If you just need a compelling reason to get out and exercise (beyond the health benefits), then check out the apps below.
Charity Miles lets you earn corporate sponsorships for every mile that you walk, run, or bike – and it’s dead simple to use. Just choose one of the app’s many charities and press start. Walkers and runners earn 25 cents per mile. Bikers earn 10 cents per mile.
Peer Pressure isn’t so much a standalone fitness app as it is a general purpose tool for helping you achieve your goals – whatever they may be. Behavioral studies show that you’re far more likely to stick to a commitment if your friends are watching your progress, so Peer Pressure posts your successes and failures on the social network of your choosing for everyone to see. It’s a fantastic motivational tool that’s highly effective in helping you reach fitness goals or whatever other goals you may have. You can use it for motivation toward just about anything you want to achieve.
We put this one in the ‘Motivators’ section because it’s got some great features that’ll help you get out and start exercising, but it’s so multifaceted that it could’ve easily gone into any of the other categories in this post. It can track your mileage, suggest workouts, and give you metrics on how your progress over time, but the best part of Fleetly is its Challenges feature. You can make your own and challenge yourself or you can pick from dozens of pre-made challenges the app has to offer. Users earn badges and medals for each challenge they complete.
It’s no secret that music is a powerful workout companion – you’ve just got to choose your tunes wisely. The right tack pumping through your earbuds can often be reinvigorating and give you that extra boost of energy you need to keep going, but the wrong one can totally throw off your rhythm. That’s where Tempo Run comes in. The app figures out the tempo of your music in your library, and categorizes the tracks based on the running speed they’re best suited for.
Just looking to keep track of your runs and get some feedback on your progress? Check these apps out.
Runkeeper uses the GPS in your iPhone to map your runs and provide details about your speed and distance as you run. Users can set a goal pace and the app will coach you through your headphones while you run to keep you on track. You can also get audio updates during your run telling you your distance and time. We particularly like that the app has music integration, so you can listen to your favorite playlist while still running the app, and can even switch tracks without leaving Runkeeper.
Competition is a great motivator, and when it comes to running, there’s nobody better to compete with than yourself. Ghost Race gathers detailed data on your distance, pace, and time whenever you go running and uses that info to create a virtual ghost for you to run against next time you go out. If you really feel like pushing yourself, you can also tweak the ghost’s pace to make it faster.
If all you’re looking for is a simple distance tracker for biking, running, or walking, Fitnio is a fantastic option. It uses GPS to track your distance, provides quick access to performance metrics as you go, and features an emergency phone call button if you run into trouble or get hurt. We like it because of its simplicity: it has a clean interface and offers only the information you really need.
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Coaches and personal trainers are great, but if you can’t afford to have Jillian Michaels come scream at your every time you exercise, we suggest using these low-cost apps to help guide you through your workout.
Whether you are at the gym or in your own living room, this app can help you get fit and teach you specific exercises to integrate into your own personal workouts. The well-designed app features full 30- to 45-minute workouts, all based on your goals and fitness level. Users can select their goals and their fitness levels and then select from a wide variety of workouts that fit that criteria. Helpful photos show users how to properly execute each exercise, and audio cues during the workout help keep you motivated. It includes step-by-step instructions and how-to videos for every exercise and users can earn rewards like celebrity training videos by completing goals.
Whether you’re a gym junkie or a newbie at your local fitness center, this app will help you learn new exercises and teach you how to properly use gym equipment. Users can select a certain area to target (or choose full-body exercises) and the app will give you a long list of targeted exercises to do while you’re at the gym. There are helpful photos of real people doing the exercises and users can combine exercises into saved and personalized workout routines. This app won’t be too much help if you’re trying to work out at home, but it’s a perfect companion for making the most of your gym time.
This app is designed for bodybuilders, so if you’re trying to beef up or just build lean muscle, this app is for you. In addition to keeping track of all your reps, sets, and the weight you’re lifting, Jefit provides a number of different workout routines designed to target specific muscle groups. If these routines aren’t to your liking, you’re free to edit them or even create a new workout altogether from the app’s list of over 500 individual exercises. Just don’t get so buff that you accidentally crush your iPhone with those big, beefy hands of yours.
Pumping weights and getting jacked at the gym isn’t for everybody, so if you’re more into the calm, meditative workout you get with yoga, definitely give this app a look. With over 150 simple illustrated poses (complete with detailed descriptions), you’ll never have to attend another class ever again. Now you can do your whole workout from the comfort of your own home, without all the middle aged dudes in spandex pants.
Whether you’re trying to count calories, buy healthier groceries, or figure out how much fat was in that Big Mac you just inhaled, these apps will get the job done.
If you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, one of the best things to do is to simply start tracking your own food intake and fitness activities. Forget all those silly fad diets and stick with basic math: if you burn more calories than you are taking in, then the pounds will come off. When you first start the app, it will ask you basic questions about your height, weight, age, and how much weight you are trying to lose (if any at all). The app then recommends a net calorie intake for you to strive for based on how many calories you consume and how many you burn exercising. You can easily record both food and fitness (the app has a barcode scanner built-in) and even see if you are getting too many or too few calories from fat, protein, etc.
Apps like Lose It! are great for tracking calories and fitness, but it’s sometimes difficult to find any information about just how many calories you’re consuming when you’re eating out. This app is simple, but it has a comprehensive list of fast-food and chain restaurants, including the nutritional information for almost any menu item that you can think of. This can help you make better choices when you’re eating out, but is also helpful when used in conjunction with another calorie counting app.
Part of eating healthy is making good choices when you are actually buying food at the grocery store. This app was designed to be the perfect shopping buddy when you are trying to make healthy choices but need a little help along the way. Using an integrated barcode scanner (or the ‘browse’ tab), you can get instant information on whatever it is you are thinking about buying. Even better, the app gives you an actual grade (A, B+, D, etc.) for each food item, shown with alerts as to what the pros and cons are of that particular food. Stick to A and B-graded items and you’ll be on your way to a healthier fridge.
Proper sleep is just as crucial to being healthy as a healthy diet and regular exercise. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your shuteye with these apps.
This app uses the accelerometer in your iPhone to monitor your movements as you sleep – just set it on your mattress and it goes to work while you’re out. In addition to providing you with metrics about how well you slept each night, the app has a fantastic alarm function. Users can set a normal alarm time and based on your movement during the last half hour before your alarm, Sleep Cycle will wake you when you are at your lightest sleep. This should make you feel more rested than if your alarm had gone off during restorative and deep REM sleep. The app won’t help you sleep more, but it will make it easier to get up when your alarm rings.
Having some kind of soothing noise playing while you doze can work wonders on your quality of sleep. It helps filter out background noise (like your heating system turning on in the middle of the night, or the neighbors in the next door apartment who watch sitcom reruns at full volume until 4 a.m.) that helps light sleepers stay knocked out for longer periods of time. Sleep Bug offers a wide variety of ambient noises and a pretty slick interface as well.
If Sleep Bug and other ambient noise apps don’t do the trick, check out Pzizz. Rather than giving you a short list of sounds to choose from each night, Pzizz creates a different soundtrack every time you use it. In theory, this helps keep it from becoming overly familiar and therefore losing its effectiveness. It uses a randomization algorithm that gives it over 100 billion different sounds – but it’s not just ocean waves and tranquil streams. Most of the noises Pzizz produces are binaural beats and tones that help induce a state of relaxation in the listener.
If part of the reason you never work out is because you don’t think exercise is fun, consider trying out the following apps.
Runno is a free game that aims to make running fun. The goal is to conquer as much area in your neighborhood as possible, build up your virtual kingdom, and defend it from attackers. You gain control of an area by encircling it while you jog. The more area you conquer (i.e., the more your run), the bigger your kingdom will become. While you run, the app also keeps track of the calories you burn and awards you with soldiers that you can use to defend your territory. If somebody near you tries to take over part of your kingdom, you can use soldiers to fend them off.
If virtual badges and trophies aren’t enough of an incentive to get you off the couch, then perhaps a chance to win actual, tangible prizes will do the trick. Nexercise is an exercise gamification app that awards you with points for just about any type of physical activity and allows you to use those points to claim prizes like gift cards and discounts. No matter if you’re running a marathon or running the vacuum cleaner, you’re burning calories, and Nexercize will reward you for your efforts.
There are few things in this world that’ll whip you into shape like running from a horde of the undead. The folks at Six to Start know this, so they took the idea and turned it into an immersive zombie apocalypse running game that’ll help you shed pounds as your run for your life. In Zombies, Run! you play a character named Runner 5, and your mission is to help rebuild civilization by retrieving critical supplies outside of your virtual base – all while doing your best to avoid zombies along the way. The app keeps track of your distance and sends you out on running missions every day to retrieve items. You can even listen to your music as you run and the story will play out between tracks.