In college and in the three years that followed, I was nothing short of a gym rat. I would wake up between 5 and 6 a.m. every day like clockwork to ensure that I’d be able to lift before class. I kept it up post-college to ensure that I could maintain my fitness goals despite working 60- to 70-hour weeks. For me, lifting was the ultimate outlet; the very best stress reliever.
But somewhere between a toxic relationship, processing the end of it, trying to maintain a social life, and working myself to the point of burnout in my final years living in New York, I lost sight of that. Or, more accurately, I just didn’t feel like I had the time or energy, nor the confidence, to craft new workouts, walk into what was once my favorite place on Earth, and work myself through reps and sets to the point of exhaustion.
Instead, I started doing trainer-led boutique fitness classes that took the thought out of working out. It was one less thing to think about; I could just show up and do what I was told. And that worked for me for the past six years—but it never gave me the same thrill (or feeling of strength) that lifting heavy weights did.
I’ve been following mega fit-fluencer Whitney Simmons for a while now, and recently began seeing and hearing a lot about her Alive program. I figured, what the hell, I’d give it a try. Long story short: It reignited my love for the gym, and ultimately instilled more confidence in myself.
What is the Alive app?
The Alive app is brimming with over 100 daily workouts to choose from, all of which are between five and 60 minutes long. The options cover a full-body range of categories, including HIIT, Upper, Legs, Push, and Pull options. There are also 33 Warm Ups and Cool Downs, ranging from five to eight minutes.
The app also has challenges that last between 30 and 45 days, and programs that span four to 10 weeks. In both cases, there are beginner, intermediate, and advanced options, so users can tailor how difficult the challenge or program will be.
Users can jot down their thoughts in the in-app journal at any point, and are encouraged to with prompts in the challenges and programs. Meanwhile, the Journey section lets users keep track of the number of workouts and any achievement badges earned.
The Alive & Thrive Challenge
Like so many, I wanted to kickstart the year with health and wellness at the forefront of my mind. After feeling less fulfilled by Orangetheory (my chosen fitness class for the past two years, which I typically attended three to four times per week) and more energized by the idea of switching things up, I bought a gym membership and downloaded the Alive app. For $14.99 per month, a whole world of fitness possibilities opened up to me, and I couldn’t wait to get started.
To kick things off, I signed up for the Alive & Thrive Challenge, a 45-day regimen with four lifting days, one mobility day, and two rest days (accompanied by journal prompts) per week. I opted for the intermediate level and was met with a series of four 45-minute workouts (plus warm-up and cool-down exercises) per week. To get cardio in, I would start each workout with a one-mile treadmill strut.
Here’s what I loved most about this challenge—and the Alive app as a whole:
It builds routines for you, making it easy to start and stick to a fitness regimen.
It provides detailed workouts with muscle diagrams for each exercise, so you know exactly what you’re working on.
Each exercise has an instructional video, so if you’ve never done a lift or used a specific machine (or if, like me, it’s been a while and you’ve forgotten), you can see how to do it from multiple angles.
The app lets you track the weights used and remembers them for future workouts.
Within each workout, you have the option to move exercises around beforehand, so you can perform it in your chosen order.
There is an alternate exercise for every move, so you can modify and still get the intended muscle development.
The app provides workout summaries at the end of each lift, which are colorful and encouraging and can be directly shared to social media if you want.
Taking on this challenge got me out of my comfort zone and back into the gym. It switched things up every day, which meant that it was never boring—I never felt the urge to skip.
Unfortunately, during the last week of the challenge, I got sick and ended up missing three workouts. I planned to make them up the following week but, as it turns out, you can’t retroactively complete them if the end date has passed. (Womp womp.) Still, I finished with a 90% Gold completion rate, so no complaints here.
Is Whitney Simmons’ Alive app worth it?
In my opinion: Absolutely. As someone who loves to work out individually but also loves guidance, the Alive app contains everything you need to build new fitness habits, discover new exercises, and expand your knowledge of machines, lifts, and muscle movement in general. And since it has all the instructional videos you could hope for without volume or unnecessary commentary, it streamlines the learning process. Personally, I found that it made re-entering a classic gym easier than ever. (And after six years of avoiding it, that’s really saying something.)
Whitney’s personality also has something to do with the appeal. She’s quite entertaining, not to mention relatable. Whether it’s her openness surrounding living with psoriasis, or her GRWM reels or mic’d-up videos, she’s a genuine joy to follow—and I feel like that’s not always (read: rarely) the case with influencers in the 3 million+ realm.
Now, I’d be remiss not to mention: The biggest negative feedback surrounding the app (on Reddit, at least), is that Whitney Simmons isn’t actually a certified trainer. (And to my knowledge, she’s never claimed to be.) She is, however, a dedicated fitness influencer who has been working out religiously for years, not to mention a Gymshark and Alani Nu athlete.
For me personally, I’m okay with the fact that she’s not a CPT. That doesn’t mean that she can’t share what she knows, and what’s worked for her. After all, after 45 days following Whitney’s suggestions, I’ve found that it’s worked for me, too: I feel energized, uplifted, and ready to take on my next challenge. Only this time, it will be in the form of the 10-week Alive Strong program.