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Want to get fit? These 7 apps will help

August 28, 2019 12:14 IST

These seven apps will take care of your fitness goals, says Veer Arjun Singh.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Fil Mazzarino/Unsplash
These apps take our fitness goals out of the constraints of time and space and find us everywhere we go. 


It's called the world's most natural sport.

Because all you have to do is slowly increase the intensity of the most natural movement of your body.

Get an app if you get into the habit.

Even elite athletes do.

These apps can emulate a wearable fitness tracker, analyse your performance and even coach you through it.

Nike Run Club (Free)

It has been my go-to running app for years, even before the Apple Watch was such a rage.

Most of my friends are on it too.

It's a four-tab, simple interface that does not try to do too much.

You can simply click the start button to begin a free run.

The phone will map your route via GPS, calculate the distance and your average pace.

Make it better by choosing a distance or a time goal.

Not sure what it should be?

Start with a 20-minute guided run and let a running coach guide you through it; it works differently for outdoors and the treadmill.

You can simultaneously play music through Apple Music or Spotify (Premium).

Also search for and tag your shoes -- any brand and not just Nike -- to keep a track of its mileage.

Pro tip: A good running pair should last you about 500 km.

There are more guided runs, such as 'first run' and 'first 5k' that help you run with the right intensity and customised training programmes based on your recent performance.

All features are free.

Spend in sweat, not money.

Under Armour Map My Run (Premium)

Finding safe, uncrowded running trails in major cities isn't easy.

Map My Run from Under Armour helps you pick a trodden path.

The more people have been on it, the more reliable it is.

If you happen to be a confident, solo runner, you can also chart your own course and let others follow you.

It's also one of the few apps that sync with your Samsung wearables, along with Apple and Garmin.

Under Armour owners can just connect their GPS-enabled shoes to track their runs.

It also tracks basics, such as time, distance and average pace.

The app encourages you to take up weekly, monthly and yearly challenges and compete on a global leaderboard.

Premium users (Rs 449/month) get access to customised training plans for future goals, live tracking for friends and family to track you down, audio coaching for pep talk during runs and heart rate zones for a detailed performance analysis.

It's also ad-free.

Bonus: Runtastic and Runkeeper are also really popular among athletes.

Strava is unique for tracking the maximum number of workouts, such as biking, hiking or inline skating.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Shilpa Shetty/Instagram


It combines so much cardio, strength, mobility and meditation that it's hard to skip it.

It lays the foundation for more strenuous workouts for fitness goals that are a beginner's dream.

Most strength trainers tell their athletes to do yoga at least once a week.

These apps will help you through the quintessential yoga warm up and basic asanas.

Shilpa Shetty (Premium)

Forgive me for picking our local yoga ambassador over your global Instagram celebrity sensations.

This woman may sound slightly too animated in her videos, but everything she says and does is inspirational.

The app has a collection of her yoga workouts which, unlike many other celebrity workout apps, she does herself.

The free version has a few basic programmes, such as '28-day fat loss', which comes with a downloadable diet plan.

Shetty is also a cook and the app has a lot of free, seemingly healthy recipes -- well, I did disagree at times, but she's the authority on a desirable physique.

Pro tip: No virtual trainer will remind you to wash your yoga mat every now and then.

The foul smell of your own sweat can kill a lot of good vibes.

Bonus: Apps such as Nike Training Club, Pumatrack and have a lot of free yoga sessions that you can bank on.

Nothing religious about this recommendation, but you can also try the Sadhguru app, which is quite popular among iOS users.

*IMAGE: Cardio Photograph: Kind courtesy bruce mars/Unsplash

Strength Training

Your body weight is your first set of dumbbells.

Strength training apps introduce you to the essential stretches, twists and cardiovascular and resistance moves that you can't unlearn.

From rolling out a mat to utilising a full gym, these can help you choose from programmes based on your fitness level such as beginner or intermediate, workout types such as cardio or muscle-building and exercises that target specific muscle groups.

It's a repository of easy-to-follow workout videos.

Nike Training Club (Free)

It's nice to know how Cristiano Ronaldo trains his abs.

You can choose a workout type from endurance, mobility, strength and yoga, or pick a combination of muscle groups to train, such as arms-shoulders or abs-glutes, or pick a workout based on the equipment you have access to -- say, a medicine ball or a bench.

This app has about 50 free workouts stacked under different collections that can see you through your beginner stage.

Apart from Ronaldo, it also has a few workouts recommended by Washington Wizards ace basketballer Isaiah Thomas and footballer and Olympic gold medallist Sydney Leroux. (Free)

I have passed on all those apps with more downloads that rely on cartoons, graphics and automated voice instructions.

A lot of beginners complain of the banality of repeating the same movements, especially when transformations are nowhere to be seen.

What they need to see is athletes doing it, the intensity and form they do it with. 'At Home' has among the most real training videos on the app stores.

Your virtual trainer talks you through every exercise.

Each pack is a collection of workout sessions specialised for beginners, people looking to lose weight, tone up or gain muscle, along with the Strength and Conditioning and HRX (Hrithik Roshan Extreme) workout series that have made the physical centres so popular.

It's a lot of what I do at the gym, at home and on vacations.

Bonus: The less explored and free Pumatrac has some great high-intensity workouts like 'Boxing Burn' with training videos guiding you into the correct posture.

*Photograph: Kind courtesy Erik Brolin/Unsplash


The sound of waves or water flowing down a stream can have a calming effect on your senses.

But thoughts still tend to run wild with them.

The basics of meditation can teach you how to control them.

Controlled breathing is the other pillar of self-awareness that these apps can help you achieve.

Add to it, lovely bedtime stories and nature-inspired playlists for a good night's sleep.

Headspace (Premium)

Headspace knows how to make light of things.

From its clean interface to the white and orange colour scheme and nature graphics, it reminds you what a well-organised life feels like.

But the free version just gives you a taste of it -- a 3-10 minute, 10-session introduction to meditation.

But once you have figured out that you need it and have tried it, you won't mind paying Rs 149/month.

I especially love their 'Wind Downs', the nightcap music based on how your day went, such as 'After Carnival' for when you try to sleep after a long, loud evening.

Calm (Premium)

This app has the least amount of free features among the 100+ wellness apps that I have tried.

But it also has the most exhaustive collection of meditation programmes -- unique for stress, anxiety, sleep, etc -- and calming music playlists.

More carefully curated are its bedtime stories.

I also came across one narrated by actor Matthew McConaughey that I enjoyed.

Guided meditation can sometimes get preachy.

Once you have got a hang of how to stay focused for a period of time, the app also has a special collection of meditation audio with minimum guidance.

While you can't put a price on health, be sure of your commitment before you spend Rs 3,399/year on this app.

Bonus: Also try Breathe (premium) for its hours of nature-inspired, soothing music and Simple Habit, which reminds you to sneak out five minutes every now and then to de-stress through audio guide and music.


Veer Arjun Singh
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