Last year I published a post on the 10 best apps for dads looking to get fit and because I love fitness (and my new iPhone 7 plus), I'm always looking for useful apps (not video games of course...)
For the past few weeks, I've been testing out dozens of iOS apps in search of ones that are user friendly, free, and are actually helpful.
I probably downloaded over 100 of them in order to find these 10 and as you probably already know, most apps suck! From annoying ads, to pay walls, to "give us a 5 star rating for features", to nearly impossible to understand interfaces, it's a shit storm of technology out there.
But there are plenty of kick ass apps and if you're looking to get and stay fit this year, here are the 10 I found to be most useful:
The first thing I like about this is that you don't need to log in. I'm so sick of either having to use Facebook or my email address to get started, so this was a welcome change. It also syncs with Apple Health (although I've never used it), which may be helpful to some.
This is a freemium app, which means that some of the features are free, but they also offer a monthly subscription plan. I don't know about you, but there is zero chance I'm paying $12 per month for a workout app. There is just too much free info online to pay for a basic workout template.
However, the free version does offer quite a few HIIT style workouts, which all have HD tutorial videos as well as an "email the coach" option, which looks to be free as well (I didn't email the coach).
In any case, this is a good option if you're looking for pretty standard HIIT workouts. Download it HERE for iOS.
If you're using any type of circuit or HIIT training (and you should be), you need something to keep track of the intervals. I've been using this app for a few years and actually bought the Pro version, but the free one works well too. Grab it HERE.
With a little bit of customization, you can set up any work:rest ratio including scheduled breaks between sets and rounds. You can also add songs to each specific exercises but that's just too much work.
I like the audio cues as well but you'll have to turn it up to hear it over your playlist of
Mariah Carey Metallica blaring out of your speakers.
If you have stress in your life and I know you do, it only makes sense to try to find as many ways as possible to minimize it, lest you give yourself a stress induced heart attack!
For me, this app and what it represents is a huge challenge for me: to relax and unwind. I just can't. Or at least, I couldn't..
This is a really simple app to use and has both "Meditation" and "Breathing" features, and has a range of times and difficulty levels (yes, even breathing on purpose can be hard..)
Like most other apps, you can upgrade to a paid version, but you can download the free version HERE, which works pretty damn well by itself.
First off, there is nothing you can do in 7 minutes that will transform your body, so don't think this is a "quick fix". This app uses very short bouts of HIIT workouts to help get you on track with your workout and fitness habits and does a pretty good job.
It's super easy to navigate and easy to follow. So many apps I've tried are a pain in the ass to figure out, but this one is cake.
There are actually a handful of free workout programs ranging from 7 minutes to 24 minute and difficulty levels from beginner to advanced. Download it for free HERE.
Although I'm generally not a CrossFit fan and this article pretty much sums how I feel about the whole thing, this app is awesome. I use it for ideas and full workouts for myself and you can get yours HERE.
It's free, doesn't require a log in, and is about as easy to use as humanly possible and even has a handy glossary if you don't recognize the fitness jargon they use (WTF is a burpull?!?).
There looks to be hundreds of workouts available and while there are no videos or demos, it's really straightforward. Just choose a type of WOD, like an AMRAP or EMOM and get to work.
And if you don't like the one they select, just click the button and you get a totally different workout. Easy peasy.
This is a beautifully designed app with a good number of Paleo recipes. It lists out the ingredients, instructions and can even add the ingredients to your shopping list.
Although this app requires a log in, which I hate, it's still worth downloading. It allows you to create any habit you'd like to form and lets you track it daily.
The best feature is the social aspect, which allows you to share your habits with your friends and you can hold each other accountable and support one another. Download it HERE.
Habits will make or break you, so you should always be working on dropping unhealthy ones and replacing them with better ones.
Most of us guys think that yoga is primarily for women, and historically it has been. But there is so much research to show that it's healthy and beneficial to all of us that you shouldn't overlook it.
First off, most men stretch very little. Why? It's boring and takes up valuable time that could be spent on the bench press.
But that's part of the problem right there. You need to take the time to work on your mobility, flexibility, and isometric strength. If you don't, you can be fairly certain that you'll feel like the Tin Man when you get older and wish you would have stretched more.
Yoga is incredibly good for us and this app walks you through it with ease. From setting up beginner programs, allowing for short 10 minute sessions, to audio tutorials, it's all really simple and laid out.
Do I like doing yoga? Fuck no, I hate it. But I do it because it helps in ways that traditional strength training cannot. Download it HERE.
This list wouldn't be complete if it didn't include an app dedicated to tightening those core muscles, which we ALL want.
You also know that you cannot spot reduce your sagging love handles or your belly, but you can certainly strengthen the muscles underneath those layers of fat.
This app has a ton of ab/core/lower back exercises to help you regardless of your fitness level; even that guy who can only do one sit up!
Follow along with one of the many free programs and find it on iTunes HERE.
I work from home and travel quite a bit (locally) to meet with clients. And the nature of my business is that I have certain down times during my day between sessions and I often use that time to hike or exercise.
And because there are so many trails here in Maryland, I try to find new places to explore and hike as often as I can. And also because I suck at directions or finding anything I'm looking for, I need help.
So I use Waze for pretty much any trip that's not to the grocery store next to my house and then I use the Trail Run Project app that lets me find local trails and give me all the details like miles, elevation, and even GPS coordinates.
It's pretty handy and user friendly and you can download it HERE.
Of course there are thousands upon thousands of helpful apps and if you have any you find particularity useful, let me know in the comments below.