Want to hit your 2023 fitness goals? Drop Apple's rings and try Gentler Streak instead

Gentler Streak on iPhone 14 Pro
(Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

As 2023 begins, you might have decided this is the year when fitness will play a more significant role in your life. However, rather than becoming obsessed with closing your Fitness rings on Apple Watch and iPhone, there is a different approach to consider. 

The Gentler Streak app (opens in new tab) doesn't promise to protect your Fitness app streaks. However, it does help you to feel much less guilty about taking a day or two off from exercising throughout the week. Available for iPhone and Apple Watch, the freemium app takes a "self-compassionate approach" to exercise where recovery is just as important as the intensity. 

I recently chatted with the team behind the Apple App Store Awards winner for 2022. What I learned about Gentler Streak convinced me to give the app a try as a new year is set to begin. It's something I'd encourage my readers to do as well.

The dilemma 

Apple has long promoted the importance of fitness and health. One of the tools it provides to encourage healthy living is the Fitness app for Apple Watch and iPhone and its three signature rings. The app tracks how often you stand, how much you move, and how many minutes of exercise you do daily. 

The company hands out virtual rewards collected through the app to encourage you to close your rings. Those rewards get enhanced when you establish streaks such as perfect stand weeks, new move records, new Fitness+ workouts, and more. 

A long-running criticism about the Fitness app is there's no way to take a day off without ruining a streak. That limitation is unfortunate as many health experts encourage resting the body between workouts.

Gentler Streak: something different

Gentler Streak

(Image credit: iMore)

I've been an Apple Watch user since the first model launched and have always made it my daily mission to close my rings. Most of the time, this has involved taking a walk or spending an hour at the gym. Swimming at the family pool gets added to the mix during the summer months.

Closing the Apple Fitness rings, such as the ones on my Apple Watch Ultra, has become noticeably more challenging for me as I have gotten older. This growing resistance has less to do with my overall health than my increasing awareness that recovery must be an integral part of the health and fitness puzzle. This awareness has meant collecting fewer move streaks, but I'm convinced my overall health is better for it. With Gentler Streak, I've finally found an app promoting this type of living. 

Developed through a partnership between someone who found themselves overtrained for a triathlon and a runner who couldn't run for six months due to an injury, Gentler Streak was designed to fill a void. The app focuses on pushing users toward staying within healthy activity levels, regardless of how much activity they are doing. 

As co-founder and CEO Katarina Lotrič tells iMore, Gentler Streak is for everyday people who want to cultivate a "realistic and lasting fitness habit based on your compatibilities." As such, "instead of chasing outside goals, possibly validation, endlessly closing rings, doing 10.000 steps a day, we invite people to turn inwards — to understand what their body needs and to support it (instead of exhausting it) with suitable action."

Gentler Streak, especially on Apple Watch, will remind you of a traditional exercise and fitness tracker. You can use the app to monitor 104 workout types, with outdoor workouts offering maps, distance, and location readings. Current elevation, HR zones, elevation gains, and heart rate charts are also included when applicable. 

Once your workout is completed, the information gets sent to the Gentler Streak app on your iPhone and the Apple Health app, just like other fitness and exercise apps. 

Gentler Streak

(Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

But Gentler Streak is much more than this; instead of forcing you to chase steps and rings, the app keeps track of your readiness to create an individual activity path. Within this path, you'll find your optimal activity levels, which serve as a training log for the past 10 days. These levels are determined through your logged workouts and their effect on your performance. 

Would you rather not do a full workout today? Then, you can activate the app's "Go Gentler" tool, which provides a few optimal actions you can take to still positively affect your day. These options might include taking a rest day, doing a lower-impact indoor walk, performing an active recovery, and more. The presented choices depend on your current fitness level. 

Gentler Streak also includes powerful insights to make you a healthier person. These provide helpful health-rated information that can benefit any user and specific content that matches your fitness trends. 

Though you can start using Gentler Streak for free, all the features require buying a monthly or yearly subscription. These are available for individuals and families. 

Plans for 2023

Gentler Streak on Apple Watch

(Image credit: iMore)

Gentler Streak is packed full of valuable and unique features, which no doubt is why it ended up on Apple's radar for this year's App Store Awards. Plans for 2023 sound exciting and should make it even better. 

But first, the team behind Gentler Streak is introducing three final goodies for 2022. First, between now and January 3, you can save 50% off a subscription as part of a winter sale. There's also a 2022 Activity Recap in the app. The recap, free to anyone who uses the app, offers a yearly fitness review, assuming there's data in the official Health app. Gentler Streak is also about to begin utilizing Apple's Live Activity feature.

In 2023, the app will provide more reliable health insights and more advanced Go Gentler workout suggestions. There's also a new Health tab on the menu where you can find your relevant daily health metrics, such as RHR, HRV, sleep, wrist temperature, period, oxygen levels, and more. 

Lotrič calls the Health tab "visually pleasing."

The Gentler Streak team might also release a new app focused on mindfulness in 2023. However, that won't happen until "the time is right." 

We'll continue following Gentler Streak in the months ahead and let you know when new features are released. Until then, happy non-streaking!

App Store (opens in new tab)

Gentler Streak

Are you tired of needing to close your rings every day of your life? Consider Gentler Streak. 

Download from: App Store (opens in new tab)

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.