The 8 Best Fitness Apps to Kick-Start Your Goals in 2021
Exercisers of all ages and abilities can get a sweat on with these options.
If you had told me about nine months ago that I would look forward to working out at home, I would have called you crazy. I love going to exercise classes, seeing familiar faces, improving thanks to my favorite instructors, and feeding off the energy of others. But of course, 2020 has changed everything, and my only option for getting a good sweat going is to do it in my living room.
I've tried different fitness apps this year that have (miraculously) kept me motivated to push into 2021 and beyond. Even if you've taken some time off, or maybe you're brand new to at-home workouts or exercising in general, don't be discouraged. You can get started with one of these options; there's something for all fitness levels and preferences. Here are eight apps, either recommended by me personally or my fellow editors, that you can download right now.
When you need mental and physical stimulation, Samantha Jade is your go-to. Before the pandemic, I'd take Samantha's Soul Cycle classes in New York City, and I was hooked on her chill yet encouraging vibe. Now, she has her own website and app, where she teaches one-hour full-body workouts, meditation, and stretching classes. You don't need any equipment, and you can take either live-stream classes or browse through a library of recorded ones. Before, during and after workouts, she gives pep talks that leave me feeling inspired and looking forward to her next class.
Megan Roup is another fitness pro whom I swear by. Whether it's in-person (before the coronavirus) or virtually, Roup is positive and encouraging. The Sculpt Society classes, which include live and pre-recorded options, are a mix of dance cardio and sculpting moves that you can do with or without equipment. (Trust me, as a non-dancer, I love the dance part. She really makes cardio fun.) One of the best parts about The Sculpt Society is that the classes range from about 10 minutes to an hour, so you can always squeeze something into your day. Plus, there are options for pregnant and post-partum individuals to ease back into exercising.
For anyone who likes to mix up their workouts, try the Nike Training Club app. This option offers all types of classes, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT), strength training, yoga, and more. You're able to select your fitness level and whether you have the equipment, including dumbbells or kettlebells, for specific workouts. Every class in the library, which runs anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, is led by a Nike trainer who pushes you to do your best. (Kirsty Godso, pictured here, is one of my favorites.) The app also has recipes and nutrition advice, plus holistic guidance.
Out of every workout class I've ever taken, Soul Cycle is my favorite for a few reasons. The instructors are incredible, there are no leaderboards or concerns about who's the best indoor cycler, and there's no better way to sweat than in a pitch-black room bumping with great music. Soul Cycle at Home gives you the instructors, the music and the ride anywhere in your house, which sounds perfect to me. You'll have to buy the specific bike, and at $2,500, it is definitely a splurge. (But if you pay for cycling classes frequently, you probably know that the cost quickly adds up.) The app is through Variis by Equinox, which also offers other types of workouts like yoga, strength training, and running, if you're interested in other exercise classes.
When I asked for suggestions for the best fitness app for this article, Peleton was the most recommended. You probably know Peleton by its cycling classes, but the app offers much more. You can take yoga, running, stretching, meditating, and strength training classes through the app and need Peleton equipment only for cycling and treadmill workouts. One of my co-workers says she really likes the bodyweight strength exercises and the barre classes. There are live classes and pre-recorded classes that range from 10 minutes to an hour.
Kayla Itsines is like the queen of at-home workouts. Itsines launched the Bikini Body Guide, usually referred to as BBG, in 2014, and women all over the world swear by it, including me. Many people love her original program, which includes 28 minute-long HIIT workouts with no equipment needed. (She also has specific classes for pregnant and postpartum users.) The SWEAT app also offers programs from an all-female team of trainers who focus on strength training, yoga and HIIT. You can also check out nutrition advice and healthy recipes on the app.
Exercise is important at any age, but it's especially imperative to get some movement in as we get older. The SilverSneakers Go app is for anyone 65 years or older and is free with select Medicare plans. It has four to 12 week-long programs that include classes on strength, walking, flexibility, and mobility. The instructors offer plenty of tips and modifications to fit everyone's fitness level and abilities. You can also check out the SilverSneakers website for more exercise options.
It can be tough to find the motivation to go on a run, but Charity Miles will encourage you to get up and go help others through movement. All you do is download the app (it's free), pick your charity from the list, and start sweating. For every mile you move, whether it's running, walking, cycling, or dancing, a corporate sponsor donates money to the charity of your choice. Not only do you get endorphins from your exercise, but you'll also feel good about giving back to those in need.