Fitness Apps for iPhone Sworkit vs MyFitnessPal vs RunKeeper ... and 3 more
Edited by Jasmin, Eng, Maria Quinney, Alma
Long gone are the days when going to the gym was the best and most popular way to get in shape. Thank goodness for that. While the routine of frequenting a gym or health center may be beneficial for some, it's just not something that works for everyone. Busy schedules can prevent the necessary regular trips there, membership and class fees can be too expensive, and the idea of exercising in public is simply not appealing to many people. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives.
Of course, activities, walking, running, cycling, and doing exercise routines in the comfort of your own home, have always been an option. But now, with the numerous iPhone fitness apps available, you can get the features and advantages of a gym and personal trainer without the actual gym or personal trainer. The 6 apps outlined below are perfect if you're ready to take charge of your physical health, track your workout goals and progress, and get fit on your own schedule.
Method 1: Sworkit
- 1How it Works. Sworkit is a workout-on-demand app that helps you create custom fitness plans; so you can focus on the kinds of exercises you enjoy and skip the stuff you don't.Advertisement
- 2Pricing/Upgrades. Free, with subscription options at $7.99 per month or $59.99 per year. The subscriptions give you access to even more exercises, guided workouts, communication with professional trainers, and more.Advertisement
- Offers a wide variety of exercises that can be done almost anywhere and with no equipment necessary.
- Personalize a six-week program based on your goals; are you looking to be leaner, fitter, stronger, or a mix?
- Choose from several premade workout plans to help get you started.
- Watch helpful videos of every exercise form offered (stretching, yoga, Pilates, strength training, and cardio) so you can be sure you're doing them properly and safely.
- Create a routine that will work in your schedule, even when you only have 10 minutes to spare.
- Plans available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
- Integrated with Apple Health.
- Free version is full of ads.
- 5Verdict. Sworkit is the perfect app for a variety of different fitness enthusiasts. From those who've grown tired of the gym and want to take more control over their exercise routines, to someone just getting started who prefers the comfort of their own home but still needs a little guidance. Download here.
Method 2: MyFitnessPal
- 1How it Works. MyFitnessPal is a calorie counter, food and exercise journal all-in-one app. The app provides a quick and easy way to stay on top of your dietary habits and help you achieve your weight goals.Advertisement
- 2Pricing/Upgrades. Free, with optional upgrades. Premium subscriptions are $9.99 per month or $49.99 per year and give you access to a wide variety of content including food analysis, goal setting by meal and day, file export, and much more.
- Caloric intake recommendations and other goals are based on your personal profile that includes height, weight, gender, lifestyle, and specific health issues. It's easy to update this profile at any time.
- Nutritional information on over 5 million foods and drink is searchable in the food database. You can also use the barcode scanner to track store-bought foods.
- Saves frequently added foods for easier logging.
- Import recipes you've used directly from your Internet browser.
- Provides a built-in step tracker.
- Tracks all major nutrients; protein, fat, carbs, sugar, fiber, cholesterol, and more.
- Connect with a community of people using the app to stay motivated and inspired.
- Integrated with many other health apps including Apple Health, Vida, and Fitbit.
- Does not work offline.
- Calorie counting isn't always the most effective way to make healthy dietary choices.
- 5Verdict. Though MyFitnessPal is limited in what it can offer in terms of exercise and dietary plans, it well exceeds what other apps can offer in terms of nutritional information on specific foods. It's also one of the most thorough ways of keeping a digital food journal. The free version of this app is all you need when pairing it with more in-depth health and fitness trackers. Download here.
Method 3: RunKeeper
- 1How it Works. RunKeeper uses the iPhone's built-in GPS to track and display your run's mileage, pace, and speed, as well as your calorie burn. It sends audio updates along the way to keep you motivated and inspired.
- Creates a training calendar to help you stay on top of your schedule.
- Map your own route, or search for pre-planned ones to take when you want to try something new or you're in an unfamiliar area.
- Set personalized goals and track your progress over time.
- Provides beginner training plans for running and walking.
- Works with your iTunes library and Spotify playlists to bring you music while you run.
- Tracks a number of different cardio-focused workouts such as walking, jogging, yoga, elliptical, and treadmill. It even calculates cycling speed.
- Syncs with Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Pebble.
- As with any app that requires GPS, it may not work as well in areas with a poor signal.
Method 4: Fitocracy
- 1How it Works. Fitocracy aims to make exercising just as fun as gaming. The app motivates you to keep up a regular fitness routine by applying certain addictive elements of gaming (earning points, unlocking achievements, and leveling up) to your real life workouts.
- 2Pricing/Upgrades. Free, with the option to pay just $1 a day for coaching. There's also the Hero Account ($4.99 per month or $44.99 for the year) where you get access to weekly insights, unlimited routines, interaction with other app users (you can challenge other to duels,) and more.
- Get personalized workout recommendations based on your goals; weight loss, strength training, or endurance training.
- Earn points by completing quests. For example, the quest "Consistency is Key" will require you to log activities multiple times a week to prove you're staying on target.
- Earn badges for accomplishing different kinds of exercise.
- Search for workouts by popularity, pre-made, recent, and more, and save them to your list.
- Tracks and saves all elements of your workout (weight, reps, etc.) so you always have a reference of your progress.
- Offers exercise options for both at-home users and those who prefer the gym.
- Integrated with RunKeeper.
- Join a community of fellow app users to stay inspired.
- No option to track personal weight changes.
- 5Verdict. Fitocracy is an ideal app for those that would prefer to be gaming instead of exercising and would, therefore, respond well to this type of motivation. The different quests and badges offered help diversify your workout routine to keep things from getting stale. Download here.
Method 5: Vida Health Coach
- 1How it Works. The Vida app connects you in real time with experienced coaches to create personalized health programs based on your schedule and lifestyle. Each coach offers a different set of proficiencies (fitness, nutrition, chronic health conditions, and motivational psychology, etc.) so there's a perfect match for everyone.
- 2Pricing/Upgrades. Get the app and your first consultation for free. After that, you'll need to sign up on a monthly basis for $59, a 3-month basis for $139, or for an entire year at $349.
- Recommends coaches based on your personal health goals, but the choice is ultimately yours.
- Connect with your coach at times and in ways that best suit you, via text, phone, or live video. Leave messages when your coach is offline.
- Sends daily reminders, tips, and inspiration.
- Offers a variety of health plans such as weight loss, detox, and stress management, which can be even further customized.
- Tracks vitals specific to your plan; sleep habits, diet, weight, workout progress, etc.
- Cancel, reschedule, and book follow-up calls with your coach.
- Messages area saves everything your coach has sent, so you'll always have access to articles you want to re-read or instructions you may need refreshing on.
- Integrated with Apple Health, Fitbit, and MyFitnessPal.
- Vitals being tracked are input by coaches and can't be easily edited by users.
- The process of switching coaches isn't as simple as it should be.
- 5Verdict. Vida is an ideal app for people who desire a holistic approach to their health and fitness routines. Though paying in advance may not be an option for some, the app's yearly price is less than the cost of a handful of visits to a health specialist; and with this route, you get daily attention and aid without waiting for an appointment. Download here.
Method 6: J&J Official 7 Minute Workout
- 1How it Works. The 7 Minute Workout app is designed by an exercise physiologist to help make every minute you can spare for fitness truly count. It packs an ideal amount of medium-intensity exercise into such a small time frame, meaning you have no more excuses for not working out. If you can afford 11 minutes you'll get to warm-up and cool-down as well.
- 2Pricing/Upgrades. Free.
- Over 1000 workout variations can be created for any fitness level from beginner to advanced.
- Connects with your iTunes library.
- Provides video tutorials for every exercise.
- Sends personalized motivational content and daily workout reminders.
- Increase or decrease intensity at any time during the workout.
- Integrated with Apple Health to help you track workout progress.
- Some exercises will only focus on one side of your body, which will feel incomplete to some.
- 5Verdict. Like MyFitnessPal, J&J Official 7 Minute Workout is better as an addition to your other fitness apps. This would be perfect to use while traveling, working split shifts, or anytime your schedule is especially hectic. Download here.