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12 Fitness Apps to Build Better Habits

from workout plans and online classes to food logs

“Getting into shape” is a common—if not the most common—New Year’s resolution, and if you’re like us, there’s a strong chance your daily efforts to live a healthy lifestyle feel more like a rollercoaster of highs and lows. But to help you become the healthiest (and happiest!) version of yourself, it may be time to rely on an assistant for help—that is, a smartphone app. To see which one fits your needs and your lifestyle, check out these 12 fitness apps below, each designed to give you structure, keep you accountable, and keep the motivation turned up. Plus, four more online fitness classes you must try.

FITNESS APPS WITH WORKOUT PLANS

Melissa Wood Health
For a long and lean body, The MWH Method’s low-impact workouts combine yoga and Pilates in on-demand videos. Most videos are only 20 minutes, with two new workouts published every week. Follow the weekly schedule for designated workouts that take out the guesswork, or switch it up and choose from the 250-plus videos in the online library. Several series focus on guided meditations, stretching, pre and postnatal, a treadmill series and others.
Cost: $10 per month or $100 per year; seven-day free trial

Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout
If you’ve got a very narrow window for exercise and you’re starting out, you can choose from workouts including those geared toward beginners, some that are localized to a specific body area or low impact. Have more time to spend? Do multiple workouts in a row for a longer experience. The app also has inactivity reminders and a weight tracker to keep you motivated.
Cost: Free

Peloton
With or without the Peloton equipment, you can use the app on your phone, tablet, computer and watch; it offers various workouts including running, yoga, HIIT, cycling and strength training. You can join challenges and compete with friends; get detailed metrics to keep you motivated; and preload classes so you can workout wherever.
Cost: $12.99 per month; free 30-day trial; free for Peloton Bike and Peloton Tread owners with Peloton All-Access Membership.

C25K 5K Trainer
This is a great app if you want to get into running. The app uses vocal guidance and walk or run intervals to build you up from running zero distance to a 5K. It takes you through eight weeks with just 30 minutes a day, three times a week.
Cost: Free

FitOn Workouts & Fitness Plans
Free workout plans and exercise videos—what’s not to love about that? FitOn has some great workouts to choose from including HIIT, yoga, cardio and strength training, as well as videos led by celebrities such as Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough. Another perk to FitOn? The app offers meditations to help reduce stress and get better sleep.
Cost: Free

Yoga For Beginners
Perfect for those just starting yoga and wanting to test it out at home, this app offers multiple yoga sessions that will help you focus on improving flexibility, learning the poses, lowering stress and helping with posture.
Cost: Free

ClassPass
While this isn’t an app you use to actually workout, it opens up so many new opportunities for class options. With a ClassPass membership, you can find and book different fitness classes without needing a membership at every single location. Choose from yoga, boxing, cycling, Pilates, barre and more in-person at gyms and studios near you or virtually through livestream and on-demand classes.
Cost: Monthly membership from $15; one month free

FITNESS APPS TO TRACK YOUR WORKOUTS

Apple Fitness+
If you have an iPhone, this app is already ready to be used—better yet if you have an Apple Watch to pair it with. This app will track your movement, exercise and standing hours during the day, and has tons of different workouts it can track. Want to get competitive? Share your progress with friends and family. You’ll be able to see how much each person has crushed it throughout the day. Plus, Fitness+ offers various workout videos along with music that will match the workout’s energy.
Cost: One subscription covers six people for $10 per month or $80 per year; one month free trial.

Strava: Run, Ride, Swim
A very popular app with runners and cyclers, this app will track your activity and map routes. Tired of your same old routes? Strava offers route options to explore, and you can even “race” with other Strava community members. One more perk: The app records and tracks your rides or runs so you can analyze your performance and progress over time.
Cost: Free

Strong Workout Tracker
Do you prefer hitting the gym and focusing on weights? Or do you want to get more weightlifting time in? This app’s straightforward design allows you to record your workouts easily and quickly. Not sure of the proper form for a certain exercise? The app also has instructions and videos that show you what to do.
Cost: The free version allows access to unlimited workouts but only three custom routines. The Strong Pro subscription at $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year gets you an unlimited number of routine.

FITNESS APPS THAT LOG YOUR MEALS

MyFitnessPal
This app, with over one million reviews, is a super solid option if you’re trying to keep track of what you’re eating throughout the day. A premium option is available that includes more guidance and logging tools. Plus, there are also some tasty (and healthy) recipes that are shared every day. Score.
Cost: Free

Lifesum: Diet & Macro Tracker
Lifesum is such a helpful app if you need suggestions and recommendations on how to eat healthier foods. And it focuses on more than just calorie counting. As you get a better understanding of which foods should take up more of your plate, you’ll also be able to track your daily habits (such as water intake), see how well you’re meeting nutrition goals and have access to easy tracking with barcode scanners and food recognition.
Cost: $4.17 per month

Online Fitness Classes

Tracy Anderson Method 
The fitness entrepreneur whipped Gwyneth Paltrow into shape after the birth of her son, Moses, in 2006. Paltrow has since remained so devoted to the Tracy Anderson Method—activating the small muscles and keeping them consistently challenged—that now she’s an investor in the company. See why many more celebrities (Victoria Beckham, Madonna) swear by her when you join on-demand or livestream classes, depending on your membership.
Cost: 14-day free trial; TA Online Studio from $90 monthly; online studio and TA Live plans from $130 monthly.

Yoga with Adriene
For her 10 million YouTube subscribers, Austin-based Adriene Mishler has uploaded 500 yoga workout and meditation videos, many of them with her blue heeler, Benji, napping on the mat by her side. If you prefer an app, she’s got those too. Find What Feels Good, a subscription app dubbed the first “Netflix For Yoga” with more yoga lifestyle content, and FWFG Kula, a free online social app for community discussions and support.
Cost: Free access to her YouTube channel; free 7-day trial for the Find What Feels Good app with subscriptions for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year.

The Class with Taryn
The Class Digital Studio, founded by Taryn Toomey in 2013 and taught by many more instructors, lead music-driven workouts that combine cardio, strength training and meditation. Join them on-demand or livestream to find not only fitness but catharsis in these workouts designed to restore your physical, mental and emotional well-being. If you’re feeling “I Love My Kids (Just Not Right Now),” there’s a class for that—and more workout classes for kids, new mothers, and mothers-to-be.
Cost: 14-day free trial; $40 per month or $400 per year

Pilates with Erika Bloom
Erika Bloom is not only a Pilates and therapeutic yoga instructor, she’s a mother, a doula, a prenatal and postpartum healing practitioner, and has certifications and trainings in holistic nutrition, sports conditioning and more specialties.
Cost: Virtual private sessions are available. Access her digital library of wellness offerings and join live virtual workouts with a monthly membership of $90; $50 per month for the Postpartum Membership.

RELATED: 7 Apps to Help Control Screen Time

The article was originally published in May 2021.


Image: iStock