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Oct 30

5 Free Fitness Apps to Build an Exercise Habit of Regular Workouts – MakeUseOf

Fitness is about building a habit of exercising regularly. These free apps motivate you with different workout styles and build a sustainable fitness habit.

Most of the best workout apps assume that the user has an interest in getting fitter. But sustainability is the key factor that is often overlooked. You need to find a way to motivate yourself to exercise regularly, like beating a personal record, enjoying time with a gym buddy, or finding a community you can belong to.

Exercising is more fun when you do it as a group or with friends, but social distancing has forced our hands. In the new world of video chatting about everything, Virtual Gym offers a way to workout virtually with friends through a video call.

The app has a set of free routines to choose from: body training, yoga, warm-up, and push-up challenges. Log in to the app, then pick any routine that you want to create a video chatroom for. Share the link with friends, and start the workout once everyone has joined.

The video call happens on the left, while the right shows the current exercise with a short GIF, voice instructions, and a timer or rep count. You can encourage buddies or engage in banter, just like you would in a regular gym. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish your workout. It's completely free.

Can you do 100 push-ups in one workout? Or maybe 300 squats, or 50 pullups, or 300 ab crunches? ShvagerFM by Sergey Shvager is a series of apps built on this simple style of training. It's all about multiple repetitions of the same exercise but built in a way to take anyone from zero to that high number.

Each exercise has its own app, and it doesn't matter how many or how few you can already do. The first time you start, you'll need to do the exercise at a stretch and say how many you can manage (even zero is an acceptable answer). According to that, the app will recommend a level for you and train you to do more.

For every session, you'll first do a series of warm-ups, shown through animated GIFs in the app. This is crucial, don't skip it or you'll injure yourself. Next, the app gives you a series of repetitions for that exercise, with breaks in between. Once you're done, it's time to rest till the app reminds you to start your next set after 24 or 48 hours.

All the apps are free with ads, and you can choose which exercise you want to get better at. It's a nice way to build your ability in a certain exercise, and do it at your own pace.

Download: ShvagerFM Apps on Android|iOS (Free)

You don't need a gym membership or fancy equipment to get fit. The calisthenics movement has long espoused the virtues of bodyweight training, and it's more and more popular now. Reddit communities have gotten behind it, and if you're working out at home or outdoors, Fitloop is an excellent free app to learn these routines.

Fitloop leverages the free workout routines and guides shared on Reddit and puts them into a beautiful, functional app. It encourages users to make their own routines and share them publicly. So you'll find a variety of workout routines for different skill levels, including things like Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Terminator at Home' workout.

The routines are the base, while Fitloop adds several features on top of that. For example, it includes timers and counts, with customizable additions. You'll find YouTube videos for every type of exercise. You can build a habit streak and track your workouts to see progressive statistics. It's simple, easy, and completely free.

Download: Fitloop for Android | iOS (Free)

19 Fit takes an unobtrusive approach to online fitness. No reminders, no data logging, this is just a way to find a routine when you want to do it. For a self-disciplined person, you need an app that gets out of the way and simply shows you the exercise.

The app curates the best YouTube fitness videos and puts them into the right workout set according to the exercise routine you need. This is a web app that works on both desktop and mobile.

Start by picking what fits you best (women, men, senior, kids) and which difficulty level you'd like to begin with (easy, medium, hard). Accordingly, 19 Fit will display a range of exercise routines that work out different areas. You'll also be able to see the number of sessions in each.

Each session includes multiple workouts and tells you how many minutes it will take for the whole thing. Finally, when you're ready to start a session, you'll see the YouTube videos. Play it to begin your workout, it's completely free.

In the aftermath of COVID-19, running as an exercise form has seen more interest. One of the most popular programs to start running is the Couch to 5K regimen, which gets someone who has never run before to eventually be able to run a 5K in 9-12 weeks. But before you start, you need to read Nerd Fitness's guide.

Steve Kamb explains why the Couch to 5K program is so popular and enticing, and the mistakes you need to watch out for. The simplicity of a "just run" program makes it seem accessible, but Kamb is quick to point out that sustainable exercise is about finding an activity you enjoy. He points out the tell-tale signs of what it means to not enjoy running, and whether you should abandon it or not.

He also talks about tips and tricks on how to stick to the Couch to 5K program and shares PDFs and pictures of the original program. Most websites tend to push you towards apps like C25K, which are also pretty good, but go through Nerd Fitness's guide before you decide what you want to use.

A great alternative is to try out the NHS's Couch to 5K podcast. Broken down over nine weeks, you can download all the MP3 episodes and play them when you start. The narrator tells you when to run, when to walk, with music interspersed between.

Apps and websites are excellent tools to aid in your journey to get healthier. But sustainable fitness comes through inner motivation. You need to feel that drive from within and find ways to challenge yourself to do better.

That's why routines like the Couch to 5K or 300 Squats become popular. It's about reaching a goal that's not related to your weight, but to the exercise itself. The internet is full of such fitness challenges and other programs that will push you towards working out regularly. It's all about finding an exercise that you enjoy.

A large portion of new year's resolutions revolves around health and fitness. Participating in a 30-day challenge is an excellent way to get started on your goals while getting the guidance you need.

Mihir Patkar has been writing on technology and productivity for over 14 years at some of the top media publications across the world. He has an academic background in journalism.

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5 Free Fitness Apps to Build an Exercise Habit of Regular Workouts - MakeUseOf

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