Each quarter, our wellness team tries and reviews a popular wellness trend. This quarter, we're trying weight management apps, and Brittany is checking out 8fit.
8fit claims to “help you become healthier and happier by putting fitness and nutrition experts in your pocket.” It does this by offering customized workout and meal plans based on your personal goals, as well as informative articles and sleep meditations.
How It Works
When you sign up for 8fit, you answer a series of questions, starting with: what’s your main goal? You get 3 options: lose weight, get fitter, or build muscle.
After choosing a goal, you enter in details including your gender, age, height, weight, and estimated body fat percentage. You choose body fat based on pictures and ranges, depending on your gender. Then you choose your body fat goal. 8fit then builds a workout plan for you.
If you opt for the paid plan that includes meal plans, you get another series of questions. When you sign up, 8fit asks you several questions: what are your dietary restrictions, what foods you don’t want to see in recipes, and it even asks you what kinds of recipes you want to see: quick (<10 minutes), simple (<6 ingredients), affordable, family-friendly, meal prep, and gourmet). Then you choose how many meals you have in a day and how much variety you want in your recipes. It will make a plan for you that you can easily adjust to your needs and tastes.
Fitness Tracking – ★★★★★
8fit is great if you want to do bodyweight exercises but don’t know where to start, or if you’re a seasoned gym-goer wanting to mix up your workouts.
8fit encourages you to work out 4 times a week, but will usually schedule 6 workouts for you each week. That sounds like a lot, but they’re usually under 15 minutes! They have different “levels” you can advance through – from “elementary” to “champion III”. You can change the difficulty of your program at any time.
I used 8fit for one week before I broke my arm (unrelated to any 8fit workouts, promise). For that week, I was in the “Apprentice” program, and found the workouts to be very straightforward and not too challenging. Had I been able to continue, I probably would have increased the difficulty, but I did work up a sweat during the quick workouts. Another bonus is that you can swap out any exercise for another one in their library, which is great if you need to modify.
While you’re doing the workout, there are very clear video instructions for each exercise that play on a loop for the entire time you’re performing them. There are several categories of workouts to choose from: yoga, strength, stretch, HIIT, pilates, and boxing. 8fit also allows you to log any additional fitness activities, and builds warm-ups and cool-downs into your workout.
Food Tracking – ★★★
If you want to keep a general food diary or are trying to start meal prepping, 8fit might be perfect for you. Recipes and food tracking are only available in the paid version of the app, but that automated meal prep plan may be worth it for you. The custom plan is built around the questions you answer at the beginning, but you can swap out any meals for your own, or for a different 8fit recipe.
Food tracking with 8fit is very different than food tracking with most other apps. You track by meal, and the most you can track is breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks. This system made me less inclined to track any drinks that I had throughout the day. When you log a meal, you can add a photo, and you enter 2 pieces of information: the portion size (small, medium, large) and how healthy it was (unhealthy, normal, or healthy). This self-report system might work for people who are pretty good at self-regulating, or are mostly following the 8fit meal prep plan. I also saw a lot of variation with how I interpreted portion size and healthiness. When I logged soup for lunch on December 6, it was “medium, healthy”, and when I logged the exact same portion of the exact same soup on December 19, it was “large, normal”.
I’m not a huge fan of calorie counting, so this system was very attractive to me at first. But I’m really motivated by concrete goals, so it would have been encouraging to me to see a weekly recap of the meals I recorded, or a way to set food tracking goals.
Overall, 8fit is great for meal prepping and even getting recipe ideas, but not ideal for food tracking.
It was easy to use 8fit every day. If you turn on notifications for the app, it will send you one reminder to do a workout, but won’t send any additional ones if you don’t check it.
When you open the app, the top of the screen gives you a suggestion of something to do right then, like drinking water, stretching, or a guided meditation. The home screen also shows you your workout for that day, and any meals you have scheduled. Under that, there are featured articles from 8fit that show how long they take to read. The home screen is designed to encourage you to do something for yourself in that moment, and displaying how little time each activity takes is very persuasive. You can also schedule reminders to work out within the app. I do think an app that reminds you to log in every day, instead of reminding just once, is better for encouraging someone to track daily workouts.
Despite claiming to “put fitness and nutrition experts in your pocket”, you don’t actually have access to coaches or experts; they just help design the exercise and meal plans. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does require you to be fairly self-motivated. 8fit would definitely benefit from a social aspect (being able to add friends on the app), and according to their website, it’s a feature they’re working on adding to the app.
Ease of Use ★★★★
8fit is very easy to use, and the workouts are so easy to follow, even if you’ve never done an exercise before. The menu is organized into categories: “Today” (your home screen), “Workouts” (shows all of your workouts for the week), “+” (this allows you to log your weight, any meals, and any activity), “meals” (shows you your meal plan), and “profile” (shows you a calendar of days you’ve logged food or workouts, resources from 8fit, and your personal goals).
The meal and activity tracking for past days can be tricky, and I definitely tracked several meals for the wrong day by mistake a couple of times. I also prefer apps that have the option to track on a computer, especially an app like this, where it might be easier to follow along with the workouts on a larger computer screen.
The free version of 8fit includes limited access to workouts, no meal plan, and no meal tracking. The free version of 8fit might be valuable to you if you want to see if you like it, or if you want to mix up your workout routine.
8fit Pro costs $60 for an annual plan ($5/month), $30 for a 3-month plan ($10/month) and $20 for the monthly plan. Since all of the exercises can be done at home, you could feasibly use 8fit as a substitute for a gym membership, or as an easy way to build up confidence before committing to a gym membership. For that reason, I think the annual price is very reasonable, but take advantage of the free trial before you decide that large upfront cost is worth it for you!
In a nutshell: If you want quick, easy-to-follow workouts and want to try out meal prepping, 8fit is for you.