What It Is: An iOS-compatible fitness app for full-body, high-intensity training—you get strength, cardio and overall muscle conditioning in each of the app’s 150+ workouts (some are free, some are paid upgrades).
A lot of the exercises use just your bodyweight, but you can also apply the filter feature to find workouts with whatever equipment you’ve got (e.g., dumbbells, med ball, kettlebell, indoor rower, and more).
The workouts last about 7 to 20 minutes, so you can do just one if you’re in a hurry or string several together. There’s also an accompanying Apple Watch app. If you want it to, Keelo will sync calories zapped, exercise duration and heart rate (Apple Watch needed for this metric) to the Health app in your iPhone.
What You Might Not Know: All the workouts were created by certified coaches, and the people demonstrating the exercises in the app are CrossFit Level I Trainers with RKC Kettlebell certifications. It’s good to see education creds like these from anyone offering a fitness app.
Feelin’ the Love: With light-hearted workout names like “Burpees & Friends” and “Hello Triceps,” you might think you’re in for a walk in the park. Well, hidden behind these friendly monikers are some pretty intense sets. (Other workouts are more aptly called “Body Smash” and “Quads on Fire.”) All the exercises I tried were tough but manageable—it’s the repeated rounds that get ya!
Each workout provides 3 or 4 exercises, shown as videos in the app, with suggested number of reps (e.g., 10 dumbbell squats, 20 sit-ups, etc.) and rounds (e.g., you do 3 or more sets of each exercise). Some even have actual running drills, which I haven’t seen in a HIIT-style workout app before. Great addition!
Once you hit “Start Workout,” the timer is on and your job is to complete as many reps or rounds as you can in the total allotted time (e.g., 8 minutes, 14 minutes, etc.). You’re going for AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible). This approach sounds easy enough, but as you start to fatigue, it gets more challenging to keep the pace.
What I especially loved about the AMRAP format is that you count your own reps according to what the Keelo app tells you to do, advancing to the next exercise only after you complete each set of suggested reps. This semi self-directed approach kept me right on task and minimized any tendency to waste time between sets because the timer was still ticking away.
BTW, you’ll notice the timers in the Keelo app either count down from the designated time to zero (e.g., 9:00, 8:59, 8:58, etc.) or count up from zero (e.g., 0:00, 0:01, 0:02, etc.). Why? It depends on the workout. Some have a fixed time. Such as: complete as many reps as possible in these next nine minutes—go! That’s a countdown. And some set you loose to crush the workout as quickly as possible without a specific timeframe. Those ones take as long as they take, so the timer counts up.
Since I’m goal-oriented and competitive, especially with myself, the Keelo fitness app was perfect for encouraging me to keep moving, even when I felt myself slowing down. If the AMRAP concept isn’t motivating enough, Keelo also creates a personalized achievement graphic for when you’re finished working out. You can save it in the app and post it directly from the app to Twitter and Instagram. It’s good incentive for improving your performance over time.
As for the exercises, a lot of them you might know already: classics like squats, mountain climbers and burpees. And if you’re not familiar with a move or you want a fast refresher, there are video tutorials with key technique cues for every exercise.
After a workout, watch for the chance to schedule your next workout right into the app. Keelo will send reminders and even suggest a good one to try based on what you’ve already been doing.
If I Could Change One Thing: I tend to use the Keelo app right after getting home from an outdoor run when I’m already warmed up. However, one time when I didn’t run first, I wasn’t sure what to do about the warm-up.
I ended up using one of the basic bodyweight routines, but I’d love to see a couple of short segments added to the app specifically for warming up. [UPDATE: Keelo says both warm-ups and cooldowns have been added to the app’s newest update. Available now. Woo hoo!]
Should You Get It? For sure. Start with the free fitness app download and try out what’s there. You can always unlock more workouts if needed. I was happy I went for the upgrade. Available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch; upgrade options vary from a few bucks to $47.99/year CND ($39.99/year USD).
Watch Keelo’s video below for a preview of how the Keelo high-intensity fitness app works: