It’s not always convenient to go to the gym. There are occasions when we truly don’t have time, without this just being another excuse to avoid going! So, I’ve found it’s always great to have something on hand that can be done wherever and whenever, without any equipment required. Of course, it comes from the device that most of our lives revolve around these days; the mobile phone. The app store is currently overflowing with workout apps, all tailored towards different fitness goals and it’s hard to know which of them to choose, especially if they’re not free. Nevertheless, I have found many of them to be very useful and some have become my go-tos whenever I have little time to exercise, or want to change up my workout routine.
I want to share my favourites here and explain why they have worked for me. Most of them do begin at a fairly basic level, so if you’re a hardcore fitness fanatic and are looking for an intense workout, these may not be best suited to you. Yet, like most things you can tailor them to your own ability. I just want to emphasise that this selection is my no means extensive, and I’m sure there are plenty more great fitness apps out there. However, these are the ones I recommend based on my own experience.
5K RUNNER – COUCH TO 5K PRO
Summary: An 8 week programme of 3 runs per week that trains you to run 5K by the end. Plug your headphones in and receive instructions of when to walk or run, be told when you’ve reach the halfway point and receive some motivation to keep you going. (Price: £2.29 – although there is a free version).
I’m currently following this app religiously, determined that I will soon be able to run 5K in under 30 minutes. This is never going to break any records but it’s a personal goal of mine. Before this, I would occasionally run on the treadmill for a bit, get bored and do something else, but I’ve always wanted to get into running. I also used to be terrified of running in public. However, this app along with a new pair of running trainers changed me completely, and I’ve really been enjoying going on runs both outside and in the gym. That’s what makes Couch to 5K so easy to commit to, because it’s motivating and flexible. You choose the days you want to run on and if you can only manage two runs that week, it’s easy to do four the next. I completed the first few weeks without much trouble, getting my heart rate up but not in a state of collapse by the time I’d finished. Over the weeks I’ve been alternating between running outside and going to the gym, depending on my schedule and the weather! It tracks your route and tells you how many calories you’ve burnt which is useful however, this feature obviously doesn’t function properly if you run on a treadmill. Everyday also provides an inspirational quote, which may seem really cheesy but some of them do make you smile. Watch this space for when I complete my 5K goal (hopefully!)
7 MINUTE WORKOUT
Summary: A short workout composed of twelve moves, each for thirty seconds, with ten second intervals between. No equipment is needed, there are videos to show you how to do the moves and instructions are given during the workout. (Price: £0.79)
This is my go-to workout when I have a few spare minutes. I find it’s particularly easy to do in the morning, as it can be done in the comfort of your own home before jumping in the shower. You get out what you put in with the seven minute workout – the more effort you give, the more benefits you’ll see. So for example, I like to add weights to some of the moves such as squats, lunges and side planks, for extra intensity. Also, it’s not like the app knows which move you’re doing, therefore I like to change it up sometimes by including other moves. For example, I might do burpees instead of high knees running in place. There are also workout bonus packs which are free if you complete any of the achievements however, I find the goals are not suited to me and how I use the app. They range from doing the 7 minute workout everyday for 2 weeks to everyday for 2 months and as I said, I just like to do this routine when I’m short for time, not as my daily workout. Yet, the additional workouts can be purchased too. This is an app to consider if you’re looking for a quick, convenient workout!
Summary: An app that allows you to tailor your workout depending on which areas you want to target and how long you have to exercise. It varies from strength to cardio, yoga to stretching and even has specifically designed workouts, as well as giving you the option to compose your own. Instructions and videos are shown during the workouts. (Price: free!)
Weirdly, even though this one is much more extensive than the 7 minute workout, and has endless variations, I tend to use the 7 minute work out more. I think it’s because I tend to do quick workouts at home and more intense workouts at the gym. But that’s the great thing about Swork It, as it allows you adjust the time you want to work out for depending on your requirements, and I love how you can choose between strength or cardio. So many different moves are included therefore, unlike the 7 minute workout, you’ll never get bored or know which move is coming next. It also has a stretching section, meaning it’s useful to do before or after a workout. The final section includes a yoga option which, considering I’m not really a fan of yoga classes (I just don’t think they’re calming at all) I find is something that’s really nice to do at home. I’d say the strength of this app is its variety and providing inspiration for your workouts.
These are the three apps that I use most regularly, and I’m playing trial and error with a few others. With busy lives, workout apps are just so handy and these ones have the benefit of being really versatile. For me, what I like about these apps is that they almost act as a fitness class in that they add a much-needed structure, but you don’t have loads of other people around you and there’s no special effort required.
Please let me know if you try them, or if you have any other workout app recommendations!