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Best Exercise and Fitness Apps for iPhone and iPod Touch

Let your iPod be your trainer

By

Updated April 04, 2014

If your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad is an essential part of your workout, you've probably scrolled through the endless array of fitness apps available, wondering which ones are worth the time and money.

The right fitness app can give you the boost you need to get through your workouts, but the wrong one can leave you frustrated. I've done a little research and put together a list of my favorite exercise and fitness apps covering everything from strength training and yoga to weight loss and running.

1. iPump & Fitness Builder

Photo © Paige Waehner

Price: $9.99
Compatible With: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later.

Though expensive, iPump is well worth the price. Stand-out features:

  • Workouts drawing from thousands of unique exercises and equipment including, weights, kettlebells, BOSU, foam roller, TRX and more.
  • Search workouts by location (hotel, home, gym, etc.), goal (arms, abs, cardio, etc.) or keyword.
  • An exercise database with incredible variety. My favorites - squat thrust to push up with a med ball and 180 swings with a kettlebell.
  • Videos of each exercise.
  • The ability to edit workouts or create your own.

I love that iPump offers such incredible variety in their workouts and exercises. Also available, iPump Trainer workouts for an extra fee.

2. FitnessClass for iPad

Paige Waehner

Price: Free (Actual classes are extra)
Compatible With: iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later.

This app works with iPad, but it's worth mentioning because it's kind of awesome.  The app itself is free and  gives you access to hundreds of streaming exercise videos which you can then preview and purchase.  PumpOne (who also created Fitness Builder (see above)), created the app, so you'll see a variety of PumpOne workouts as well as videos from well-known instructors like Kathy Smith, Cathe Friedrich and Patrick Goudeau.  Classes are usually $1.99-$3.99 for a 30-day pass or $9.99 and up to buy the class outright and include everything from kettlebell workouts, kickboxing, step, yoga and more.  It only works with wi-fi or 3G, but there may be downloadable workouts soon. 

3. MotionTraxx Radio

Image Courtesy of Motion Traxx

Price: $2.99
Compatible With:  iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

I'm a big fan of Deekron the Fitness DJ and Motion Traxx, a free Podcast offering a huge selection of walking, running and fitness workouts set to dance music at different BPMs.

For $2.99, this app allows you to stream a variety of workouts to your smartphone: Steady state, intervals, walking, running or even boot camp workouts. 

I have had problems with the app crashing, sometimes right in the middle of a workout.  This may be because my 3G connection is spotty in my neighborhood, so this may not be a problem if you have better reception.

If you're a walker or runner and you like to move at a certain pace (or you want to be able to work at a harder pace), this app is a must have.

4. BeatBurn Treadmill/Outdoor Trainer

Paige Waehner

Price: $3.99
Compatible With:  iPhone, iPod touch, iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Optimized for iPhone 5

Interval workouts are incredibly popular and effective, and they're much easier to do when you have a program to follow.  BeatBurn offers that guidance, but in a unique way.  Not only do they include music that changes to match your running pace, but you can actually change the pace at any time during the workout if things move too fast or slow. There's a coach offering occasional motivational pep talks throughout the workout and the screen shows the intervals as well as your speed, calories burned and incline (if you choose the treadmill option).

They also have BeatBurn Elliptical Trainer and Tempo Magic Pro.

5. Power 20

Paige Waehner

Price: $.99
Compatible With: iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, and 5, iPod touch (3rd, 4th and 5th generation), and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later.

Power 20 includes three 20 minute workouts with a variety of body weight exercises such as pushups, burpees, squats, triceps pushups, single leg squats, tuck jumps, planks and more. The app is about as simple as you can get. You launch it, start with 'the Gym' workout (which means the background scene is at a gym), choose your level - 1, 2 or 3 - and go. The app uses an animated character to demonstrate each exercise and then you start, completing a circuit of exercises for a certain number of reps or a certain length of time for a total of 20 minutes.

You can unlock other workouts, one at the beach and the other on an imaginary yacht which, I suppose, is the closest most of us will ever come to seeing one of those.

The workouts change each time and, a nice plus, you can listen to your music while you use the app. Overall, the app is easy to use and the workouts are pretty good, although some of the exercises can get tedious - doing 45 crunches, for example, which is a little excessive. Still, a great value for the price and a nice option for when you're traveling or just want a quick body weight workout.

6. Daily Workout Apps

Paige Waehner

Price: Free, or up to $3.99
Compatible With: iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, and 5, iPod touch, iPod touch (3rd, 4th and 5th generation), and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later.

Daniel Miller's Daily Workout apps are about as simple and straightforward as you can get. Download the free versions, which include: Daily Workouts, Daily Ab Workout, Daily Butt Workout, Daily Arm Workout, Daily Leg Workout, Daily Cardio Workout and Simply Yoga and get a basic, easy to follow 5, 7.5 or 10 minute workout. There's nothing spectacular here, just classic moves - squats, lunges, overhead presses, crunches, etc., and a very quiet video of an exerciser performing the move. There's a timer at the top that counts down from 60 to 30 seconds depending the length you've chosen and you can listen to your own music while you use the app.

The free versions won't get you very far, since they only include one workout, but you can buy paid versions for up to $3.99 which offer more workouts, more exercises, custom routines and random routines.

7. You Are Your Own Gym

Paige Waehner

Price: $1.99
Compatible With: iPhone and iPad

This app is one of the more unusual fitness apps out there, offering something completely different. You won't see traditional strength training routines (e.g., 3 sets of squats, etc.) but a huge variety of exercises and training methods, all requiring no equipment. The exercises are varied and different, from traditional pushups to crazy exercises like monkey pushups and an incredibly hard (perhaps impossible) Straddle Planche Pushup. There are plenty of moves I've never seen before and that's a rare thing these days.

The training options are also different, enough that you'll spend some time reading about them to figure out how they work. For example, doing a workout in a 'ladder' format means performing 4 exercises for a 7.5 minute set in which you do one rep, rest, then two reps, rest, repeating that and going up the ladder and then down.

There are 10-week guided programs you can follow for different levels - Basic, First Class, Master and Chief, or you can set up your own workouts using the timers for different types of workouts - Intervals, super sets, ladders, stappers and tabatas.

There are truly an endless number of options for using this app, sometimes to the point of confusion, but it's a great choice for people who want something completely different and workouts you can do anytime, anywhere.

8. Authentic Yoga with Deepak Chopra

Paige Waehner

Price: $1.99
Compatible With:  iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

I'm picky about my smartphone yoga workouts - I don't want pictures of exercises popping up on a screen, but something more like a video with audio cues as well as visuals of the exercises.  This app provides both with a variety of yoga routines for all fitness levels and for a variety of goals - Balance, flexibility, strength and awareness.  This app is perfect if you want quick, easy workouts at home or on the road.  There aren't a ton of poses, but there are instructional videos and the workouts themselves show pictures of each pose with audio instructions. It's not exactly like following a video, but it's simple to use and, at $1.99, reasonably priced.

9. iMapMyFitness

Paige Waehner

Price: Free
Compatible With:  iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

iMapMyFitness is a tracking app that uses your GPS to track your outdoor workouts.  You simply start the app and it marks your path while showing  time, distance, pace, speed, elevation and more.  You can also view your stats at MapMyFitness.com and share it with friends.  Other stand out features include:

  • Real-time tracking and an interactive map so you can see where you've been
  • The ability to view your workout history online
  • Manually enter workout information for other cardio or strength training workouts
  • Tweet your workouts to friends on Twitter
  • Voice feedback on things like distance, pace or speed

The company also offers apps for running, cycling and walking.

10. RunKeeper Pro

RunKeeper App
Photo © Paige Waehner

Price: Free through the end of January 2011 ($9.99 after)
Compatible With:  iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

If you're into tracking your running, walking or cycling workouts, RunKeeper can tell you how far you went, how fast you went and how long it took you to get there.  Stand-out features:

  • Ability to track speed, pace and elevation
  • Record your route and view it on a map
  • View a history of workouts
  • See your workouts online and share them with friends
  • Listen to music during workouts and change tracks without leaving the application
  • Enter a target pace and get cues on whether you are ahead/behind that pace

Now, I started with the free version, which is no longer available, but the pro version definitely offers more bang for your buck.

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