Finding the best health and fitness apps is easier than ever. Most of us are using our smartphones to do just about everything these days. We manage almost every aspect of our lives in a tiny device that fits in our pockets and goes everywhere with us. It's hard to imagine how we ever lived without them.
We use smartphones to keep our schedules on track, connect with friends, and Google anything and everything on a whim. In these days of COVID-19, many people have even substituted their personal trainer and regular gym visits with their phones. How is this possible, and does it work?
In short, yes, it can, but you need to choose the right app that best fits your health and fitness goals - no easy task when there are over a quarter of a million to choose from, and the list is growing.
Rather than wade through a seemingly endless stream of fitness apps, we've found 7 of the best of the bunch to help lighten your load and make your choice more straightforward.
#1. Couch-to-5K Running App for Beginners
Couch-to-5K is one of the best health and fitness apps for beginners. It is targeted at the beginning runner who may not have the confidence or knowledge needed to build their fitness level to run 5K comfortably.
You get three 30-minute workouts per week to prepare yourself for a 5K (3.1 miles) run in as little as nine weeks.
The app tracks your time and distance, with a virtual coach providing verbal cues to spur you on.
#2. Zwift for Treadmills and Cyclists
If your schedule means you do most of your training inside long after the sun sets or before it rises, but you miss being outside with all the other fitness enthusiasts, then Zwift might be just the thing.
Zwift is an online virtual training ground where you can run around a course surrounded by other users running or riding with you in a virtual world. Once you have downloaded the app and joined up, you then pair it up with a compatible treadmill and cast the image to your tablet or TV.
Zwift used to be exclusive to cyclists with compatible smart-trainer but has since been made available to the running community. You can train with friends, join a group, or test your endurance in an online race. Zwift can be incredibly motivating if your enthusiasm is a little lacking.
This is one of the best health and fitness apps for cyclists as well as those who workout on treadmills.
#3. RockMyRun Seamlessly Fusing Fitness and Music
Music fuels the workout of many fitness enthusiasts who rely on the upbeat tempo of their favorite workout tunes to stir up the adrenaline for that last big push to the finish line.
RockMyRun understands what music lovers need to keep them going. You can use RockMyRun to match the tempo of your workout - perfect for interval training. Pump up your jam when you need to push yourself harder or slow it down for a steadier pace. The faster the runner goes, the quicker the tempo will be, with the app choosing from a wide selection of genres.
Syncs perfectly with an Apple Watch
#4. BetterMe for Walking and Weightloss
If your exercise style is more laid back and geared towards long-term weight loss, then BetterMe will fit right in. The app gives you choices in what you want to achieve, including to sleep better, lose weight, or get fit. When you first fire up the app, it will ask you a series of questions about your goals.
Once the questionnaire is complete, the app will use your information to tailor-make a personalized weight loss program with exercises and meal plans. You will also gain access to a water tracker, progress charts, motivational notifications, and articles from leading nutrition and fitness experts.
#5. Muscle Booster Workout Planner for Strength Training
Muscle Booster's claim to fame is as a replacement for your trainer. A smart training algorithm helps you create the perfect exercise regime for building lean muscle based on your goals: weight loss, muscle gain, or being more active.
You will receive weekly updates and gain access to a library of more than 200 exercises. The exercises focus on muscle groups like the chest, arms, back, belly, and legs, so it might be possible to set the app up to skip leg day, but we don't recommend it.
The app algorithm uses your data to create a workout plan that includes strength training, cardio, and recovery periods to maximize your results.
#6. MindBody: Fitness, Salon and Spa for Mental and Physical Fitness
We all feel the effects of stress on occasion and could do with a healthy release when it does. MINDBODY: Fitness, Salon, and Spa isn't a fitness app in the strictest sense of the term. What it does do is help you find the best value fitness in your local area.
If you fancy a bit of yoga, then fire up the app to find the best value classes in town or the latest special deals. Alternatively, if you're looking for a beginner work out to get ready for summer on the beach, then the app will show you where. There are over 52,000 businesses listed in the app, covering everything from yoga to Pilates and HIIT to kickboxing.
Whatever type of fitness you are into or if you are looking for something different, then MINDBODYFITNESS can show you how to get it locally and at the best price. The app also contains locations of top-rated spas in your area where you can relax and pamper yourself after a tough week. It also allows you to connect your fitness tracker to track calories burned and more.
#7. Fitbit Fitness Tracker
Fitbit has become somewhat of a household name over the years, with its comprehensive range of fitness trackers held in high regard by fitness enthusiasts worldwide. The Fitbit app dives a lot deeper than just counting steps, as it's grown into a fully featured fitness app that tracks everything from calories burned to sleep patterns.
The Fitbit app works best when paired with a Fitbit device, but it's not necessary. You will record a more in-depth analysis of your activity if you do have one, though. There is a free version and a premium service that grants you access to workouts and recipes from fitness gurus like Ayesha Curry, data-driven advice, workout plans, and premium challenges, to name just a few benefits of a monthly subscription.
For other wearable technology selections, click here.
Whatever your fitness goals, there is an app that can help you get there. This list is by no means a comprehensive one, as there are thousands of fitness apps on the Google Play and Apple App stores.
However, the list above details just a few of the top-rated apps that we think are worth your time. Most have free trials available, so you can check out their features before you pay.