My ideal life is that of the humans in Wall-E: strapped to a hoverchair with a screen broadcasting directly into my eyeballs. Unfortunately, here on Earth, we must occasionally move our bodies. I’ve never had an active lifestyle beyond living in walkable cities that kept me at just the right amount of steps to balance things out. But I’ve gotten older, and I now live in a city built for cars, so things have started to change. My jeans are a little tighter, and I’m constantly battling exhaustion. Turns out doing nothing besides working at a desk doesn’t make you feel good.
At first, I tried walking on a treadmill every day, and I stuck to it for a while. But it got boring fast, and a few missed sessions later, I ditched it. I started looking at the internet for help. There are an unfathomably vast number of fitness apps, services, and influencers parading around their own programs—focusing on the idea of sculpting a perfect body—but the only one focused broadly on feeling healthier that caught my attention was an account called GrowWithJo (thanks to my TikTok For You page).
The creator, Johanna Devries, has an infectious smile as she works out and posts reactions to her followers showing off their own results using her fitness routines. These weren’t people spending hours in the gym or following rigorous diets. The moves seemed easy, and dare I say, a little fun. I tried her videos myself and quickly found myself enjoying my time; the exercise moves are simple, but I was drenched in sweat and feeling the burn.
I followed Devries’ free YouTube videos for a while—there are hundreds to choose from—but I knew I needed something that forced some accountability and tracking. A personal trainer was out of my price range, but thankfully, there’s a GrowWithJo app (iOS, Android). It’s the only app I’ve ever paid money for, and I don’t regret it. It’s $20 per month, but you should go for the much more sensible $60 per year option.
The app is categorized between workouts you can do on any given day and multi-week programs. I started with Easy Bounce Foward+, which is a five-day-per-week program for beginners to focus on the whole body without any equipment. (Some programs do use equipment like dumbbells, but the app clearly notes what is required.) I love that I can select the days I want to exercise and the days I want to rest, and it then sorts the calendar for me.