As a fitness instructor with multiple jobs, it’s often difficult to fit my own exercise into a week of on-the-run appointments, meetings and to-do lists. And despite that fresh new set of 2020 goals, it can be impossible to carve out time and money for gym visits, group fitness classes and healthy eating. In the name of convenience and effectiveness, I tried and reviewed three fitness apps that give you the digital tools and nudging your best self needs. Here are three apps that will change your life!
Focus: Yoga, Pilates and mindfulness
Cost: FREE 15-day trial, then $22.99 a month or $199.99 a year; cancel anytime
Available for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV
Explore features here | Download the app here
This nearly perfectly rated app with stellar reviews offers yoga, Pilates and mindfulness exercises for all levels. Glo can both recreate the studio experience in your home and supplement your studio practice. Unlike many apps I tried, the minimalist design and simple intro questions didn’t overwhelm from the starting line. The app is calming, unobtrusive and filled with 4,000+ video classes and 500 audio meditations led by fully certified and passionate experts. Many apps loudly market their “world-class” instructors, but Glo is the real deal. I immediately recognized many names when I opened the instructor list. You can filter by instructor, style, difficulty, and duration. The mindfulness section has lessons in breathwork and meditation, and I’ve been playing these programs in the car and my room while folding laundry. You can also connect the health app to track your progress from an Apple Watch. This app helps you achieve a specific goal (hello, headstand!) or deepen your practice if you’re a seasoned practitioner. You can write in-app notes about what you’re learning and download meditations and classes to access when you’re not online. Many people mention that they’ve replaced other meditation apps with this one because it encompasses mind work plus high-quality fitness for one fair price.
Overall thoughts: This app is worth every single penny, whether you want to learn basic moves and jargon before walking into a crowded yoga studio, or you’re an instructor who wants to hone new techniques and steal some cues from the best instructors in the business.
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Nike Run Club
This unique app is ultra-sleek and so much more than a killer run tracker. Whether you’re a casual jogger or a future marathoner, this one’s for you. Nike Run Club (NRC) has the expected features that track your distance, route, pace, heart rate and the like, but that’s only the beginning. Nike offers motivating guided runs of varying difficulty levels, lessons on proper running form, creative monthly challenges and tools to help you crush your goals. It takes three taps to pull up the screen and start a run, and as someone with very little patience for buggy and poorly designed apps, this is a must. You can connect your Spotify or Apple Music playlists, or let the app’s expertly crafted high-BPM playlists carry you through your workout.
The collection of guided runs plant a cheerleader inside your head that not only tells you can achieve your goals but shows you how. NRC also recently partnered with beloved mindfulness app, Headspace, to connect body and mind with their more meditative Guided Runs with Headspace. You can also tailor a free plan with a personal running coach who helps you train for any distance race or just hit your personal goals (and you get very satisfying digital medals as you do). You can even track how many miles every pair of running shoes you own has taken you — yes, even non-Nike ones. The sheer volume of app users has created a connective community of events, run clubs and more.
Overall thoughts: It’s FREE and beautifully designed, so if you run even a little bit (even on a treadmill) or want to get more into running, download Nike Run Club. There are many reasons why it constantly tops the fitness app charts.
Focus: Live workout classes of all kinds
Cost: Free 30-day trial (no credit card required), then $12.99 per month; cancel anytime
Available on iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet, Amazon Fire TV and web. Compatible with Chromecast and AirPlay
Explore features here | Download the app here for Apple and here for Android
Before you stop reading this at the mention of Peloton, let me clarify that I’m only referring to Peloton’s app here. You don’t have to own a bike, and I was as shocked as you were by how cost-effective this digital fitness membership is compared to the company’s two-wheeled crowned gem. If you do own a Peloton bike or Tread, membership comes standard and gives you access to their robust workout library. If not, it’s $12.99 a month after your free month. Deemed the “Netflix of the workout world” by Forbes Magazine, this option grants unlimited access to different types of workouts, no matter your fitness level. Lots of users report how great the casting options are, too, because lots of these on-demand apps cast to Chromecast or Fire TV.
The coolest feature to me? You can tap into a daily lineup of Peloton’s live classes from their New York City and London studios in addition to the thousands of on-demand classes in cycling, interval training, running, outdoor fitness, strength, yoga and more. You can sync it with the Health app on your Apple devices for detailed metrics and performance trackings, like heart rate and real-time cadence. Plus there are lots of ways to stay connected to other members. The Here Now feature ignites some friendly competition and encouragement with other Peloton app members taking the same class. Virtually high-five your neighbor because we’re getting fit without breaking the bank!
Overall thoughts: If you like to mix up your fitness routine, Peloton makes a lot of sense. It delivers a lot for a lower monthly price, and the live classes are a really unique feature. The reviews tout how bug-free the app is, too.
Using apps for accountability and movement on the go can really work for some people, but you are your own best fitness tool. Real change in mental and physical health happens when we learn real habits that stick. These systems — and countless others — help us take the next right step forward — all at the convenience of your fingertips!
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