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How to start or join a group workout on Fitness+

Apple Fitness+ is an excellent tool for folks who want to maintain their fitness without joining a gym or purchasing expensive home gym equipment. The fitness program has solo exercises for all levels and recently added group workouts allowing users to exercise with friends and family. You can create your own group workout session or join one that was created by a friend. Find out how to use these group workouts to exercise with your friends, family, and other Fitness+ users.

Powered by SharePlay

FaceTime SharePlay on phone.
Fitness+ group workouts are powered by Apple’s SharePlay feature that was added in iOS 15. SharePlay is designed to create a shared experience across Apple devices and services. The socially focused feature integrates into FaceTime and allows you to connect with your friends and family for more than just a video call. You can listen to music, watch TV, and even work out together with those on your contact list.

Hosting a group workout

Apple Fitness Plus Meditation.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

SharePlay uses FaceTime to make the initial connection, so you need to launch the FaceTime app. Within FaceTime, you can initiate a workout and choose the friends you want to join. You can add up to 32 people at once, allowing you to exercise with family, friends, and even friends of friends.

  1. Start a Group FaceTime call by opening the FaceTime app and then selecting New FaceTime.
  2. Select the contacts you want to call and add to this group workout.
  3. Select the Audio button or FaceTime to start the call.
  4. Once everyone has joined the call, you can choose a workout.

How you start a workout depends on the device you are using. If you’re using an iPhone, you should open the Fitness app, then select Fitness+. If you’re using an iPad, simply open the Fitness+ app.

  1. Choose a workout or meditation, then select Let’s Go.
  2. Select SharePlay to share the workout with those connected on the call.
  3. You also can start the workout using your Apple Watch, by selecting the Play button to begin the workout or meditation for everyone on the FaceTime call.

If you are unable to access FaceTime, check to make sure it is enabled by opening Settings > FaceTime, and confirming that FaceTime is toggled on.

Connecting to a Group Workout

SharePlay Fitness+ on an iPhone.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Don’t want to start a group workout? Not a problem, you can join an existing one. Those connecting to an existing group workout will receive an alert through SharePlay asking them to join the SharePlay group. They can choose to accept or ignore this request.

  1. Join a group FaceTime call.
  2. In that FaceTime call, select the Open button next to the Join SharePlay entry.
  3. This will launch the Fitness app where you can select Join SharePlay to participate in the group workout.
  4. Apple Watch owners can join a group workout by joining a group FaceTime call and then selecting the Play button on their Watch.

There is one significant drawback to this shared experience. It’s only available to those who subscribe to Fitness+. Friends who are not Fitness+ subscribers will need to sign up for the premium service before they can join or create a workout group.

Group workout experience

Group Workout Fitness Plus.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The group workout mode is designed to bring people together towards a common goal — having fun while exercising. You can cheer for each other or talk some smack using SharePlay‘s video and messaging features.

Yes, the group workouts can be supportive, but they also can be competitive in a friendly way. During the class, users can see their friends’ fitness data on the screen to see how they are progressing. You can encourage someone who is slowing down to keep going or applaud someone who is at the front of the pack. Opportunities to reward someone are abundant. The group workout will send out an alert when someone closes their activity rings or when they surge ahead on the burn bar.

Pricing and availability

Apple Fitness Plus workout on all the screens.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

SharePlay is available now and requires users to install iOS 15 on their devices. It works across Apple’s device lineup, allowing those with an iPad, iPhone, Mac, and AppleTV to join in on the fun. Group workouts require a Fitness+ subscription, which is available for $10 per month or $80 per year.

Fitness+ is also included in Apple One, allowing users to access up to six Apple services in a single subscription. The bundle consists of Fitness+, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, and iCloud+. The basic Apple One plan includes four services (Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud+) and starts at $15 per month for an individual subscriber or $20 for a family. A premium plan with all six services and sharing for up to five people costs $30 per month.

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Kelly Hodgkins
Kelly's been writing online for ten years, working at Gizmodo, TUAW, and BGR among others. Living near the White Mountains of…
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