The Best Smartphone Health and Fitness Apps

Choose and Record Workouts on Your iPhone or Smart Device

If you use your smartphone to work out, you've probably scrolled through the endless array of fitness apps available, wondering which ones are worth the time and money. What's the best iPhone app to record an elliptical workout? Is there an Android app to coach me when I run?

The right fitness app can give you the boost you need to get through your workouts, but the wrong one can leave you frustrated and short on cash. These exercise and fitness apps cover everything from strength training and yoga to weight loss and running and come highly recommended from health experts.

PumpOne Fitness Builder

PumpOne Fitness Builder
PumpOne

Price: Free
PumpOne's Fitness Builder is one of the best fitness apps out there with thousands of exercises and workouts to fit any equipment, fitness level, goals, and budget.

Standout Features
  • Workouts drawing from thousands of unique exercises and equipment including, weights, kettlebells, BOSU, foam roller, TRX, and more.
  • Search workouts by location (hotel, home, gym, etc.), goal (arms, abs, cardio, etc.) or keyword.
  • An exercise database with incredible variety. Some favorites: squat thrust to push up with a med ball and 180 swings with a kettlebell.
  • Videos of each exercise.
  • The ability to edit workouts or create your own.
  • Plus Access - You can pay a monthly fee to get access to more workouts, videos, printing abilities, and to receive workouts.

PumpOne also offers professional access levels, so trainers can create workouts for clients and they even have exercises and workouts for physical therapists. 

*Bonus - If you have an iPad, sign up for FitnessClass, an app that offers hundreds of fitness videos by well-known instructors like Cathe Friedrich and Chris Freytag.

MotionTraxx: Fitness Cardio Workouts, HIIT Training, and Elliptical Exercises

Price: $4.99 a month or $34.99 per year
Many exercisers are big fans of Deekron the Fitness DJ and Motion Traxx, which started out as a free Podcast offering walking, running and fitness workouts set to dance music at different BPMs. 

Deekron has taken things a giant step forward with this workout app that offers guided workouts for the treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical trainer and more.

Standout Features
  • Great instructors - Each workout is taught by world-class trainers like Amy Dixon and Paul Katami, so you get great cuing and motivation.
  • ActionSync soundtracks are designed specifically for each workout so the music matches the intensity. This is one of the best features of MotionTraxx; the music is what drives you to keep going.
  • Lots of great HIIT workouts - They have workouts for every cardio machine or activity you can think of and they even include workouts from Fitness and Shape Magazine as well as BowFlex.
  • Easy to use - The interface is simple. You choose the machine or workout, choose how much time you have (20, 40, or 60 minutes) and you're ready to go.
  • Great visuals - The screen shows the progression of your workout using a circle to represent each interval. You can also follow your progress along the bottom of the screen, viewing the upcoming intervals.

Deekron adds workouts on a regular basis, so there's always something new to try. If we had any dream features, it would be the ability to mix and match to create your own workouts. 

NEOU

Price: Free two-week introductory period. Monthly fee of 12.99/month afterward

On-demand workout classes streamed to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Exercise on the go, in your hotel room, or in the privacy of your own home.

Standout Features
  • New classes added frequently so that you have a huge library of formats and class lengths to choose from
  • Work out on your own time for five minutes or 60 minutes based on your schedule.
  • Classes are provided for exercisers at all fitness levels and with different goals.
  • Use equipment that you already have.

If you love classes but hate the hassle of going to the gym, this app is for you.

BeatBurn Treadmill/Outdoor Trainer

Price: $3.99
Interval workouts are incredibly popular and effective, and they're much easier to do when you have a program to follow, something BeatBurn offers in a unique way, using what they call BEAT-SYNC technology, which actually matches the music to your pace, which is pretty incredible.

More Standout Features
  • BeatBurn delivers BEAT-SYNC technology, which changes the pace of the music to match your pace.
  • Guided interval workouts - A trainer guides you through the workout, keeping you going with motivational pep talks, like "Three more intervals, let's go!"
  • Track your speed, incline, distance, and calories. You can also control your workout, changing the pace of the workout at any time if things are going too fast or too slow.
  • Compatible with Apple's HealthKit on iPhone

BeatBurn has more fitness apps as well, including BeatBurn Elliptical Trainer,  Tempo Magic Pro, and more. 

Looking for one-on-one or small group coaching? Consider Charge Running App an app that offers live coached running workouts from where ever you are.

Daily Workout Apps

Price: Free

Daniel Miller's Daily Workout apps are about as simple and straightforward as you can get. The workouts include classic moves - squats, lunges, overhead presses, crunches, etc., and a very quiet video of an exerciser performing the move. There's a timer at the top that counts down from 60 to 30 seconds depending on the length you've chosen and you can listen to your own music while you use the app.

Standout Features
  • 10 different workouts ranging from 5 to 10 minutes
  • 10 to 30 minutes of randomized total body workouts
  • Videos that show how to do each exercise
  • An onscreen timer as well as instructions
  • Integrates with the Apple HealthKit
  • In the paid version, you get more exercises and workout routines and you also get Pilates and kettlebell exercises. You can make custom workouts in the paid version, it's ad-free and you can watch the videos in landscape mode.

Download the free versions, which include: Daily Workouts, Daily Ab Workout, Daily Butt Workout, Daily Arm Workout, Daily Leg Workout, Daily Cardio Workout, and Simply Yoga. 

DailyBurn Video Workouts

Daily Burn screen
Daily Burn

Price:12.99/month, free 30-day trial

DailyBurn has come a long way, offering a comprehensive app with tons of great extras.

Standout Features
  • A new Daily Burn workout every day. You can watch it live at 9 am ET or you can watch it on demand for 24 hours
  • Over 150 workouts that cover everything from yoga and cardio to kickboxing and circuit training
  • Access your workouts on any device
  • Works with Apple HealthKit
  • Unlimited access to videos as well as a variety of training programs

What really stands out about DailyBurn is the variety of workouts and programs. It fits every fitness level and, if you follow a program, it gives you all your workouts for the week. This is a great buy for home or traveling exercisers who want lots of variety.

Bodyweight: Your Own Gym

Bodyweight Training screen
Paige Waehner

Price: $4.99
This app is one of the more unusual fitness apps out there, offering something completely different. You won't see traditional strength training routines (e.g., three sets of squats, etc.) but a huge variety of exercises and training methods, all requiring no equipment or equipment you can find around the house.

Standout Features
  • Over 200 exercises that don't require any equipment
  • A variety of workout options - Workouts range from 2 minutes to 36 minutes, so you can find something no matter how busy you are
  • Integration with Apple's Health app, Healthkit
  • Also includes a variety of 10-week fitness programs
  • App includes voice prompts and video instruction
  • In-app purchases include new workouts and videos
  • Workouts include Tabatas, supersets, stappers, intervals and ladders. Some of these can get pretty complicated. For example, doing a workout in a 'ladder' format means performing 4 exercises for a 7.5 minute set in which you do one rep, rest, then two reps, rest, repeating that and going up the ladder and then down.

There are truly an endless number of options for using this app, sometimes to the point of confusion, but it's a great choice for people who want something completely different and workouts you can do anytime, anywhere.

Fitness Buddy

Price: Free or Premium for $4.99

This app is great for people who are really into strength training and like to track their workouts. The free version offers over 400 exercises with animations and descriptions as well as a few workouts, but the premium version is the way to go if you want the serious goods.

Standout Features
  • Over 1700 exercises with descriptions and HD videos
  • Exercises using all the best equipment like barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, medicine balls, machines, and stability balls
  • Easy to find exercises - You can search by body part: core, lower body, chest, shoulders, etc.
  • The ability to add your own custom moves and favorite exercises
  • More than 75 routines targeting specific goals like building muscle, losing weight, etc.
  • The ability to build your own workouts and track your vital statistics

For the price, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this one.

RunKeeper

RunKeeper screen
RunKeeper

Price: Free version and In-app purchases with premium tools

If you're into tracking your running, walking or cycling workouts, RunKeeper can tell you how far you went, how fast you went and how long it took you to get there. 

Standout Features
  • Ability to track speed, pace and elevation
  • Record your route and view it on a map
  • View a history of workouts
  • See your workouts online and share them with friends
  • Listen to music during workouts and change tracks without leaving the application
  • Enter a target pace and get cues on whether you are ahead/behind that pace

If you're an avid runner, consider getting the pro version which has a lot more bells and whistles such as prescribed workouts for your running level, schedule, and even the weather. 

Sworkit

Sworkit screens on different devices
Sworkit

Price: Free

Sworkit is another great workout app offering a little more control over your workouts. You can pick your own exercises and make custom workouts, mixing and matching different types of exercise.

Standout Features
  • Easily create your own workouts, choosing from strength, cardio, yoga, and stretching. You can also workout from 5 to 60 minutes.
  • The workouts are shown with easy to follow videos of each exercise and you have the ability to fast forward or go back
  • A variety of strength, cardio, yoga and stretching workouts to choose from, if you don't want to make your own
  • Try to Pro version and you get ad-free workouts, low impact exercises for beginners or seniors, set custom exercise intervals (in the free version, everything is 30 seconds), save custom workouts, new pre-built workouts and the "Ask a Trainer" feature.

The app has a clean look and feel, and the free version gives you quite a bit to work with.

Lose It!

Price: Free

This is not really a workout app, but it deserves to be included because it's pretty cool. As free weight loss tracking apps go, you can't go wrong with Lose It. It's easy to use and offers tons of feedback for anyone wanting to lose weight. 

Standout Features
  • An estimate of the calories required to lose weight based on your goal (from 0 to 2 lbs a week)
  • The ability to enter foods using a comprehensive database
  • An exercise database to calculate calories burned
  • A chart that shows your daily calorie budget—calories eaten, burned, and how many more you have left
  • You can track nutrients (fat, carbs, fiber, etc.) and add new foods to the database
  • View your progress by the day or week.

Lose It! is a great resource and, best of all, it's free.

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