It's never too late to get focused on fitness, and whether you're working off a few excess pounds or you're interested in building a more active lifestyle, your smartphone makes an excellent workout companion. Our favorite fitness apps include ones that provide step-by-step instructions — just like an expensive trainer — for little or no cost. From strength training and yoga to running and more, you'll find a great workout partner here to complement your exercise goals. (Image Credit: Prostock Studio/Shutterstock)
The PEAR Personal Fitness Coach apps (Android, iOS) is all about eyes-free, hands-free audio coaching, providing users with a rich array of guided workouts for a variety of fitness levels and intensities that adapt based on your performance. You can check out a wide array of workout packages and coaches, and the app plays well with a variety of fitness trackers and devices, allowing you to keep track of your performance and share metrics with other fitness apps. PEAR has a free tier with a limited selection of workouts, but to really get the most out of the app, you'll want the premium subscription ($5.99 per month), which gives you unlimited access to the workout library and extra features.
Under Armour’s Map My Fitness (Android, iOS) logs more than 600 different fitness activities and syncs with more than 400 devices to give users a complete picture of their athletic performance. Users can search for nearby running routes or share their favorite routes. Map My Fitness saves data on pace, distance, and calories burned for GPS-based workouts; you can use this data to set new personal goals. Through the Map My Fitness community, users can join challenges as well as motivate friends. The latest versions of May My Fitness are compatible with both Android Wear devices and Apple Watch. Premium versions of the app offer personalized training programs and the ability to monitor heart rate zones.
Skimble's Workout Trainer (Android, iOS) offers users thousands of free workouts complete with timed step-by-step audio and video instructions to help you get into shape. Whether you want six-pack abs or are simply aiming improve your conditioning for that next race, Workout Trainer has a routine just for you. In addition to the built-in workouts, users can access the app's library to build their own custom routines and share them online, as well as try out routines shared by the community. A premium subscription unlocks more features such as HD workout videos, more exercise routines, as well as removing ads.
The Nike+ Training Club app (Android, iOS) features workouts designed by professional athletes and celebrities. Workouts focus on strength, endurance, or mobility and offer three levels of difficulty. The app’s audio cues let you focus on the workout instead of the screen; Nike+ Training Club can also be streamed onto a television using Apple TV, Chromecast, or an HDMI cable. After completing a workout, users can share customized photos or posters with the Nike+ community. The app syncs with Nike+ Run Club to keep track of your runs; you can also manually enter activities such as basketball, gym training, or tennis.
JEFIT.com's apps (Android, iOS) serve as an incredible resource for users looking to do strength training and bodybuilding. Loaded with an exercise database of thousands of routines sorted by targeted body part, the app comes complete with detailed instructions, a workout planner, exercise log, progress tracker, numerous timers and options and synchronization with your JEFIT profile. The free version is ad-supported, while a pro version offers more features and removes advertising.
Fitbit Coach (Android, iOS) functions as your personal digital training coach, adapting exercise routines to match your physical capability, as well as your daily activity tracked with the Fitbit fitness tracker. Workouts are carefully calibrated to be challenging, without being too difficult. The app provides guided video workouts, with varied routines, step-by-step guidance, and accompanying workout playlists to provide music that complements your workout. A premium subscription unlocks a greater variety of workouts, along with expanded features.
Aaptiv (Android, iOS) provides trainer-led audio workouts for a variety of workout styles and goals, complete with accompanying music playlists. Users can select from more than 2500 workouts in hundreds of fitness classes, whether for running, cycling, high intensity interval training, 5k, or marathon training, with training routines streamed or downloaded to your phone for offline use. Workouts can be configured for distance, duration, intensity, and calories burned.