Applications (or “Apps” for brevity) seem to get flipped out quicker than Arnold Schwarzenegger one-liners. And it’s no different in the health and fitness space either.
You might be one who is completely happy with the original version of an exercise app (that has undergone 10 updates) or someone who is simply battered into not choosing at all with the tyranny of choice (or “overchoice”).
Either way, when you are short of motivation or starting points in your pursuit of fitness, it can be “healthy” (we always gots the jokes here!) to at least take a look and see if there is something that helps you attain your health vision or push it to the next level.
If you think that having an exercise app or health app won’t help, then you haven’t read this Journal of Medical Internet Research. Not only do those that use apps enjoy higher levels of activity, they usually have a lower body mass index than those that don’t, too.
Apps, it seems, are instrumental in modifying existing less-than-helpful behaviors as well as creating new, healthier ones. Some studies have suggested that exercisers who use apps to aid them in their workouts are more likely to stick with the exercise and reach their goals.
As we already said, the choices are staggering. We have tried to limit them to routines or programs that can be done at home (which, in some instances, means purchasing fitness equipment) or at the gym. Most of them are available on both Android and iOS platforms, but sadly, some are proprietary to one or the other.
Expert-led Fitness Apps
Sometimes you just need someone that knows what the heck they are talking about telling you what to do, how to do it and when to do it. These apps are great for getting someone to let you know how to shred fat, build muscle, or complete whatever your exercising goal is.
$4.99 (plus $3.99/month, $5.99/3 months, $9.99/year)
Led by Georges St-Pierre, this app is going to bring some MMA intensity into your app-guided exercising life. Choosing from 20 minute, 40 minute or hour-long workouts, you can select your own amount of pain while GSP shows you how it’s done!
There are more than 500 videos that address endurance, strength or flexibility, and the workouts offer the option of providing feedback about the level of difficulty, and then makes future workouts based on that feedback. Regardless, beginners should skip this app.
Class is in session. Over 2500 to be exact. And more are added every week. Whether you are at home or at the gym (and want your own personal class), Aaptiv offers a range of professional instructor-led workouts across a range of different types of cardio or strength training workouts on the different pieces of cardio equipment.
Pressed-for-time Fitness Apps
In an increasingly time-strapped society, not having the time to work out is often a hurdle (or an excuse) to fitness. These apps remove those impediments. They can also be a great way to gain the momentum to start longer workouts, by offering small but attainable goals. Your friends will understand if you don’t text them back immediately, we’re sure.
This free app offers a seven-minute workout option for time-strapped individuals. However, you can opt for workouts that last longer, too (up to 21 minutes). You don’t need to be an accomplished gym goer either. Each segment of the workout is timed and the exercise is demonstrated on screen, so you don’t have to guess at how to perform it properly. The routines are paced at different intensities to suit need and level. A chair is the only piece of “exercise equipment” that this app calls for. It will also help to track your workouts, and it allows you to share them.
7 Minute Workout Challenge
$2.99 (with in-app purchases)
Much like many of the other more successful apps, this one comes with in-app instruction on how to perform the exercises using both male and female instructors. To be effective, this app suggests that you do the exercises at the highest level of intensity you can muster in the shortest amount of time. This is probably the best method for any exercise, but in 7 minutes you might wanna give it all you’ve got!
Bodyweight Fitness Apps
No expensive exercise equipment or an active gym membership? No problem!
This comes stocked with 200 bodyweight exercises (along with difficulty modifications to spice things up a little), as well as how-to videos to ensure you get your form just right.
You can tailor make your own workout using nothing but what you carry around under your clothes all day.
$29.99/quarter or $79.99/year
This app is consistently one of the top-rated fitness and exercise apps.
It offers plans for all levels of exercisers, as well as workouts that are aimed at a particular outcome, whether it be strength, overall fitness or weight loss. Of course, it allows the users to choose how they want to sweat, be it yoga, strength cardio or stretching. The app also allows you to build your own workout, and there are audio cues as well as on-screen demonstrations.
The workouts can range anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour in length.
The exercises are guided and can be customized at the touch of a button. If you aren’t sure, you can also contact a trainer for their input.
Cardio Fitness Apps
Yes, cardio. Who can forget that? Many apps address cardio workouts as a natural result of the workouts that they offer, but here is one that focuses specifically on cardio that you might not wanna miss.
Free (in-app $9.99 subscription)
No, it doesn’t come with an elliptical or treadmill, nor a gym membership, but this audio-led app allows you to choose what piece of cardio fitness equipment you will be using, the intensity and the time. Then an actual trainer will talk you through your workout. Perhaps not as effective as your draconian personal trainer over your shoulder, but it can help to get you through the workout. It also has the combined experience of Gold’s Gym behind it, as well as an extensive music library based on genre, DJ and beats per minute.
Running Fitness Apps
You have to doff the app cap to running. It is still one of the most popular outdoor exercising types.
Free (then in-app subscription of $7.99/month or $59.99/year for premium)
This is a tried and tested favorite for the running and/or biking community. Strava is great at keeping you interested by pitting you against you. This app tracks data across a lot of different metrics to give you an outstanding overview of accomplishments—even on the same routes! Additionally, with its huge social network, you can also compare yourself to fellow runners and bikers., You can even upload their routes to freshen up your own—which is handy when you are new to the area.
There are many, many other apps to choose from with bells and whistles for performance athletes looking to take it to the next level. But this is for the budding runner starting from scratch.
The app breaks the zero-5K program into a 9-week regimen, with the would-be 5Ker spending 30 minutes, 3 days a week preparing for the “big run.”
Whether you prefer a coach that uses gentle persuasion or one that lights fires under your running shoes, there are four different virtual coaches to suit your particular personality.
This is a great way to build the motivation that will eventually lead to higher energy levels and better health without intimidating the exerciser.
Strength Fitness Apps
They might not do the supersets for you, but they will tell you how to do them when to do them and then keep a record of it for you.
Free download/ Premium membership purchased in-app
Ok, so this one is a bit of an outlier. You can create a custom avatar based on gender, height and body fat percentage. The app then creates an avatar using AR (augmented reality) to help you view the correct form to use for your selected exercise. It also allows you to swing the view to almost any angle to get a fuller appreciation of the app. Gymaholic tracks your workouts and demonstrates which muscles are used, whether or not the workout you choose will fatigue already unrested muscles or which ones will be ready to use.
Video guides (of course) are standard, but this also adjusts as your abilities develop, as well as the gym equipment that is at your disposal. If there are aspects of strength training you are not familiar with, this app will help you to understand them and master them. There are different formats available too, that include muscle tone, Olympic and Powerlifting. You can also connect with Strava, too.
Yoga Fitness Apps
This has been around for thousands of years and will probably be around for a 1,000 more. And with apps, maybe even longer.
This has it all. From beginners to experts (yes, you too, Yogis), there are more than 300 poses from 45 different programs with HD videos and 3D muscular images to help get the poses just right and see which muscles are being engaged.
You can also customize by adding or taking away from existing programs. The app offers a calendar to record your sessions. Use the existing music as well as the four different breathing techniques to relax.
Free (with in-app $1.99/month, $4.99/quarter, $19.99 annual)
This is another great yoga app that offers more than 80 pre-set, plug-and-play classes or customizable sessions. This also has a large repository of poses with how-tos, benefits, variations and cautions, as well as HD videos to use as a resource for correct form.
The classes are set along different criteria, like focus, length, and ability, catering to specific purposes including back pain, prenatal and flexibility.
The app also allows you to set up a class schedule of favorites or single classes that sync to your calendar.
With a library of guided meditations, it is also a great option to help with relaxation.
HIIT Fitness Apps
High Intensity Interval training has been the exercising rage for a little while now and doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon. So here are some of the more popular and effective apps.
$2.99 to download, $4.99/month
Intensity is the name of the game here. This is a great blend of a great workout in a small amount of time, giving the user a nice amount of bang for their buck. In 12 and 16 minute options (as well as a time challenge) the exerciser can chose from 185+ HIIT workouts. You don’t need access to fitness equipment either. If there is none available, you can choose body weight exercises.
$11.99 monthly/ $29.99quarterly/ $69.99 annually
And the great thing about this? Well, next to it demonstrating how to do each exercise is that each workout lasts from 7-20 minutes and can be done at home or in the gym. Another benefit is you don’t have to plan a workout; Keelo will do it for you based on your expected outcomes and even will show you how to correctly perform the exercise. You can also track and gauge your success. And don’t forget the virtual coach that you can chat with when you are a little low on inspiration.
Music Fitness Apps
Whether it’s Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power or Oasis’ Supernova that gets you in the zone, music can be an integral part of exercise or training. Even professional athletes and Olympians have music playlists to get them into whichever groove they need.
So what is it about music and fitness that gets people “up” for exercise? Of course, personal taste plays a big part of the decision making, but it is the beats per minute that is what maketh the music. 120 to be exact. There are many apps that will incorporate their own playlists, or allow you to upload your own music, but some like a little more flexibility to their selection.
Here are some of the best apps for your musical exercise chair needs.
Got your own beats? Then this is the app for you. It will sort your already downloaded music into your created playlists based on the bpm for you. It not only automates it for you, but allows you to easily adjust the bpm range to be more comfortable if you aren’t sure what your preferred bpm is or isn’t quite right for your needs.
This is consistently mentioned as one of the best music apps for exercising. It is also a beats per minute app, matching your calculated (or suggested) tempo to its repository of some 40,000 songs. And if you want to up the tempo or have it change for different periods of intensity, you can do that too. Oh yeah, it has seven preset stations tailored to specific exercise types, too. Although it will give you some basic exercising data, this is primarily to help you find and stay in the groove. Sadly, it is also only available on iTunes.
Free (Premium subscription $3.99/month)
This is not a bpm matcher, but it does offer a wide variety of music in genres, workout types (19 types to be exact) as well as particular DJs. The range of BPM that each genre or workout type offers is stated on the tile that designates it. It also updates its list so you can stay abreast of new music, too. This is more of a pure music app.