2020 was the year of adaptation. We had to transition into a whole new way of being in quarantine as social distancing protocols took a toll on many daily activities. Suddenly, going out to dinner, grabbing drinks with friends after work and getting a sweat on with 40 strangers at your local gym glass weren’t options. Since fitness is a pivotal component for physical and mental health for the majority of individuals, home fitness trends saw a massive spike in participation. Companies like Peloton which specialize in at-home boutique fitness experiences exploded and treadmills, ellipticals and other gym equipment were out of stock for months. People got creative when it came to getting their movement in, and the value of digital fitness was more pronounced than ever before. After months of living room HIIT sessions, at-home cycling and hitting fitness goals while never leaving my apartment — I think I’ve found the best workout apps for nearly every type of movement.
The options for at-home movement are endless — from long runs outside to park yoga sessions and living room weightlifting circuits. There’s also — conveniently enough — an app for almost every type of movement you could want. Having equipment is great if you’ve been able to get your hands on some, but you also don’t need it to get an effective workout in. If you live in a place where outdoor exercise is accessible all year round congratulations — the world just became your gym. Many of my favorite workout apps include options for outdoor runs, walks, and HIIT and yoga classes you can do anywhere. If you’ve set fitness goals for yourself in 2021, or you’re trying to get motivated to lose some quarantine weight before the world eases back to normalcy, downloading one of the workout apps below is one of the best ways to get started.
I mean really, is anyone surprised by this? They’ve crushed it this year. Sure, their bike and tread are impressive machines but they also have a fantastic app that anyone can benefit from whether or not they can afford the exorbitant price tag of their equipment. They have almost every type of class on this app from running to cycling, walking, strength training, yoga, barre, pilates, meditation and stretching. They have classes of all lengths and options for you to join in live with others in real time if you wish. Some classes require equipment but many of their HIIT and bodyweight strength classes don’t — and every class I’ve taken with them has been excellent. I can’t recommend their service enough for anyone of any skill and fitness level. The monthly membership for full access is $12.99, a bargain for what you get.
Aaptiv is another fitness app, similar to Peloton, that has classes for everything from running to elliptical, yoga and strength. You can get your own tailored fitness plan based on your goals whether you want to lose weight, increase flexibility and mobility, train for a race or stay in shape while pregnant. New workouts are added weekly led by experienced trainers who provide visual cues, tips and encouragement throughout each class.
Many of their classes, also similarly to Peloton, are in the “move to the music” format where your favorite songs lead you through movements. I personally love this style, and I think both apps do it well. Aaptiv is number two rather than number one because I prefer the Peloton instructors, and Aaptiv is audio-only so you’ve only got the instructor’s voice to go off of. They offer a free trial and then the monthly membership fee is $14.99, slightly more expensive than Peloton.
3. FitOn Workout & Fitness Plans
BEST FOR FREE WORKOUTS
While many of the fitness apps on this list have a free trial period followed by a monthly membership fee, FitOn is completely free. Even though their library is not as extensive as other apps’ they still have a variety of workout styles including yoga, cardio, HIIT, pilates and toning classes. This app also gives you the chance to workout with some of the best celebrity trainers in the business, as well as some fitness-motivated celebs themselves. Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough and Jonathan Van Ness are some of the familiar faces you’ll find in their libraries. You can stream the classes to any device you wish and take your movement to the next level.
4. Fitbod Workout & Fitness Plans
BEST FOR FITNESS PROGRAMS
If you’re a person who loves structure, planning and knowing exactly what you’ve got to do to reach very specific goals (hello, fellow type A personality!) then this app is a great choice. Fitbod has a training algorithm built into the app that helps you build your own unique workout plan. The app takes into account your strengths and ability, your past workouts and what equipment you’ve got at your disposal before building a custom regimen for you to follow. Think of it as the world’s best, most portable personal trainer that doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars a session.
Fitbod fills in all of the reps, weight and exercises for you — and includes tips — so you can follow along easily and stay on track without needing to keep track of it all yourself. The app syncs with the Apple Watch so you can view your progress at a glance, and it only costs $9.99 a month. I love using this app for my strength-based workouts, and it helps me stay confident in the gym because I know exactly what I need to get done that day to reach my goals.
5. Glo Yoga and Meditation App
BEST FOR YOGA
If you’re not already a virtual member of a yoga studio whose classes went online for the pandemic, I must suggest a yoga app for those who want to keep up with their practice. I get it, it’s tough to do yoga at home and have it have the same effect as being in a real studio. But, we make the best of it — and this Glo yoga app has incredible reviews. I haven’t used it myself, but it looks solid. They have a simple 3-question quiz at the beginning to help you personalize your practice within the 16 different styles they offer ranging from Ashtanga to Hatha, Iyengar, Kundalini and more.
They also offer pilates and meditation classes if you ever want to switch things up. With one monthly membership fee you get access to 4,000+ classes on demand as well as global network of teachers. The membership is a bit more expensive at $18/month, but that’s less than a drop-in fee for one yoga class in the real world so I say go for it.
6. Nike Training Club
BEST FOR HIIT
HIIT is one of my favorite ways to workout because it’s intense, challenging and sometimes grueling for a little while but then it’s over. It’s fast-paced and gets your heart rate up better than almost anything else out there — and it works your entire body at once. If you’re short on time or don’t have a ton of equipment at your disposal I highly recommend Nike Training Club for your quick HIIT sessions.
They have a whole host of workout glasses on their app of varying levels of difficulty, as well as recovery and nutrition advice from experts. I used this app for years in college and love it — every class includes clear demonstrations of every move and a built-in timer that guides you through efforts and moments of rest. Their app is also free to use which makes it great for those on a budget, and their program-building feature is also very well structured for those who want extra guidance.
BEST FOR RUNNING
Strava is a tracking app rather than a fitness class app for running — so if you’d prefer to be guided through your run by professional trainers Peloton has running classes. If you’re a runner who wants in-depth metrics on every aspect of your running workout then Strava is for you. Strava can sync with your phone’s GPS, heart rate monitor and other health apps to keep tabs on your performance in every sense of the word. You can connect with friends and share photos from your run, join clubs with other athletes, share your location with loved ones and compete with other runners on a daily basis. They also offer the same tracking info for cycling and swimming workouts, and it only costs $5/month after the free trial.
BEST FOR OUTDOOR CYCLING
If road or mountain biking is your preferred method of exercise then MapMyRide should be downloaded onto your smartphone. The app does what Strava does for running for cyclists, and it’s got the ratings to back up its claims. All of your performance data is broken down into key metrics like speed, heart rate, distance, calories burned and workout duration.
You can save your favorite routes to retrace next time and discover new paths to follow while you’re out and about. You can connect with friends and other cyclists on the platform, challenge each other and grow through access to the info you need to progress towards your goals. It syncs up with the Apple Watch and other smart fitness trackers, and there are other Under Armour fitness apps worth checking out including MapMyFitness, MapMyRun, MapMyWalk, etc.
9. RepOne Personal
BEST FOR WEIGHTLIFTING
This app is unlike the others in that you need a RepOne barbell tracking device to use it — so if you’re interested keep reading, and if not keep scrolling, I won’t be offended. If you’re serious about power lifting you know how useful something like this could be, and I’m here to tell you it’s an impressive device. Basically, using 3D motion sensing this barbell tracker tracks your path as you lift and lower, giving you crucial data to improve and meet your goals. The app gathers all of the information and organizes the data points into easy-to-read stats in real time while you lift. The app also calculates your max using a 1RM algorithm to keep you motivated to always push farther and further.
BEST FOR MEDITATION
Your strength doesn’t lie in your performance, but in your recoveries. Make sure you take care of your body throughout your fitness journey, and tend to your mindset as well. A healthy body and a chaotic mind cannot coexist in a way that’s beneficial for both and one of the best ways to calm your mind is to meditate. Calm is an app dedicated to improving health and happiness through helping people reduce stress, gain focus, sleep better, find motivation and more. You set your personal goals and they have a library of breathing programs, stretching exercises, relaxing music, sleep stories and more to help you and your body relax. Their meditation content ranges from body scans to mindful walking, relationship-focused work, loving-kindness, self esteem and more. Gift yourself an efficient, worthwhile recovery with their app that costs $14.99/month after a 7-day free trial.
BEST FOR HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS
Working out and finding a movement regimen that works for you is a great way to lose weight, but what you eat and fuel your body with is just as important. Noom is a weight loss app that differentiates itself from a dieting app because it’s all about the psychology behind your choices with food, rather than just restricting yourself. The app is actually a structured daily course to help you master healthier habits, and they’ve developed a very intuitive food-logging system that makes it easier and faster than other modalities. You’ll have a personal coach by your side throughout the whole process, and access to over 1,000 of their interactive lessons. There’s group support, healthy recipes and a water tracking feature to help you stay hydrated.
If you’ve tried everything else and still want to get healthier — try Noom. It’s an app that does way more than tell you to eat less, they get to the heart of your psychology and can powerfully change habits you’ve had for years. It does have more of an upfront cost than other apps and is more expensive. It’s $150 for a six-month membership after the first two weeks, and that charge is required to continue. However, I have seen this app work and fully recommend it to anyone who’s ready to make serious changes.