The Ultimate Exercise Apps List 2016
Your fitness and training routine no doubt already involves using one (or more) of the many helpful apps that are available out there. With such abundant options on offer and a continuous stream of hot new launches, it’s hard to stay on track! If you’re not sure whether or not you have the exercise apps best suited to your workouts, lifestyle and fitness goals, take a look at our top picks. From muscle building to sports nutrition to smashing a 5k — you can do it all with the right apps.
This article will take you through the main types of exercise training and give advice on the best apps suited to each kind of workout. These include body building, toning and conditioning, cardio and weight loss, running, cycling and the ultimate all-rounder workout. You’ll then find some advice on the best fitness gadgets, how to incorporate a good diet into your routine and the importance of mindfulness. Lastly, check out the advice on using apps to get a good night’s sleep — an essential part of keeping a healthy daily routine.
To make the most of your time on the weights floor in the gym, your best bet is to log sessions on the GymBook app (free, iOS). Enter in the amounts of pounds or kilos, along with the number of reps, to monitor your progress in weight resistance training. Animated GIFs help to give a clearer idea on what muscles you should be using and where you should start to see results. The interface is super user friendly and is easy on the eye.
Strong (free, iOS) is a simpler, intuitive choice for weightlifting, with functionality to track bodybuilding and strength routines. Other features include warm up calculator, workout notepad and weight tracker.
3. GYM WORKOUT LOG
Android users will probably find the free Gym Workout Log really straightforward to use, featuring tutorials with diagrams and a schedule builder.
For a reliable routine, you might want to try out StrongLifts5x5 (free, iOS and Android), an app that suggests a workout with three exercises using five reps of five (hence the name). It advises you to do this three times a week and prompts you when you should try adding more weights.
TONING AND CONDITIONING APPS
5. YOGA STUDIO
Yoga will tone up your body as well as train the mind! Yoga Studio (£1.49, iOS) offers over 16 hours of videos to guide you along the way. You can also create your own class, using the 260 moves featured on the app.
6. DAILY ABS WORKOUT
To get a washboard stomach, Daily Abs Workout (free, iOS and Android) can help keep you motivated. Watch videos of different abs exercises with tips on how to get the best results.
If you have specific areas that you want to tone up, iMuscle 2 (£2.99, iOS) uses an anatomical diagram. You can use this to select what muscles you want to work on and, by using detailed animations, the app will give you a clear idea on what exercises to do. It’s a terrific way of finding out more about your body, how it works and the best way of conditioning it.
8. NIKE TRAINING CLUB
Nike Training Club (free, iOS and Android) provides workouts of all levels and session lengths, from 15 minute all-over-body workouts to lengthier sessions that work those muscles even harder. Celebrity trainers and athletes sometimes release special workouts for you to incorporate into your regime too.
CARDIO AND WEIGHT LOSS APPS
Cardio sessions are crucial for raising the heart rate and burning off fat — there are plenty of ways to go about this and just as many apps to go with them.
If you’re short on time but still looking for big results, Sworkit (free, iOS and Android) was invented with busy people in mind. The app allows you to create high intensity workouts that can last between five minutes and an hour, using videos and a rep countdown.
10. DAILY CARDIO WORKOUT
Meanwhile, Daily Cardio Workout (free, iOS) uses a simple and clear interface that presents you with videos and tips on how to carry out positions and movements.
11. JILLIAN MICHAEL’S WEIGHT LOSS, DIET, FITNESS, WORKOUT & EXERCISE SOLUTION
To move things up a notch, download Jillian Michael’s Weight Loss, Diet, Fitness, Workout & Exercise Solution (free, iOS). This famous fitness guru uses her tough-love approach to help you seriously lose weight. The app uses tutorial videos, a journal, a weight tracker and recipe ideas.
12. DIGIFIT ICARDIO
Digitfit iCardio (free, iOS and Android) monitors your heart rate (when paired up with a monitor – be prepared to spend on one!) during cardio workouts. It collects your heart rate data, along with speed and distance, to help build on your heart rate performance.
13. COUCH TO 5K CHANGE 4 LIFE
Whether you haven’t hit the pavement since high school cross country or you’re planning to go further than your usual 10k, you’ll find a brilliant running app to suit your style. New to running? Couch to 5K Change 4 Life (free, iOS and Android) is a tried, tested and much approved app that will take you on a gradual journey from sitting on the couch to running a 5K within a matter of weeks.
14. MAPMYRUN or TEMPORUN
Regular runners can continue to track progress with old favourites: Strava (free, Android and iOS), excellent for competitive runners who are keen to compare with friends on the app; MapMyRun (free, Android and iOS), very similar to Strava but probably the better known; and TempoRun (£1.99, Android and iOS), connecting music tempo to a running pace for those who like to keep to the beat.
15. NIKE+ or ADIDAS MICOACH
Sports brand aficionados can test out the free running apps available with Nike+ and adidas miCoach — depending on whose gear you’re running with of course! You can use most of these apps instead of investing in a running watch or, if you already own a running watch, connect it sync with the app and leave your phone at home.
Many running apps, most notably Strava, double up as cycling apps but there are ones out there specifically for bicycle sport.
Cyclemeter (free, iOS) records and helps to improve your cycling performance and also features built in announcements so that you don’t need to take your eye off the road to check how your ride is going.
18. BIKE HUB CYCLE JOURNEY PLANNER
Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner (free, iOS) specialises in helping you plan your route. You can pick from the quietest route, to the quickest route to the flattest route. It also shows you the nearest bike shops along your ride, should you need to call in at one.
19. ST JOHN AMBULANCE FIRST AID FOR CYCLISTS
For peace of mind, St John Ambulance First Aid For Cyclists (free, iOS and Android) is a really handy one to have, especially if you’re cycling in a group. It tells you how to deal with a range of injuries, along with helpful diagrams, and tells you what to do in serious emergencies. You might also find it useful to download a free weather app, so that you can keep an eye on what the weather holds in store during one of those long morning routes up and down the country.
THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT APPS
20. JEFIT WORKOUT
If you’re a daily regular at the gym and push your workouts to the maximum each time, you’re going to want to want a solid all-rounder that covers just about everything. Jefit Workout (free, iOS and Android) is a big name in the sports app business and it’s easy to see why — it has everything you need to stay motivated, log your workouts and discover exercises. A particularly useful feature is being able to assign different workouts to different days and monitoring them on a weekly basis, so you might have ‘tums and bums Tuesdays’ or ‘legs Thursdays’. The social options mean that you can share your progress. With so many options on what workouts to create and how to log them — there is no excuse for slacking. There are a lot of functions to get to grips with, making the interface a little bit less than ideal, but once you get the hang of it you will be tracking absolutely everything with a few taps of the finger.
You should maintain a clear mind to stay in good mental and physical health. Calm (free, iOS and Android) has been around for a while and ideal for beginners to meditation who are looking for a calm ten minutes in their day. It guides you into a calm state with natural sounds and images.
Headspace (free, iOS and Android) is another hit mindfulness app, with a really welcoming interface. It teaches you meditation techniques and gives basic ten minute lessons over ten days. Try fitting into some down time after your work out session and see how much calmer and relaxed it can make you feel.
GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP APPS
A good night’s sleep will make the world of difference to your workouts, general health and outlook for the day! SleepCycle (free, iOS) uses your phone’s accelerometer to monitor your movement and wake you up when you are in your lightest sleep within a half hour window before your alarm usually goes off.
If you have trouble getting off to sleep in the first place, SleepBug (free, iOS and Android) will help you out with its selection of soothing scenarios. Whether it’s the sound of whales or a jungle storm, this app will take you there. It also has a custom timer.
25. FOODUCATE NUTRITION SCANNER
Diet and nutrition play a huge part in exercise and health regimes and the number of conflicting diet tips, recipe ideas and calorie counters out there can be overwhelming. Fooducate Nutrition Scanner (free, iOS and Android) is a handy app that scans a food product’s UPC and tells users what nutrition value lies within. It also grades food for you and provides you with healthier alternatives — perfect for if you’re on the go and picking up lunch in a supermarket.
MyFitnessPal (free, iOS and Android) is a favourite that adds together your personal stats and takes it from there! The app monitors the number of calories you eat per day and tells you what your limitations should be if you’re looking to lose a certain amount of weight within a certain time period.
27. WEIGHTWATCHERS MOBILE APP
The WeightWatchers Mobile App (free, iOS and Android) is a mightily handy for delicious recipes and it records the number of points that you consume. You can only really get the most out of it by subscribing to the Weight Watchers plan, but it’s a great tool to help effectively lose weight.
1. THE GARMIN VIVOSMART ACTIVITY TRACKER
You can of course rely on your phone to carry these apps but there are plenty of gadgets on the market that utilise these apps and can record stats when synced with your mobile. The Garmin Vivosmart Activity Tracker is a sleek wristband that tracks all sorts of activities, such as swimming, cycling and swimming. It also boasts Smart Notifications for texts and emails! You can set fitness goals, monitor heart rate with the sensor and time bike speed.
2. FITBIT FITNESS WRISTBAND
The FitBit is another popular choice, recording steps, calories burnt and distance travelled. It even monitors your calorie intake. Its stats are extremely accurate, making it a really reliable way to monitor your day to day fitness. At the less expensive end of the market, the Jawbone UP2 still does the job well. Although it doesn’t have a heart monitor, it has a long battery life, which enables it to count your steps and monitor your sleeps. The device is also extremely lightweight, so you’ll probably forget that you’re even wearing it.
EXERCISE APPS – IN CONCLUSION
Of course, you need to put the work in yourself to see the best results. But, having such important tips and advice to hand, and being able to log your fitness journey, really makes it so much more rewarding to see the results of all your hard work. As most of these apps are free, it might be worth downloading a few, testing them out, then deciding on a couple — or even just one! — to see you through your training. Have fun with them and good luck with your workouts.