Technology allows us to be more informed and healthier than ever before. Whether you are looking to learn how to eat a healthier diet or get fitter, there are so many options out there. The beauty of fitness apps is that they allow you to get fit on your own terms, in your own home. You don’t need to be tied into an expensive gym contract or be forced to trek across town to a class.
These days though, there are so many apps out there catering for every kind of interest, so how do you choose the right one for you?
What Women Want
As women our exercise needs and habits invariably change depending on our life stage. In our 20s we often head towards loud, sweaty and fast paced classes. As we move into motherhood, our 30s & 40s and beyond, although the former can still be engaging, we may also feel we need to work out differently, adding alternative training such as Pilates or yoga to maintain flexibility and build full body strength. Luckily the app market is evolving to support this, with a range of great apps targeting different ages and interests.
Choosing the right app is important. What you gain with the flexibility of using an app, you can lose in terms of the 1:1 attention/coaching in a gym or class. Choosing an app that focuses on correct technique and clearly explains and shows you how to train effectively for your needs is essential. Above all you need one that helps you achieve your fitness goals realistically, and without risking injury – something that sadly only gets harder to recover from as our bodies change and age.
Our Favourite Fitness Apps
But which app is most suitable for you? You may already have a fitness routine, such as running or cycling, or you may not yet be in a regular routine. Either way, there is an app for you. Below are 5 of our favourites:
With a plethora of celebrity Instagram trainers and fun fast paced classes, FiiT is very much tailored to the 20 something market, and it’s well worth checking out if you’re a fan of boutique gym classes. It is currently the #1 rated fitness app on the app store in the UK.
Offering an ever-expanding range of different styles of classes, divided into three sections of Cardio, Strength and Rebalance, so from yoga to HIIT, it pretty much covers any style of training. The classes can be either 25 or 40 minutes, with options for different levels of difficulty for each. There are also all sorts of clever search options around instructor, music and even the part of your body you want to focus on.
For £25 or £45 you can upgrade and purchase one of the FiiT heart monitors to keep an eye on how hard you’re working out, showing heart rate, calorie burn and reps, and allowing you to track progress. You can also measure yourself against other users to add an element of competition. Fiit launched UK’s first ever live leaderboard HIIT classes in the summer.
FIIT is a slick, intuitive and easy to use app, with well-produced videos from a range of excellent trainers.
Pricing – You can download a free version of the app, but for the full experience we recommend the premium version, which is pretty reasonable at £20 a month on the flexible plan, or £120 for a full year if you are willing to commit. You can then add the £25-45 monitor if you want.
Finally an app tailored to new mums and women reaching 40 and over! What makes the niix app different to most, is that it focuses on ensuring correct technique to gain more RESULTS from your workouts. Each class has teaching and direction throughout, with everything explained in depth, simulating a personal trainer being with you. Unlike many apps, the coaching is very informative, giving you a better understanding of what each exercise is for and the outcomes you will gain. Offering a variety of programmes from HIIT, Pilates (it is particularly strong in Pilates exercises), Postnatal & Low Back Pain all of which can be done wherever you want and without any equipment. For the time pressed, there are lots of shorter workouts available that last between 10 and 30 minutes. niix sets you up for success, by increasing strength, cardio fitness, flexibility and tone and building a fitness habit to last.
Pricing – Free trials are available, and then the app is £12.99 a month. Available from the App Store and Google Play.
You can’t have got through the last few months without hearing about Peloton and it $8b IPO. And for good reason.
Peloton allows you to spin, run and sweat in your own home, giving you a live class experience or the ability to access thousands of pre-recorded classes. A Peloton bike is equipped with a 22-inch HD touchscreen that gives access to over 8000 on-demand classes, and 14 live classes each day. These come in an array of lengths from 5 to 120 minutes, and you can filter by instructor, intensity, music as well as length. The bike doesn’t come cheap at £1,990, but it is an impressive, robust and precisely engineered piece of kit. It tells you what resistance you’re on, how fast you’re pedalling, and the instructor will give you target numbers throughout the class. For fitness nuts, the bike can give you an array for statistics and graphs about how you are improving, which is highly motivating.
Good though the bike is, what really makes Peloton special is the engaging instructors, and surprisingly immersive nature of the experience. It combines the convenience of working out at home with the social spirit and exhilaration of the best spin classes. It also captures the element of competition that is so powerful to progress in fitness, with a leaderboard showing the names of other riders, but also showing how you are doing versus your own PB.
The technology, convenience, range of classes and instructors make the Peloton offering a great one-off product for a home gym. It will eliminate any excuse you have for not exercising. It is seriously fun, highly effective, and borderline addictive.
Peloton isn’t just about the bike and spinning any more. The Peloton iOS app expands their offering, with yoga, meditation, bootcamps, stretching and even running apps, making it a comprehensive fitness solution. The app allows you to access all of their classes on your phone or tablet, and you can use it on any equipment wherever you are.
Pricing – At £1,995 it is undeniable expensive, but there is a 0% finance option over 36 months which brings it down to a more palatable £56 per month. You will also need to sign up to the membership to get access to all the classes, which comes in at £39 per month. All in you’re looking at £95 a month over the first three years, so roughly the same as a premium gym membership, or four spin classes a month at London’s studios.
MY FITNESS PAL
As we all know, getting and staying fit is not all down to working out. The 80/20 rule definitely applies if you want to lose or sustain a balanced weight. A nutritious and balanced diet is not only important to your overall health and wellbeing but will support your body when exercising, to increase your output and gain more from your workouts. Under Amour’s MyFitnessPal is a great app to compliment and combine with your fitness plan, educating your eating habits whilst tracking calories, ingredients and your daily activities. It personalises your goals and eating habits so you can learn where to make changes and how many calories you are actually burning off during the day.
Pricing – Most people use the free version of the My Fitness Pal app, though a premium service is now available if you want.
NIKE RUN CLUB
If running is your game, then this app is the perfect running partner on your wrist or on your phone. Not only does the app track your routes, including your pace, heart rate, distance etc, there are audio guided runs from elite athletes to keep you motivated and inspired. With a huge active community to help support and test you, through weekly distance challenges and personalised coaching plans, whether you are looking to just get or keep fit or build up to a marathon, Nike Run Club has you covered.
Pricing – Free
MIRROR: One to watch out for
Mirror is seen as the next Peloton like digital fitness phenomenon. It is not yet available in UK, but should be soon and is certainly one to keep an eye out for. It is a beautiful full-length device that is part mirror, part LCD screen, with an inbuilt connected fitness system with loads of live and on-demand classes to choose from, from a range of excellent instructors.
The device is clever in the way you watch an instructor and yourself at the same time, with the instructor looking like a hologram. It is visually stunning so can hang in any living room, and is an impressive blend of form and function.
It much less obtrusive and requires less space than a Peloton. It is also extremely versatile given the wide range of activities, so is an intriguing alternative to Peloton is spinning isn’t your thing.
Pricing – $1,495 for the device, and $39 a month for the ongoing subscription.