Training Smart, Not Hard: How To Use Your Smartphone to Get Fitter

Fitness has quickly become one of the biggest interests of the decade. Since the invention of the iPhone, this status has also been matched with smartphones and app development.

This boom has even reached pop culture status, culminating in the familiar phrase, “there’s an app for that.” So, it should be no surprise that the use of fitness apps has become common among gym-goers and fitness lovers.

Over time, popular apps have sprung up to do everything from creating workout programs to helping you record and track your food and nutrition.

These apps have also become more than just gimmicks or gadgets for some athletes. They are now used by athletes and everyday fitness enthusiasts alike. They are also being included in new studies by exercise scientists.

So, it’s clear that fitness apps can be a very useful addition for anyone involved in sport or exercise. The only problem is that the vast amount of fitness apps now available can make it difficult to find the best one to suit your needs.

This is why, below, we review the ten best apps for health and fitness that you can use to help reach your goals.

This list includes some well-known and some unexpected apps that do everything from tracking your food and sleep to offering a digital personal trainer.

The Top 10 Fitness Apps For Your SmartPhone

Universal (iOS/Android)


Price – Free (Premium Version Available)

What Does It Do?

  • Tracks nutrition through recording nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, proteins and fiber from your food.
  • Vitamins and minerals are also recorded.
  • Recommends different levels of each nutrient based on your fitness goals and activity level.


There’s a reason you’ve probably already heard of, or even downloaded this app. MyFitnessPal is easily the best nutrition-tracking app available.

It’s highlight features include nutrient recommendations that change when you include exercise, reminders to log your food and the ability to join your friends and see what they’re saying.

The addition of a “premium” subscription may cause some to worry. But, the free version of the app has more than enough for even the most stringent gym-goer.

Overall, this app has proven its mettle, being used in many scientific studies, by athletes and currently standing as one of the most popular apps on the iOS and Android store.


Price – Free (In-App Purchases Available)

What Does It Do?

  • Tracks your sleep pattern by pairing with a Bluetooth heart rate monitor and tracking heart rate.
  • It can now also record sleep by the phone tracking your movement in bed.
  • Delivers a full report on your sleep, including:
  • How long your total sleep lasted.
  • How many times you woke up and how much time you spent in each phase.
  • Records any noises that may have some you up, like snoring or talking.
  • Offers a full report, based on questionnaire it asks you each night, on what may be causing you to have a good, or bad, night’s sleep.
  • Waking up is also made easier with a sleep cycle-based alarm that, unlike standard alarms, slowly wakes you up when in a light sleep.


The apps heart rate-based tracking is by far the more accurate form for reviewing your sleep compared to usual accelerometers.

But, this does add around $40-60 to the price for a good Bluetooth heart rate monitor. This accuracy is what places it above any other sleep tracker, though.

In either case, the app’s slick design and easy use make it a must for anyone suffering from sleep problems or athletes tracking their recovery from exercise. The detailed reports it provides also put it a step above other choices on the app store.

MotionX: 24/7

Price – $1

What Does It Do?

  • Tracks daily steps, jogging, and sleep.
  • Allows you to log and track your weight daily.
  • Heart rate can be recorded through using your smartphone’s camera.
  • Gives you the option to set goals for your steps, weight, and sleep.
  • Uses GPS data for improved accuracy.
  • Records you during sleep to check for snoring.


The biggest perk of this app is its ability to track so much data at once with so much accuracy. It’s able to tell if you’re in a car or bus when recording steps and can tell you how many calories you’ve burned from your steps.

Unlike other apps, it doesn’t need a bracelet or other device to help track your movement, like the FitBit or Jawbone. So, for a simple, yet comprehensive, app that tracks your movement the MotionX 24/7 is a good choice.


Price – Free

What Does It Do?

  • Offers a huge amount of fitness videos on YouTube.
  • Videos include exercise tutorials to healthy recipes and full workout plans.
  • For more scientific viewers, there’s also plenty of interviews with experts in exercise and nutritional science offering tips and advice.


Many fitness lovers would probably be surprised to see this app on the list. But, the Youtube app offers a host of benefits from its extensive database of useful fitness information.

It still has its weaknesses, though. Firstly, there can be many videos of poor quality. These videos either offer misleading and incorrect information or can be too advanced for some beginners.

But, one good YouTube fitness channel is the LA based PopSugar Fitness, which offers workouts for all kinds of exercisers.

So, for advanced athletes who know their way around the internet, this app is great. For beginners, searching for workout plans and exercise tutorials should be done with caution and you should stick to reputable channels.

Freeletics Body weight

Price – Free (In-App Purchases Available)

What Does It Do?

This bodyweight-focused workout app provides exercises and full programs for a range of fitness goals. This includes increased endurance, strength or power.

  • This app offers a variety of exercises with minimal equipment and customizes the workout depending on how well you perform in its assessment. Offers bodyweight-focused workouts and exercises to its users.
  • Customises the workout to you based on a pre-programmed test is used to assess your fitness.
  • The app also has a broad range of exercises available to use for free training.


What puts this app at the top of an enormous like of workout apps is its ability to tailor a workout for you, based on your current fitness level. It also offers a massive amount of exercises that can be done anywhere, with no equipment.

So, if you’re an athlete who travels a lot, or you’re tired of stuffy this. This app offers an easy and affordable way to get in your workout.While the app may seem a little basic, it’s simple interface, and no-frills service is what sets it apart from many other apps out there. It offers exercises that can be done anywhere and offers a personal experience.

It also updates your workouts as you get fitter, so you should have no difficulty getting good results no matter what level you’re at.

So, if you’re an athlete who travels a lot or a fitness-lover sick of the gym, then this app offers an easy and low-cost way to get in a good workout.

Runtastic Series

Price – $5 – $12

What Does It Do?

The two main app bundles, Runtastic Cardio and Runtastic Bodyweight Strength, combine a few different apps.
The Cardio bundle includes apps that will:

      • Track running, cycling, daily steps.
      • Track altitude for climbing and hiking.
      • Track heart rate using your smartphone’s camera.

The Bodyweight Strength bundle includes apps that will:

      • Record your sit-ups, push-ups, squats and pull-ups using the smartphone’s accelerometer.
      • Assign training routines to increase your strength and fitness.


The Runtastic apps began with a simple pedometer and jogging app and have now spread to a host of apps that help track everything from bodyweight exercises to heart rate.

There is no question that these apps offer a comprehensive collection that can help you keep tabs on your workouts. There is also a nice leaderboard feature so you can compete with your friends. It also pairs with MyFitnessPal for added convenience.

However, the bundles force you to download a bunch of separate apps instead of including all features into one.

This can clutter your smartphone. Along with lots of apps, the workouts provided are pretty generic and not as tailored as the Freeletics app.

Track + React

Price – Free

What Does It Do?

Coming straight from the thriving app development in Los Angeles, ISBX’s Track + React app has delivered what may be a very useful app for both health, fitness, and medicine.
The app offers:

      • All-inclusive tracking app that records your food, exercise, medication and symptoms for people who suffer from arthritis.
      • Draws patterns between certain activities, foods or medications and symptoms.
      • Makes recommendations to help reduce pain from arthritis.
      • Offers a comprehensive tracking app for non-sufferers also.


The Track + React app provides a very comprehensive app that can be used to improve not only fitness but also health and wellbeing.

This app, sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, may offer a way to improve fitness and help treat a very common disease. You should also have that checked by Doctors Greensboro. In addition, if you have questions about musculoskeletal conditions, you may want to visit Hinge Health for more info.

While it doesn’t provide the in-depth analysis of other apps on any one area, this app offers a good overview of your lifestyle with a unique benefit to older or injured individuals.


Price – Free ($180 for Push Band)

What Does It Do?

      • Tracks peak and average repetition speed and power.
      • Tracks overall load lifted and workout performance through personal bests.
      • Can be integrated with desktop software so coaches can prescribe exercises and review progress.
      • Can be paired with a Bluetooth heart rate monitor for further data.
      • Offers personalized exercise and weight recommendations based on your strength and fitness goals.


This app broke new ground in 2015 when it was developed to track the power and speed of each repetition in an exercise.

The app uses an extremely sensitive accelerometer and gyroscope in its Push band to detect slight movements and calculate your peak and average power and speed of a repetition.

While it is by far the priciest option on the list, the unique benefits of this app for both athletes and hardcore lifters meant it couldn’t be left out.

The app has a very slick design and easy layout. On top of this, the accuracy of its tracking has been backed up by research.

Also, if you can’t afford the band, the app will let you log in your workout manually. So, if you’re serious about lifting, the Push app is an absolute must-have.

Polar Beat

Price – Free (In-App Purchases Available)

What Does It Do?

Its features include:

      • simple heart rate tracking along with distance, pace, calories burned and duration of the workout.
      • Offers to track for a huge range of exercises from walking to ice skating.
      • Uses GPS for further accuracy.
      • Offers a fitness test and summary on how long you spent in different heart rate zones, which can help you plan your workout.


This option offers a souped up version of both the Runtastic Cardio bundle and the MotionX 24/7 apps. It gives a clear and detailed summary of your workout, which makes it a great option for athletes or serious cardio enthusiasts.

It also offers the chance to share your workouts and personal bests on social media, which is similar to other apps like Runtastic and MyFitnessPal.

The only drawback with this app is, like SleepRate, it will require the purchase of a Polar Bluetooth heart rate monitor. But, this is still a great choice for tracking cardio and can be used without one to track distance and time.

JeFit Workout Tracker

Price – Free (In-App Purchases Available), or $5 for JeFit PRO

What Does It Do?

JeFit Workout offers a gym-based alternative to Freeletics, providing:

      • A host of pre-made workouts and a directory of exercises to go into an exercise diary for tracking.
      • A way to track body fat percentage and circumference measurements for more enthusiastic gym-goers.
      • It also offers an in-house social media where you can add friends to see their workouts and create your set plans that others can use.
      • You can also upload and track progress photos.


While the interface may be a little bit tricky at first, this app is easily the best gym workout tracker available.

With the option to download a ton of free workouts and the potential to create and share your own in a huge community and track and share progress this is an app you don’t want to go to the gym without.

 richie-heddermanRichie started Hurricane Fitness in 2011. Starting out as a Boxer at the age of 11 and winning County, Provincial, National and International medals in Boxing, he began running fitness classes and personal training.

Since then he has gone on to work alongside Olympic, World and European Champions and has trained many clients, both at home and abroad, with a wide range of goals and needs.

You can find him on his website;, or on his Facebook or Instagram page.

Richie Hedderman
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