If you've been slow to meet your fitness goals, it might be because you're having a hard time getting to the gym — or can't afford a membership. The good news is that, if you have a smartphone, you might not need the gym at all!
Owning a smartphone gives you access to thousands of amazing apps, but there are also a wide variety of fitness apps available that can help you get in shape while saving money on an expensive gym membership.
Health and Fitness Apps Grow in Popularity
It's no secret that smartphones and tablets have had a tremendous impact on our daily lives. Whether we're checking our email, using GPS to find an unknown location or obsessing over games like Candy Crush, we spend a large amount of time using these devices.
In fact, a study released in April 2013 by Flurry Analytics revealed that Americans who own smartphones or tablets spend, on average, 2 hours and 38 minutes "glued" to their mobile devices. That's more than one quarter of a person's typical workday.
Luckily, most people aren't spending their time playing games. Some are actually taking advantage of the wide variety of health and fitness apps available.
A 2012 Pew Center report found that 19 percent of smartphone users take advantage of health-based apps. Among that group, nearly 40 percent use at least one fitness-based app in an effort to kick-start a health goal.
As of January 2013, nearly 13,000 health and fitness apps were available. This is great news for anyone who is interested in getting in shape on a budget.
Top Fitness Apps for Android and iPhone
With thousands of apps ready to be downloaded, there's no excuse for not getting a good fitness routine started from the comfort of your home. Here are 10 top fitness apps available for iPhone and Android devices.
1. Couch-to-5k ($1.99)
Couch-to-5k, developed by the Active Network, Inc., is among the best workout apps for Apple and Android out there. The winner of the 2012 Appy Award for best healthcare and fitness App, Couch-to-5k helps people get fit enough to run a 5k in as little as three weeks. The app comes with a training plan, virtual coaches, calculations for distance and pace, audio cues to guide through workouts, and an option to workout to your own music.
2. Fitness Buddy (Free)
Fitness Buddy is an extremely popular fitness app offering more than 1,700 exercises, plus more than 1,000 HD videos, with a focus on exercise categorization (core, lower body, chest, shoulders, back, arms and cardio). Fitness Buddy is one of the best fitness apps for Android and iPhone, and is highly recommended by ESPN Magazine.
3. Fleetly (Free)
If you need a little peer encouragement to kick-start a workout then you might enjoy Fleetly, a free iPhone app. It brings a bit of friendly competition to your active lifestyle, allowing you to earn points, join virtual teams and compete in challenges. You also have the opportunity to track your fitness progress.
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4. GAIN Fitness (Free)
GAIN Fitness is one of a handful of fitness apps for iPhone users only. Created by a former Google employee and college football player, the app works wonders for individuals who want to build muscle from home.
The highly customizable app sets up a workout plan and gives ideas for at-home equipment to use (ex. chair, study table, dumbbells, resistance bands, etc.). While the app is free, you can end up spending money on in-app purchases.
5. Nike Training Club (Free)
Nike Training Club is a free app available for both Android and Apple devices that offers full-body workouts for 30 or 45 minutes offered by professional athletes. You gain access to drills that specifically focus on cardio, strength, interval and core training. You get to set your workout to your own music, track your workout history and take advantage of audio guidance to keep you motivated.
6. Pocket Yoga ($2.99)
Pocket Yoga is loved by both Android and iPhone users for its extensive dictionary of yoga poses and voice instruction assistance that leads users through three variations of yoga. The app keeps a log of all yoga practices and tracks progress. Mac Life deemed it the best app for practicing, while CNN declared it one of the 10 great mobile health apps of 2012.
7. PUMPING WEIGHT ($4.99)
Pumping weight is another app that is available on Apple devices only. The app offers illustrations of more than 200 exercises, along with variations. You can use it to track your body weight, measurements, body fat, BMI and more. It also offers a rest time and interval timer for high-intensity training. Apple has deemed the app one of the top 42 fitness apps for 2013.
8. You Are Your Own Gym ($2.99)
You Are Your Own Gym is a fantastic find for the person who simply cannot get to a gym or afford to pay for membership. Available on both iPhone and Android devices, the app offers more than 200 body weight exercises offered by fitness trainer Mark Lauren. Training techniques include tabatas, supersets, stappers, interval sets and ladders.
9. Calorie Counter by FatSecret (Free)
As we all know, staying fit is largely attributed to diet choices, which is why Calorie Counter by FatSecret for Android and Apple is useful. The app helps you find nutritional information for the food you eat, while tracking your meals, exercise and weight. You can also keep a food diary that helps you plan your meals.
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10. Cardiio (Free)
Cardiio is an amazing app that uses new research from MIT's Media Center to interpret users' heart rate based on the way light is refracted on the face in photos taken on an iPhone 4S, or later generation, camera. Unfortunately, Cardiio is only available for Apple devices.
The good news is whether you're looking for low-cost or free fitness apps, there are plenty to enjoy on both Apple and Android smartphone devices. Even better, you won't have to raid your savings account in order to whip yourself into shape.
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