Fitness is holistic. It isn’t just your bicep size, energy level or body fat percentage—it’s a combination of your overall strength, cardiovascular health, flexibility, proper nutrition and mental ability. So while curating this list of five fitness apps, we chose ones that focused on a different aspects of wellness as well as ones that we had tried when we had just begun working out. We hope each will serve as a tool for improving your overall health in the year ahead.
If you’re a couch potato, the thought of running five kilometers probably nauseates you; who can go from months (or years) of inactivity to suddenly running continuously for half an hour? You, that’s who, and C25K can get you there. It starts by alternating a minute of running with 90 seconds of walking. Then each week, the app encourages you to run a little more and walk a little less—eventually, you’re running a full 5K in about 30 or 40 minutes! It even lets you jog to your own music, compare progress with other pals and has a 10K version for more ambitious runners.
$2.99 – C25K
There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on Bowflex because you already own the best exercise equipment—your own body. Sworkit offers over 20 bodyweight workouts including programs for cardio, strength, flexibility and yoga; follow the pre-set program or set it to your desired workout duration. Each exercise comes with a video demonstration, a countdown timer and vocal cues to tell you when to begin and when to change moves. The only downside is that the exercises don’t come with verbal instructions (in fact, neither did any of the other workout apps we tried), so you might need to practice some of the advanced moves before really nailing them. Subscribing to their $4.99 monthly premium version gets you access to guided workouts, trainer tips and even more workout routines.
$4.99 – Sworkit
While Yoga Studio doesn’t have as many pre-set classes as other yoga apps, it’s more versatile, economical and beginner-friendly. Its one-time fee of $3.99 provides 70 classes and over 280 poses that you can look up and practice individually. The app lets you choose programs based on your skill level and desired outcome: you can choose beginning, intermediate or advanced classes for flexibility, balance, strength, relaxation or a combination of all four. And best of all, you can search classes based on time duration (from 4 to 60 minutes) and the download the class videos so you can practice later even if you lack internet access—nice!
$3.99 – Yoga Studio
MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker
Since fitness starts in the kitchen, what better way to structure a healthy diet than with your own pocket nutritionist? Calorie Counter won’t tell you what to eat, but it will help track the nutritional information of everything you consume. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, it’ll give you a daily calorie goal; if you’re just trying to consume healthier foods, it’ll show you how much fat, carbs and protein your favorite meals contain. It has nutritional data on millions of common ingredients, prepackaged foods and restaurant meals; it even lets you scan barcodes for store-bought items and deduct calories whenever you work out. And if you want even more nutritional tracking power (and an ad-free interface), you can pay $4.99 monthly or $49.99 annually for their premium service.
FREE – My Fitness Pal
When you’re done running, lifting, stretching and eating, enjoy some relaxation while also increasing your mental focus and bodily awareness. If you think meditation’s not for you—sitting in silence and focusing on breathing sounds sooooo boring—Smiling Mind is the best place to start. It provides short, guided meditations that build on one another with a calming voice that provide focus and reassurance if your mind wanders off. You can pratice your everyday awareness skills with the Mindfulness 101 through 205 courses, do a quick session with a one- to four-minute “bite size” course or try an extended meditation for 15 minutes or longer. It’s a great app for anyone who wants an gentle introduction into meditation without having to be a zen master from the outset.
FREE – Smiling Mind
(featured image via Pablo TorresCosta)