Sure, our phones are partly responsible for the limited amount of exercise we do. But they also enable us to work out, providing us with access to thousands of fitness apps with a quick tap and swipe. If you’re into CrossFit, weightlifting, running, interval training, or anything else, there’s an app out there that offers what you need.
But be careful: Today’s workout app marketplace, however, is basically its own virtual crowded gym. There are the apps that don’t know how to use the machines, the apps that don’t follow proper etiquette, and the apps that just plain stink. These seven great workout apps, however, don’t. They offer expert videos, easy-to-read exercise walkthroughs, deep portals of fitness tech, and more. In fact, in our opinion, they represent the best combos of ease and effectiveness you can use to tap and swipe your way into shape. Take a look.
Best Overall Fitness App: JEFIT
No matter your fitness style (strength training, cardio) or goal (get stronger; be less doughy) JEFIT, which has access to 1,300 exercises, routines, and expert tips, has you covered. Ease of use is the big seller here, and JEFIT makes everything from maxing your bench to losing lbs easy and accessible, thanks to its smart logging system that tracks body statistics in easy-to-read, customizable progress bars. The app automatically gives you basic feedback on your BMI and body stats, and also syncs your profile with its website to provide a more robust fitness assessment. In addition, you can create as many routines and customized exercises as you want, and access thousands of others designed by users just like you. It’s great.
(iOS/Android, FREE to download, $39.99 yearly subscription)
Best Personal Training App for Weight Lifters: StrongLifts 5 x 5
StrongLifts 5 x 5 does everything except re-rack and wipe down the bench. With more than two million downloads, 50K 5-star reviews, and an average rating of 4.8, StrongLifts 5 x 5 is beloved. The reason is clear. The app allows you to enter some basic will, after you provide some personal metrics, tells you such info as when to add weight (and how much), what to do if you fail, when to deload, and how long to rest. You can manually adjust your settings, or let the automatic progression take over alternating workouts for maximum benefits and swap exercises to keep your muscles guessing. Video tutorials and expert tips also help you through tough exercises and all your data is backed up to the cloud, so you can sync it to all your devices, and keep track of your entire workout calendar from just about anywhere.
(iOS/Android) Free with in-app purchases
Best Personal Training App for Cardio: Aaptiv
Compared to pricey fitness “boutiques” (ugh) that charge hundreds of dollars per month, Aaptiv’s basic cost is a bargain considering you get access to more than 2,500 classes, taught by 15 active fitness pros ranging in disciplines from running and elliptical to yoga and cardio/strength combo training.
At least 30 new sessions are added to the platform every week, and training options range from specific events (training for a 5K, or a marathon, for example), to one-off, a la carte exercises designed to impact general fitness. Each exercise or routine can be customized by duration, music genre (each session is backed by a curated playlist), specific trainer and difficulty level to make your training experience one-of-a-kind.
(iOS/Android) Free to download, $15/month
Best Personal Training App for Cross Training: Nike Training Club
Nike knows a thing or two about fitness. And the Nike Training Club app is a perfect companion for those looking to train in different disciplines, with fully-customizable workouts. In addition to the standard “difficulty” and “duration” features, the Nike Training Club app offers a unique twist – you can customize your workout based on what equipment you have available. With sessions designed by pro athletes including Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rory McIlroy, and Isaiah Thomas, Nike Training Club emphasizes the balance between hardcore workouts and valuable rest and recovery time to maximize your cross-functional training benefits. The interface is a simple “tap and go” look, and you can browse the catalog of exercises by target area (strength, endurance, mobility, etc.), type (yoga, boxing, super-athlete, no equipment, etc.), time, and more.
Best Personal Training App for Weight Loss: Lose It!
Lose It! is a user-friendly weight loss companion that focuses on accurate calorie counting and weekly weight tracking. Your daily caloric needs are integrated into a personalized weight loss plan that allows you to log your food intake from a comprehensive database featuring more than seven million individual foods. The app also features a barcode scanner, which means you can take it grocery shopping, scan labels, and see how many points your favorite foods are worth. You can even take pics of your plate and automatically log points using the “Snap It!” feature, which identifies your meal items, portion sizes, and associated points. A hearty community presence also allows you to swap recipes, motivational quotes and strategies with others.
Best Personal Training App For CrossFitters: Beyond The Whiteboard
“Workout Of The Day”, or “WOD”, is code for CrossFit. And Beyond The Whiteboard is the gold standard of WOD apps. Log on each day to see what’s on the menu, and view workout options from gyms and trainers across the globe. Adjust your options based on your unique goals, gym setup, availability, and specific workout targets thanks to detailed filters that can suggest all exercises featuring back squats, AMRAPs (“as many reps as possible), plyos, and so on. Debatably, the best part of btwb is the emphasis on “squads”, or workout groups. Stay motivated with encouraging message boards, and keep yourself honest with push notifications from other squad members, cheering you on. You can even test your squad’s mettle using multiple leaderboards that compare your stats to those of worldwide gyms and athletes.
(iOS/Android, Free to download, $5.99/month)