Seven great workout apps that help keep you fit
Some days you just can’t make it to the gym or studio. So why not let your smart device be your trainer? These apps can take you through various kinds of workouts wherever you happen to be.
Authentic Yoga with Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles
Fit for: Ambitious yoga beginners to experienced yogis.
What it is: Spiritual guru Deepak Chopra’s instruction and yoga pro Tara Stiles’ physical examples guide users through basic poses as well as advanced routines. The developer says the new version of this app slows the pace down, so it’s easier to follow.
Works on: Apple and Android, $2.
Fit for: Beginning runners.
What it is: C25K stands for couch to 5 kilometers, and its aim is to help novices get ready for a race in eight weeks. The easy-to-follow training plan has voice alerts that tell you when to warm up, walk, run, and cool down—and when to give it the final push.
Works on: Apple and Android, free (a $1.99 version provides more exercises and no ads).
Fit for: People on the move.
What it is: CrossFit Travel is designed to help you stay on course while on the road. All workouts (aside from running) are designed for small spaces, such as a hotel room or a bedroom. Choose from more than 120 Workouts of the Day and tailor them to your preferences.
Works on: Android, $2.
Daily Arm Workout
Fit for: Toning up.
What it is: Daily Arm Workout, as well as the Daily Butt, Cardio, and Leg Workout apps, are loaded with video instructions for easy-to-follow moves to tone a particular body part that needs attention. Each app has short routines that require little or no equipment so that you can get fit anywhere.
Works on: Apple and Android, free (a $1 version provides more exercises and no ads).
Kettlebell Training: The Basics
Fit for: People who hate traditional weight lifting.
What it is: This app is an inexpensive way to have a certified personal trainer who specializes in kettlebells show you how to use those heavy little balls. They’re an alternative to lifting traditional barbell-type weights. (You can buy kettlebells starting around $12 at sporting-goods stores and mass retailers.) Begin with the basics, such as how heavy your kettlebell should be, then learn exercises and go through workout routines that help tone and strengthen you all over. First-timers might want to start out with the Kettlebell Safety video.
Works on: Apple, $2.
Nike Training Club
Fit for: Anyone with fitness goals (but designed for women).
What it is: Pros such as Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson are featured in the 100-plus workouts to help you meet your goals, whether you want to get lean, get toned, or get strong. Jump-start your day with targeted 15-minute workouts.
Works on: Apple, free.
Fit for: Busy people who want to stretch and de-stress.
What it is: This app offers 27 yoga sessions, based on your choices of type, difficulty, and duration. Just set your smart phone in front of your mat, and voice and video instructions guide you through every pose, just as though you were in a class. Better yet, if you have an Apple device and Apple TV, you can use AirPlay to display the video on your TV. The app also contains 145 illustrated poses so that you can check your form, and a log to help you track your progress.
Works on: Apple and Android, $3.
Get more tips and news on healthy living. And before you buy a new smart phone or tablet to run these apps on, be sure to check our buying guides and Ratings.
This story originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Consumer Reports’ ShopSmart magazine.