Your Own Digital PT: Give Your Training a Lift With These 10 Free Fitness Apps
Whether you want to find a partner, order a pizza, or play fake sounds during an unwelcome phone call to give you an excuse to hang up, there’s an app for everything these days. One genre filled with great options is fitness apps.
From easy-to-use trackers that let you compare your results against the world to simple exercise breakdowns guiding you through every workout, if you’re looking for fitness motivation and know-how, you could do a lot worse than turning to an app for help. Here we highlight ten of the very best free fitness apps (including those paid-for apps offering free trials), from well-known big-hitters to some hidden gems.
The 10 Best Free Fitness Apps
Personal trainer app Sworkit is a relative encyclopedia when it comes to the world of working out, with over 400 unique workouts and 800 exercises to choose from (mainly in the bodyweight and home workout realm).
While there’s a charge if you want to be led through one of its workouts or plans, you can view the general breakdown for free while also having access to its full library of exercise instructions.
Your dad’s on it, your sister’s on it, heck, even that kid from school who never had his PE kit is on it; Strava is not just a titan in the world of free fitness apps, but social apps in general.
For the few who’ve yet to be embedded, the premise is simple: you run, cycle, alpine ski, freshwater swim, the list goes on, Strava records your journey through GPS — the route, time, distance, everything — and then it uploads it for everyone else using Strava to see.
This can lead to competitiveness and show-boating — “alright Dad stop rubbing your 10k PB in our faces” — but in terms of tracking your performance, and using it as motivation to keep going, Strava can’t be beat.
MyFitnessPal is a fitness tracker that comes with the added benefit of being able to log your diet in the same place. Along with tracking your weight, the app also calculates your recommended daily calorie intake and has a barcode scanner so you can instantly enter the nutrition information of some packaged foods.
The app is free to use, although you will have to pay in order to unlock some premium features like the ability to add extra nutritional info.
Yoga bunnies, here’s the fitness app for you. Glo contains a database of 3,000 yoga classes in 12 different categories (here’s a breakdown of the main yoga disciplines if you need some help deciding) along with a selection of pilates and meditation classes. There’s also a Spotify-like discover option that gives you smart suggestions if you’re unsure where to start.
It’s free to download the app, with a seven-day trial before the need to pay up to continue practicing.
One You Couch to 5K
The fitness app that got us all out of the house during lockdown #1, Couch to 5k is a legend in the genre, and still undoubtedly the best running app for beginners. Created before smartphones were even a thing, back in 1996, Couch To 5K is a running plan devised to get you up to running five kilometres without a walking break, and all within nine weeks.
Supported by Public Health England, the audio-led app features a choice of four trainers (including comedian Sarah Millican and radio presenter Jo Whiley) to help lead you through every run with a countdown timer to keep you pushing until that 5k is done.
As gyms and weight racks shut the world over in 2020, TRX (an acronym for Total-Body Resistance Exercise) has offered welcome resistance training respite. The yellow and black straps that you suspend from walls or ceiling are pretty easy to get to grips with, but newbies may want to explore this app, which offers audio-coaching for a number of TRX workouts.
The 14 day free trial offered to new users is a slight step-up from the seven day offerings elsewhere, and should give you enough time to decide whether the suspension trainer (and the app) is for you.
We’re taking you into the world of health with this next one, and more specifically, mental health.
Reflectly is an intelligent journal and mood tracker that uses positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioural therapy. Write down how you feel each day and answer some mood-related questions, before looking through past insights and correlations brought to you by the app’s artificial intelligence.
Some extra bits you still have to pay for, but unlike some other health and fitness apps this won’t really get in the way of using it effectively.
Sneakerheads, save yourself some P’s and collect those Jordans on Aglet. The step counter app launched earlier this year with a novel idea, mainly turning your steps into digital sneaks, which you’re able to unbox through every milestone or via the Aglet store.
The digital product drops on the app mimic real life, so you’ve got to be quick off the mark to bag yourself some Yeezy’s before they all get snapped up.
Available for iOS
While a large chunk of the fitness apps out there focus on bodyweight exercises, Fitbod stands out for its emphasis on lifting heavy. With a vast array of movements and workouts, the app is great for intermediates looking to expand their knowledge, while the capacity to track your every set means you can consistently keep moving forward with your strength training without worrying how heavy you were lifting last time.
Test it with a free trial before upgrading to its monthly subscription for under a tenner.
Another fitness app that starts you off on a free trial to hook you in; another one that’ll be hard to unsubscribe from when you get going. Unlike other competitors that focus on the visual to guide you through each movement and workout, Aaptiv is based on audio, with over 2,500 trainer–led workouts driven by a pumping soundtrack underneath.
If you miss the motivation of a packed-out class, then you’ll find some solace in Aaptiv.