While exercise is beneficial for maintaining physical fitness, it’s also known to improve mental health, boost mood, and reduce anxiety and depression.  

For many people, fitness might be seen as a path to weight loss or as a short-term journey to get in shape for an event. Still, according to the American Medical Association, consistent exercise can actually extend your life by lowering your risk of developing serious health conditions like cardiovascular disease and cancer.  

For people who prefer to exercise on their own, Chris Kacyon, a practicing physiologist and department head of Health and Fitness Science at Wake Tech College in Raleigh, North Carolina, suggests that a fitness app might be a good option for people who want accountability from a coach or community to support and motivate them.

In this review, we discuss our experience with the Future fitness app and the training program, including what we liked and didn’t like. To learn more about the mental health benefits of exercise and how to get started with a personal fitness plan, visit our exercise and fitness page.

Coach pairing is based on user preferences.
Workouts are custom-made for each user.
Risk-free trial period.
App is intuitive and easy to use.

Future app review


  • Best for: People looking for custom workouts created by a personal trainer, without having to join a gym.
  • App compatibility: Apple, Android.
  • Cancellations: Three-step free cancellation.
  • Changing coaches: Easy to switch coaches as needed.
  • Pricing: $149–$199 per month.

Pros & Cons

Pros App is easy to use. Connects to music streaming platforms. Coach pairing is based on user preferences. Workouts are custom-made for each user. Can be paired with Bluetooth-enabled heart monitors and other wearables. Risk-free trial period. Cons Expensive monthly cost for a fitness app. Instructors and platform lacks safety information. Social media pages are the only community support system in place.

Our final verdict

The Future fitness program uses an initial intake survey to pair you with a virtual personal trainer, who creates a customized workout plan based on your preferences. You can choose from a variety of coaches and coaching styles to work with a trainer who best motivates you and provides the best support for your unique fitness journey.

You have full control over the intensity of the workouts, the number of assigned workouts per day or week, and the length of time you spend on each workout, so it’s easy to make a plan that fits your schedule. Whether you have a full gym membership or no equipment, Future coaches will create a workout plan based on the tools you can access.

Compared to other fitness apps, Future is relatively expensive at $199 per month but is less expensive than working with an in-person personal trainer, which, according to some sources, can cost $25–$100 or more per hour. If you sign up and decide it’s not for you before your first month ends, you can cancel your membership and get a full refund.

While the Future app focuses almost entirely on fitness, you can pick a coach with a nutrition background if you also want to focus on improving your diet. If losing weight is part of your fitness goal, read our review of the best weight loss programs chosen by our experts. Our top pick is Noom.

Getting started with Future

Unlike other fitness apps, we love that Future puts you in the driver’s seat to decide which workouts are best for you and lets you choose which coach best suits your preferences.

When you first sign up, you take a survey that asks about:

  • Your experience with fitness.
  • Your fitness goals.
  • How you picture fitness success.
  • Roadblocks that have kept you from meeting goals in the past.
  • Things that motivate you.

From our tester

“I didn’t mention weight loss at all. Instead I said I was focused on gaining strength, getting toned, and doing functional fitness. The trainer created my workout plans focused on those preferences.”

Unlike other fitness apps with generic workout plans, Future doesn’t provide any workout plans until you’ve had a call with your coach. From there, each plan is custom-made for you based on your preferences.

Choosing your coach

We especially love that Future gives you a handful of coaches to choose from based on general preferences, like gender and personality, and most importantly, on how to motivate you best. You can also use a sliding scale to represent the level of intensity you’re looking for in a coach. For example, you can request a coach that is supportive, laid back, and low on the intensity scale or a coach who’s high-energy, has a sense of humor, and is high on the intensity scale.

Screenshot of the Future survey asking the user to describe their ideal coach

Screenshot of the Future survey asking the user to give a level of their preferred coach’s intensity on a sliding scale

As part of their custom coaching model, Future asks the user to describe their ideal coach based on personality traits and what level of intensity they are looking for in a coach.

We’ve only had one technological issue with the app—when we were trying to schedule a call with the coach. The app wouldn’t save the appointment, but as soon as we switched days, it was able to schedule and save the meeting. Overall, we think the app is easy to navigate and is generally user-friendly.

Having a coach is important to assuring accountability in a fitness program. Based on our testing, we think Future offers a good balance of keeping users accountable without being too invasive or pushy.

To monitor your fitness journey, your trainer gets a notification when you complete a workout and when you don’t. When our testers miss a workout, the trainer reaches out to ensure everything is going okay and offers assistance. However, they continue to be supportive without shaming or guilting them for missing the workout.

From our tester

“My coach checked in after every workout to see how I was feeling and asked if I wanted the next workouts to be the same, or more or less challenging. It felt very customized to my preferences and abilities.”

Using the Future app

To get an overview of your workout progress, the Future fitness app has a main dashboard that shows your workout history, the number of completed workouts, and the total calories you’ve burned while working out. Future recommends using a smartwatch to track your activity, maximize your membership, and precisely track your results.

Android watches that operate on Wear OS 3.0 or newer and Apple watches that are Series 3 or newer are compatible with the Future app, but some devices may work better than others. For example, newer watch devices will likely have more precise technology to track heart rate, temperature, and VO2 max (volume of oxygen your body consumes). The Future app can also be connected to external heart rate monitors and any other Bluetooth wearable device.

The dashboard of the Future app shows how many workouts you’ve completed since signing up, along with how many calories you’ve burned working out with Future.

Unlike other fitness apps (like Joggo) that connect users through the platform, Future has a Facebook community to encourage users to get connected to one another. With over 3,000 members, it’s relatively simple to post about achievements or difficulties and get support from other group members. Future posts on the Facebook page regularly, with videos about recovery days between workouts, news about the company, and even educational videos on properly using certain types of exercise equipment.

How does Future work?

During the initial meeting with your assigned coach, you can discuss the exercise equipment you have access to; whether you don’t have any, have some, or belong to a gym that gives you access to equipment. If you don’t have access to any weights or equipment, your coach will give you non-equipment alternatives, like body-weight exercises. For reference, our testers have access to 8- and 10-pound dumbbells, a 15-pound kettlebell, a 24-inch CrossFit box, resistance bands, and a yoga mat, which their coaches use to assign exercise routines.

You also tell your coach about your schedule, how many days you want to work out per week, and how long you want each workout session to last. For reference, our testers tell their coaches that they want to work out three days a week for 30 minutes each session. The trainer is able to create a custom workout plan under those time restraints without any issues.

When a coach gives you a workout plan, you can see a preview of the exercises you’ll need to do, along with how long you’ll need to hold each position or how many repetitions you’ll need to complete. There is also an estimated duration of the workout and the duration of each exercise.

Future doesn’t currently offer live classes or coaching sessions. Instead, coaches assemble a written workout plan and include videos of themselves or other people completing the exercises, with tips along the way. For each workout, there is a visual list of exercises and descriptions that include details like:

  • The title of the exercise.
  • The number of repetitions.
  • Length of time to hold the position.
  • Recommended weight to use (if you have access to weights).

While Future is mostly a fitness app that focuses on improving your health through exercise and activity, some Future trainers have a background in nutrition and can offer advice for supplementing your fitness journey with a healthy diet. If you choose weight loss as one of your goals, Future will offer coaches with a nutritional background to help you better meet that goal.

Since our testers have fitness goals unrelated to weight loss, they are not paired with coaches with a nutritional background. If you’re looking for an app to help you manage your fitness and weight loss goals, Noom might be a good fit.

While basic instructions and video cues help you understand the exercises along the way, we think some movements might be confusing or difficult to understand if you’ve never done those exercises before. Since the workout plan is pre-written and pre-recorded, asking a question is harder if you have trouble understanding the instructions.

With each new exercise, there’s an example video of a person doing that movement and a timer showing how long to hold that position or complete assigned repetitions. Another timer shows the length of time left in your workout.

It’s possible that you could message the coach with a question while you’re working out and receive a timely response. Still, a quick answer isn’t guaranteed, especially compared to an in-person session where the trainer watches you and explains movements in real-time. To help with this issue, Future allows you to record yourself doing your workout, which you can send to your coach when you’ve finished. The coach can watch it and let you know how your form looks, share notes on how you can improve, or give supportive feedback about good form or stamina.

The delayed feedback and lack of in-person oversight may not work for everyone. While our testers feel safe completing exercises throughout their sessions, we know this will not always be the case for people with less experience exercising and using gym equipment. But we like that the Future coach asks our testers if they have any previous injuries and offers alternative movements if discomfort arises from the exercises.

“One issue [with using a virtual personal trainer instead of an in-person personal trainer] is the lack of immediate physical oversight, which means a trainer can’t correct your form in real-time as effectively as they could in person. This could increase the risk of injury, especially if you’re performing complex movements or using heavy weights.”

Mike Julom, an ACE-certified personal trainer and founder of ThisIsWhyImFit

Using Future to meet long-term fitness goals

Sometimes it’s difficult to stick to a workout routine, especially if you travel or have busy lifestyle demands. When you work with an in-person trainer tied to a gym, you may need to create your own workout plan when you can’t make it into the gym, or you may be tempted just to skip workouts on those days. This can easily lead to giving up on your goals and is one of the top reasons people don’t follow through with their exercise plans.

It’s good to know in advance the barriers to sticking to an exercise plan so you can be more compassionate toward yourself if you fall off the fitness wagon and how to get back on track.

Since Future coaches are virtual, sticking with your workout regimen when life gets busy or while traveling is relatively easy. All workout plans can be modified to meet your needs and can be done anywhere you tell your trainer you’ll be. Even if you use Future in combination with a gym, you can ask your trainer to modify your workout to bodyweight-based exercises while you’re traveling.

From our tester

“I traveled for work one week, and Merlee (my coach) put together a 30-minute workout that I could do in my hotel room with just a resistance band, and the rest of the movement required no equipment.”

Based on our testing, Future is especially good at helping you set realistic goals. If your know you only have 30 minutes per day to dedicate to working out, the coaches support that and don’t push for more workout time.

We think controlling the difficulty level is helpful so you don’t engage in a workout that’s too difficult for your skill or comfort level. This can potentially lead to injury, exhaustion, frustration, or negative feelings, especially if you can’t complete the workout.

“At the end of the day, anyone setting off on a new fitness journey has a responsibility to themselves to learn and stay safe. Taking the time to understand, learn, and master exercise form is a critical part of staying safe and preventing injury. Clients should always ask questions if something is unclear and seek out assistance if something doesn’t feel right.”

Jenny Liebl, a certified personal trainer in Scottsdale, Arizona


The best part about Future is the customization you get from your coach. So whether you want your coach to have a soft approach or a “tough love” approach, you can give those instructions to your coach, and they will meet your expectations.

HelpGuide Handbook’s testing methodology and score breakdown

Our testing methodology includes a 5-factor score breakdown that our hands-on product testing team uses to rate these products best. Here’s how the Future app fares:

App/Interface: 4/5

The app features are easily accessible and the platform is customizable and intuitive even if you have limited technical ability.

Accountability: 5/5

Comprehensive coach support with features that help you stay on track and help your trainer give you support and encouragement.

Coaching: 4/5

Coaching is led by a qualified professional who gives clear guidance that is customized to your needs. Communication with coaches is effective.

Sustainability/Accessibility: 4/5

The Future app provides a realistic and sustainable program with a good balance of intensity and accessibility. It easily accommodates a busy work and travel schedule.

Safety: 3/5

The Future app promotes healthy habits but lacks personalized support for advising on safety during unguided exercise routines.

How much does Future cost?

Future offers three-month, six-month, 12-month, and month-to-month commitment options. For the longer membership plans, you pay the total cost upfront. The longer you agree to commit, the more your membership will be discounted. We love that Future offers your first month risk-free, so you’ll get a full refund if you decide to cancel.

Month to month3 months6 months12 months
Price per month$199$179 (10 percent discount)$169 (15 percent discount)$149 (25 percent discount)
Price billed at sign-up$199$537$1,014$1,788

If you choose the month-to-month plan you can cancel any time before the next month begins. For example, if you sign up on Monday, Jan. 1, you must cancel before Feb. 1 to avoid getting charged for the next month. If you choose a membership plan with a longer commitment period and want to cancel before it ends, you will be refunded the remaining amount, but at the month-to-month cost. 

For example, if you sign up for the three-month membership and prepaid $537 but want to cancel after only using it for a month, you’ll only be refunded $338 ($537 minus $199).

Frequently asked questions

Future costs between $149–$199 per month, which is expensive compared to other fitness apps. But compared to other personal training options that can cost between $25–$100 or more per hour, it’s actually more affordable.

Yes. First, you complete a survey asking about your motivations and what kind of coach you’re looking for. For example, you’ll choose from a list of descriptors like “high energy,” “supportive,” “always positive,” and “strictly business.” Then you choose your ideal coach’s intensity on a sliding scale, from “not intense” to “very intense.” You also have the option to choose the gender of your coach. Based on that information, the Future app will suggest a handful of coaches for you to choose from.

A typical Future workout looks however you told your coach you wanted it to look. Future lets you design your own schedules. You give an estimated time for the workout and how many days per week you want to do a workout, and based on the time you have, your fitness goals, and the equipment you have access to, your coach will make a customized plan just for you.

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