Hiring a personal trainer can be a major investment. The average cost for one is
$50 per hour, according to WebMD, and oftentimes they are much more expensive than that. But if you're a fitness lover looking for an optimized workout with specific instructions, don't fret — you have plenty of cheaper options.
Thankfully, it's 2018 and shelling out cash to meet one-on-one with a certified personal trainer isn't always necessary when you're
equipped with a smartphone. Lots of inspiring trainers on Instagram may get you excited to work out. But when you're ready to create a personalized fitness plan, you're going to want to use an app (or many apps!) to focus your workouts, track your successes, and plan your goals.
Whether you're a gym rat, an
at-home workout obsessive, or training for a race, there's an app out there to help you exercise better and more effectively. Ahead, we've rounded up the best workout apps to spare you the expense of a personal trainer and keep your workouts interesting. Ready, set, download.
(We'll be adding more of our favorites, so check back when you're ready to add another workout app to your fitness routine.)
Asics Studio Price:
Free to download. Subscription prices vary.
With the Asics Studio app, you can download unlimited audio workouts that feature recorded coaching from different trainers. The workouts cover
mostly strength training
, but there are also cardio workouts that you can do on the treadmill or elliptical. Plus, each workout includes a corresponding playlist. The audio-only training might take some getting used to at first, but the helpful cues can keep you focused and motivated without having to check your phone all the time.
Still wondering how to nail that difficult yoga pose from class? This app has videos and detailed instructions for more than 300 poses that will help you figure it out. Or if you want a full workout, there are more than 45 set routines that you can try.
500 Bodyweight Challenge Price:
Having a specific, measurable goal is key to sticking to your workout routine, which is why this app is so brilliant. You select a challenge to try, and it'll prompt you to complete a certain number of reps in a set amount of time. As you progress, the challenges get harder — but you also get stronger. The best part? You don't need any equipment for the moves.
You Are Your Own Gym Price:
If you don't have any equipment at your disposal, this app will make your life
easier. It comes loaded with 200 different bodyweight exercises (including ways to modify it or make it harder) and how-to videos to help you perfect your form. You'll be surprised how many exercises you can do using just your bodyweight.
Free to download, $12.99/month for premium access
You'll find short, mostly HIIT and strength-training workouts (including bodyweight-only moves and some weightlifting) in this app. Keelo provides videos for each daily workout routine, so you can follow along with an expert trainer or coach. And if you opt for premium access, you can chat an expert your questions in real time.
Interval Timer Price:
The minimalist design on this custom interval timer makes it easy to tell how much longer you have to do an exercise. Plus, if you have an Apple Watch, you can sync it and view the time right on your wrist.
ACTIVEx Tabata and Spin Training Price:
Free to download, $3.99/month
Indoor cycling fans will be obsessed with this app, which comes fully loaded with cycling workouts that mimic a class. You can do the workouts on any stationary bike in your gym, and you can even sync your Spotify account to the app so your music coincides with the workout. And if you're not into cycling, there are also running plans and Tabata workouts in the app, too.
Yoga Wake Up Price:
Free to download, $3.99/month
You might not consider yourself a morning workout person now, but this yoga app might sway you. Set a time that you'd like to wake up, and the app will play a track that guides you through a short yoga sequence or meditation. The yoga flows are slow and gentle, but will set you up for the rest of the day.
Gold's AMP Price:
Free to download, $9.99/month
Select the cardio machine you're going to use (for example, the treadmill, bike, elliptical, rowing machine, or stair climber), the duration of your workout, and your intensity level, and this app will guide you with audio coaching tips from a real trainer. It might be a little pricey considering there are
gym memberships at this price
, but it's worth it if you generally use cardio machines.
12-Minute Athlete HIIT Workouts Price:
$2.99 to download, $4.99/month
This app comes loaded with a range of 12-minute high-intensity interval training (a.k.a. HIIT) workouts that use minimal equipment or body weight. In addition to photos and videos of each exercise, the app has an interval timer that helps you keep track of how long to rest and how long to move.
Free to download, $5.99/month
Need an expert in your ear to coach you through tough workouts? Try this app, which provides "hands-free, eyes-free" audio coaching. There are tons of different trainers to choose from, including a few Olympians, but you don't have to be a pro to do the workouts. They have plenty of easy elliptical workouts or bootcamps that are great for beginners.
Some days you're in the mood to work out, and others you're just trying to get it done. This app asks you to rate your energy level and mood ("Feeling Stressed & Tired" or "Feeling Great! Bring It On!") before it generates a custom, time-based workout for you. It says there are more than 600 workouts in the app, and they add new ones daily.
Studio Tone It Up Price:
If you're already a member of the TIU (that's "Tone It Up") community, you're going to be obsessed with Karena and Katrina's new app. With a membership, you get access to free daily TIU workouts, plus exclusive classes (like kickboxing, barre, and strength-training) every week. You can also connect with other users on the app, and find "accountability partners" to support your fitness goals.
7 Minute Workout Challenge Price:
Need to kill some time? Squeeze in a seven-minute workout with this app. When you start a workout, this app shows you how many seconds you have left of a move, a video demo of each exercise, and how many more cycles you have left. You can track your progress on the calendar, and you get rewarded for a streak (one
said they used it 616 days in a row).
Workout Tracker Gym Log Price:
If you just started lifting, but can't remember how much weight you were using during your sets, this app can help you track it. In addition to logging the workouts you've already completed, you can also find thousands of weekly lifting plans to try.
Tabata Pro Timer Price:
It can be tough to keep track of the time when you're doing an interval workout, but this Tabata timer makes it way easier. You can set the times for "work," "rest," and "prepare," as well as how many cycles (intervals) you plan to do for the workout. The timer uses sounds to signal the next cycle, but you can still play your music in the background.
30-Day Squat Challenge Price:
All you need to do during these at-home workouts is squat. There are 13 different
and six different workouts to try, and you can track your daily progress through the calendar on the app. Each squat is marked with a level (easy, medium, advanced), and there are video demos of each move if you're not sure how to do it.
Adidas All Day Fitness Price:
This is like a workout app and a meditation app in one. You can log your workouts and sleep in the app, and they'll suggest workout videos (like yoga for runners) or recorded meditations (which are five to 15 minutes long) for you to try throughout your day.
Down Dog: Great Yoga Anywhere Price:
Beginner yogis will appreciate this yoga app, because each time you practice, it generates a new vinyasa sequence for you to try. These use vocal coaching to walk you through the workouts, and each workout has a matching playlist — so the experience is pretty much like going to a real yoga class, but you can do it wherever and whenever you want.
Fitbod Workout Log Price:
This app is best for people who have some knowledge of lifting heavy weights, but want to push themselves to reach new strength-training goals. Once you set your goals and fitness level, the app tailors a lifting routine for you to try. There are step-by-step instructions for each exercise, and hundreds of demo videos in case you're not sure how to use a piece of equipment.
Pocket WOD Price:
Free to download, $2.99/month
If you do CrossFit. you know what a "WOD" or "workout of the day" is. Every day, they post a new WOD to try, and you can even find a CrossFit box through a map on the app. There's a movement library with video demos of all the exercises included, but it's a really good idea to have some knowledge of
how to safely do the lifts
before you dive in.
Free to download, $9.99/month
When you subscribe to this app, you get access to unlimited "audio workout classes," which are basically recordings of trainers telling you what to do. This is best for people who like to run, bike, or use the elliptical, but don't like having to pull out their phone to watch a video or read a screen. You can customize the workouts based on your level or time, and there are even some full-length 5K or 10K training plans.
Runtastic Results Price:
You don't need any equipment for the strength-training workouts on this app, because every single exercise is done with your bodyweight only. To start, you spell out what your goals are, and they'll generate a personalized 12-week workout program. When you start a workout, there are videos that demonstrate how to safely perform each exercise. It's a smart choice for beginners who want to build muscle, but aren't ready to pick up a weight yet.
Nike+ Training Club Price:
Boutique fitness aficionados will appreciate the range of 100-plus workouts on the Nike+ Training Club app. The experts guiding you through the workouts are all super-legit Nike Trainers, and there are even some professional athletes and celebrities (like Serena Williams and Kevin Hart) who make an appearance on some of the routines. You can also use this app as an activity log, and track your other workouts or any activities that happen outside of the app.
Daily Leg Workout Price:
You can only do so many squats and lunges before you get bored. This app features 5- to 10-minute leg workouts developed by a personal trainer, with a range of leg exercises that you probably haven't tried yet. You don't have to be connected to the internet to access the app, which is great if you get terrible service in your gym.
Ab & Core Sworkit Price:
If you only have a few moments to work out everyday, this ab and core workout app is built for you. To start, you select "Absolutely Awesome," "Back Strength," or "Complete Core Strength" to choose your workout. Then, you plug in how many minutes you have to work out, and the app will create a set of ab exercises to do during that set amount of time. If you'd rather choose exactly which exercises to do, there's also an option to make your own custom workout.
7-Minute Butt Workout Price:
This app piggy-backs on the
magic of the seven-minute workout
, but it focuses only on butt exercises. When you start the workout, it shows you a video of each move, and there's a clear timer that tells you how much longer you have to do each move. And if you like to wear headphones while you work out, there's a voice-prompting feature that talks to you and tells you when to switch moves.
Couch to 5K Running App Price:
The idea of running a 5K sounds nice and all, but if you have no idea how to start training, it can be intimidating. There are four virtual coaches on this free app, and they each have different training personalities. If you need a little fire under your butt, try "Sergeant Block." And if you want someone to level with you, try "Constance," a trainer who just finished her first 5K, too. The app will generate a run-walk training plan that's right for your ability, and that will motivate you to stay on-track.
Daily Burn Price:
Free to download, $14.95 a month (includes a free 30-day trial)
If you usually have trouble following along with an app, try streaming one of the Daily Burn home workout videos. There's over 800 routines to choose from, like dance cardio, yoga, or strength training. They also host a live workout called Daily Burn 365 every single day, so you can work out in real time with other Daily Burn users. It's like you're going to a boutique workout class, but, you know, not.
Freeletics Body Weight Price:
As the name suggests, this app has tons of bodyweight-only exercises, so it's perfect if you don't have access to a gym. Before you choose one of the 10- to 30-minute workouts in this app, you have to complete a fitness test to assess your level. The "virtual coach" will create a weekly training plan that's tailored to your abilities and goals. While all the routines are home-friendly, you can switch the app to "2x2 mode," and they'll only show you workouts that can be done in two by two meters of space.
Fitstar Personal Trainer Price:
Free download, $7.99 a month
If you use a Fitbit, you can sync your device to the app, and it'll take that data into account when suggesting workouts. For example, if your Fitbit tracked that you walked eight miles one day, the app will suggest a back and legs workout later on in the week. The workouts range from seven to 50 minutes long, and there are hundreds of exercises to mix and match, so you'll never do the same routine twice.
30 Day Pushup Challenge Price:
Can't do a single pushup? That's okay. This 30-day challenge encourages you to do a few pushups everyday, so by the end of the month, you'll be able to do a standard pushup full out. If you master that move early on, there are tons of pushup variations to try to make the move even harder, like incline and diamond pushups.
Pilates Anytime Price:
Free download, $18 monthly subscription
Most Pilates classes require a lot of tricky vocabulary that can be intimidating to learn in a group setting. This app has videos that break down each Pilates move clearly, so you can watch them as many times as you'd need, and learn them at your own pace. When you're ready for a full class, there are more than 2,500 Pilates classes to choose from, including basic mat Pilates, barre fusion, and foam roller workouts. It's like having a membership to a chic Pilates studio, but costs way less.
Pocket Yoga Price: $2.99 There are 27 full yoga classes, complete with soothing voiceover instructions that tell you exactly when to breathe and move, along with calming music. You can preview the list of poses that you'll be doing during a workout, which might be helpful if you tend to have trouble following along. You can also choose a "setting" for your yoga practice, and it'll show the cartoon avatar on a mountain or in the desert.
Following along with virtual trainers in workout videos can be sort of hard. In a 2015
, exercise scientists from the University of Florida determined that Sworkit (which stands for "simply work it") was the closest aligned to the American College of Sports Medicine's training guidelines. In other words, the workout advice is very legit compared to the 30 other apps on the market that were studied. You can mix and match your own "playlist" of body weight exercises to build a workout with exercises you love, so you don't have to endure the ones you hate (hi, burpees).
Daily Butt Workout Price:
This app is like taking a daily vitamin for your butt. As the name suggests, every day you can choose a 5- or 10-minute butt workout with 10 different exercises. There's a video to go with each move and detailed written instructions that include exactly where you should feel the exercise in your body.
Quit your ClassPass membership — this app lets you stream a wide variety of fitness classes, ranging from morning yoga routines to fast-paced 10-minute HIIT workouts to personal training sessions that will build up your gym technique. If you’re interested in a mix of fitness styles, this free app won’t bore you with its wide range of fitness classes.
7 Minute Workout Price:
For those too busy to hire a personal trainer, this 7-minute personal training app is your key to an effective workout regimen — seriously! Daily workouts combine strength and cardio training and track your progress to keep challenging you and making your daily 7-minute training sessions even more intense.
My Virtual Mission Price:
Free, $2.99 subscription after first mission
Have you always wanted to run from Canada to California or the length of the Great Wall in China? There’s an app for that. My Virtual Mission lets you plan Sims-style fitness missions across the globe, tracking your mileage and pace as you run wherever your imagination takes you. Plan solo missions running, cycling, and swimming, or invite friends to create a group challenge and compare stats on the leadership board. You can send digital postcards of landmarks and sites you’ve virtually visited to keep up motivation and also raise funds for charity via mission sponsorships.
Yoga Studio Price:
Dozens of yoga classes for less than the cost of a single in-studio class? Sign us up! Yoga Studio offers easy to follow, instructor-led 30-minute yoga classes, as well as tutorials so you can master the poses. If you’re a yoga procrastinator, use the app’s calendaring feature to schedule your next yoga session.
Blogilates Official App Price:
Free, $0.99 in-app purchases
Beloved fitness blogger and YouTube star Cassey Ho’s app puts your digital best friend (who happens to be a trainer) in your pocket for fun, effective workouts whenever you’re in the mood to exercise. A calendar lets you schedule your future fitness routines and stick to it. Other fun features — like a fitness forum and healthy recipes list — make this app almost as addicting to check as Instagram. Almost.