Derek FeatherstoneEverything is a work in progress

Intentional Inclusion: Apple Fitness+

Derek Featherstone / Published:

I’ve been using Apple Fitness+ for a few days now, and I’ve already noticed a few things that I wanted to call out about this newcomer (Apple) to the online fitness world.

I tweeted this the other day, as the use of inclusive language was apparent after just a few classes:

Even in the replies to my tweet you’ll see comments like “Guys is gender neutral to me.” Totally get that. But the ENTIRE point is that it isn’t gender neutral to everyone. So why not use more gender neutral words?

Inclusive language matters, so this is a win overall.

Once I noticed that language I started thinking “I bet they’ve been really intentional about this.” Here’s what I’ve noticed so far:

  1. Language: the use of inclusive, gender neutral language (as mentioned above).
  2. Captions: all of these videos are captioned, and from what I can tell, they are very high quality captions.
  3. Sign language: First, I noticed a “thank you” in Sign Language at the end of the class. And now that I’m looking for it, I noticed a few other things — a “lets get it” kind of invitation to start the class. I’m sure there’s many more.
  4. Disability: I was surprised to see that one of the trainers (Amir) has a prosthetic leg. I’d bet there’s more disability there that isn’t apparent visually.
  5. Cultural diversity: The roster of trainers shows Latinx, Asian, Filipino, Black, white, and likely others too. And I’ve heard at least one Australian accent. I expect to discover more.
  6. Age diversity: Most of the trainers are young, but there’s definitely a handful of older… errrm… well-seasoned trainers too!
  7. Gender diversity: At a glance, the trainers seem roughly even when it comes to gender. No idea about gender identity versus gender assigned at birth, or any other aspects of gender identity. But I wouldn’t expect that I should know. The only way I would know is if each trainer listed their pronouns in their profiles. Maybe that’s something they should do? Maybe not?
  8. Background: I’m not sure if this should be listed as background but I’m going with it. These trainers aren’t all hardcore fitness trainers that have been elite athletes all their life. Yes, some have always been involved in fitness and sports, but others come from the arts, finance, education, health sciences and more.
  9. Body types: I’d say all the trainers are quite fit. But even then, there’s a variety of body types there, from larger football players to leaner and smaller distance runners and everything in between.
  10. Modifications: The trainers (and any others that are behind the scenes that help put these classes and programs together) have done a great job of always offering modifications to an exercise so that everyone can get the benefit. So far I’ve noticed them offering options such as: low-impact options, walking treadmill workouts to go along with the running treadmill workouts, and modifications for moves where you just may not be flexible enough to do the move they’re teaching. Kudos — everyone can succeed at improving their fitness and that’s all about relative fitness to themselves, not anyone else!


There’s lots of other things going on as well — I noticed even things like the trainers speaking in the languages of their culture. So far I’ve noticed the trainers subtlely teaching phrases in Sign language, Tagalog and Spanish. I don’t know if they’re speaking in their native languages or not, so I won’t comment on that, but… this brings a different aspect to diversity, to unity, and community.

The person offering the modified version of exercises seems to always be in the same, predictable place. So if you need to find an option, you know exactly where to look.

There’s always more to do

I’m sure that the training team could be more diverse for more definitions of diversity. I am also sure that I will continue to find new things that surprise me as I work my way back to being more fit. I’m loving where this platform is when it comes to intentional inclusion. Because make no mistake — all of these things I’ve listed above do NOT simply happen by accident.