Free trial; $15/month or $100/year; Available for iOS and Android
Sometimes a little guidance and motivation are all it takes to transform your workout habits from T- time chip-presses into actual exercise. If you’re short on workout buddies and not keen on tracking down the right trainer for you, Aaptiv may be just what you need.
The routines on this app are audio-only, with specially curated soundtracks and trainers who unobtrusively interject to keep you on track. Sort workouts by specific trainers, difficulty level, duration, or musical genre to find what motivates you most. You can select from routines built around outdoor walking, running, indoor cycling, elliptical, treadmill, stair climber, rowing, strength training, stretching, meditation, or yoga, plus focused training programs for 5k, 10k, half-, and full-marathons.
The app’s interface is clean, straightforward, and easy to use, and the audio-only format feels much more like working out with a buddy beside you than fighting for equipment in a crowded gym. Plus, with a constantly-growing list of available classes, it’s next to impossible to get bored.
Free; Upgrade for $40/year; Available for iOS and Android
For a more hands-on, customizable workout experience and the ability to track and analyze your progress, Jefit is a solid home-gym companion. The app features a library of over 1,000 exercise types, which can be viewed individually in pre-built routines or by combining whatever strikes your fancy into your own personal exercise regimen. Enter your starting stats, ability level, and where you’ll be working out (gym, home, outdoors, or anywhere) and the app will suggest programs to start with. Instructional videos show you how to properly perform moves and the Jefit community lets users share their own routines and participate in monthly contests.
There’s plenty to be had in Jefit’s free subscription, but if you upgrade to Elite status ($40 per year) you get access to even more exercises and routines, plus a whole lineup of workout tracking tools that will sync with your Android wear or Apple Watch, time your workouts, notify you when you’ve set a new personal record, run progress analysis reports, and more.
Free trial; $20/year; Available for iOS and Android
Whether you’re familiar with every pose or you’ve never even tried Downward Dog, this app can help you achieve full yogi status from your own living room. Everything about the Yoga Studio app is saturated in pure, chi-centering bliss, from its satisfyingly clean interface to the soothing soundtracks behind every routine.
Classes include beginner essentials, prenatal yoga, hip hop yoga, a series of sessions with world-renowned yogi Rodney Yee, and more. Select a pre-designed guided class or scroll through the app’s massive library of over 280 poses to build your own routine. A built-in calendar feature lets you keep track of every session, every single class features full HD video to guide you through the poses, and you can even download classes to view offline.
The app lets you filter available classes by difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), duration (15, 30, or 60 minutes), and focus (strength, flexibility, relaxation, balance, or combination) so you can stay completely centered on your goals.
Free; Available for iOS and Android
If you’re the kind of person who only runs if you’re being chased, the idea of beginning a running regime can be daunting. The Couch to 5K (C25K) app is the answer. It’s an eight-week program: three runs a week of varying lengths. A woman pipes up during the music or podcast of your choice to tell you when to walk and when to run. The first week you’re warming up with a brisk walk for five minutes, then you alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for 30 minutes. Each week increases the amount of running time until by week eight until you’re running three miles in 30 minutes.
It’s impressive because it actually works. You can go straight through or repeat weeks, trying to increase your speed. C25K is a great place to start an exercise program because it gets you in the groove. Then you get started on the company’s 10K version …
$4 one-time payment; Available for iOS
Carrot Fit is an irreverent app with absolutely no manners. In its own words: “The hilarious talking A.I. construct, CARROT, has a new goal: to transform your flabby carcass into a Grade A specimen of the human race. And she’s going to do whatever it takes — including threatening, inspiring, ridiculing, and bribing you — to make this happen.”
It’s almost guaranteed there’s no other app like this one. One exercise tones your arms while you “fantasize about punching Justin Bieber;” another has you outrunning a rabid pack of ostriches. The weight tracker allows you to watch the pounds fall off, largely due to the judgmental AI threatening you.
The programs require no special equipment or big spaces, just a stiff upper lip for when you’re repeatedly called “meat bag.”
Free trial; $12/month, $30/quarter, $90/year; Available for iOS and Android
This awesome app provides you with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)workouts that are at or under 20 minutes long. You can easily do the exercises in the gym, but it’s designed to be usable at home with any equipment you have (or don’t). You can also tailor it to your location (studio apartment, hotel room, gym) and the current weather. Text and video will ensure you’re performing each move properly.
Expert coaches design workouts for any fitness level, which you can increase in intensity as you get ripped. You even have the option to get help with coaches via chat or email. It’s a whole-body approach and tracks your reps and progress. It also takes the guesswork out of what to do next, suggesting ever-changing and expanding workouts so you don’t get bored or stagnate.