Your phone can be a multitude of things; it can be a camera, a sat nav, a TV, a mirror (don't deny it!) and also - if you want it to be - your very own personal trainer. Simply downloading an app onto your phone can open up a world of easy, accessible self-care... and help you keep extra motivated. It really all depends on your goals (be they to improve your yoga game or get better acquainted with your own body or menstrual cycle).
However, these days, app stores have health app options in abundance, which can almost be as much of a curse as it is a blessing. Which one to choose? What will be best for my fitness journey? Should I download more than one for my different goals? We get it, the whole thing can turn into stress city.
But alas, fellow spin class friends, the days of fretting are *finally* over, because we've saved you the hassle of working it out for yourself.
Instead of delving into the app store abyss, the Cosmopolitan UK team (who all have different wants, needs and expectations in terms of their own fitness goals) have done the job for you. We've tried and tested the best health and fitness offerings around, and from the long list we found, picked out and reviewed a selection that we feel are truly worth a download... whether you've got a gym membership or not.
Pssst some of them are free!
Best app for yoga
£8.99 per month, £28.99 year subscription
As someone with a short attention span, I'm never motivated to follow an hour-long fitness video at home. However, this app felt realistic for anyone with a busy lifestyle or beginning their yoga journey. The videos are quick and packed, lasting between five and 30 minutes. Plus, right now, there's a 50% off deal. Erm, sold?
- Chloe, features intern
Best app to track your menstrual cycle
£5.99 per month, £29.49 year subscription
Having used the free version of Flo, I was unsure how much benefit there’d be to the premium version. But, after leaning into the new features, I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to feel more clued up about their cycle. My favourite feature is the diary function, which offers in-depth insights on irregular cycles.
- Natasha, fashion editor
Best app if you... want to decrease stress
£30 per month, £245 year subscription
For me, juggling all the different elements of life (work, relationship, health, finances) can be overwhelming, but using Glo I feel more in control and on top of self-care. The app feels like a safe haven for all the essential activities needed to create and commit to a personal wellness practice. There are over 5,000 classes and programmes in yoga, Pilates, meditation and fitness.
- Jaime, digital design editor
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Best app if you... want a fitness community vibe
Body by Ciara
£17.99 per month, £179.99 year subscription
I’ve been a fan since the pandemic when it was a private Instagram account. Now an app, the energy and family vibe remains. A live workout schedule is led by boss Ciara and her trainer squad, with fun interactive chat. The online library is constantly refreshed with sessions from HIIT to yoga.
- Anna, digital editor
Best app if you... want to meditate on the go
£25.99 per month, £159.99 year subscription
When I'm feeling worried, I crave verbal encouragement. I get plenty from my loved ones, but this meditation app is the perfect supplement. The audio clips are an uplifting mix: part intention-setting, part affirmation. I can’t sit still for silent traditional meditation, so this app suits me.
- Maddy, shopping editor
Best app if you... want to build up your cardio
Couch to 5k
Before I started using the app, I hadn't run long distances (yes, 5k is a long distance for me) since cross-country at school. Even if you’re a total beginner, this programme builds gradually with running stints interspersed with walking. I was surprised at how quickly these sessions built up my fitness levels, and when it stepped up into straight runs, I was ready.
- Saskia, fashion director
Best app if you... are competitive
Free 14 day trial, £119.99 a year, or £19.99 each month for a premium membership
From the makers of popular at-home training app Fiit, Fiit Club allows you to virtually train - and compete - in live HITT classes with other people, however far away you are. No gym needed. All you have to do is wear a chest strap (you get one free with a premium membership) which tracks calories, reps and heart rate using a built in accelerometer. This data calculates how 'hard' you're working, and determines your place on the leaderboard against your competitors. Choose from five classes (Power, Hi-Lo, Remix, Elevate, and Relentless), scheduled five times a day, and taught on screen by two of Fiit’s Master Trainers, including, Love Island's Gabby Allen, Adrienne Herbert, Chessie King and more. (Currently, Fiit is only available on iOS, but will soon be available on Android.)
Best app if you... have zero time
Johnson & Johnson Seven Minute Workout
Short on time? Why not work out for just seven minutes. Yep, SEVEN! These efficient, science-workouts have been designed by Chris Jordan, the Director of Exercise Physiology at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, and come with variations so you can personalise each workout to your style.
Best app if you... like horror films
Free for the standard version, or £22.99 a year for the pro version
Whether it's on a treadmill or outside, make your run more interesting by choosing from over 200 immersive stories which turn your workout into a mission to rebuild civilisation and escape the zombies. Nice and chilled.
Best app if you... need motivation
What better motivation than knowing you're exercising for a good cause? CharityMiles partners with more than 40 charities - including Stand Up To Cancer, Save The Children and Every Mother Counts - to donate money from a corporate sponsorship pool every time you run, walk, cycle or move, to the charity of your choice. The path to a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Best app if you... want a fitness community
Free with in-app purchases (subscription-based)
If you're looking for a female fitness community, SWEAT is where you'll find it. Advocated by the likes of Kayla Itsines and Kelsey Wells, train for 28 minutes at a time with the choice to select equipment-free at-home workouts, or workouts you can do in the gym. How involved you get is up to you; meal plans and shopping lists are also available alongside the workouts.
Best app if you... want to work out on your own terms
£3.99 a month, plus in-app purchases
This app is flexible in the true sense of the word, allowing users to customise their workouts based on how much time they have, and what sort of workout they're are looking for. Just enter the number of minutes you have (/can cope with), anywhere between 1 and 90, and Sworkit will generate a video-guided, sport-scientist-approved, targeted workout lasting that amount of time. If you're not 100% convinced, why not make the most of the seven-day free trial to see if this app floats your boat?
Best app if you... want to sight-see while exercising
If you're a natural explorer, you'll like the idea of sightseeing while running. Next time you're on holiday or on a work trip, pack your trainers and download the app, and you'll have access to running routes in over 120 cities around the world. Choose from 5k, 10k or 15k depending on your stamina, and download the runs before you go to avoid using data.
Best app if you... want customised meal plans
Price is determined by taking the app’s quiz
This running app creates customised training programmes and meal plans based on your personal info and goals.
Workout-wise, each plan has been written with runners of all experiences in mind - from those training for a marathon to those who are just picking up jogging for the first time. Upon signup, you'll be asked about what running experience you have, plus your lifestyle and fitness goals.
You can also opt to receive a weekly meal plan that includes recipes for high-protein meals. You'll get three meals per day and two snacks, all of which are based on your dietary needs - and what you like, of course. Oh, and you can also tailor your meals to your preferred diet option. For example, Joggo's meal plans include vegan and veggie, low-fat, Mediterranean, gluten-free, diabetes, balanced food and GERD.
Best app if you... want to tone up
First month, 50% off, then £199 per month
It's pricey, we know, but if your budget allows and you're looking to really tone up, then Future should definitely be on your fitness app radar.
Not only are the reviews stellar but you've also got a wide range of skilled experts to choose from. Once you've selected your perfect trainer, they'll set up a meeting with you to discuss what it is you want to achieve. From there, they'll craft tailor-made routines based on your needs and preferences. There's also one-on-one coaching, too, so you'll really be able to get the most out of your workouts.
So, whether you're looking for HIIT or LISS (low-intensity steady-state cardio workouts), yoga or strength training, your unique plan will provide you with all the resources needed to reach your goals.
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