DH’s Delta Trainer/Co-Pilot Review

DH decided it was time to start working out again.  He’s done a number of different things, but they’ve all had drawbacks that keep him from continuing.  Often he’ll just get bored and stop doing it.  We’d often talked about him getting a real in-person trainer, but then the pandemic happened and an in-person personal trainer did not.

He was making noise wondering what he should try next when I watched this WheezyWaiter video:

Basically it’s a sponsored ad for an online app called Delta Trainer.  (This blogpost is not a sponsored ad– Delta Trainer has no idea who I am and I don’t want to deal with an affiliate link.  I guess you can use WheezyWaiters’ link?)

What intrigued me was that WheezyWaiter (or should I call him Craig?  I don’t think we’re on a first-name basis, so maybe not) talked about exactly the things DH was complaining about.  DH doesn’t like to have to think about what exercises to do or remember where he is in some list (like the ladders), and he doesn’t like to have to keep track of how many of something he’s doing.  Remembering and counting are boring.

So, he looked into this.  And he looked into the Peloton app that lots of women talk about a lot.  And he decided this was better for what he wanted, even though it’s a bit more expensive (~$60/month give or take).  He’s not that interested in live classes, which seems to be the main benefit of the Peloton app if you don’t have their bicycle.

On top of that, with Delta Trainer, there’s someone, an actual real person, who is expecting him to do these exercises.  She provides him feedback after each session and there’s a little back and forth.  That’s an accountability partner right there.  He says that usually with exercise, if he misses a class or stops doing regular exercise, he tends not to come back until he gets the exercise bug again months later.

When you sign up, you get a two week free trial which starts after you first meeting (facetime) with the trainer.  When you sign up, you either tell them that you have an apple watch, or they will send you a refurbished older model apple watch.  You also pick a trainer from three people that they suggest. DH took the one who was interested in health (Kris) and avoided the one who said he was all about weight-loss.  The third looked fine.  In his meeting, they talked about his goals for Delta trainer, and he said he just wanted to be healthy but wouldn’t mind a bit more muscle, but was mainly interested in cardio, flexibility, and strength combined so that he would feel well-rounded. She asked about any injuries or things he was worried about and he mentioned RSI, and that hasn’t been an issue.  (With pandemic yoga, RSI sometimes became an issue.)  He initially said he wanted to work out 5 days a week but she suggested starting at 3 and said he could add more later on.  They’re flexible on the scheduling.  Three days seems to have been the right choice to start with– initially he was kind of sore the next day, but after a few weeks that stopped and he’s no longer sore after exercising and is thinking of adding a weekend day going forward.

Every Sunday the app populates with the exercises for the entire week so he can see what days they’re on and what exercises they are, what equipment is needed, and how much weight and time and how many reps etc.  (Some things are time-based and some are repetition based).  Initially they were all calisthenics, but after he got weights, she added weights to the routine and he’s also got jump-rope exercises now.  There’s also instructions from the trainer about how to do things, why things are being done, and so on.  He can click on each exercise and it will show a little repeating video of someone doing the exercise so he knows what it is supposed to look like.  If he’s not sure, he can also talk with the trainer and she’ll send her own instruction video.  The app has a chat with video built in which is really useful.

When it’s time to do the exercises, he opens the app on his watch, taps on the workout and hits start.  On his iphone he tends to listen to audible which is fantastic because he doesn’t have to think!  Previously he’s tried watching shows while exercising but he couldn’t either exercise well or watch the show well, but audio works.  Because it’s on the phone, it quiets when the delta trainer app talks so he can hear instructions.

Then he does the workout and if it’s too hard, he modifies it himself and then at the end tells the trainer that he modified it so she can adjust the next workout accordingly.  There’s a rating page after where he can provide feedback about the specific workout and the app and can type in comments.  He usually uses the chat to talk with the trainer separately.  The app also has some other things like calories burned and his heartrate overtime and so on.  The heartrate graph also includes the exercise you were doing at each point.

He says it’s nice for him to just have someone who knows what they’re doing to talk with about these things.  He wouldn’t have bought weights and would never be doing any of the weight exercises because he’s just not familiar with them.  But after talking with the trainer and getting instructions from her, he feels comfortable with them now and it’s something he’ll be able to continue doing in the future, even though he never would have started without her.

He was also worried about overdoing certain exercises and hurting a specific part of his body, like straining his lower back, because he’s done that in the past.  But he’s actually been doing more work and harder work than he would have set for himself, but it’s been feeling good, not stressful.  His back feels healthier and stronger. The trainer really does seem to know what she’s doing.

After a month the app suggested he have a video check-in with the trainer and he hasn’t, but it is nice that they do that.

Some frustrations:  Sometimes the app doesn’t track when it should, and it will not realize he’s started or it will think he’s stopped when he hasn’t and then it will just go onto the next set.  He hates that.  Sometimes the app will tell him to go higher or lower, but he’s already as high or low as he can go.  Basically, the apple watch doesn’t always track perfectly.

Overall:  DH says he would recommend Delta Trainer.  He’s doing exercises he wouldn’t have done otherwise and he’s glad for it.  He’s kept up with it for a longer stretch than almost any other exercise stretch and he says that he just feels better.  He loves not having to think about it and how flexible it is in terms of when and where to do it. If you have an extra $60/month to spend on exercise, this seems like a good choice.

9 Responses to “DH’s Delta Trainer/Co-Pilot Review”

  1. CG Says:

    Good for DH! Shows that the right type of exercise is the one you will stick with. For me that’s been running (slowly, not very far, for the last decade). I mostly hate exercising with other people (I make an exception for one friend I run with once a week), any kind of barrier (fancy equipment, having to get in the car, etc.) will often make me bail, and I pretty much need to exercise first thing in the morning or I’ll lose my momentum. Running avoids the first two problems and I can just roll out of bed and do it so it checks the third box too. Obviously running is not for everyone, so it’s great when we can figure out what works for us and keep at it!

  2. Steph Says:

    Thanks for this review – this actually seems like just what I need, except they currently only work with iphone users. Maybe by the spring they’ll work with androids.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think there are other programs out there that are similar in design. The Try Guys advertised for one at one point. (But like, none of them were actually using it, so…) This one definitely seems to be well-run from DH’s perspective (and Wheezy Waiter’s too, but he’s getting paid, whereas DH isn’t).

      These folks are definitely working on getting connected with other phone systems, but I don’t know how far they are along that path.

  3. mnitabach Says:

    This sounds great! The best exercise program is obvs one that you actually stick with long term.

  4. kt Says:

    When you look at this app I’m sure someone will look at me askance… with all the hot pink… but an app “for women” that I’ve been using is called Sweat. Yes, probably if you’re prone to body dysmorphia it’s not a good choice. But the exercises programs are varied and built on decent exercise science, ranging from yoga, barre, and Pilates to weightlifting, with kettlebells in between, and it does what you describe: every Monday a set of workouts populates and then you just pick ’em and press go. They give you a number of reps or a timer, you can listen to music or books or podcasts in the background, and you just exercise. I like it much better than the Peloton app that I tried with a friend because I don’t want to exercise with a video: I want a 45 second timer that starts up and then no one talks with me for those 45 seconds, for instance. I don’t want cheerleading, conversation, or hype. So, pink, very gynocentric, whatever, I’ve weathered enough just-for-men crap in my STEM career that I’m fine with this app given that they’re serving up quality workouts. It’s cheaper than the app you describe because there is no human coach. I’m sure it’s not to everyone’s taste but I’ve been happy with it for 6 months now.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That looks pretty similar except without the personalization (the trainer picks all the exercises based on the previous workouts so there’s no thinking) or trainer feedback. They probably use the same base app.

  5. Debbie M Says:

    I liked Wheezy’s review. Especially all the parts where he gets injured, the trainer recommends a different thing (so I injure a different part of me? no because it’s safer) and it always works! It sounds like DH is avoiding injury altogether, which of course is much better.

    I’m still liking the Hybrid Calisthenics you linked to earlier. Not that I’m good at exercising regularly right now, but I have done two kinds of adapted pull-ups!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, he has been. Prior to this he was occasionally injuring himself from youtube exercise videos (especially yoga), especially his wrists, but in their initial chat she asked and he told her those problems and she takes that into account.

      Hybrid calisthenics is great! He’s so good at explaining things.

  6. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    …And they just rebranded to Co-Pilot…

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