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One of the new features coming with iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 is the ability to create custom Apple Fitness+ workout plans. Custom workouts have been available in the Workout app since watchOS 9, but these new features combine the best of Apple Fitness+ with the new OS updates to take it to new levels. You can now schedule monthly or even weekly fitness routines, select the days of the week you plan to exercise, the duration for each workout, what activity type, the instructor, what music you want, and so much more.

Naturally, you’ll first need an iPhone, like the iPhone 14, loaded with iOS 17, or an iPad with iPadOS 17 and a subscription to Apple Fitness+. You can also use an Apple Watch, but the service is available now without one as well. With those things ready, you can get started.

Creating a custom Apple Fitness+ plan on iPhone or iPad

Note that the process is the same for an iPhone and iPad, but I have used an iPhone for illustrative purposes here.

  1. Open the Fitness app on your iDevice.
  2. Select the Fitness+ tab.
  3. You’ll see an option that says Custom Plans with a short description. Select Build Your Plan.
  4. Select the days of the week you want to follow this plan.
  5. Select the Total Time Per Day, from 10, 20, 30, 45, 60, or 90 minutes. (I added a 10-minute kickboxing workout to every regular workout I do each day.)
  6. Select the Length of Plan, choosing from 2, 4, 6, or 8 weeks. (You can always repeat if you want it to be ongoing for longer than two months.)
  7. Scroll down and select the Activity Type (you can select multiple if you plan to do a mixed workout).
    • There are 12 options in total, and you should be able to find the one you want or at least something close to it. For example, if you’re running, you could select Treadmill. If you’re lifting weights with some cardio mixed in, select Strength.
  8. Tap Review Plan.
  9. From there, you can change the Start date if desired. I changed it to tomorrow in the example.
  10. If you want to add a second workout, you can do that here as well.
  11. You can add a trainer preference as long as they offer a workout in the category you selected. Then, select Update.
  12. You can also select the music genre type you prefer from what’s available with the specific workout type you have chosen. Select Update once that's done.
  13. Select Create Plan.

When you visit the Fitness+ app, you’ll see Your Plan and can tap View Plan to see what’s coming up for the week. Whatever workout is on tap for each day will also appear on the main Fitness+ homepage when you select the tab.

Scroll all the way down to My Library, and you’ll see Custom Plans, where all the plans you have created thus far will appear. You can also renew active plans and see where you are in terms of progress towards completion.

What else to know about custom workout plans and Stacks

It appears you can only create a single custom plan at a time, so you need to end the current plan if you want to start a new one. But as noted, they are saved under the Custom Plans menu, so you can go back at any time to reselect one. Note that you can alternate days if you want to do kickboxing three times a week and strength training three times a week, then take two days off, for example, in the same plan.

While you seemingly can’t access the Custom Workout Plan you set up right from the Apple Watch Fitness app, you can use the new Stacks feature in watchOS 10 to select multiple workouts, meditations, and exercise types that you want to do back-to-back as an alternative. This allows you to seamlessly shift from one workout to the next without having to pause in between. For example, you can begin with a five-minute stretch, followed by a 20-minute strength training workout, a five-minute core exercise, and end off with a short yoga session.

To set up a workout Stack, select a workout you want to start with, tap the three dots in the top, right and scroll down to Add to Stack. Repeat this for each workout you want to add. The Stack will then be accessible as a folder icon at the top of the Fitness+ homepage. Tap it and initiate a workout with all the exercises you selected. They will play back-to-back until done.

As someone who works out daily and uses the Apple Fitness+ app, I love the option to Stack workouts. The Custom Workout Plan option, meanwhile, is great for when you’re not following a set workout program and want to create your own. I do wish, however, that it would allow for adding workouts from other programs beyond Fitness+. Nonetheless, both options mark a great move in the right direction for Apple when it comes to offering enhanced fitness features for users.