Top.me dove deep into the digital sea of fitness apps to bring you the best of the best. Whether you want to discover a new workout or track your diet, these 12 apps turn your smartphone into your new personal trainer—and help you reach your fitness goals fast.
Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal
MyFitnessPal is a user-friendly app that helps you calculate your calorie needs, and keep track of your calorie intake depending on your weight-loss goals. You can also input your exercise so the app tells you the net calories you can consume while still meeting your weight-loss goals. You choose from a list of foods that include generic names (“apple”) and specific brand names (“Kellog’s Special K Cereal), and the app automatically saves the most common foods you consume for easy input. You can also connect with your friends through this app to see how others are doing and keep you motivated.
Cons: You can’t always find the exact foods you consume, and the exercise options can be restrictive if you take up less traditional workouts.
Fitbit is the top app for tracking your daily physical activity, workouts and health. If you are a fitness junkie, this is the perfect app to track your run stats, hikes and routes with MobileRun, which connects to your phone’s GPS. You can see a calendar with how frequent you exercise, your total steps, distance and calories burned. It also logs your calorie intake through fast food logging so you can see your net energy expenditure.
Cons: You have to buy the FitBit Flex band in order to take full advantage of the band. Some reviews say the step count is inaccurate, and the band isn’t all that attractive.
This app says that is the only health and fitness app that looks beyond calorie counting and helps you to eat healthy, tasty food through connections with other app users. You can scan product barcodes and it will tell you what is really in what you are eating, give it a rating, and will suggest healthier alternatives. If you have a question about the best sources of a certain nutrient, you will get help from the whole Fooducate community, and you can contribute your knowledge to others. If you are looking for a more interactive and educational health experience, this is a good app for you.
Cons: Since it is a free app, it includes advertising which can be a little annoying. Also, while the information Fooducate provides is helpful guidelines, but not all of the information it inclused is completely accurate in terms of the potentially beneficial or harmful effects of certain additives, for example.
This app is a good starting point for food education, but don’t stop there if you are interested in learning about the research available to you with regards to how your health is affected by certain foods.
Jillian Michaels Slim – Down: Weight Loss, Diet & Exercise Solution
You might know Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser TV Show, so you know she knows what she is talking about. It gives you a full workout circuit and meal plan to start your weightloss plan. It includes a video walkthrough of the workout plan set to your calorie goals, and it automatically adds the circuits and calories that you burned to your fitness journal when you finish the exercise. It reminds you when your next weigh-in is and suggests good recipes. You can even get podcasts with daily fitness tips.
Cons: If you want the full benefits of the app you have to pay a monthly subscription, which some users have reported is not easy to cancel. However with the subscription you also have access to all of the features on Jillian Michaels’ website.
DailyBurn – Video Workouts
DailyBurn offers over 100 full-length video workouts to access on your phone, from Bodyweight Training, to Kettleballs, to Yoga. This app is perfect if you are committed to getting fit but tend to get bored with the same workout routine over and over. If you like trying new workouts and training styles, this is a great app to try.
Cons: You need to pay a monthly subscription to access all of the workouts, and if your phone screen is small it might not be the best viewing medium for more intricate workout moves.
Health Mate – Steps Tracker & Life Coach
Health Mate tracks your heart rate and everyday activity through your iPhone heart rate sensors. You can invite your friends to a “steps challenge” to motivate you to move more and tracks your sleep to make sure you are getting enough rest. The butterfly wings grow and shrink with your progress in the areas of weight, activity, sleep and food and will give you details on how you can improve. You can also get live coaches to track your health and get the support you need. It now connects with your Nike Fuelband to get the most out of the app, as well as with other apps like Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal and Up by Jawbone.
Cons: Some users have had some problems with the app syncing or correctly tracking steps. Also, if you want to get the full experience they also suggest you buy the scale, which is a little pricey.
GAIN Fitness Cross Trainer
GAIN Fitness is a platform where world-class trainer share their exercises in circus arts, interval training, CrossFit and more. It features personalized workouts with over 1000 exercises. The workouts are tailored to your fitness level and weight loss goals, and take into account your schedule as well as the equipment you have available to you. Its calendar tool sends you reminders and keeps you on track and motivated to stay on top of you routine. For a minimal fee, you can download upgrades as well.
Cons: Most of the user complaints have to do with poor customer service and a few technical glitches.
Nike Training Club
This app was designed for especially for women who are dedicated to getting and staying fit. You can choose individual workouts from the over 100 that the app offers, or you can choose structured 4-week programs to help you get lean and meet your long-term workout goals effectively. You can add running and boost your workout as well
Cons: If you decide to do the 4-week program, users complain about the lack of flexibility with regards to when you complete your workout, since you cannot input information retroactively.
Runtastic Six Pack
This app recognizes that exercise is not one-size fits all and is flexible enough to meet your needs, wants, and limitations. It includes over 50 tutorial videos with male and female avatars to help you complete intense core workouts. The workouts can be designed to target specific areas and weight loss goals, and include a voice coach to give you instructions and keep you motivated.
Cons: As with most apps, there are a few bugs that need to get worked out. Also, while the initial version is free, you have to buy the full version to take advantage of all of the features.
If you are the type of person that is motivated by community encouragement, this is a great app to keep track of your fitness goals. Some people compare it to a Facebook for fitness junkies. You can pick from the variety of free workouts the app offers and the plus with this app is that you can design your own workouts. You can get detailed tracking of your workouts on the Fitocracy website which is really helpful for serious fitness buffs. By including levels, achievements, quests, challenges and duels, it makes you feel like you are playing a game.
Cons: Most of the features are free, but there are a few that are reserved for subscribers. Some users have complained about the problems with finding and entering information on the discussion forum. Another downside is that there isn’t a feature that lets you see your weight changes over time.
Overall, however, this app is deemed to be one of the top fitness apps in the market.
Pact is an innovative app that actually helps you earn cash for living healthy. You set your exercise and eating goals for the week and chack into the gym, track workouts via GPS and accelerometer, and snap photos of your meals. If you hit your goals, you earn and if you don’t you lose the money you put on the line. The cash is one of the most effective incentives out there.
Cons: You have to be really serious about working out and staying on track to make the most out of this app, or it can get really expensive for you. Some say that the motion tracker has some glitches. Of course, this app is only as effective as are the members of the community. Also, the earnings for keeping on track are lower than the punishment for missing a workout.
Reps and Sets
This app is meant to be your companion at the gym where you can make workout to-to lists so you don’t need to enter reps and weights for every exercise you do. You can also create programs with timed rests and reps, which makes it very practical if you enjoy preplanning your regular workouts. You can log your body measurements and keep track of them, which is helpful whether you want to lose weight or gain muscle.
Cons: Some users have complained about some technical glitches. Also, because of the information offered and the detail of some of the charts, having it just on a phone rather than on an iPad may make it difficult to see the details of the app’s exercises as you work out.