You can use free apps to learn about everything from working out and meal planning to nutrition and sleeping habits. In fact, these apps go beyond teaching. Many of them show you exactly what to do and provide feedback to help you improve and move closer towards your health and fitness goals. It’s basically like having a personal trainer, only it’s free and you can fit it in your pocket. Here’s a peak at our ten favorite (and free) health and fitness apps for iPhone.
Fitocracy helps you set fitness goals and log your workouts so you can keep track of your progress. But it’s so much more than your run of the mill workout app. What makes Fitocracy unique is its incredibly enthusiastic community of users; it’s like having your own personal cheer squad and trainer in one. With this app you can plan and log workouts, follow other users for inspiration and motivation and unlock achievements based on your goals to help visualize your progress. That’s not all, though. You’ll gain access to free workout plans for all levels and you can join virtual teams that are led by real trainers who will provide personalized workouts and nutritional guides.
Strava is a GPS app that runners and cyclists can use to track their workouts. In addition to providing you with stats like your distance, pace, speed and elevation gained, Strava also has its own social network which you can use to connect with other athletes. The app will log your personal records and post your stats on leaderboards so you can compare your hard work with your friends, other locals and even elite athletes. You can also use it to find new running and cycling routes and join monthly challenges to help keep you motivated. “Everyone I know uses it and we all track each other on it,” one user wrote in a review. “So even if we aren't riding together we can still feed on each other’s work...it's a strange kind of motivation, but it works!
This scientifically formulated workout (as featured in the New York Times) promises to help you stay in shape with just seven minutes of exercise per day. The easy-to-follow app breaks it down step by step, telling you what exercise to perform and for how long. It also provides a timer for your rest periods and voice prompts make it easy to keep moving without having to look at your phone.
For weightlifters of any level, Bodybuilding.com’s BodySpace app provides some of the most helpful strength training tools available in an easy-to-use app. “Build and track supersets, rest-pause, and anything else your twisted mind dreams up-no routine is too complex,” says Bodybuilding.com. You can use it to make up your own workouts or follow plans designed by expert trainers.
This app wants to help you turn exercise into a habit. FitStar provides personalized workouts based on your goals and then tweaks them to match your progress. All of the workouts are equipment free and can be completed as long as you have enough space to lie on the floor with your arms and legs stretched out. “I like that I have a customized workout wherever I go without needing a gym,” one user wrote in a review. “There is feedback after every workout [and] a lot of premium programs that are designed to give you the workout that satisfies your needs.”
Fooducate makes learning how to eat healthy easy. This app goes beyond calorie counting by helping you analyze the nutritional value of different foods. Use it to scan product barcodes and it will reveal a nutrition grade from A to D. “Minimally processed, real foods with intrinsic nutrients will score better than processed foods that are poor in built-in nutrients,” the app's website says. The app will also explain the product’s pros and cons and offer ideas for healthier alternatives. And in addition to analyzing foods, you can also use Fooducate to track your food intake by both quantity and quality.
“With a few clicks throughout the day, you are able to monitor your calorie intake, set goals and ultimately, see the scale trend down," one user wrote in a review of this app. MyFitnessPal can help you set a daily calorie goal based on your info and goals and then helps you track your intake and exercise so you can easily stay on track. Plus, you can also use it to connect with an online community of supportive users and track your weight and measurements over time.
Designed specifically for females, the Nike Training Club app has an impressive database of exercises and workouts for users to follow. The network boasts over 100 full body workouts and structured four-week programs, each inspired by elite Nike athletes and designed by Nike Master Trainers. Each workout provides a detailed video tutorial for every exercise and you can also use the app to track your progress and share your stats on social media.
By analyzing your current sleeping habits and then teaching you new techniques to help organize your lifestyle, thoughts, bedroom and of course, your sleep schedule, Sleepio claims the ability to help you fall asleep 50% faster, reduce the amount of times you wake up during the night by 60% and boost your daytime energy by up to 50%. The app is free to download and “The Prof.” will share his expert tips and tricks with you free of charge for seven days. After the first week you can subscribe to The Prof’s help for $4.99 per month.
"If you are working out, you should have something that slows you down to balance," Wentworth said. "Yoga works as a stress release so you’re not so revved up all the time."