners typically look for sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes, and Nike classes on Netflix don’t seem to offer more advanced moves like balance or arm inversions.

I took a 10 minute HIT abs class, it was much more difficult than the base class I took the day before. What’s helpful is that this instructor, unlike the ones I met on Day One, actually explains the purpose of the exercises and teaches the user how to do the moves instead of throwing beginners. into a predicament without proper posture guidance for a plank or squat.

I was preparing for the lesson when to my surprise, there was no background music in the class. Only bland aphorisms and the instructor’s heavy breathing broke the silence. Is it… a bit scary? Music in other Netflix classes doesn’t really deserve a Grammy. It’s all generic, wordless pop. But that’s something.

Read more: 15 minutes of exercise a week prolongs life

Day 3: I quit the Netflix app to find my new favorite instructor

My only positive experience so far was with a trainer from a HIT class on Day 2 who introduced himself as “KG” in a charming New Zealand accent, so I resolved to join a her other class. A Google search reveals that KG’s name is Kirsty Godso.

As it turns out, Kirsty already has 276k followers on Instagram and is a very successful Nike athlete. She trained people like Kaia Gerber and OliviaRodrigo. I searched her name in the Netflix app and was served…all of Nike’s workout classes on the platform. Useless. I scrolled through the options to try to identify her face and eventually came across another class she teaches, a 30-minute pyramid class. The plank pulse kicked my ass. I’m officially a Kirsty fan. Now I may or may not follow her on Instagram.

After going through Kirsty’s posts about her Nike workouts, I’m starting to suspect that Netflix didn’t create the content at all, but just put Nike’s recorded classes on the streaming service. their online. I download the Nike Coaching Club app on my phone and make sure I find the exact workouts that are available on Netflix, plus hundreds (possibly thousands) of others.

It’s no secret: Netflix has said on its blog that it will bring Nike Coaching Club classes to its platform for the first time. But a quick search on Twitter shows that I’m not alone in thinking that Netflix and Nike are teaming up on brand new workouts.

It turns out that these classes are completely free on the Nike Training Club app, providing a far superior experience. The Nike Coaching Club actually allows you to organize and manage classes by muscle group, time, instructor, etc. There are specific exercises for pregnant and postpartum (including usage) Use your stroller!), exercises for runners, workouts with Megan Thee Stallion. It even tells you which classes are with and without music, depending on your personal preference. (So ​​that explains the strangely silent class.)

At this point, I’m giving up on the Netflix app, which simply isn’t designed to narrow down the classes you want to take, and stick with the Nike Training Club app. It provides more information, more variety, and can be projected onto your TV. I save a few classes with Kirsty for the weekend.

Read more: How even ultra-short workouts can improve your health

Over the next 24 hours, I’ll try to figure out why Netflix and Nike are working together on this business venture. Nike’s motivations seem clear: They want to introduce their classes to a wider audience, promote their brand, and possibly sell some of the cute workout items the instructors are wearing in their classes. their videos. It seems strange that there is no branding for the Nike Coaching Club app on the Netflix platform—the instructors never mention it, nor the descriptions of the episodes. But perhaps Netflix doesn’t want to advertise that the same classes are available for free on another platform.

However, why doesn’t Netflix drop more Nike videos on its platform so that those looking to develop a daily or weekly routine will keep coming back for new classes? Why don’t they redesign the interface to make it easier for users to find and manage? And can’t they invest more marketing money in promoting the instructors on the platform? Users often flock to a workout and stick with it because of their parasocial relationships with fitness professionals: Fitness influencers on TikTokFor example, have built an entire brand in their classroom by sharing insights into their personal lives, showing off their home gym and taking videos of their daily diets. .

My guess is that Netflix is ​​using these Nike workouts as a test balloon for future ventures into lifestyle content. Maybe they’re tracking how many users engage with the video, for how long, and whether they’re engaged with the program. It’s easy to imagine streamers launching recipe videos to compete with New York time Cooking YouTube channels, educational content to rival MasterClass, plus fitness classes to compete with a platform like Apple Fitness+. They are relatively cheap to manufacture, especially compared to, Strange thingsand lifestyle videos are among the most popular streams on YouTube.

For now, though, it would be hard to tempt anyone from a platform like Peloton or Mirror or even YouTube to Netflix’s Nike Fitness classes. The Netflix platform simply doesn’t support the type of management, scalability, and catalog sizes that their competitors offer. Existing Netflix members can take classes if they come across them while browsing the web, but if the streaming service is hoping to use its fitness content to attract new subscribers, don’t. they’re going to have to do a lot better than offering something that people can get for free elsewhere.

Must read more from TIME


Write letter for Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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