Want to get in shape before your wedding day? There’s an app for that.
One of the easiest ways to figure out which workout to choose or what to eat in the months leading up to your wedding is to take out your phone. There are tons of apps to choose from—strength-training, running, calorie-counting, general weight loss—and they all do things differently. Everything you need to enhance your wedding diet (we mean the healthy food you eat, not some yo-yo plan) or workout routine can be found in the app store. From cardio videos to imaginary zombies chasing after you (seriously), we narrowed down our favorite fitness apps and calorie trackers to help put you on a path to a serious and sensible regimen. They’re listed by category, below.
10 Best Fitness and Workout Apps
There are literally thousands of workout apps, so it’s hard to determine which are good and which are great. Hint: The best ones are simple—they do one thing really well, like providing a short workout or motivation. We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorites and laid out exactly what they do, so you can pick the one that works for you. Whether you’re looking for daily workout videos, something quick to fit into your busy schedule, something to calm you down or something to pep you up, you’ll find it here. From personal training to a personal DJ (oh yeah, you read that right), this list has you covered.
1. Nike+ Training Club
How it works: Created by a team of pros (the Nike master trainers), this app has a cache of 100 workouts, with something for every fitness level. Each one comes with a video tutorial, so it’s not a big deal if you’re a total beginner. And it’s super simple to use. Choose a program (“get toned,” “get strong,” “get lean” and “get focused”) and it’ll give you tailored, easy exercise plans—built-in rest days included. (Free, iOS and Android)
2. FIT Radio Workout Music
How it works: FIT Radio is all about the beats…per minute. You’ll hear playlists that maintain a high BPM to keep you motivated and focused. DJs upload new mixes daily so you don’t run dry or get distracted from your workout, trying to find a song that will keep you pumped. (Free, iOS and Android)
How it works: If you’re a reward-driven person, Fitocracy is the workout app for you. The free version gives you tons of fitness videos and support from an encouraging community. Plus, you’ll earn points and you can view your progress daily—super motivating. For $1 a day, you can get a personal trainer to assess your fitness level, boost your nutrition plan and build workouts specifically for you. Your coach will hold you accountable and keep you excited to exercise, two of the hardest things to do on your own. (Free, iOS and Android)
4. 7 Minute Workout Challenge
How it works: Twelve exercises that can be performed in seven minutes but are the equivalent of an hourlong workout? Seems far-fetched. But this seven-minute fitness challenge is backed by serious peer-reviewed research. The app will instruct you during each of the activities, track your results and encourage you on your journey. ($2.99, iOS and Android)
5. PIT Fitness
How it works: If a lack of free time is what makes intense workouts impossible for you, give PIT Fitness a try. PIT stands for Performance Interval Training, and it incorporates exercises designed to “shock” the body out of its routine. The app is a 30-day program that claims to elevate your metabolism and help you shed pounds in short 15- to 30-minute increments. You choose the type of weight you want to use (body weight, kettlebells, dumbbells or sandbags) and follow along. Pretty simple. ($2.99, iOS)
6. Pocket Yoga
How it works: This handy-dandy app is literally a yoga instructor inside your phone, soothing voice and all. Take your pick from a variety of practices, adjust your time and difficulty level, then roll out your mat and begin. The Zen vocal tone directs you through the poses as if you were in a classroom, even telling you when to inhale and exhale. ($2.99, iOS and Android)
7. Zumba Dance
How it works: If shaking your hips to break a sweat is your idea of a workout, follow along with trademarked Zumba classes that offer fat-blasting dance moves in all sorts of styles: cumbia, salsa, reggaeton, even Bollywood. You can even join Facebook challenges to keep you accountable and tell the app how many times a week you want to work out and for how long. More routines are for sale in the app, so you never have to feel like you’re in a dance rut. ($4.99, iOS and Android)
8. StrongLifts 5×5
How it works: This is the best gym app for weightlifters. Like its name suggests, the app will coach you while you complete three exercises with five sets of five reps, letting you know when it’s cool to take a break and even when it’s time to add some more weight. The only thing it can’t do is spot you on the military press. (Free, iOS and Android)
9. FitStar Personal Trainer
How it works: Take a quick quiz and the app will determine your fitness level, whether you’re a workout virgin or an experienced guru. Then you’ll receive videos tailored to your workout needs and get started with your personal trainer, NFL star Tony Gonzalez. Every routine is challenging, but not so hard that you’ll never want to do it again. In fact, it’s pretty addicting. (Free, iOS)
10. Sworkit Lite
How it works: Only have five minutes to spare? That’s enough to get in a workout with Sworkit. Want to sweat for an hour? No problem! The time is adjustable. Pick your fitness routine from a list of choices including cardio, strength, yoga and even stretching. Each one has videos and counts down the number of reps and the time you have left to complete them. Plus, the app uses your body weight in high-intensity workouts, so no extra weights are necessary. How’s that for an easy app? (Free, iOS and Android)
Best Running Apps and Walking Apps
You may think running and walking are bare-bones activities, but there are tons of reasons to use apps for them. Apps track your mileage, tell you your overall pace, split pace, help motivate you, engross you in a distracting story or even help you support an important cause. There’s just something extremely satisfying when you click into your running app at the end of the week and see how many miles you ran. Your sense of accomplishment will go through the roof if you keep logging your steps and recording your pace.
How it works: Looking for a cheerleader? Endomondo uses the GPS on your phone to track your progress as you walk or run outside. If it senses that you’re about to hit a personal record, it will tell you to keep going; if you’re slacking a bit, it will tell you to pick up the pace—ouch, but necessary for those of us who feel like we can slow down without anyone noticing. There’s a social side to the app too, which allows you to follow and cheer your friends along as they work out and challenge them to different activities. (Free, iOS and Android)
2. Zombies, Run!
How it works: From Walking Dead to working out, Zombies, Run! creates a rich story behind the distance you’re running. The premise: Zombies are on the loose, running right behind you, and each step you take is rewarded with tools that help save us all from an imminent attack. Talk about motivation. ($3.99, iOS and Android)
3. Charity Miles
How it works: Now the miles you run can benefit more than just your endurance. Every mile you travel on foot can earn money for dozens of charities. Corporate sponsors donate 10 cents for each mile biked and 25 cents for each mile walked or run through Charity Miles. You’ll be making a difference merely by exercising. (Free, iOS and Android)
How it works: Just have this app running (pun intended!) while you pound the pavement. It will record your mileage via GPS, telling you your overall pace with splits per mile. Save your route at the end of each workout so you can see your progress through the week. MapMyRun will send you weekly emails with your results and congratulate you for reaching new milestones. (Free, iOS and Android)
How it works: This is a personal DJ app that curates playlists using songs that help synchronize your movement to music. Power it up when you’re tired of your own tunes or looking for something to amp up your energy. Running to a consistent beat is a good way to elevate your heart rate and take your workout to the next level, whether that means faster or more intense. (Free, iOS)
6. The Walk
How it works: From the developers of Zombies, Run!, The Walk combines the page-turning adrenaline of a suspense novel with your walking workout. Through a case of mistaken identity, you’ve been given an important package at Inverness station in Scotland. But just as you try to board the train, a terrorist bombing blows it up, and now you’ll have to walk the length of UK. With enemies in hot pursuit for your package, and police after you as a suspect, you can’t trust anyone. Your job is to get to your destination in one piece. Pretty cool, right? ($2.99, iOS and Android)
7. Ghost Race
How it works: Let your competitive nature shine by racing friends and virtual competitors in Ghost Race. You can bike or run, choose your course and watch your progress as well as your ghost partner’s pace. You can even race against your own personal record. No shortage of motivation here. (Free, Android)
How it works: Put down the remote and pick up a pair of running shoes, because C25K (short for Couch to 5K) is about to get you ready for a serious race. The app follows an eight-week training plan, beginning with an easy schedule that alternates between running and walking, and works its way up to more intense paces. Plus, the C25K app isn’t a huge time commitment: The workouts are only 30 minutes, three times a week. (Free, iOS and Android)