Best Workout Apps

Updated June 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

36 Models Considered
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60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best workout apps

It’s easy to set fitness goals but achieving them is another story — and it’s not always for lack of trying. With busy schedules or lack of access to gym equipment, it’s hard to get fit without time or resources. Fortunately, a workout app can help.

Workout apps offer a tailored approach to fitness through a diverse assortment of features, whether it’s streaming classes, working with a trainer, or accessing daily weightlifting routines. It’s common for workout apps to integrate approaches: many offer nutritional plans that support the physical aspects of fitness. Some workout apps allow you to pair with a fitness tracker or home gym equipment to track your progress in real time.

If you’re looking for a new way to lose weight, build muscle mass, or even train for a marathon, a fitness app can give you the support you need to achieve your fitness goals. Here’s everything you need to know to choose the best workout app for your lifestyle.

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Before beginning any new fitness routine, including a new workout app, it’s recommended to speak with your doctor — especially if you’re currently managing health conditions.

Key considerations

Time

One of the top reasons people turn to workout apps is convenience. Gyms and studios have limited hours, but workout apps are available 24/7. So regardless of your work or school schedule, you can work around it with a workout app.

Some apps categorize workouts based on the amount of time it takes to complete them. With these, you can find a variety of five-minute stretching routines, hour-long cardio classes, and other options in between.

Approach

Workout apps fall into two categories: fitness-only apps and integrated fitness apps. Fitness-only apps focus on exercise. Some focus heavily on weight training while others are class-oriented. Fitness-only apps are ideal if you’re only looking for a physical component to fitness — especially if you’ve already established sustainable nutrition goals.

Integrated fitness apps involve a balanced approach by focusing on exercise as well as nutrition. These apps offer resources on healthy eating to support your fitness routine. Depending on the workout app, they can assist in meal planning, recipes, or making macro adjustments. Some apps help you follow specific diets, such as keto, paleo, diabetic-friendly, or plant-based.

App compatibility

Nowadays, workout apps aren’t limited to smartphones. Many can be accessed on other devices or smart TVs. Some workout apps are compatible with smart exercise equipment, such as indoor bikes, ellipticals, and rowing machines.

Before you sign up for a workout app, it's strongly recommended that you determine whether workout apps are compatible across all your devices. While many work on both iOS and Android, some are available on only one of them.

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Features

Streaming classes

Workout apps that offer streaming classes deliver a studio-quality experience in the comfort of your home. Classes are either live or pre-recorded. They’re ideal for individuals who prefer the group fitness atmosphere as opposed to one-on-one training. Some of the most popular streamed classes are dance fitness, HIIT, yoga, and spin.

Weight training

There are countless ways workout apps can help with weight training. Depending on the app’s design, weight training exercises can be displayed through images or videos. The visual aspect of this feature helps individuals at all levels of weight training learn how to lift safely by developing good form.

In some workout apps, weight training is presented through games or challenges. By completing them, you’re able to unlock additional content. Other apps offer a highly specialized approach to weightlifting. With these, users are instructed in long-term routines that ultimately progress to lifting heavier weights.

One-on-one virtual training

One-on-one training takes a variety of forms in fitness apps. In virtual training sessions, people get real-time feedback from personal trainers. This is recommended for individuals who need highly personalized support or feedback. In some workout apps, you can work with the same trainer every session; in others, you connect with any available trainer at that time.

One-on-one nutritional support

Nutritional coaching is another form of one-on-one training. Here, you’re able to speak with a dietician or nutritional coach to develop sustainable healthy eating habits. They’re also able to help you break through weight loss or weight gain plateaus by recommending caloric or macro adjustments.

It should be noted that nutritional coaches and dieticians aren’t there to help you strictly “diet.” Rather, these professionals provide support to make sure you’re on the right track to eating nutrient-dense foods and well-rounded meals that provide enough energy to fuel workouts.

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Did You Know?
Workout apps are ideal for business travelers with a penchant for health and wellness. Since they’re on the road often, a workout app lets them stay fit and active no matter where they are.
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Equipment investment for workout apps


Here are a few popular pieces of equipment you may need to pick up:

Mat: Clever Yoga Non-Slip Mat
Invest in a mat to do floor-based exercises with your workout app, like this one from Clever You. It’s textured on both sides, so it won’t slip and slide away from you. The mat is non-toxic and latex-free.

Balance ball: Live Infinitely Exercise Ball
If you’re easing into ab exercises with your workout app, invest in an exercise ball. This one by Live Infinitely comes with its own hand pump. It’s made with professional-grade PVC and supports up to 2,200 pounds.

Kettlebell: Yes4All Kettlebell
Kick up the difficulty of a strength training class by using kettlebells. These are made with a thick vinyl coating to protect floors and reduce noise. Choose from five weight options, starting at 10 pounds.
 

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Did You Know?
Many workout apps can be downloaded to streaming devices, such as Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, or Chromecast.
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Workout app prices

While there are plenty of free workout apps, those with advanced features charge subscription fees. Because workout apps are in constant competition with one another, they stay within the same price bracket. However, content offerings and approaches vary considerably. 

Generally speaking, workout apps cost between $59 and $99 per month. If you sign up for a six-month or one-year membership through the plan, the price can drop to as little as $10 to $60 per month when you pay in advance. If you’re truly on a budget, though, you’re able to sign up for select features of a workout app, in which you might pay as little as $10 to $25 per month for access.

Tips
 

  • Take advantage of free trials. Many workout apps offer limited access to their platforms through free trials. It’s worth giving them a spin to learn what they have to offer and to determine whether they’re truly convenient and user-friendly.
  • Sign up with a friend. Even if you can’t physically join a friend at a studio or gym, consider signing up for a workout app together. That way, you can be “gym buddies” from a distance by holding one another accountable with fitness goals.
  • Establish a schedule. A workout app is convenient, but it doesn’t help much if you don’t make time for exercise. Carve out time on a daily or weekly basis for workouts, and schedule them in your professional and personal calendars.
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Even though you’re working out at home, it’s best to wear appropriate footwear while you exercise with your workout app. Working out barefoot for medium- or high-impact classes can be too hard on your feet and joints.

FAQ

Q. Do workout apps really hire professionals?

A. Most workout apps hire personal trainers that hold ACSM, NCSA, ACE, or NASM certifications, among others. Many fitness instructors that you’ll see in streaming classes hold certifications or licenses in order to teach certain classes, such as Tabata, Pilates, or yoga. Those that provide access to nutritional coaching often hire registered dieticians (RDs), who hold bachelor’s degrees in nutrition.

Q. How do I speak to personal trainers and nutrition coaches in workout apps?

A. Most workout apps have a feature where you can video chat with trainers or coaches, though many apps let you connect via phone call. Certain apps allow in-app messaging with these professionals, while others let you email them.

Q. I’m not very good in the kitchen, so would a workout app with nutritional coaching teach me how to cook?

A. The apps won’t teach you how to cook, but they will provide recipes and meal suggestions accordingly. Quick and easy meals, for example, involve fewer ingredients and minimal prep time, making them highly approachable for novice cooks. Trainers and coaches often provide cooking tips to streamline the overall meal preparation process, too.

Q. Can kids use workout apps?

A. Most workout apps are designed for adults and not kids for safety reasons. With that said, many teenagers, including athletes, enjoy using workout apps. It’s also incredibly convenient for parents and teens alike, especially since it cuts down on daily car trips to the studio or gym.

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