If you’re ever involved in an office chat about fitness apps, you’ll probably be aware that many users seem to have their favourites. I work with a keen cyclist who shares his weekend ‘up hill and down dale’ adventures with us all, backed up by the results from the cycling app he uses. I can see the attraction and for all of us embarking on a regime to either improve our cardio fitness, our stamina and muscle strength, or lose weight, these apps can provide the inspiration and encouragement of a personal trainer, at a fraction of the cost! Most of them are free for both Android and iOS users. So, here are my top 5 selection of fitness apps for you to try out…
1. From Couch to 5K (free)
This free NHS app claims to turn any couch potato into a 5K runner in a nine-week period. According to the reviews it is “easy to follow and easy to stick to” and it only requires three 20-30 minute training sessions per week, on alternate days so that you have rest days. You start with 60 seconds of jogging alternating with 90 seconds of walking for the first week, then you gradually increase the jogging periods, until at last you’re running 5K. You can get it here.
2. Strava (free or premium £3.99)
Are you the kind of person who is more likely to persevere if you’re part of a group? Then Strava could be perfect for you.
The app connects cyclists and runners from all around the globe. You’ll be able to compare notes with others, and compete with them as well. The app tracks where you are through your phone’s GPS, so that you can compare your performance with that of other people who have completed the same route. Strava measures distance, speed and elevation as well, but most people get this app because they want to be part of a community. You can get Strava here.
3. Fitocracy (free)
Fitocracy is an app for those of us who need motivation and encouragement in a variety of forms. The app is somewhat similar to Strava, but it does use more social and gaming elements to keep you going. It offers the option to connect with people who are using the same fitness training method as you, whether that is running or yoga, so it’s scope is a bit broader than Strava. It is also personalised to your training regime and you are awarded points when you complete certain goals. You can even hire a personal trainer via the app for one-to-one coaching. You can download Fitocracy here.
4. FitBit (free)
This app takes a more holistic approach to your fitness. FitBit doesn’t just track your physical activities, it also counts your calories, measures your weight and monitors your sleeping habits. Although the app is free for both Android and iOS users, you do need to buy a FitBit tracker. These are available in a variety of styles which can be bought direct from FitBit, or from other retailers.
5. MyFitnessPal (free)
No list of fitness apps would be complete without a mention of MyFitnessPal. This company’s highly respected app has been widely reviewed online and in the press. It’s effectiveness lies in the fact that you keep a weight loss journal, while the app helps you to count calories and supplies you with recipes for healthy food. You can get MyFitnessPal information here.