Looking to get moving in 2021? Choosing the best fitness app for you is step one in the journey.
After months of living in some form of lockdown, at-home workout apps are still among the best motivators to get in shape — no matter how much you’ve let your routine languish.
“We’re sitting so much more,” Sarah Shoemaker, PT, DPT, at Tribeca’s Spear Physical Therapy, told The Post. “[It’s] going to be very hard to go from zero to 100.”
If you want to get back into working out this month, Shoemaker suggests setting small, manageable goals.
“Always be mindful about what your body can and can’t do. If something starts causing pain, stop and don’t push through just because you think ‘no pain, no gain,’” she advised.
Most of the injuries she’s treated this year are from people working out in their homes. Shoemaker urges workout warriors to sweat it out on a mat for a slip-free surface, and set up in front of a mirror, if possible, to pay extra attention to form.
Her physical therapist colleague, Odalisse Figueroa, agrees that you have to be vigilant when you’re working out at home with an app. “It’s really important to pay attention to verbal cues because no one is there to instruct you,” Figueroa tells The Post. And even though you’re in your house, make sure to wear sneakers for the extra support.
No matter what, the best apps involve personal trainers with certifications, said Shoemaker, not just people who like fitness or look hot while working out on social media. Check out a trainer’s qualifications before you commit to following their advice on an app.
Ready to get sweaty? Here are the best fitness apps to try right now.
Best home workout apps for women
Obé fitness offers thousands of on-demand and live classes designed to do at home, all taught in a mood-boosting pastel-colored studio. For $27 a month or $199 year, these fun body-weight classes fit easily into your schedule, with workouts available on-demand that are as short as 10 minutes. Make your own routine with a combination of dance, HIIT and pilates. If you’re expecting, there are also pre- and post-natal options taught by experts in that realm.
“The first thing that someone should look for is credibility,” said Alex Songolo, personal training manager at Life Time in Flatiron. “You want to be choosing an app that comes with real history in the industry, real experience and expertise that comes in the health and wellness industry,” he explained.
This makes SWEAT a great choice too. Co-founded by Aussie trainer and influencer Kayla Itsines (12.7 million Instagram followers and counting), SWEAT is packed with workouts to attack targeted areas (like your booty and abs). What sets it apart is its positive, encouraging online community of users, which will help keep you motivated and accountable in its online message boards ($19.99 a month or $119.94 a year.)
Best workout apps for men
It’s pretty challenging to look and live like quarterback and health fiend Tom Brady, but trying his workouts are the next best thing. His TB12 app (free for the first week, $9.99 a month thereafter) features at-home workouts that use resistance bands and body weight through short high-intensity interval training sessions. There’s a focus on mobility-improving moves designed to help prevent injury (heck, they’ve worked for Brady, who’s at the top of his game at age 43). And your entire plan can be customized: You choose what kind of athlete you are (from skier to soccer player), or select “overall athlete” for a general guide.
Songolo stressed that a successful workout app helps with the hardest part of working out: accountability. “It’s only going to be as effective as it is with holding you accountable, making sure that you’re actually completing the workout,” he said. TB12’s 30-day plan does just that.
You don’t need an expensive home spin bike to benefit from One Peloton (two months free, then $12.99 a month), which offers a slew of equipment-free workouts. “The classes are really well-managed and I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from friends and patients that they like it a lot,” said Figueroa. Specially designed stretch routines get you to take care of your body while you’re completing strength training, guided runs, yoga or core workouts.
Best workout apps for weight loss
Life Time Digital
For weight loss, Figueroa suggests trying apps run by legitimate gyms, like Blink, which go beyond just workouts and provide nutritional advice, such as meal plans and recipes from certified experts.
Songolo recommends his gym’s Life Time Digital app ($15 a month) for this reason. “Nutrition is going to be 80 percent of [weight loss],” so that the “negative energy balance” can be achieved, he told The Post.
The 15-year industry veteran said that HIIT classes can be especially useful for dropping pounds, along with the personal training portion of the app, where you can be set up with a one-on-one video session.
Bonus: Apple Fitness+ (usually $9.99 a month/ $79.99 a year) is included with the Life Time app membership, giving you access to even more classes to fit your needs.
Best bodyweight workout app
Fitbod’s algorithm works as a personal trainer to bring you new, customized workouts every day. It does all the planning for you, which makes it great for beginners: After taking a survey about your skill level, goals and schedule, you’ll be provided a routine to get strength training and toning, no weights needed. When it’s safe to return to gyms, you can adjust your settings on the app to continue your progress in-studio. ($9.99 a month, $59.99 a year.) With videos that explain each move one by one, beginners can grasp on quickly and get the moves right. “[Being] user-friendly is important,” stressed Songolo. Apps like Fitbod make it seamless to “execute what we need to execute.”
Best running app
Couch to 5k Runner
Couch to 5k Runner is another excellent option for beginners — and anyone who has been spending more time on the couch than they’d like. It starts you off with short, attainable running goals, so over time you build up from a 2-minute jog to a road race in eight weeks (really). It has over 66,000 positive reviews on the Apple app store. (Seven days free, $9.99 for premium full-time access.)