Starting a new fitness routine can be daunting and many people struggle with motivation and discipline. The right fitness apps can help you design a program, track your progress, and help keep you motivated with guided classes and instruction.
There are dozens of excellent fitness apps available to download and use. Some are free to use, while others have subscription models. Some of the best fitness apps require users to purchase equipment to sync with the app. Others do not have this limitation and can be used with any fitness watch.
We want to make sure you have as much information as possible so that you can properly determine which of the best fitness apps is for you. So here we will be looking at some of the best and most popular options on the market.
1. Apple Fitness Plus
If you are a fan of Apple and its devices, you will probably enjoy using the Apple Fitness Plus workout app. It is the best fitness app for people who regularly use Apple devices. It is best for people with Apple Watches because you can seamlessly sync yours with the app. However, you can still use the app if you do not have an Apple Watch. You only need an iTunes account, and an iPhone or iPad.
When you download this app, you will need to subscribe to use it. It costs $9.99 a month to use this app. However, the subscription is more than worth it. It has a wide range of classes, and new content is updated regularly. The only organizational issue with the app is users cannot sort by difficulty. This issue can be frustrating for beginners and experienced athletes.
That being said, there is plenty to love about this app. There are HIIT, strength, core, yoga, pilates, and meditation classes for users to enjoy. Workouts are taught by a variety of trainers. Additionally, users can take benchmark tests to determine their fitness level.
Another great benefit of this app is the workouts usually have options for beginners and advanced athletes. Instructors will take users through the class, but they will provide modifications for beginners so that they can get through the workout.
In the app, you can easily filter by trainer, time, and music type. So, once you get to know some of the trainers, you can stick with the ones you like. Additionally, you can easily find a class that is as long as you want to work out.
Finally, most people who use this app have an Apple Watch. While it is not essential, it is beneficial. If you have an Apple Watch, you can sync it with the app during your workouts and after. You will then get to see extra data on your workout, such as heart rate, intensity, and other factors.
One of the fastest-growing apps in the fitness world is Peloton.
Peloton is famous for its at-home exercise bikes and treadmills. Their state-of-the-art exercise equipment became extremely popular during the Covid-19 pandemic because people could not go to the gym. These bikes are very expensive, but you do not need one to use the app.
Anyone can download the Peloton app and purchase a $13 monthly subscription. Once you have a subscription, you will have access to a wide variety of classes, including strength, yoga, HIIT cardio, core, stretching, cycling, and running. Classes are hosted by the many coaches and instructors at Peloton. They are known for their motivational tactics that make it easy for beginners to get into fitness.
Furthermore, you can stack and save classes for later in the app. You can easily look at the schedule to take live classes with friends. The instructor might even give you a shout-out.
The only downside to using this app is you will not get as much out of it if you do not have an exercise bike or treadmill. The strength classes are great for everyone, but the bike and tread classes are designed for people with Peloton equipment. Even if you have an old exercise bike, you will not be able to participate in the classes properly because you need a Peloton bike to see your resistance and cadence.
That being said, there is an outdoor bike and running section. So, if you prefer to work out outside, there are several classes designed for people when they are in the great outdoors. The only downside to this section is it does not get updates nearly as often as other sections on the app.
If you want the Peloton app but do not want to purchase a Pelton bike or treadmill, we recommend setting up your yoga mat near the TV. You can listen to and watch the classes on your phone or tablet, but you will get more out of the classes if everything is big and clear on the TV.
3. Nike Training Club
Another one of the best fitness apps on the market is Nike Training Club. This app is a great option because it is free to use. It was not always free, but in March 2020, Nike made it for 90 days to help people stay healthy during the early days of the pandemic. While Nike only intended to keep the app free for 90 days, they ended up keeping it that way forever. There is no paid version anymore. Instead, Nike makes money off in-app advertisements.
Having a free fitness app is ideal because it means you can test it out without spending money. There is no risk to you in testing out this app. You can explore the content and see if it is for you.
In the app, you can sort the classes by intensity, enjoy home workouts, and connect to your Apple Watch. The only downside to the modern version of the app is Nike removed old training programs. These programs were very popular, but they are no longer available.
That being said, there are still plenty of great workouts for users to enjoy. You can filter exercises by muscle groups such as the core, arms, shoulders, glutes, and legs. Alternatively, you can take classes with a focus on endurance, mobility, or yoga. The workout filter also allows you to sort by duration, difficulty, and intensity.
Users like this app because of the instructors. At the end of the day, when looking at most fitness apps, the workouts do not have many differences. There are only so many ways you can work out, but the instructors can vary drastically in quality. Most users are very pleased with the instructors and coaches on this fitness app.
The three apps that we have looked at thus far are widely considered the best fitness apps on the market. However, there are still several other top options for you to test out. Notably, Sweat is considered one of the best fitness apps for women. You can download this app to your phone and pay a monthly fee of $19.99 to use it. Alternatively, you can pay less monthly by buying the annual plan, which charges $199.94 yearly.
There are several reasons to purchase this app, but the wide variety of trainers and training plans are certainly the top reasons. Additionally, the app is well-organized and easy to follow. You can easily connect with your Apple Watch as well.
Additionally, one of the things that makes this app appealing compared to other top options is it has nutrition plans. Most fitness apps focus on workouts but do not teach people about nutrition. Nutrition is half the battle in getting fit, so having nutrition plans available is very helpful.
That being said, there are a few downsides to this app. Notably, many workouts require users to manually tap the screen in the middle of the workouts. Doing so can be frustrating and make it difficult to get into a flow while working out. While this is not ideal, there are too many positives to ignore this app completely.
This app launched back in 2015 with a focus on all types of women. There are plans for all women, including new moms looking to work on their post-baby fitness. Several trainers teach classes at varying difficulty levels.
Finally, although this app does not have a free version, you can test it out before making a monetary commitment. There is a seven-day free trial for all users to use.
If the number one type of fitness you enjoy is running, Strava is a great app. It is mostly used to track runs and interact with the running community, but it can also be used to track other sports. You can easily test out the app with the 30-day free trial. You can then stick with the free version or buy a $5 monthly subscription. Although the free version is usable, most in-depth analysis is only available to people who get a subscription.
The main thing you will notice when you use this app is you cannot take actual workouts on the Strava app. It is not like the Peloton app, where you can receive instructions in classes. Instead, it is an app about analysis and community building. You will sync your workout from your Apple Watch or Garmin after completing your run. Once it syncs, you will get access to a tremendous amount of data, including heart rate, intensity, cadence, body temperature, elevation change, and page.
One of the most interesting things about this app is seeing how other people perform running the same routes as you. Strava tracks the best times for different stretches of roads and loops. So, you can see how you compare to other runners or cyclists in your city.
6. Garmin Connect
The Garmin Connect app is another top app for runners and endurance athletes to track workout stats and progress. Garmin is known for producing high-end watches for runners and other endurance athletes. Although Apple Watches perform many of the same functions, they do not provide as much in-depth data as Garmin. Unfortunately, not all apps support Garmin, so it is best to use the Garmin Connect app. Fortunately, this app is free for all Garmin users.
When you download the Garmin Connect app, you must sync your watch with the app so that you can easily upload your workouts. You can track all kinds of workouts on your Garmin, including running, biking, swimming, strength, and yoga. Regardless of the exercise, Garmin will provide a plethora of data for you to analyze. However, it is crucial to note that the data you have access to will vary based on the watch you own.
Chris Hemsworth’s Centr app offers a well-rounded approach to fitness including coached and self-guided workout programs, recipes, and meditation guidance. There are plenty of programs to choose from based on what type of equipment you have available and what your fitness goals are. There are options for total beginners, so if you’re new to working out they have you covered.
The intermediate and advanced Centr Power programs run in 2-week blocks so the exercises are always changing to keep you interested and motivated. The subscription costs $30/month or $10/month if you commit for a year.
My complaints with Centr are that it’s a little clunky to log the weights you use for a certain exercise, and there is no option to link to Spotify or Apple Music. If I’m listening to music while working out, the timer notifications on Centr are too quiet to be heard. You almost need to be looking at your phone. Also, keep in mind you need to have the app open for the rest timer to count down. If you open another app while resting, the timer stops.
8. Down Dog
I stumbled across Down Dog when I was looking for a guided yoga app. The app lets you pick from 5 – 80 minute workouts and is customizable by type, level, and pace. You can also select the type of instruction, the voice of the narrator, and type of music. The workouts are smooth and great for beginners and advanced yogis alike.
The subscription costs $10/month or $60/year, and the reason this yoga app made the list is that the subscription offers access to the company’s other fitness apps including HIIT, Meditation, Barre, Prenatal Yoga, and Running apps. I have only used the yoga and HIIT fitness apps, and am equally impressed with the custom HIIT workout options.
The HIIT app allows you to select a 4 – 80 min workout and lets you choose the video model, a scaled list of what body parts to focus on, and the option to add dumbbells, a chair, and resistance bands into the workout. You can also customize the narration and music type.
The last of the fitness apps we want to mention is EvolveYou. This app is available for $16.99 a month. When you purchase a subscription, you will get access to six different training programs run by qualified trainers. The app is easy to use, and classes are available on demand. The only downside to using this app is it can sometimes be glitchy and have technical issues.
The workouts themselves are easy to follow and have great music to listen to. However, if you do not like the music, you can mute it and substitute your music or podcast. If you feel like testing out the EvolveYou app, there is a 14-day free trial.
Finding the best fitness apps on the market is challenging. There are dozens of great options out there, and many of them look very similar. While that is true, a few fitness apps have set themselves apart. All nine fitness apps listed above are great options for beginners and advanced athletes. However, they serve different needs, so you must determine which is best for you.