Look, we were totally well intentioned when we signed up for that gym membership on Jan. 1 — but now that we haven't stepped foot in the building for the past three months, we feel like we might as well be flushing our hard-earned money down the toilet. Getting a membership seemed like a great idea in theory, it's just that we can think of about a million reasons not to go.
And now we've got six more amazing reasons. Yup, these six apps are super cheap (even free) and help us get a great workout at home. If lack of time or feeling intimidated by all the meatheads are two of your favorite excuses not to exercise, these apps will fix all that.
Aaptiv is seriously the shizz when it comes to at-home workouts. They offer tons of classes that stream straight into your phone. Want to take a yoga class? Boom, Aaptiv. Want to do some body weight exercises? Aaptiv has got ya. You can even take a spin class or meditate.
It does cost $9.99 a month, but when you consider how much unlimited spin and yoga classes in a studio are, that price is super low.
Users say: "Having a trainer right in your ear, paired with playlists of music I love — there's truly nothing like it. I've never been so excited to workout."
Price: Free to download/$9.99 a month
1. Total Couch to 5K
Who needs a running coach when you have your own pocket trainer? With the Couch to 5K app you have access to a complete nine-week running plan that will get you prepped and ready for your first 5K. You can use the app to map your runs, share your progress through social media and track your times. Stats are available for estimated calorie burn and projected 5K times based on your daily training. One of the best features is that the app is supplemented by audio or voice cues that actually talk you through each run.
Users say: "I use this app for speed training. I highly recommend this if you are a beginner. I started running by doing walk/jog intervals. Before I knew it I could jog a mile which grew into three miles. In October I ran my first 10k without walking!"
2. 7 Minute Workout
In the world of quickie trainer apps, 7 Minute Workout is kind of a big deal, with literally hundreds of user reviews to back it. Just as the name suggests, the app focuses on improving fitness in as little as seven minutes a day. The 7 Minute Workout has been featured in The New York Times and the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal. Each seven-minute “intense training” set is designed to get your heart pumping using only your body weight and a chair. This makes the short power-burst workout (recommended to perform in three sets total) ideal for almost anyone who doesn’t have the time or the money to hit the gym. It's available on iTunes and Google Play.
Users say: "I used this app to change up my routine. The commands, timing and built in how-to videos were so helpful to keep me on track, motivated and using proper form and technique!"
Next Up: Tabata FREE
Originally published March 2013. Updated September 2017.
3. Tabata FREE
Tabata workouts are a hot trend, and why wouldn't they be? A four-minute workout that's as effective as it is fast is like the Holy Grail of fitness. The trick to mastering a true Tabata routine is to properly manage time. With eight rounds of exercise alternating between 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, you have to have the right timer. Tabata FREE is your solution. Pre-programmed to time your Tabata intervals, you'll never have to worry about watching a clock or resetting your timer. It truly makes Tabata effortless... except for the whole exercise part. Available on iTunes and Google Play.
Users say: "Does exactly what you need it to. I love the way it uses different colors for rest/work cycles. Only wish you could personalize the sounds."
When you can't make it to the yoga studio or if you just want to learn the basics without the pressure of wandering eyes in class, this app provides tutorials for almost 100 poses and mudras. The basic moves are explained and accompanied by photos, and you can also access a daily audio lesson for the "pose of the day." If you're new to yoga and need a little more help sorting through all the options, there's a Find a Pose feature that allows you to sort poses by common need, like poses that help increase energy or poses that aid in weight loss. Available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and Microsoft.
Users say: "As a beginner yoga student, I like having an easy, handy guide to remind me how the poses I learned in class worked."
Next Up: Six Week Training
5. Six Week Training
Wow your friends and family by cranking out 100 pushups or killing 200 squats. Sound impossible? Not with the Six Week Training app. Rated almost five stars with more than 500 reviews, you know this app delivers the goods. Just choose your challenge, perform an initial test and start the program geared to your fitness level. To make it easy on you, the app allows you to schedule workout reminders, charting your results to keep you on track to meet your goal. After weeks two, four and five, you can choose to take a periodic progress test to ensure that you're always training at the appropriate level. Available on Microsoft.
Users say: "I really like the design and features of the app. Pick a single exercise or do quick rotations with SuperSet. Great way to get started on a workout plan, especially with the built in reminder settings."
Bonus: 3 best apps for nutrition
- My Fitness Pal: With a database of thousands of foods, My Fitness Pal is perfect for helping you make smart food decisions when at home or at a restaurant.
- Food Diary: If you bite it, you write it! Use the Food Diary app to track your food intake.
- In Season: Always choose the freshest, most nutrient-dense produce by shopping with In Season. You'll never wonder whether rhubarb is a summer or winter vegetable again.