Five Free Fitness Apps to Rev up Your Workout (and One Silly One)

Up your motivation to work out longer and stronger with these free fitness apps

Credit: Flickr / Randy Pertiet

Stay motivated at the pool, or wherever you work out, with some of these excellent free fitness apps

These fitness apps will get you trimmed and toned in time for beach weather

You don’t need your iPhone to tell you to that a bag of carrots is better swimsuit-preparation food than poutine. But, calorie-counting apps aside, there are a number of ways your smartphone can help get you ready for beach weather.

One benefit of many fitness apps is that they encourage the user to log their exercise routines. Other apps offer a little more incentive – the Nike Trainer, for instance, rewards the fitness enthusiast with virtual designations such as “contender” and “drill seeker.” This might not seem like much, but as any gym-rat will tell you, motivation is half the work.

A break in your routine is another reason to download a fitness app; you might find yourself incorporating new, and perhaps more, exercises into your workout.  

And, although “free” apps in general seem to be all about the upsell (we’re looking at YOU, Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels’ Slim Down) we did find a number that might make your next workout session, or trip to the grocery store, more fruitful.

Fitness Apps Worth Trying

iMapMyRun (Android alternative: RunKeeper Pro) – Record and log the time, distance and route of your run with this handy runner’s app, which also lets you share all your vital stats with your couch-surfing friends and desk-jockey co-workers.

Lose It! (Android alternative: FatSecret Calorie Counter) – Yes, I’m skeptical when it comes to calorie counters, but Lose It! seems to get the most top marks in this category. Feed in your particulars and Lose It! tells you your “daily calorie budget”, then add info about foods consumption and exercise. For your efforts, you’ll be able to track calorie intake vs. calorie loss; you can even figure out what’s in an Olive Garden mango martini. Although there are some things you just don’t want to know.

Nike Training (Android alternative: Nike BOOM) – It’s big, and takes awhile to download, but Nike Training will let you break out of your routine (if you have one) or get you started at the gym. Although it seems to be aimed at women (and the BOOM, at men), anyone can benefit from the video-and-photo instructional programs, which are divided into categories “Get Lean,” “Get Toned,” “Get Strong” and “Get Focused.” You can also sync the routines to your music playlist.

Pret-a-Yoga Lite
(Android alternative: Yoga Exercises) – We couldn’t have a list like this without including Vancouver’s other number one activity (besides real estate speculation). In giving you the basic yoga poses, through voice narration and photos, Pret-a-Yoga Lite is best suited for the beginner. But it’s also a handy portable instructional guide for those “have mat, will travel” types.

Go Swim (Android alternative: USA Swimming Deck Pass) – Photos, videos and news from the world of swimming will keep you motivated at the pool. Go Swim does, however, lack a logging feature, which you can find on the more expensive ($4.99) and aptly named Swim Log.

Okay, we promised you a silly app, and here it is…

Zombies, Run! ($7.99, for iPhone and iPod Touch ) – It’s all well and good to run for your health, but it’s much more thrilling if you’re being chased by zombies. Zombies, Run! is an immersive running game and adventure with narration from a “radio operator” encouraging you to flee the undead hordes. As a reward for your efforts, you can also collect supplies for your fellow survivors back at the base. Zombies, Run! makes your exercise a life-or-death struggle, which might be just what you want after a long day at the office.