The 5 Best Fitness Apps To Help You Get In Shape
Some of us just can't squeeze a coach into our budget. These apps may not replace a professional, but will keep you honest

October 18, 2017

Between work and family commitments, it can be hard to summon the motivation to keep up with a fitness routine.

But at the end of the day, it’s all in your hands—specifically, your phone. A recent Stanford study finds that apps that inspire friendly competition can motivate you to exercise more. Here are five to get you started.

Fitness App: Fitocracy

The basic free version of Fitocracy comes with a community feed, helpful forums, and access to an ever-growing library of workouts.

Work your way through them—and save up to eight on your phone—as the super-engaged community cheers you on, and in the process you’ll unlock achievement badges to keep you motivated.

For an extra 20 bucks a month, you can receive personalised coaching and nutrition guidance, and by upgrading to Hero status (R70 per month), in addition to being able to save unlimited workouts, you’ll gain the (slightly addictive) ability to challenge other users to a duel—a fitness challenge of your choosing.

Fitness App: Bodyspace

With BodySpace, you can create a profile, add friends, set goals, upload progress photos (if you want), and churn through home and gym workouts provided by the app.

Bodyspace will map your progress while allowing you to follow what everyone else is doing in a Facebook-like feed. The community of users also rates favourite workouts, so you’ll always know what people are finding to be effective, and you can show off all that hard work with a post-workout “Swelfie.” (That’s a swole selfie.)

Fitness App: PumpUp

Can’t run a mile without Insta-bragging your accomplishment? PumpUp looks and feels a lot like Instagram, but it’s built with fitness in its DNA.

Three different feeds let you view the posts from the people you follow, as well as the newest and most popular posts from inspiring users you haven’t met yet, complete with all the motivating hashtags and positive reinforcement you can handle.

The idea isn’t just to brag, of course. PumpUp makes it easy for you to connect with users who share similar goals.

And your thumbs won’t be the only things working. The app comes with a repertoire of video workouts that you can follow along with wherever you are, along with motivational voice coaching to pull you through that last set of burpees.

Fitness App: MeetUp

You might think of Meetup as just an app to grow your craft beer, book club, or Magic: The Gathering network.

Well, yeah—you can use it for any of those endeavours. But with over 28 million members in 177 countries, there’s also some serious #fitfam potential in there.

With a dedicated sports and fitness channel, you can find anything from a running group in your neighbourhood to co-ed soccer leagues. And because these groups are public, nobody will act surprised when you show up.

Simply join a group and hop on the bandwagon.

Fitness App: Strava

Strava is far and away the most popular workout app for runners and cyclists, and for good reason.

It has fantastic GPS tracking and map routing, allowing you to upload and share your favourite routes and try out others’.

The app also boasts easy integration with third-party hardware you already own (fitness trackers, bicycle computers, etc.) to pull a spectrum of metrics, including power, to give you a fuller picture of your progress than many other apps.

But Strava’s social component is where its real appeal lies. With over eight million like-minded users, you can participate in challenges to outrun or out-cycle your friends (or yourself) on a specific map, compare achievements, and even see how your results stack up against pro athletes.