When I am not lacing on my beloved running shoes for a jaunt through nature I don’t tend to throw together my own exercises. I started using youtube years ago, and got to know some of the more prolific workout video makers. Some of my favorites were the spunky girls on PopSugar, and the super sappy couple from Fitness Blenders. When my daughter introduced me to the 7 minute workout app I realized there was a whole realm of workout potential I had yet to tap. I downloaded that app first, and then recently branched out to dabble in some of the more popular free apps available. Here are the ones I tried.
There are a number of nice things about this app. To start with the superficial it looks nice. When you are choosing a workout each option has a picture background and tells you the fitness level, how many minutes the workout will take (believe it or not they are not all 7 minutes) and how many calories you can expect to burn. They also don’t tease you by making sure the one you want requires a membership. You can choose ANY workout. Once you enter the workout you can see each specific contortion you can expect your body to be in. Press start and all you have to do it follow the sultry sound of the drill sergeant’s voice as she counts down the time spent on each exercise. It is pretty straightforward and easy to follow. Most of the exercises are ones you would be familiar with from elementary school like jumping jacks, or ones that are fairly trendy at the moment like planks. This app will also keep track of the workouts you do on a calendar so you competitive types can beat your last streak. You can also input your weight if you want to keep track of weight loss progress. This app on its own can almost be a one stop shop of exercise health.
I like to follow up my exercises with some stretching so I thought I would go for a more yoga-centric app. I also thought the name was nifty. I just like saying it. At first when I began exploring the app I kept running into interesting options that were blocked because I am a scrooge about my money, so I initially wrote it off as a waste that I would be deleting soon. On more thorough observation, however, I found some interesting workouts that I could access. The opening screen offers a variety of activities to get you started from food quizzes to workouts to a chance to breathe for 30 seconds. This updates daily, so you could potentially get all of this wellness in one place. This app also offers recipes to balance all of the calories you burn stretching. These are accompanied by mouth watering photography and an explanation of why the recipe is good for you. The recipe I looked at even gave a back story of the fig. I am all about learning, so that was really my favorite part. The next time I encounter fig trivia I am set.
This app has a lot of nice options that you can use for free. If you go to the exercise page and get past the almost unreal shiny pictures of exaggerated muscles, there are a staggering amount of individual exercises listed that the site could guide you through. Some of them require equipment from simple dumbells to contraptions you would only find at your local gym or your friendly neighborhood millionaire’s workout room. I opted to head to the workout page and attempted the abs and core workout. Three days later some twists and turns still come more slowly because of the soreness. So, yeah, Great workout. I actually love the sign that something has been improved, or I have been challenged. A good bruise or a sore muscle is something that both my older daughter and I, as the most active people in the house, really cherish. There are other options I haven’t even begun to explore. You can set body goals, add your own exercises, and post progress photos.
Nike Training Club
I jumped right into the workout tab of this app, since that is my main focus in having all of these apps. There are all kinds of great workouts available for free. I suppose since Nike wants you to buy their shoes they wouldn’t be as concerned with making money on an app membership? The workouts are all over the place a 10 minute “core Crush” here, a 24 minute “Upper Body Sculpt” there. These are all body parts and lengths of time. Some require weights, some don’t. Once you move into their workout collections they even offer expert tips on things like diet, and of course, working out. Then, all the way at the bottom of the page is your opportunity to shop. I don’t really have any strong opinions about Nike one way or the other. I guess I did hear a rumor at one point in my running days that Nike shoes are not made for runners so I should avoid them, so I have. But I have no animosity and I don’t believe my Mizuno loyalty has hurt their sales much. So far I like the app, and I am happy to ignore their subtle offering of their products to gain the well put together workouts.
Workouts named after Greek Gods are a nice touch to this app, but there are really only nineteen workouts you have access to for free. Some of these workouts require equipment like a chin-up bar, or weights, or might even require you to sprint, so they aren’t’ conducive to a do anywhere anytime scenario. You are faced, at every turn with the “Coach” option that they want you to subscribe to. Since I am cheap, and I wasn’t very excited about the workout options I didn’t use this app much. Then at one point I must have turned on a run tracker on this app. It started announcing the time and the fact that I hadn’t moved from my original spot and I couldn’t figure out which workout was on. So much for freeletics on my phone.
Ads are the first thing that greet you when you enter this app. Beyond that screen are simple options for which part of the body you would like to focus on, then one workout for that part. If you are paralyzed by indecision this app won’t trigger you. You don’t have many choices.
From the start I had limited interest in this app, but I thought I would give it a shot. The icon is a muscled man doing a push-up, and I really didn’t relate. When you look at the workouts, it seems obvious the aim is building muscle. The pictures for all of the beginning workouts feature a person with very nice muscles, and they only get more etched and unnatural from there. The workouts don’t require equipment, and accompany each exercise with a small stilted animation. There is one workout option for each level, so you don’t have to worry about information overload.
Workout Trainer: fitness coach
There is a good bit of material that is locked. If you are willing to pay you could get access to fitness programs that span the course of a few weeks, or access to a personal trainer,either online or in a city close to you. The workouts that were available were enough to keep me interested. I liked the countdown clock and the video examples of each exercise. A person in a video actually does each rep with you as you go through the workout. It is a different person for exch exercise, but that keeps it interesting. The workouts are varying lengths, so don’t worry if you only have 10 minutes, they have you covered.
I like having a number of options to keep me going. I can’t imagine using only one app, so I believe some of the ones from this group I would use most often are the Nike Training Club app, 7 minute workout app, and Workout Trainer, though I can imagine my curiosity leading me to more.