A solid resolve, goal and plan to be fitter and healthier is fantastic. But, pair that with one of the best fitness apps available, and you’ve set yourself for even greater success. There’s a host of apps available (top 10 recommended below). Find the fitness apps that best suits you, your goals, and available time. (Note this post focuses on apps you can access via your phone, not devices, such as an Apple Watch, Garmin, or FitBit.)
There’s a host of benefits to find/use the best fitness app for you, 10 are below. A couple I didn’t mention, but are relevant are cost and convenience. Cost: the majority of fitness apps offer a free option, but most also provide a “premium” version with an annual cost less than a one month membership at a gym, very reasonable. Convenience: most offer exercises you can do anywhere with little equipment. Exercise where you want, when you want!
Fitness App BENEFITS for You
- Motivation. All of us can benefit from a nudge, and some motivation to stay on track with our goals. The apps (most) will give you “friendly reminders.”
- Accountability. The apps’ reminders/dings help keep you accountable, especially if you have set up goals within the app.
- Competition – Many apps allow the ability to pair with friends, or other users in the app community. They also can provide reminders and updates on what others have achieved, prompting you to get moving (literally).
- Community – Some apps connect you with other users, and even their routes. Strava’s feature called “Segment Explorer” provides popular nearby routes with mileage and grade.
- Better information – The apps give lots of information on your workout, and how you’re progressing towards your short and long term goals.
- Idea Provider – We get stuck in a fitness rut pretty easily. The apps provide various workouts and different ideas that you otherwise may not try. Variety keeps things interesting, which keeps you motivated.
- Short workouts – In a time crunch? One app provides a seven minute workout! String a couple, or few of those together during the day when you’re in a time crunch.
- No gym access – No gym? No problem. Several apps provide options that require no to minimal equipment.
- Keeps things interesting. A key to sticking with fitness is variety. More variety = more fun = more motivation = better results.
- Personalized workouts – By adding your stats like gender, age, weight, and height, the app can provide you with more personalized workouts.
Features to Make Your Fitness Journey Easier
- Activity tracking – whether hiking, walking, running, swimming or cycling, just to name a few.
- Fitness workouts/routines – that can be pre-set, customized, or different available levels based on your fitness level and interest.
- Geolocation – GPS that allows you to track your activity metrics, and routes.
- Food log – that enables you to track your nutrition, calories, macros, etc.
- Barcode scanners – that easily enter nutritional info into the app with the press of a button.
Listed below (in alphabetical order) are 10 best fitness apps. Of course, more apps are out there, but these are highly rated and proven.
- 7-Minute Workout (Wahoo Fitness) – This app is perfect for those needing a quick, no fuss workout. Meaning, you need no special equipment, and the exercises can be done nearly anywhere. The 7-minute workout comprises 12 body weight exercises with short rest breaks. Variations are provided based on the user’s fitness level. Yes, there’s a free version, and there are optional in-app purchases available. The app even has a heart monitor (for purchase) to pair with the workout routines; it’s name is Wahoo Tickr X, and receives high marks.
- Blogilates – This app provides a lot of content in a fun and engaging way. Fitness enthusiast Cassey Ho provides many “on demand” workouts, plus tips on stretching, eating better, and positive body image. Participating requires little more than a mat and some comfortable clothing. Besides the workout videos, recipes, and even a workout calendar (access to that is $.99/month). Essentially, a lot of great content for very little. Note, there’s also a blog, plus YouTube channel for further engagement.
- Charity Miles – An app that donates money to the organization you choose when the app is used to log miles. Those miles can be via running, walking, or even cycling. The donations are to a variety of nonprofit organizations, like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the National Park Foundation. How does it work? Corporate sponsors donate a $.25/mile for miles you walk/run, and $.10/mile for those on bike. Each time you open the app, you choose your charity (and while the app is open, you’ll see an ad from sponsor providing the donation).
- Fitbit Coach – A Fitbit tracker is not required to use this app! This app is perfect for the user who prefers to see real humans demonstrating the moves, as well as a lot of audio tips/clues. Yes, a free option exists that gives limited workouts and options, but the Premium version (monthly/yearly options) unleashes ALL the options and exercises. It even allows you to add some music (theirs or your own) to keep you pumped through the session.
- Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App – other than the Charity Miles app mentioned, this is the only other free fitness app. You need little equipment for this app, essentially a chair and seven minutes. You can choose the intensity that’s right for you, and customize the workouts by assembling the exercises you prefer. The visuals coupled with the audio cues help guide you in a clear and simple way. This app has received high marks for its application to varying fitness levels, it’s free, and it is simple, yet sufficient in the information provided.
- MapMyFitness is a “jack of all trades” exercise-tracking app that works for running, cycling, walking, and many other activities – more than a few 100 options! It’s simple, just launch the app at the start of an activity to track distance and duration. If you upgrade to MVP membership, more stats such as heart rate, and cadence are available. It works with a large variety of fitness devices/apps such as Fitbit, Garmin Connect, the Apple Watch, etc. Truly, an app that is appropriate for people of all fitness levels, but probably best for those who don’t take their fitness too seriously.
- MyFitnessPal is a fitness app for counting calories, and one that I have personally used daily for almost two years. As a runner/fitness enthusiast, I was actually fairly ignorant regarding my nutritional needs. In summary, too few calories, and insufficient protein. I now have macro/caloric goals that I attempt to hit within close range each day. This app helps you determine how many calories you need given your activity and fitness/weight.
In addition, it has a huge database of food and drinks to help you ease the time required to enter what you just munched on (and it has a barcode scan option). You can also customize your foods and meals, and easily copy over meals you eat frequently. Better yet, there’s a free option which likely is sufficient for most people.
- Runmeter – This app is available for no cost, or you can upgrade for $9.99 for their premium annual plan (Elite). It provides a wide array of stats and is highly customizable, and is a great option for those that don’t have a fitness tracker/runner’s watch. It works well with your own phone’s GPS to provide speed, duration, distance and other metrics. All that is at no cost. But if you want to integrate music, or have access to other non-running activities, you can upgrade to an Elite membership. (Note this app integrates well with the Apple Watch!)
- Strava – This app is mostly for runners and cyclists who are in the market for some competition! That competition can be yourself, or other folks in the Strava community. A great feature: providing routes and segments via their Segment Explorer if you’re looking for a new route, or visiting an area where you’re unfamiliar. The competition kicks in when you can access the app to see how your times/pace measure up against other members of the Strava community. Be aware that your data is shared/public unless you choose to opt out. The free version is sufficient to acquaint with the app.
- Sworkit – “Simply Work It” provides a LOT of variety, is customizable, and easy to use. There are over 300 unique workouts, and 400+ exercises. You choose the duration of your workout, up to 90 minutes. You also have the option of customizing/saving your workouts for future use. It also provides workout plans based on your goals. And, the app has certified trainers that can respond to your questions on fitness and nutrition. The app is free — only for the first 30 days, and then you have the option of paying monthly ($9.99) or an annual fee (equates to $6.66/mo).
What fitness apps have you tried that you can’t live without? Comment, and let me know!