If you’re planning to hit the beach this summer, now is the time to start working out. That could mean losing weight, bulking up or just supercharging the fitness goals you’ve been working on all winter long.
But if you’re just getting started, or picking up after giving up on a past resolution, you’ll want to pick a fitness program that will stick. After all, you only have so much time and energy each day – you’ll want to be as efficient as possible.
A personalized fitness program will cater to your body’s unique needs. There are lots of exercises that can be done at home or on your own, and many don’t require an expensive personal trainer. Alternatively, group fitness classes or wandering through the gym for an hour can sometimes make you feel like you’re working out, but without the desired results.
If you’re looking to maximize the time in your week to the best workout for your body, check out the tools below that offer workouts customized to your personal plan and preferences.
1. Fitocracy Group Classes
From the beginning, Fitocracy was about gamified fitness and using social interactions to keep people motivated.
Now, the company has formalized the process and involved trainers with a program launched in late 2013 called Group Fitness. Each group has a theme – such as Summer Body or Eight Weeks to Beast Mode – so you can join one that is relevant to your goals. Then, you’re given a personalized fitness program from the trainer, whom you’re also able to message one-on-one, and the group does video chats to keep everyone motivated and on track. Most groups include nutritional recommendations as well.
Classes cost $50-$100 per month, a fraction of the cost of personal training in a gym.
If half your workout is spent Googling the name of an exercise to find a demonstration of how it should look, you definitely want to start using Bodbot. The app not only provides a personal workout routine, as heavy or frequent as you’d like, but also provides images and videos for each exercise.
You’ll input your height, weight and gender, as well as select a goal (e.g. get strong, lose fat or train for sexual health). You can also complete fitness tests to optimize your training recommendations. When you complete the recommended exercises, you can log them as well as what you eat.
The app is free, but Bodbot Plus includes additional features such as focusing on a specific muscle group like glutes or calves.
3. Gain Fitness
What if your personal trainer could live inside your phone, like the love interest in Her? That’s what Gain Fitness is – well, mostly.
You can set the days and times you’d like to work out, and Gain will send a push notification to remind you. The workouts vary in length and are based on your personal information, from the equipment you have on hand or at the gym to the area of your body you want to target.
Gain Fitness is available on iOS, is free and the company plans to introduce it on other devices in the future.
Circuit training is much easier when the only equipment required is, well, you – the exercise in Sworkit make use of your own body weight. You select the amount of time you have, from 5 to 60 minutes, and what zone you’re looking to target. Each exercise is demonstrated via illustrations. The app also offers a workout log, and you can mix-and-match exercises to build your own custom workout.
Sworkit is available on Android and iOS, is free and Sworkit Pro, $0.99, provides additional features such as audio instructions.
5. Yoga.com Studio
Group yoga classes vary in both style and quality, but the worst part can often be the scheduling. Sometimes the time slot or location where your favorite instructor teaches is impossible to get to each week. Or, maybe, you want to work on your practice outside of the group setting. Then, perhaps this app’s for you.
This app has a huge database of yoga poses that can be searched by skill level, type or fitness goal, and grouped into your own sequences. There are also pre-installed programs you can follow. Each pose comes with a picture, explanation, diagram and video so there’s little-to-no guesswork in getting it right.
Yoga.com Studio is available on iOS and is $2.99.
FitnessBuilder is a highly-rated app for both gym-goers and personal trainers to plan and track workouts. It syncs with your calendar and can share workouts to social media sites as well.
The app’s 900 possible workouts are made up of more than 7,000 exercises with both images and videos. A drag-and-drop builder tool allows you to make your own workout on the web.
Working out on your own can often lead to a plateau. You get bored or just don’t see yourself progressing. Knowing when to change up your workout can be hard, but Vitogo does this work for you.
The app asks you a few questions and then creates a customized workout. You can log your reps each day and see an overview of the previous week’s workouts. Vitogo includes videos, photos and descriptions so that you know how to do each exercise.
Vitogo is available on iOS and is $0.99.
For anyone who is new to heart rate training, Pear is a great first step. The heart rate monitor connects with the mobile app to offer audio coaching during your cardio workout. You can pick from plans from yoga and mountain biking to the more popular marathon training plans, and adjust the intensity. The heart rate monitor comes with fitness earbuds.
Pear is available on iOS and the heart rate monitor is $100.
What do you use to get in shape? Tell us in the comments.
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