iWorkout with the iPod

by Aaron Wright Nov 17, 2006

“Hey you, fatty, you’ve been eating too many dohnuts just recently so it’s about time you got your tub-of-lard butt into gear and did some exercise” – something I promise you won’t be hearing from iWorkout.

Apple’s iPod is so popular that Nike has designed trainers that work with it to tell you how many steps you’ve taken, how many calories you’ve burnt and how much longer you have left before you almost pass out. There’s also a vast range of apparel that have been designed with the iPod in mind, tracksuits for example that have special iPod holders or even the simplest of armbands to help secure your iPod whilst working out at the gym. But what have Helmes Innovations done? They’ve gone and made your iPod a personal trainer.

When talking to a few friends outside of the I.T industry about stereotypes, I asked them what their stereotype of an I.T admin or office worker was. Their answer? Fat and lazy. Of course this isn’t true but their stereotype must have come from somewhere. Perhaps they’ve seen more fatties in the I.T industry than in many others, I don’t know. What I do know is that everyone should make some time in their lives to keep fit and stay active, if their bodies allow it.

According to the official website, iWorkout is a brilliant “personal trainer on your iPod” offering you over 100 narrated workout videos on your iPod (and iTunes) that go through cardio-vascular work (running, cycling), machine and free weights, important stretches as well as tips for using Swiss balls and performing core exercises.

I like to think of myself as a fitness buff so I gave iWorkout a workout and I’ve got to say that for anyone who is wanting to get into strength training or doing simple cardio work will do well to own this package.

One of the most daunting things about joining a gym for the first time is knowing how to use certain machines. For example, if you want to work on your back muscles (Your ‘Lats’ being one of them), you may want to use the Assisted Chin-up machine. In the demo of iWorkout there’s a brilliant video, in a variety of angles, to show you how to use the machine safely, offering proper technique and safety measures that should be taken. You’ll be pleased to know that an Australian gentleman with a very calming voice – no, not our very own Chris Howard - narrates the whole process for you. Having this on your iPod at the gym before using each machine is brilliant.


There’s also a variety of voice-only workouts that instruct you how to perform certain core exercises including sit ups, press ups, squats, lunges and so on. My only nag with some of the voice-only workouts is that it doesn’t come across as too professional. The lovely lady narrating is clearly reading from a script and at times you can sense she is struggling to keep with a rhythm – once or twice quietly laughing at her mistakes. Although that isn’t much of a problem, the background noise of the audio, which can sometimes make you feel like you’re in a busier environment than you actually are, doesn’t help matters at all. At times I couldn’t make out what our lovely narrator was saying.

A couple of handy features available is the metronome which helps to keep you in rhythm with your repetitions and a few pictures that give you some rough idea of how certain exercises are to be performed. For me, the real selling point of this package is the videos that are a great way of teaching you to perform exercises with proper technique, something that is more important in lifting weights than the actual amount of weight you’re lifting.

Working with the iPod

The videos, pictures and audio all look and sound nicely on the iPod so there shouldn’t be a real problem for anyone. Of course, video can only be shown on 5th Gen iPods and I don’t think this package is worth the money without those.


Although some of the audio and video does seem rather unprofessional and cheap at times, it does get the message across relatively well. Installing the software on your iPod is very easy with the installation wizard and importing all the content into iTunes is simply a case of ‘drag & drop’ from within the DMG file.

It’s a shame that no database comes with iWorkout in order for you to input your workout stats (number of reps completed or weights lifted) but for a very reasonable $19.95, I guess one mustn’t grumble.

Overall very good for the price.

Price: $19.95
Compatibility: All iPods except Shuffle. Video only on 5th Gen iPod and, of course, iTunes
Website: http://www.helmesinnovations.com/iWorkout.html



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