If you’re trying to get in shape, your smartphone can be a powerful workout tool. But you need to choose wisely: many fitness apps are stuffed with workout videos and plans that can quickly become overwhelming, and some require a monthly subscription fee that adds up over time.
The best workout app for you will depend on what type of fitness you’re into, your exercise goals and what equipment you have at home. You can find a variety of free or inexpensive apps, as well as more comprehensive tools that cost a bit more but are worth the investment for the support they offer.
For instance, a popular free app, FitNotes, lets you track all types of exercises—weights, yoga, running and even walking or cycling. It also has a workout planner, calendar and restore and backup options, and is easy to use on most phones. For a few dollars more, you can upgrade to the pro version that adds a calendar function and allows you to customize your experience.
A lot of the best workout apps have a community element that helps you stay motivated, which is important since working out at home can feel isolating sometimes. Many of these apps feature live group classes, and some have robust social media-style communities where you can connect with other users and share your progress.
Nike Training Club, for example, has more than 400 workouts, with options ranging from cardio to strength training and bodyweight exercises to those that require specialized equipment. Its content is curated by expert trainers and is updated frequently, so there’s always something new to try. And the app automatically adjusts your plan based on how hard you work out, so it won’t recommend an arduous session if you have a health issue like cardiovascular disease.
If you’re looking for a workout app that offers a bit more structure, consider Strong, which offers a personalized workout plan based on your fitness level and workout goals. Its workouts include high-intensity and low-intensity sessions, and you can pair it with wearables to track your metrics like heart rate and GPS locations. It also has built-in support for the Apple Watch, which makes it even easier to stay on track.
Peloton, the company that made its name with its colorful stationary bikes and treadmills, has a workout app of its own with thousands of interactive classes that will help you strengthen, sculpt and get that post-Peloton buzz. The app’s instructors are energetic and motivating, and the workouts are suited for a range of abilities.
You can also track your fitness in the free Runtastic app, which works with most running-specific wearables, including the Apple Watch. The app acts as your personal trainer, keeping track of all your running metrics—how far you’ve gone, your pace, your heart rate and more. The app can even help you improve your speed and performance by analyzing the data from past runs, and it can be used to train for specific races.