By Ty Collins
Quick question: what’s the hardest part of staying in shape? If you’re like most people trying to get fit, then staying motivated and on top of your routine might be the greatest obstacle in your path — even more so than putting in the time during those tough workouts). So let's get your foundational apps set up before we get into our list of personal trainer apps.
Now, the most direct and effective answer for getting into that workout groove is hiring a personal trainer — someone to manage the details of your fitness routine and stay on top of you so that you’ll stick to it. Since not all of us make the kind of money that takes, though, here are a few easy-to-use apps to help you start taking your training into your own hands.
Before you even start your workout, you’ve got to prepare so that you can make the most of it. These apps will put you in the best position to succeed and make it easier to stay on track with your daily workout sessions.
When it comes to fitness, consistency is key. Unfortunately, having to juggle your other responsibilities means that exercise often gets put on the back burner. You may find yourself falling into a routine of thinking you don’t have the time to work out, so why should you bother?
One way to break out of this mental trap is to start scheduling your workouts. With a workout schedule, you can block out time on a weekly basis to stay committed, and apps like Calendly make schedule creation as easy as pie.
Calendly can give you a top-down view of your days and help you juggle everything you’ve got going on. Once you can see your complete schedule at a glance, you’ll always be able to carve out a little time for exercise.
Calendly also makes it easy to coordinate your workout schedule with one or more other workout buddies. Ready to get some group fitness going? You can invite others to your sessions with ease. Calendly even integrates with video meeting tools so you can coordinate and conquer your team fitness goals at a distance.
You can’t work out right if you’re always tired, and you won’t see the full benefits of a hard session if you fail to get the right amount of rest. Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on both your physical and mental wellness. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule will help you function at your peak while amplifying the effects of diet and exercise.
Sleep Cycle can help you optimize your sleep schedule and squeeze the most out of your daily routine. With the app, you can track your sleeping patterns and set an alarm to wake you up gently during your lightest period of sleep, unlike with a traditional alarm that jolts you awake no matter how deeply you’re sleeping.
You’ll feel more rested as a result and be able to hit those workouts that much harder.
You’ve probably heard of just how amazing meditation is when it comes to supercharging your health and fitness. It can help you reduce stress and anxiety, increase your ability to deal with pain and even enhance your attention span.
What you may not have heard, though, is that you can optimize your meditation practice to work towards specific goals. That’s the promise with Meditation Studio, which features different meditation “collections” that are tailored to your personal needs and interests.
Maybe you’re after a better night’s sleep so you’ll have more energy for your workouts. Maybe you’re looking for that spark of inspiration that will get you off of a fitness plateau. No matter what your needs are, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for within this app, which brings the ultimate in customization to your meditation.
When it comes to having a companion for your workouts, your smartphone has come a long way since the early days. Now there are all sorts of specialized routines you can call on based upon different personal preferences. So, whether it’s strength training, cardio, or something else you’re looking to do, you can reliably find an app to help you out.
Let’s propose a hypothetical scenario. You want to get into running — maybe even try a 5K on for size — but you’ve been sedentary for so long that you’re not even sure how to start.
This is where C25K can work its magic, with a tailored-for-beginners training program designed to get you off the couch and in 5K-shape in just 8 weeks. Instead of throwing you right into the fire, this app eases you slowly into the running routine to maximize your results.
You’ll start off walking, switch to running and alternate back and forth until you get into the groove. Each transition is paired with a musical selection that’s hand-picked to maximize your motivation.
To top it off, C25K has a rich and welcoming community of users who will keep you inspired every step of the way. If this is your first foray into fitness, C25K stands out as a strong personal trainer app choice.
The health benefits of yoga can hardly be overstated. It’s also hard to exaggerate how stale doing those same old yoga poses day-in and day-out can become.
Daily Yoga may have the answer for you, with a whole library of classes taught by expert instructors and shot in stunning HD video. Accompanied by a video library of hundreds of poses for you to try out on your own, there’s no shortage of material here for you to enjoy, so the yoga blues should stay far away, even if you’re practicing every single day.
Daily Yoga treats yoga as less of an occasional activity and more as an entire lifestyle. Their “yoga as medicine” approach weaves the practice into your daily life. Once it’s there, you’ll be hard-pressed to go for very long without getting your daily dose and keeping yourself in shape.
General personal trainer apps are helpful, but if you’re a veteran weightlifter looking for something that will truly enhance your gains, you’re going to need something a bit more specialized.
Enter Strong, the intuitive workout tracker that helps you focus your training toward better results. Even if you just go for the free version, the ability to create your separate workouts and then check off your sets as you complete them is powerful. The app also handles the numbers and syncing with fitness trackers so you don’t have to.
If you decide to splurge for the pro version of this particular app, though, you’ll be in lifting heaven — provided you’re in the gym often enough to make use of all the advanced features. You’ll be able to save an unlimited number of workouts, access a plate calculator that helps you zero in on the precise weight you need for different exercises and even use a body measurement tracker so you can watch those key metrics over time.
If you aren’t eating right, you’ll just be tossing the majority of your hard work right out the window. Keeping your diet on track is difficult, but these apps will help you break down the mental barriers that are preventing you from eating right.
The concept of the food diary has long been central to many weight loss and nutritional goals. It helps you keep track of your eating habits and get a clear look at the nutrition of the foods you consume on a regular basis.
Fooducate brings the food diary concept into the digital realm, making it easy to track your dietary choices and caloric intake. Seeing your habits laid bare serves as motivation to change.
In addition to manually inputting items and receiving health information, Fooducate allows you to scan barcodes and gain instant access to pertinent health facts. They assign a letter grade to food choices based on quality, and there’s even a website where you can keep up with the community while getting the latest in recipes and diet tips. As if that wasn’t enough, the app even tracks your sleep, mood, and hunger levels and gives you personalized analysis based on that data.
For food tracking with a bit more simplicity, you’ll want to check out Foodility. Describing this program as “lightweight” might actually be an understatement, as it gets straight to the point in allowing you to create and organize your food journal without obsessing over calories or sweating those macros.
The Foodility app gives you multiple ways to organize and peruse your journal, offering daily and monthly overviews of your meals and activities along with food journal posts laid out in an album format. You can sync your data between devices, and after you’ve used it for a while, you can even produce reports and charts to visualize your eating and fitness habits.
Your water intake is just as important as food if you’re trying to maintain optimal fitness. Just like with every other element of your fitness journey, you’ll want to track how much water you’re consuming and make adjustments based on your progress.
The Waterlogged app can help. Simply keeping track of how much water you drink is just the tip of the iceberg with this particular program, however, as it’s got a number of impressive tricks up its sleeve.
For starters, Waterlogged makes logging water quick and easy. You snap a picture of your own drinking vessels, and Waterlogged will calculate the numbers once you inform it that you’ve had a glass. This allows you to keep a detailed account of your hydration levels as each day wears on.
Not content to stop there, Waterlogged also lets you set hydration goals and pushes you to achieve them. Don’t worry if you forget to drink — it’ll be sure to remind you.
A healthy body is only enhanced when commanded by a healthy mind. You can think of these apps as a gym session for your mental and emotional wellbeing, with each subsequent repetition putting you in a better position to be your fittest self.
What if mindfulness came in the form of a few easy exercises? While that might not quite be a reality yet, Happy Not Perfect gets close to delivering, with a science-backed approach crafted by therapists and other cognitive experts.
To start, the app leads you down a seven-step process that is tailor-made to make you happier. You select a mood that you’re feeling, and the app will guide you through taking a breather and virtually eliminating your woes.
Beyond that, though, HNP consists of a wide range of activities to help get your mind right, including a daily refresh game, interactive mind workouts and a few hundred guided mindfulness exercises — just to name a few. There’s method upon method here for relieving stress, so even if one isn’t the right fit for you, you’re sure to find another that’s up your alley.
For those times when you need a supportive ear to just listen to what you have to say, 7 Cups provides. It bills itself as “the world’s largest emotional support system.” To that end, it’s crafted an online therapy network with nearly 200 professional therapists and 300,000 trained listeners for you to call upon.
You can chat anonymously with one of their volunteers 24/7 — for free. If you need additional assistance that goes beyond a generous ear, you can also pay to receive some guidance from one of their licensed therapists. Whatever you choose, though, having someone around just to work through your issues will do wonders for your overall health.
Sometimes, improving your emotional health is as simple as writing down the things you have to be grateful for. There are definite benefits to expressing gratitude on a regular basis, and the Grateful app provides a way to create your own gratitude journal digitally.
The app will provide you with daily prompts and reminders to get your mind in gear and let you ponder what you have to be grateful for. Start logging those entries, and over time you’ll have your own personal catalog to reflect on — and use for future fitness inspiration.
Ty is the head of digital acquisition and content at Calendly.
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