With Apple’s recent announcement of GymKit, which “allows Apple Watch users to sync data with gym equipment with a simple tap, displaying information from your personal profile on the equipment’s screen while also sending analytics from the equipment back to your apps.”
So with that in mind, and for those that don’t have an Apple Watch, we decided to pull together a list of iPhone and Android apps we’ve found both useful and helpful to use when exercising.
So whether you’re trying to lose weight, run further, build strength or increase your general health and well-being, using an iPhone or Android app can help guide you and keep you on track.
Nike+ Training Club
Nike’s official app is packed full of different workouts that suit many different goals and fitness levels. Each workout is around 30-45 minutes, so is a great way to fit in some exercise around your life. The app is extremely good at explaining how to do each exercise to make sure you’re executing it properly.
With one of the biggest food databases out there, MyFitnessPal makes calorie counting and diet tracking simple. With packaged goods, you can simply scan the bar code and it’ll input all the nutrients and macros in that food.
As well as tracking calories, you’ll be able to see a breakdown of the carbs, proteins and fats you’re eating, making it easy to adjust your intake to match your goals.
As well as all this, MyFitnessPal connects well with other health apps, which is great to keep track of things like calories burned vs. calories consumed, making it simple to adapt your diet depending on how much exercise you’ve been doing.
Another calorie counting app, which works well with apps from Withings and RunKeeper to help you understand an accurate assessment of your daily calorie intake. Again, this app features a barcode scanner, making it easy to pull up your nutritional data and make appropriate changes to your diet.
GymBook: Strength Training Planner
GymBook is a fantastic fitness planning app for strength training. You can create your own routines and keep track of your performance. The app comes with a bunch of nicely made GIFs of many different exercises and how they affect your muscles, adding a level of education and understanding to your fitness goals.
Fiocracy works on the idea of turning all types of fitness into a social fitness competition. Log your workouts to gain points and see how you stack up against your friends. If competition is something that might motivate you and your friends to stay fit and healthy, this is the app to use.
It also comes with a built in personal trainer, that lets you track workouts and helps you work towards real-life goals through their levelling up system, turning working out into more of a game.
Strava is a great app to record and share how far you’ve cycled or ran for, but as well as this, you are posting rides to a wall that your friends can see, comment on and give you Kudos (a like). It’s basically like Facebook for athletes.
A great feature of Strava is the ability to compare and compete for user created segments. Adding a level of competitiveness to social exercise.
One of the leading Running apps out there, Runkeeper allows you to record your runs by using the GPS in your phone, logging the speed, distance and route of your run. You can set goals to help you stay on track. Runkeeper also allows you to listen to music and control the playlist from within the app.
C25K (Couch to 5k)
If you’re more of a beginner and looking for an app to get you into running, C25K is the app for you. Whilst Strava and Runkeeper are great for tracking and sharing runs, they don’t offer much in the way of a structured routine or program. Working your way up to your first 5km run can be daunting, and for this reason apps like C25K exist. C25K gives you a structured way to work up to 5km, and doing so within 8 weeks. If you stick to the 30-minute schedule, 3 times per week, you should have no problem smashing through that 5km barrier.
Another gamification of fitness, but unlike Fitocracy where you can log any workout for the chance to level up, in Zombies, Run!, as you might assume, you are tasked with running away from a horde of zombies.
Zombies, Run! is a story-based running app, where you take on the persona of Runner 5, and have to help rebuild society. Achieving this by running around collecting supplies and returning to your virtual base. If game playing is up your alley, this app will keep you running.
Strong: Workout Tracker and Training Log
A visually appealing app for tracking strength workouts. This app adds a small gamification feature where you can unlock achievements by hitting certain milestones. The app allows you to create your own routines and workouts to ensure you are staying on track with your goals. It also comes with a range of cardio exercises but its primary focus is on progressive barbell routines.
Aimed more towards beginner yogis, Daily Yoga is an app that offers a library of short classes, routines and poses with accompanying music to get you into your flow. For more advanced features, you can pay for a number of different add-ons. A great app help you get a taste of yoga, helping to increase your flexibility, balance, core strength and mindfulness.
Yoga Studio is now free with a few choices on upgrades. Coming with 80+ ready-made yoga & meditation classes in HD video, ranging from 10 minutes to 60 minutes, from beginner level to advanced. This app offers a great way to follow different routines based on specific outcomes, be It flexibility, strength, balance or a combination.
With a robust library of over 280 poses, Yoga Studio add a Create Your Own Class feature, where you can link together a number of poses through their smart-link linking algorithm for smooth transitions, so you can build a routine that flows nicely together.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
Sleep is an underrated aspect of health and fitness, yet is one of the most important. Understanding how you sleep and creating a better sleeping pattern can be key to getting a great night’s sleep and improving your mood and health.
Sleep Cycle tracks your movement whilst you sleep to determine which phase of sleep you are in. You can then set an alarm to wake you whilst you’re in a lighter sleep phase, making waking up and getting up much easier.
Headspace: Guided Meditation and Mindfulness
This app makes meditation easy and simple to help you improve your headspace. It comes with a number of different guided meditations, from foundation level which teaches you the basics of meditation to more specific meditation exercises that are aimed at anything from improving your focus to relieving anxiety. After the basic meditation exercises you can pay for additional exercises that suit your need.
There is much more choice out there, and each app is different; created for a different purpose, for different interests, and with varying types of motivational criteria. What might work for me, might not work for you. If you don’t want anyone to know your results or training, a social app is probably not going to suit, although many of these apps can be turned onto private. If you’re into gaming, an app that incorporated an aspect gamification will probably suit you the best. Take your time to find an app that suits your needs and use it to help you maintain motivation and improve your health and fitness.