7 on-demand fitness apps that will change your life
Meet the new wave of workout apps allowing you to stream gym-quality workout classes straight to your phone and home…
When the commute starts to prove as hellish as your 9-5, it can be hard to summon enough will to make it down to the gym before or after work. Especially when the sofa is calling.
However, it’s this very problem which the new breed of instant-access workout apps have been designed to combat. With subscription models similar to Netflix or Amazon Prime, the apps provide high quality, professional-led workouts, often with data tracking software included, and all streamed direct to your chosen device for a monthly fee far lower than a gym membership.
Pocket workouts, as they are known, come in many forms: some replicate the competitive nature of a group workout by using on-screen leaderboards to rank other class participant; others are audio-based, allowing you to workout anywhere, at anytime. Ready to join in? You just need to peel yourself off the sofa…
For fans of: HIIT and flow yoga
Why it’s so good: You'll have access to over 1,600 ‘Bodyrock’ classes. The 12-minute on-screen workouts combine short bursts of aerobic exercises with resistance training, and are designed to speed up metabolism and claim to burn nine times more calories than conventional workouts. Classes are grouped by ability (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and audience (post natal, yoga fans, HIIT lovers).
Available on: iOS, Apple TV, Android
For fans of: Spin
Why it’s so good: Hugh Jackman, the Obamas and David Beckham are all devotees of Peloton’s indoor cycling. There’s an app for pocket workouts, but the star is its state of the art spin bikes, each fitted with a 22-inch HD touchscreen that streams 14 daily live classes from its New York HQ, plus over 8,000 on-demand classes. Data tracking devices keep an eye on your heart rate and output, and rank you on a leaderboard with other participants. A running treadmill version, Peloton Tread, is available for pre-order in the UK.
Available on: App is on iPhone and Android
For fans of: Running
Why it’s so good: A broad library of treadmill and outdoor running workouts for beginners to elites, with session times from 10 minutes to an hour. The workouts are audio based, leaving your screen free for your biometrics (via Apple Watch only) and your position on the leaderboard (you are competing against anyone who has ever taken the class). New classes are released daily and there are also strength training workouts to complement your running.
Available on: iOS
4. The Boxx Method
For fans of: Boxing, yoga and HIIT
Why it’s so good: Boxx offers yoga, strength training and HIIT alongside its exhausting if addictive boxing workouts. Classes are led by encouraging, upbeat trainers and all workouts can be downloaded and watched offline. The app offers Apple Watch integration, a calendar function for scheduling workouts and workout plans that help track your goals (or you can just do single classes).
Available on: iOS, Android
Why it’s so good: With over 2,500 professional-led audio workouts, including strength and yoga, there is a definite cardio slant to Aaptiv, with tonnes of outdoor running, treadmill, boxing, spin, elliptical and rowing classes. The goal-setting function and detailed training plans make for a comprehensive workout tool whether at home, in the gym or outdoors. Runners take note: the race training plans are a match for any big-name running apps, including Strava.
Available on: iOS (including Apple Watch), Android
Price: 7-day free trial; $8.33 per month
6. Our Body Electric
For fans of: Full body workouts
Why it’s so good: Daily live-streamed workouts, plus a library over over 500 on-demand sessions, all delivered by positive, engaging trainers in hip, pastel-hued studios. OBE focuses on three areas: strength, cardio and stretch, with ‘signature’ classes running 28 minutes and ‘express’ classes anywhere from 5-15 minutes.
Available on: iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android coming soon
For fans of: Data tracking.
Why it’s so good: FIIT’s three pillars are cardio, strength and stretch, all delivered by top-class trainers bursting with enthusiasm (Adrienne Herbert’s pacey sessions never fail to bring burn and endorphins). Classes are free to watch on a limited basis but it’s worth paying the subscription fee to receive the accurate wearable fitness device that tracks your progress and generates live leaderboards during workouts. Subscribers also gain access to informative, detailed nutrition plans, unlimited classes and exclusive content.
Available on: iOS only in the UK.