Fitbit launches Premium subscription service for health coaching

For $10 a month, you'll get personalized in-app guides on better sleeping, eating and exercising.

In addition to showing off the Versa 2 smartwatch and Aria Air smart weighing scale today, Fitbit also had a new subscription service to unveil. It's called Fitbit Premium and for $10 a month (or $80 a year), you'll get in-app tips, guides and step-by-step health and fitness programs tailored to you. After more than ten years making devices that track people's activity, Fitbit has a vast database of information that it's tapping into for Premium. It's also working with internal and third-party experts to come up with guides to improve your energy levels, nutrition and general wellbeing.

Premium feels like a bundling of Fitbit's existing Care and Coach services, the latter of which offers personalized guided workouts for $40 a year. At launch, Premium is meant to help people with broader issues like weight loss and overall wellness, but the company said it hopes to target specific chronic issues (like diabetes) eventually.

There are a few main components to Premium: Guided programs, personalized analysis of your data, reminders to meet your goals, custom challenges and games, as well as wellness reports of your activity that you can share with your physician. You'll also get access to the thousands of video and audio workout guides available in Coach. Later this year, you'll also get select content from Daily Burn, premium classes from Yoga Studio by Gaiam as well as some recommended mindfulness exercises from Headspace.

At launch, Premium will offer nine guided programs, each focused on a specific aspect of wellness. They are: Intro to Healthy Habits, Get More Zzz's, Habits for Restful Sleep, Get Active, Beginner Running, Run Training, Understand Calories, Kick Your Sugar Habit and Kick Your Salt Habit. Most of these sound like courses you can take at an online university, and teach you lessons you might have learned at Phys Ed, like the benefits of getting enough sleep. But four of these programs include structured workout plans, daily tips and tricks and something the company is calling "actionable coaching." Fitbit said it will launch more of these programs by the end of the year.

Fitbit Premium

The personalized analysis of your data differs from what you currently get in the Fitbit app in that it'll incorporate your actual data. So instead of simply telling you how many steps you've taken, you'll get proactive alerts summarizing your progress for a given period, comparing your performance to your history. So if you took 75,000 steps one week, these summaries might tell you that number is higher than your average, then tell you what research says is good or bad. Fitbit will also make correlations in your data -- like noticing if you're more active after getting more sleep, for example.

Eventually, in Premium, you'll be able to create custom challenges by setting your own timeframes and specific goals like calories to burn or hours of sleep to hit. Fitbit has prepared some new games for paying customers, like "All For One," which has you and your friends racing to help your team meet a goal. There's also a Get Fit Bingo that will be available later, with the company promising more games to come.

Fitbit is also preparing to launch a one-to-one coaching service next year that you'll need to pay extra for. This will give you access to an expert who is on hand to answer your questions and motivate you to meet goals -- kind of like a therapist for your physical health. This person will not only be a certified healh and wellness coach but also have access to Fitbit's network of specialists.

Premium will be available in September in English-speaking regions, and will eventually roll out to other parts of the world. Those who buy the Fitbit Versa 2 Special Edition will get a 90-day trial to see if the service will really help or if the charts and tips that the Fitbit app already provides will be good enough.