One of the biggest fitness trends of 2017 is fitness apps aka. pocket-sized trainers. No longer is getting in shape reserved for those with gym memberships and the budget for personal trainers or coaches.
You don’t need to be familiar with the burpee, squat or lunge to learn proper form; you don’t need any gym equipment to build muscle and you can train for and run your first marathon, without having run 100 metres in your life.
But, there are more fitness apps than there are days in a year so how can you see the forest for the trees?
Much like I did with the best apps to keep you organised, I painstakingly scoured the app store to find the best fitness apps. It wasn’t easy, caused me a few headaches and cluttered my inbox even more, but this is what I discovered and you should know before downloading fitness apps or giving up on the idea altogether…
1. Google is your friend
If you’re looking for fitness apps in your app store, high rated ones are going to show up first meaning that there can be a perfectly great one for you that you just aren’t finding because not enough people know about it yet or have bothered to give it a rating.
I like to search “Best app for…” in google and read the results, reviews and app developer’s website before going to the trouble of downloading a million apps and signing up to accounts just to test if it’ll work for me.
2. Free doesn’t mean free
Most apps in the app store – especially in the fitness apps category – are free to download but not free to use. They will either give you a very limited amount of workouts to do that are free, marking the bulk of their offerings with locks, or banners saying premium/VIP/elite etc. which are available if you subscribe to a membership. Most of the paid subscription apps do give you limited timed Free trial, but that leads me to…
3. Read the terms and conditions before you subscribe to a service
Once you click on the billing terms button you discover that payments to the app will be charged to your Itunes Account and that subscriptions automatically renew meaning that if you do sign up with the intention to just try it out for 7 days and hadn’t read that, they would automatically start billing you after that 7 days without you ever having to provide your credit card details (presuming you have one associated with your iTunes account).
There is certainly nothing wrong with this and it is definitely a convenient way to pay for a service that a professional has painstakingly laboured over and created for your use BUT do arm yourself with the information before you’re rudely surprised when you get your credit card bill.
4. Realise that fitness apps cannot replace a personal trainer
Most of the fitness apps I downloaded and didn’t delete 1 minute later (yes you have 1 minute to impress me) all provided amazing descriptions, graphics and videos explaining and showing you how to perform an exercise with correct form, but; none can actually watch you perform the exercise, tell you’re if doing it right, correct you if you’re not and assess if you’re coping.
Incorrect form leads to injury and not knowing how to read your body and tell the difference between pushing yourself enough to progress but not too much so that you harm yourself is critical when it comes to exercising. Even Bob Harper, from the US’s version of The Biggest Loser who recently had a heart attack at the gym, admitted he didn’t listen to his body’s signs.
5. Make sure you are medically and physically capable of certain workout methods
Back to the terms and conditions, when you accept them, you are most usually confirming that there is no medical reason you can’t train and discharge the company of any liability should anything happen to you.
It’s your responsibility to get guidance from a professional if you’re unsure, have a medical condition or are pregnant – because training during pregnancy is controversial and not for everyone.
6. If budget is your concern but you really want to try out some great apps
If you’re looking for the best training apps that are free, I suggest you subscribe to our newsletter as I’m working on that article for next month.
What are your go to fitness apps? Share with me in the comments so I don’t have to download and delete so many apps!!